Summary of the Pentecost 2021 issue of Doxology.
Founded in 1984, Doxology: a journal of worship and the sacramental life is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of liturgical scholarship bridging academic and church communities. It is published by the Order of Saint Luke, a dispersed ecumenical religious order founded by Methodists. The Order currently includes United Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, members of Holiness movement churches, and many others. Doxology publishes work by established and emerging liturgical scholars to address historical, theological, and cultural questions about Christian worship and the sacramental life.
To Fast or Feast: Shaping a Fast from Holy Communion as a Liturgical Exception
Lent brings its observers face-to-face with their own mortality, but no one could have anticipated encountering human frailty on such a global scale as the season collided with the coronavirus pandemic. People experienced economic distress, illness, death, and isolation as public spaces — including the church — closed its doors. Empty sanctuaries brought to a halt to normal church activity and paused the church’s sacramental rites. Celebrating the Eucharist became a dangerous activity that risked the very lives of its participants and ushered in a necessary, church-wide fast from the Lord’s Supper. This interruption in the day-to-day life of the church brought into question the modification of liturgical rites, bringing to the fore concerns about how the congregation could celebrate the Eucharist without compromising its bedrock principles. It also brought a unique opportunity to spiritually form the congregation by observing a fast from the Eucharist and giving it a liturgical structure. Scripture and the early Christian liturgical tradition shed light on the shared dynamics between fasting and the Eucharist, aiding in the development of an exceptional liturgical rite that takes the place of the Eucharist when celebrating the sacrament is either impossible or ill-advised, thereby maintaining the sacramental life of the church.
Where and When: Confessions of a Sacramentalist Eleven Months into the Pandemic
Daniel Benedict, OSL
The summer of 2021 began with a sense among America’s Christian congregations that we would soon be regaining some “normalcy” with in-person worship and, with necessary precautions, partaking in Holy Communion. Now, in August of 2021, with Covid-19 spiking again, we may be faced with necessary restrictions, including limited or no in-person communion. This “confession,” which may still be relevant as we encounter the effects of a rekindled pandemic, wrestles with several questions: Where and when do we participate in the trustful act of Abraham? Where and when do we sacramentally instantiate trust in God who raised Christ Jesus from the dead? Where and when are we carried into such confidence in God—not by our own accomplishments but ushered by faith enacted in the sacrament? And how do we enact such without breaching the sound canons of sacramental and ecclesial theology and practice?
LITURGICAL MATERIAL AND MISCELLANY
Joy and Contemplation: The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
This article introduces the liturgical aspects of a catechetical method known as the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The CGS is “a common religious experience involving children and adults in which the religious values of childhood, primarily those values of contemplation and enjoyment of God, are predominant. This experience is shared in a place particularly prepared for the religious life of children called the Atrium.
THROWBACK THEOLOGY: A Letter from Evelyn Underhill to Archbishop Lang of Canterbury
Evelyn Underhill was a prolific writer who published 39 books and more than 350 articles and reviews. In her early years, she wrote on mysticism; in her latter years on the spiritual life as lived by ordinary people. Her book Worship (1929/1937) was a highly influential text read and taught by many leading teachers and practitioners of liturgy in the middle of the 20th century. This issue’s Throwback Theology column presents a letter from Underhill, in which she urges church leaders saddled with the busy-ness of everyday work not to forget to nurture their life of prayer, remembering always “the Supernatural which has been since Pentecost the one source” of the Church’s power.
HYMN: Recall with Tears
Diane Owen Jordan
A new hymn by Diane Owen Jordan pertinent to the anniversary of September 11, 2001 illustrates perfectly the ways in which congregational song speaks to our corporate experiences of grief, loss, and the hope in God’s restorative justice.
BOOK AND SCREEN REVIEWS
Nancy Smith reviews Compassionate Christ, Compassionate People: Liturgical Foundations of Christian Spirituality by Bob Hurd. Forward by Michael Downey. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2019. 256 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 9780814684627.
Carl Peterson reviews The Rites and Wrongs of Liturgy: Why Good Liturgy Matters by Thomas O’Loughlin. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2018. 120 pages. $14.99. ISBN: 9780814645635.
Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL, reviews Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers. Disney/Pixar, 2020. 100 minutes. PG.