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Must Liturgy Adapt to Culture or vice versa - Essay Example

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Must Liturgy Adapt to Culture or vice versa

It would seem that the trend in the liturgical changes points to an adaptation to the people’s way of life or culture. In the light of an increasing secularisation of society, the question begs: Must liturgy adapt to culture, or vice versa? The Essence of Liturgy One must rest upon the definitions of liturgy and culture to be able to take a handle on this question. The word liturgy comes from the Greek word liturgia which signifies an act of public service done for the community. From a Christian point of view , and particularly Anglicans, as explained in the Guiding Principles of Christian Worship, liturgy has come to be known as “the work of the people of God,” or their public obligation to give God thanks and adoration. It is very important to establish the relevance at this early of the six guiding principles of Christian worship as contained in the Book of Common Prayer. These are, one, that the Holy Scripture must be the foundation and the basic content of all Christian worship; two, that tradition must be carefully respected; three, that the language in edification must be relevant to and understood by the congregation; four, that ceremonies need not be identical across cultures but must not also contradict Scripture or the Creeds; five, that the words and the liturgies should seek ecumenical convergence with the Universal Church, and six, that these words and forms of the liturgies must maintain continuity with the Church’s historic tradition, while giving way to creativity and innovation in response to societal change. Liturgy then is the vehicle for the people’s expression of their faith. In the exegesis of the six principles, it is said that in finding such expression, nothing must contradict the Holy Scriptures, it being the foundation of worship. Such deference includes the use of words, concepts and images. It is also said that in the process of expressing faith, tradition must be respected and preserved as close as possible to when it transpired as indicated in the Holy Scriptures. One can see where Fr. Kavanagh is coming from. The admonition to adapt culture to liturgy has all its foundation rested on the guiding principles but reflects a growing fear of the consequences of the reverse happening. Torevell (2004) observes that liturgy is becoming less popular and the reason he cites is that people no longer have that creative and restorative sense of rite but rather look at liturgy as a stable act of repetition. The Essence of Culture Culture, according to Davey (2012), is a framework of behavioural patterns, values and experiences shared within and by a social group. It is the “order of life in which human beings construct meanings through practices of symbolic representations,” according to Inda and Ronello (2008). Samovar (2009, pp.144-146) define it as a set of social rules that provide the framework and meaning to events, objects and people, to make sense of the surroundings and lessen the uncertainty about the environment. It provides a sense of identity, of self, of belonging. It is learned, transmitted via generations and acquired through interactions, observation, and imitation from art, proverbs, history, teachers, parents, books and media. It is symbolic and its symbols are used exclusively by the group. It is about the group’s standards, their beliefs, their traditions, their habits, their peculiar way of living their lives or understanding ...Show more

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4. “Liturgy is not adapted to culture, but culture to liturgy” (Aidan Kavanagh (1982) Elements of Rite A Handbook of Liturgical Style, New York, Peublo Publishing Company Inc). In the light of an increasingly secular society is this still true? Must Liturgy Adapt to Culture or vice versa?…
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Must Liturgy Adapt to Culture or vice versa essay example
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