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quod pro nobis traditum est

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

liberal use of the liturgy

The word "liberal" here is not to make a specific political, social, or economic statement. Nor is the word "liberal" being placed together with the word "liturgy" here to advance lifestyles that are apart from the divine order in creation. Finally, this is not about changing the liturgy or advancing new forms of ministry.

What is said by using these words together, "liberal use of the liturgy"? The liberal use of the liturgy is another way of saying liturgical renewal, that is renewal in learning, using and advancing the liturgy. This is of interest to those who know that a service in the hymnal is not the liturgy and a given hymnal is not the liturgy but the use of the hymnal among Lutherans, for example, is the preferred and expected tool of those who are in liturgical renewal. Another example of liturgical renewal is a church building where the altar has a central and visible role as the place where the sacrament is offered and distributed. There are many other aspects of liturgical renewal among us. In short, liturgical renewal is clearly distinct and separate from efforts to provide and/or produce religious forms of entertainment.

In addition to liturgical renewal, "liberal use of the liturgy" may refer to "liberal" use of time to advance the gathering of people in prayer. For example, this may mean additional weekday services in Advent and Lent. Outside of the celebration of Christmas, another example of this are the services of Holy Week. Using time to hear the Word of God and receive the Sacrament, from Palm Sunday to Easter Day, including the opportunities of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, are of spiritual discipline and benefit. There is another opportunity with the Feast of the Ascension. These are all opportunities for renewal in Christ. Renewal in Christ is the best understanding of liturgical renewal and the liberal use of the liturgy.