Have you noticed subtle differences in the wording of the 10:30 a.m. Rite II service on the fourth Sunday of the month? It’s not in your head; you are not forgetting the words. On these Sundays, we have been using some of the text from “Enriching Our Worship”.
“Enriching Our Worship” is a collection of supplemental liturgical materials prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission (1997) and published by Church Publishing Incorporated. It includes resources and forms for Morning and Evening Prayer, Order of Worship for the Evening, the Great Litany, and the Holy Eucharist. These texts may be used in conjunction with Rite 2 liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), or supplemental texts may be used to develop an entire liturgy. It is not intended to supplant the Book of Common Prayer, but rather to provide additional resources to assist worshiping communities wishing to expand the language, images and metaphors used in worship.
The major difference is the use of language for God that does not use familiar masculine terms. The liturgical texts reflect the influence of the prayer experience of women, and a desire to honor that experience while remaining faithful to the norms of liturgical prayer as received by the Episcopal Church.
Expanding our vocabulary of prayer and the ways in which we name the Holy One bear witness to the fact that the mystery of God transcends all categories of knowing, including those of masculine and feminine. One of the considerations in choosing or developing the texts included in this collection has been the prayer experience of women, and the desire to honor that experience while remaining faithful to the constituent elements and norms of liturgical prayer as The Episcopal Church has received and understood them.
The differences are quite subtle, and so if you are like me you may zone into worship and find yourself accidentally saying the “wrong” words. Has this happened to you? It can feel like sneezing into a silence, or at least akin to giving a loud Alleluia during Lent. As calming and meditative as familiar worship can be, these Sundays can be a refreshing opportunity to pay closer attention to the words we speak. However, if a mistake is made, let there be no feelings of embarrassment: as is printed on the welcome page at the beginning of every service booklet, “when you’re worshiping God, you can’t get it wrong!”.
For more info: Enriching Our Worship 1 (churchpublishing.org)
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com or (302) 368-4644