When a Stranger Offends the Liturgical Aesthetic

“The service was over, but the ritual was not. Jim had unexpectedly entered the ritual space and interrupted the silence with his signs and voice. His soiled clothing was adding unwanted shades of grey to the color palate that was otherwise dominated by the hues of golden candlesticks, red marble pillars, velvety green banners, and warm brown pews. Plus, he was getting the ritual completely wrong. Unlike others in the space, he did not direct his petition to God. Instead, he was begging from the people around him.”

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January 7: A Convergence of Feasts

Liturgy was preceded by a few carols, the choir usually sang well, and after liturgy, the choir would gather at the rectory for two hours of caroling and festive foods prepared by my grandmother and mother. We agreed that “Ukrainian” Christmas was the “religious” observance of the holiday.

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A Homely Reminder of How Rote Ritual Is

So much of the analysis of liturgy remains focused on the words in the books or even the words recited or repeated in assemblies, and this with an uncritical, unarticulated assumption that the discursive content of those texts impact/shape the ideas or imaginations of most of the participants. The individual performances and ongoing practices of a rite/ritual/liturgy are so much more and most often a matter of non-discursive, semiotic (if you will) patterns …

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