|Consecration of the chalice on Corpus Christi 2012.|
Now, let me just clarify that what I mean by "traditional" is not stuffy, uptight, or dull. The problem with many folks' understanding of traditional is that they picture out-of-touch preachers droning on incessantly about dogma, dirge-like hymnody, and ritual that is either watered down to the lowest common denominator or absurdly precious. Traditional liturgy need not be any of these things. I serve in one of the most traditional churches in the world, and we regularly attract young people that are smart, hip, and unconventional, who love what we do. Moreover, many of my young friends worship in Episcopal churches that bust out the incense, chant the mass, and pray novenas with passion. Christ Church in New Haven, Connecticut put it more or less this way: "this is not your father's church (yuck!), this is your great-great-great grandfather's church." Despite what Boomers may suggest, tradition can be cool.
|College freshman, Max, at throat blessing, St. Blaise's Day 2013.|
But in all seriousness, I don't care if traditional liturgy is cool or not. I need it to be deep; I need it to be Spirit-filled; I need it to be authentic; I need it to be transformational. And despite the mockery sometimes directed at Anglo-Catholics and other high-church enthusiasts, I am proud that there are congregations dipping greedily into the well of our traditional liturgical heritage. After all, it is no accident that many of these traditions have endured for hundreds of years. They connect us to the faith and countless generations of the faithful in a way that emphasizes the continuity of the Christian story and the universality of the Church. The Oxford Movement, for instance, emerged in the 1830s, because the worship and spirituality of the Church of England had become so anemic, lethargic, and perfunctory. It needed a transfusion of spiritual blood. The Catholic Revival began by rediscovering our theological roots, and then expanded to reclaim the richness of our liturgical, cultural, musical, and architectural heritage. The cold rationalism of the Enlightenment softened to allow a sensory and affective experience of the sacred that had been lacking in the Church.
|Sebastian leading clergy procession at my priestly ordination.|