Thursday 15 September 2011

When the Service Taker Emails in Sick

Our service taker has emailed in as ill for Sunday, and that means making quick and emergency provision. A long time ago, when I started doing the CDs approach to hymn tunes and more, I wrote two 'emergency liturgies' that could be used at short notice. I also did the hymns for each, and placed on CDs. Since then we've had the new system up and I've made several editing improvements to the music and a different system of so doing.

There is one traditional liturgy and one that is more radical. Now the traditional one is capable of being liberal Christian but it is also capable of drawing from other faiths and secular sources. It gives a traditional feel. The radical one is still liturgical (the idea being to have an updated liturgical book that replaces Orders of Worship from way back in 1932) but its content is deliberately of new thinking and towards the broad based.

These texts I may review, give a few days running up to Sunday, and indeed the CD can be altered and even have one per service, not one for both.

Both services don't just reflect on my thinking, but are articulations on how the congregation thinks (I think). Unlike Anne Rice, the vampire writer, who a year back announced she'd follow Christ but not the Church, this is a following the Church and not (necessarily) Christ - though it is theologically aware. I'm not a Christian, and I don't follow Christ. I don't believe in him as any other than one of many ethical teachers in a time and place.

It's why I react against the Federation course of Contextual Theology. It's not our context. But the problem with any liturgy once the normative theology is gone is that they need revision. It is why we can't use the 1932 book any more. The trick is to get the feel of the 1932 book and alter its substance.

If the liturgies get revised, don't be surprised!

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