Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Filling in the gap

I am at a clergy conference for the Diocese of Georgia. What is it that priests get out of such meetings? Certainly, we gain something by spending some time with our sister and brother priests. At this conference, we are also benefitting from The Rev. James Farwell, a professor of liturgy at General Seminary in New York, author of This is the night: Suffering, Salvation, and the Liturgies of Holy Week. Here's a brief glimpse:

Creation of AdamIn the picture here, a detail view from the Sistine Chapel, Adam's hand is the one on the left reaching out toward God. On the right, God's hand is straining toward Adam. Christianity teaches that it is God who bridges the gap between the creator and the created. Robert Taft has written that each time we worship God, this gap between God and Adam vanishes. God reaches us in the liturgy (the words and actions of our worship). Coming together for worship week after week shapes the way we see the world. This doesn't happen in a single act of worship as much as over the long haul of returning again and again to encounter God in worship. Theology (what we think of God) is a word exchanged between us and God, starting on God's side of the equation. Theology then is not only something learned, it is also something lived, not merely rationally agreed to, but also experienced in the very structure of our worship as well as its words and gestures.

For modern thinkers, the primary way of knowing is rational thought. For example, Sigmund Freud saw all ritual (liturgy being one example) as neurosis. But we know by our experience and reflection that our worship is more than a mere decoration to our faith or a false distraction from things real. Instead, the ongoing worship we experience changes us as we continue to meet God in that gap pictured here. Through our worship, we come to see the world more and more through God's eyes.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


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