Sharing the peace of Christ: Worship in a year of crisis

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Abstract

My “hero” of liturgy, as my students will attest, is Robert Hovda, an American Roman Catholic priest who probably did more than anyone else in the English speaking world to educate the church about its liturgical birthright. This gem of his always reminds me of the extraordinary promise of good liturgy:Good liturgical celebration, like a parable, takes us by the hair of our heads, lifts us momentarily out of the cesspool of injustice we call home, puts us in the promised and challenging reign of God, where we are treated like we have never been treated anywhere else.1 How such worship might be possible in a year like 2020—a cesspool if ever there was one—is a pressing question. No one had a map or guidebook in their back pocket when this year began its unravelling: “Worship when the world feels like it is crumbling: a beginner’s guide”. Or time to craft one. But there is also a sense in which 2020 has simply tested what we already have—traditions of worship, including our authorised prayer books—inviting us to think again, in this new context. In this article, Iexamine how our communal worship has been challenged and stretched, focussing on the image of “the body of Christ,” an image that is central to our understanding of what it means to be the church. While there has been much conversation around issues related to the sharing of Holy Communion during the pandemic, I draw attention to the greeting of peace, a ritual with unmet promise in our gathering for worship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
Number of pages12
JournalSt Mark's Review
Volume253
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

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