Sunday, 10 June 2012

Liturgy (Emergency) Service 3

Again, it fell to me to provide a service at short notice. I wrote liturgies to be picked up rapidly for the purpose, but this time I had enough notice to write another. So this is the third produced, and follows the structure of Orders of Worship (1932) Service 7. Now Service 7 is itself an amalgam of two services written by James Martineau. He embodied the principle of evolving and changing liturgies as beliefs changed, although he still used forms that were of more 'dogma' than he believed - in other word, liturgy was still a conserving form. This is also my view, to give a pathway and content, but the language is far too flowery and Christian in assumption than I can maintain. To the structure is added nature and related themes in content: they are there simply to have readily-available material for the last minute let-down by a preacher. There is a given CD too, but with notice these can be varied.

Our newest attender appreciated my service, but it was also her last visit. We always wanted more university students to attend, but she is now back home and any higher postgraduate degree would be on a visiting basis. She came to us ex Church of England and cited the gay debate as a reason for leaving. She was quite Christian in orientation - we had a good chat about that once, like on a checklist. Back home the nearest Unitarian church meets earlier and is a good journey away. I said the minister there blogs a kind of postmodern Christianity and I wonder, within Unitarianism, why he can't relax a bit: why try to retain a Christian path if he is pretty much atheist regarding the existence of God and go to such effort for a non-foundational Christianity. It makes more sense inside the Church of England where liturgies are fixed. The Unitarian route, including for written liturgies (a practice mainly dropped in the 1950s and 1960s), is when you stop believing something you actually make that known in what you say and do.There is less chance of a sense of misrepresentation. The potential for being postliberal is, obviously, rather limited in a liberal setting: there is no need to be postliberal. But, then, liberalism contains all sorts, including imaginary liturgists like me.

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