Friday, August 30, 2013

"Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars..."

The blog Juicy Ecumenism has a post entitled "Pantheism in the Prayer Book" on an effort by the Anglican Environmental Network to make some revisions to some rather foundational prayers. It is not for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or people currently taking medications for dyspepsia. It also underlines how far afield one can go when one starts tossing out basic tenets of ones faith and begin hanging dream catchers while streams of patchouli smoke waft in from the contrails of the Earth Mother.

It is one of the many benefits, and indeed, one of the purposes of liturgical worship that it cannot easily be manipulated to suit some passing whim. Most liturgical traditions contain the same basic elements: the singing of the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Confessions, the Creeds, the reading of the Scriptures, and the ancient hymns that have been passed down to us from the early church. The order of service can be an emotional experience, but it is not driven by emotion, nor does it seek that end. The pre-ordained texts for any particular service may speak to current events, but the service cannot be altered to cater to whatever pet political issues the clergy or congregation may have on their minds. It is oriented towards another more stable world, and does not change with the tides of this one. It is what it is. The words are spoken, the truth is heard, and you may take it or leave it.

Unless, of course, one were to rewrite the entire order of service, which is exactly what the Anglican Environmental Network, an official branch of the Anglican Communion, has done. From September 1st, to October 4th, many churches in the Anglican Communion will celebrate “creation time,” described as “a time dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation, and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change.”

The theme of this year’s creation time is “Water Justice,” and the Anglican Environmental Network has provided parishes with a list of resources to help commemorate the season. Among them is an order of service prepared by the Student Christian Movement in India.

The order of service contains a hymn, scripture readings, and the Lord’s Prayer, although, most people who are familiar with such basic articles of the faith wouldn’t recognize them here...

Complete post here.

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