Praying the word in the liturgy: Australian academy of liturgy conference

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper emerged from the invitation to speak on 'praying the word' at the Australian Academy of Liturgy conference in January 2015. Given the multiplicity of contexts for liturgical prayer, I will concentrate on the Liturgy of the Word in the Sunday Eucharist, specifically the Roman avatar of this rite. At first glance the topic appeared straightforward, but it has proved to be a bit more complex than I first anticipated. My interest was sharpened following a recent conference on preaching, where the presentations were well received but two things stood out. One was the presenter's insistence that preaching was the highlight/highpoint of the liturgy. I would have thought rather that this belonged to Communion (after all union in the triune God is the end goal of the Christian life). The second was that there was no mention of the ritual context of preaching. Rather the act of preaching was spoken of as an event in its own right, unencumbered by its ritual setting, perhaps even transcending it. For me, the inflation of the role of the preaching and the obscuring of the ritual context serve to remind that there is an abiding tension in discerning the experiential locus of the rites of the Word and the way that different parts are to be emphasised.It has to be acknowledged that there are cultural aspects to this which are lost to western ritual practice. Posture is understood differently in Asian cultural climes. In many Pacific cultures, for example, to sing is to dance: processions and psalms without dance are themselves an imposition and a blurring of the interpretative lens. With this comes the need for further exploration of the effects of presenting the word of God as a 'script', a written artefact, to cultures and communities that are narrative and oral at heart. These cultural mismatches are for us an opportunity to re-read the 'cultural' inscription of our praying of the word in worship. This paper will make a start by examining
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-16
Number of pages5
JournalPastoral Liturgy: Formation and Resources for Lectionary-Based Worship
Volume46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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