In This Issue: Worship, October 2020

Summary of the October 2020 issue of Worship

Worship is a peer-reviewed, international ecumenical journal for the study of liturgy and liturgical renewal. Founded in 1926 by Virgil Michel, OSB, and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey, Worship is published quarterly in Collegeville, Minnesota. Subscribe to Worship here.


The Passover Moon: A Response to the COVID-19 Virus
James Notebaart

The Covid19 virus first came to global awareness at the time of the Passover in 2020. This article looks at both the response to that virus and places it in the context of the wider scope of time through the image of the Passover moon. The first response by the wider community was a clinical one, slowing the spread and protecting at-risk populations. This clinical approach was then applied to religious practices: first the cessation of religious services, then the restriction of attendance and finally recommendations for specific age groups to remain at home. The next level of response was to insert the clinical protocols into the religious services, mandating the wearing of masks, frequent hand sanitization, no music, separation of those attending, paring down the ritual elements and ministry. Many churches developed online broadcasts of their prayer. Few Churches considered other models of practice, but merely applied the clinical model to existing worship patterns. This article challenges this approach by suggesting there are other models which are equally valid. Finally attention is drawn back to the stability of the Passover moon. It has born witness to all the tragedies of time yet stood as a solid symbol of endurance. The paper ends with a poem written in about the year 1000 by an Andalusian Jewish Poet who affirmed his belief that faith would endure. Yet he too was to meet an early death.

Life After Brokenness: A Liturgical Portrait of Suffering and Hope
Armand Léon Van Ommen

One of the primary ways in which Christian communities make meaning of the world they live in, in relation to God, is by their public worship. This article analyses how liturgy helps and perhaps reframes the communities’ understanding of suffering. The Scottish Liturgy 1982 of the Scottish Episcopal Church is closely analysed here as an in-depth example of liturgical searching for meaning. The analysis demonstrates that human suffering in terms of major negative life events comes hardly into view, in contrast to God’s suffering in Christ. The article spells out that the suffering of Christ is always related to the purpose of forgiveness, healing and new life. Therefore, the suffering of God in Christ provides a framework to understand suffering as a diminishment of the life God intends for human beings. Liturgically, that diminishment is characterized as sin and evil.

Singing Responsorial Psalms: Raising the Bar
Fergus M.T. Ryan, OP

The author reviews steps taken at various levels and in various regions within the Roman Catholic Church in order to make the responsorial psalm at Mass the sung prayer of the people. Considering that metrical paraphrases of the psalms have assisted congregations in singing the biblical texts in quite varied contexts, he suggests metrical translations should be considered more widely, and offers a convenient list of the psalm responses from the liturgical books arranged in alphabetical order to facilitate translation work. He includes samples of his own re-wording of the psalm responses which employs Half Common meter.

The Externsteine Relief of the Deposition from the Cross: A Germanic-Christian Interpretation in the Light of the Heliand and the Elder Edda
Ronald Murphy, SJ

Central Europe’s most famous and touching, if heavily weathered, medieval relief, which comes possibly from the middle of the 12th Century, has several anomalous and affecting features whose possible origins have not been explained. First, is the manner of carrying the dead Christ; the body has been draped over Joseph’s shoulder. Second, is the presence underground, beneath the cross and the tree touching it, of a winged serpent or dragon with two people in its coils. Third, is the absence of the traditional ladder, and in its place the relief depicts the bent-over tree on which an exhausted Nicodemus is standing to reach up to the crossbar in order to lower the corpse of Christ. Both men are thus depicted as loyal soldiers caring for their fallen chieftain. If a fourth might be added, a large boulder sculpted in the shape of an arcosolium grave stands about 50 yds from the relief itself. Finally Christ himself is shown rising invisibly above the scene. The article points to the Heliand, the Saxon gospel, and to Germanic mythology as in the Elder Edda to interpret the relief.

Liturgical Catechesis: The Integration of Liturgy and Catechesis
Jonathan Jerome

This paper examines four phases of liturgical catechesis (catechesis for the liturgy, catechesis through the liturgy, catechesis from the liturgy, and catechesis for mission) to assess how liturgy and catechesis have been integrated well and also ways in which this integration might be improved.  The Rite of Baptism is used as a case study throughout the paper to examine these phases in more concrete terms.  As a result, and in attempt to better articulate a clearer liturgical vision of the reign of God, a few guiding principles surface: the need for ongoing collaboration between liturgy and catechesis, the need for the baptismal catechumenate to serve as a model for all ritual, the need for all faithful to be well-formed, and the need to stay focused on the relationship with Jesus Christ.  This paper thus celebrates the integration of liturgy and catechesis, and encourages more work to be done to continue building God’s kingdom on earth through liturgical catechesis.



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