I grew up in a tiny village in North Yorkshire the place, each Sunday, my sisters and I might placed on our greatest attire, eat sausages for breakfast and trundle off to one of many 4 church buildings in our parish. There we might sit, footwear kicked off, daydreaming because the sunshine filtered by the stained glass home windows and warming our stockinged toes on the dusty heating pipes under the pews whereas, round us, the adults, equally arrayed of their Sunday most interesting, intoned the phrases of the liturgy.
For a kid it was deathly boring, in fact – the spotlight of the service can be the prospect to point out off my Sunday frock whereas going as much as get blessed throughout communion. However over time, the phrases, so typically repeated, with their comforting, timeless rhythms, seeped into my soul, till I might intone them without having for reference to the prayer guide. As an grownup, every time I attend a extra conventional church service that makes use of the Guide of Widespread Prayer, there’s deep comfort in with the ability to shut my eyes and recite, permitting the great thing about the language to clean up and over me.
So I’m not shocked that congregations for conventional liturgy providers on-line have risen 5 fold over the course of the pandemic. In a time when the each day construction of life has all however evaporated, there’s solace to be present in worshipping, even from our sofas at house, by way of a type of service that has been in existence since 1549. After we be a part of within the phrases of the liturgy, we’re including our voice to an amazing torrent of voices which have echoed by the centuries, professing the identical religion, in nearly the identical phrases, which have been spoken for lots of of years.
It’s the closest factor we Anglicans must the Catholic mass: an unchanging occupation of religion that speaks of life, and dying, and an everlasting communion with God which we, humble sinners right here on earth, have the privilege of being a part of by His grace. In a time of turbulence, when life is turned the other way up and all our mounted factors uprooted, there’s nice consolation available in understanding that this, too, shall go, and, if you’re an individual of religion, that God is unchanging over all.
Even if you’re not a believer, even in our secular, pluralist society, the phrases – a number of the most lovely and most dignified within the English language – can not fail to maneuver those that hear them. To admit that “we have left undone those things that we ought to have done” is a sentiment that anybody can purchase into. And to acknowledge that “we don’t presume, to return to this thy desk, oh merciful Lord, trusting in our personal righteousness”, reminds us of simply how inconsequential we’re within the nice scheme of issues.
We might not have the ability to be a part of collectively in particular person to worship proper now. We cannot raise our voices in song. We will’t even press a hand within the signal of peace. However we are able to enjoy the great thing about the liturgy. God does, certainly, work in mysterious methods.