In This Issue: Worship, March 2018

The March 2018 issue of Worship is out, and below is a summary of the contents. You can subscribe to Worship here.

AMEN CORNER: “Monks, Megachurches, and Mediocrity” by Anthony Ruff, OSB

Luke MacNamara, OSB – Levi’s Banquet – A Model Eucharist
This short essay explores the Eucharist through the account of Levi’s banquet in Luke 5:27-39. This passage is not frequently examined in relation to the Eucharist and yet it is replete with Eucharistic themes. The repentant Levi’s invitation to Jesus results in his guest presiding at a banquet for a wide and diverse gathering of people. Jesus identifies himself as a doctor dispensing healing to those in need. This banquet is both the means of salvation, the place where sinners are invited by Jesus to turn from their sins and take their seats at table, and the sign of restored communion of the sinners with God, as the forgiven and healed sinners partake of Jesus’s feast. The food and wine at Jesus’ banquet are the medicine of salvation. Those who come to table consume the good (χρηστός) wine and become conformed to Christ (χριστός). This text was presented at the annual meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Council and Committees for Liturgy at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland on 17 November 2016.

Antonio (Tony) Alonso – Singing the Community of the Beautiful into Being
In this article, I suggest ways in which the evaluation of music for liturgical worship might be deepened through an attentiveness to work in theological aesthetics. Drawing on the writings of Nicholas Wolterstorff and Alejandro García-Rivera, I argue that their attention to the active, communal and ethical dimensions of aesthetics invites those who discern music for worship as well as those charged with its creation to take on a paticular set of responsibilities to their communities and to the One who sang them into being.

Bob Hurd – Every Creature Is Sister and Brother: Reading and Enacting Laudato Si’ Liturgically
This essay poses the question: Can Pope Francis’s call to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor shape the way we celebrate the Eucharist? What is envisioned is not an occasional ecology-themed Mass, but liturgy regularly celebrated in awareness that our responsibilities to each other and to the whole of creation are embraced by the paschal mystery of Christ.

The essay shows that an ecological dimension is already embedded in the liturgy’s major ritual units, from the gathering to the sending, though it is often under-represented in enactment. Gathering, for example, symbolizes not only communion among humans, but also right relation to creation. For each of these ritual units, the essay demonstrates how prayer leadership, preaching and music ministry can collaborate to actualize this ecological dimension. Special emphasis is given to new music that has emerged explicitly in response to Laudato Si’.

Kimberly Hope Blecher – “A Spirit of Improvement Abroad”? Jane Austen and Liturgical Reform in 1813
Twenty years before John Keble preached “National Apostasy” at Oxford, Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Mansfield Park already featured a fictional High Church Anglican clergyman who was a complete “Oxford man.” In this novel, unlike Austen’s earlier works, significant discussions about the role of the liturgy in everyday life distinguish the protagonists from their adverse potential romantic partners. This overlooked evidence from a lay woman, a brilliant non-specialist with little formal education, suggest that the ideas that were central for Tractarianism were already ripening in rural conversation and correspondence. Austen’s perspective on liturgy is a fusion of High Church commitments and Evangelical piety, 18th century Anglican moral asceticism and Romantic aesthetics. In Mansfield Park, she suggests the vocation of clergy, especially country clergy, in combatting an urban tendency towards liturgical neglect, as well as setting forth the relationship between liturgy and an ethic of “constancy.”



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