Archive for June 2013

Equality Granted and Denied   1 comment

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Above:  Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, April 7, 2010

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010646613/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-07312

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God created human beings in his own image;

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

–Genesis 1:27, The Revised English Bible (1989)

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All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

–The Constitution of the United States, Amendment 14, Section 1

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If each person bears the Image of God,

with all the natural rights inherent thereof,

nobody has cause to discriminate against another

for a characteristic which one cannot change.

So to hatred, indifference, and fear one should not even nod

in assent, for divine love

us should not bother

or even enrage.

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The divine command

is not to understand

but to grant respect, dignity,

and, of course, equality,

despite the prejudices we might have learned,

which contradict divine love unearned.

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O that we humans would

cease from using the name of God

to justify cruelty, inequality,

and other forms of perfidy,

but instead open our arms

and begin or continue the healing of those we have harmed!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

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Published originally at TAYLOR FAMILY POEMS AND TAYLOR FAMILY POEMS:

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/equality-granted-and-denied/

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Increased Wisdom With Age   1 comment

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Above:  The Author on Sunday Afternoon, June 16, 2013

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God of graciousness,

yesterday I looked at images of myself and noticed light-colored hairs at my temples.

I have been aware of them for some time, of course,

but something about that image made a great impression on me.

I am aging yet am inwardly much younger than I look

while I am wiser for experiences over time.

Thank you for such wisdom combined with inner youthfulness.

May I use them for your glory and the benefit of others, not just myself.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 17, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS TERESA AND MAFALDA OF PORTUGAL, PRINCESSES, QUEENS, AND NUNS; AND OF SAINT SANCHIA OF PORTUGAL, PRINCESS AND NUN

THE FEAST OF SAINT EMILY DE VIALAR, FOUNDER OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT JOSEPH OF THE APPARITION

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL AND HENRIETTA BARNETT, ENGLISH SOCIAL REFORMERS

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/a-prayer-of-thanksgiving-for-increased-wisdom-with-age/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

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Proper for Hymn Writers   1 comment

fountain_pen

Above:  A Fountain Pen

Image Source = Auyon

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

N. and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/proper-for-hymn-writers/

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Proper for Scholars   1 comment

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Above:  Scholar and His Books, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [N. and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/proper-for-scholars/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

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Proper for Liturgists   1 comment

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Above:  The Author, November 27, 2012

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Within the hour, while seeking a good proper for liturgists in official volumes from various denominations, I found no such thing.  So I wrote a prayer and selected the readings.

Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially N.)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

I am and am not a traditionalist regarding worship.  I am not a traditionalist in the sense of traditionalism that objects to calling God “You” instead of “Thee,” considers any new idea a bad one reflexively, or idolizes the 1928 Book of Common Prayer or some other older liturgical volume.  Yet I am sufficiently traditional to think that anyone who brings a guitar to church needs to be there to play classical guitar.  And I am enough of a traditionalist to have complete disdain for “contemporary worship,” accurate synonyms for which are inappropriate for a G-rated blog.  (Use your imagination, O reader; you might guess correctly.)  And “blended worship” bears the taint of “contemporary worship.”

Here I stand; I can and will do no other.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/proper-for-liturgists/

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Time and Vocations   1 comment

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Above:  The Author, November 7, 2012

(Photograph by the author via the computer camera)

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The weather becomes colder,

Daylight Savings Time has ended,

darkness falls before 7:00 PM,

and the year has entered its final stretch.

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Where has the year gone?

It seems to have passed so quickly,

more rapidly than winged Mercury,

with greater speed than the Road Runner,

with a dizzying pace.

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Yet here we are,

in November.

Yet here we are,

close to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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May the rest of the year

be for all of us a time of blessings,

and may the  next year

be for all of us a time of even more blessings.

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May we all love God and each other actively,

behave charitably toward each other,

seek to understand each other,

and behave merely decently.

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May we act responsibly toward each other,

seek the common good,

upon which our own benefit depends,

and care for each other.

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May God bless others through us,

bless us through others,

and be evident in our midst,

in deeds more than in words.

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And may we be where we ought to be

when we ought to be there

doing what we ought to do

the way we ought to do it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 9, 2012 COMMON ERA

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This is post # 850 of this weblog.–KRT

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/time-and-vocations/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

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A Birthday Prayer   1 comment

Happy Birthday!

Above:  A Birthday Cake

Image Source = Vikas Bhardwaj

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Happy_Birthday%21.jpg)

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Dear Lord, thank you for birthdays.

Thank you for the past and the present, with all their blessings.

Thank you for all the positive which has flowed from the negative and the painful.

Thank you for occasions to mark time and reflect on the past and the present.

May the remainder of our lives be replete with your best for each of us,

may each of us be a blessing to others, and may others be blessings to each of us.  AMEN.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 30, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF LESSLIE NEWBIGIN, UNITED REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT BATHILDAS, QUEEN OF FRANCE

THE FEAST OF CHARLES I, KING OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND, AND MARTYR

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/a-birthday-prayer/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

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A Prayer of Shalom   1 comment

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Above:  “Shalom” in Hebrew

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O Yahweh, may we who seek you find you.

May your Shalom envelop and pervade us,

ooze out of our pores and flow from all our words and deeds.

May we become instruments of divinely-inspired love and wholeness,

making no space for improper confrontation and all insults and hatred.

May individuals, families, congregations, communities, clans,  tribes, and nations be whole

and justice plentiful in all its forms.

May this occur for the common benefit of all and your glory.

And, by grace, may I play my part faithfully in this sacred endeavour.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 9, 2010

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-prayer-for-shalom/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Squirrels, Turtles, and Wildflowers   1 comment

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Above:  A Squirrel, Circa 1913

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/99614467/)

Reproduction  Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-01742

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Creative God, thank you for all that is delightful and beautiful in nature.

Thank you in particular for squirrels, who dart about so adorably;

for turtles, who go about their lives so deliberately;

and for wildflowers, which decorate hills and fields so nicely,

creating a multicolored landscape to see.

Thank you for all blessings, of course,

but now, especially for those three.  Amen.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

TRINITY SUNDAY:  THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT AUGUSTINE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP NERI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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Adapted from this post:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/a-prayer-of-thanksgiving-for-squirrels-turtles-and-wildflowers/

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Posted June 17, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Prayers on Various Topics

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Regarding the Superiority of Lectionaries to the Lack Thereof   9 comments

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Above:  The Author Studying the 2004 Irish Prayer Book on Sunday Afternoon, June 16, 2013

My review of The Book of Common Prayer (2004) is here:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/the-book-of-common-prayer-2004/.

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I admit it:  I am a ritualist.  I am, in fact, a happy, contented, and unapologetic ritualist.  Rituals create a sacred environment in which worship comes naturally to me.

Many Protestants–a great number of Evangelicals and Fundamentalists especially–do not understand this tendency.  They are heirs to a tradition which has thrown out the baby with the bath water since 1517.  Many of them might not know this, for, as Karen Armstrong wrote:

…fundamentalism is antihistorical.

A History of God:  The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1994, page xx)

She wrote that referring to theological developments (especially changing God concepts) over time, but the principle applies to broader matters.  I have met many Protestants who did not know the difference between Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr.  I have also encountered professing Baptists who did not know that they were Protestants.  In fact, many people are quite ignorant of the traditions they profess to embrace and practice.

I, as a student of history, seek to know as much as possible about not only my tradition but others.  How else can I  be an informed practitioner of my faith?  Part of Judeo-Christian heritage is ritualism–from the Law of Moses to missals and Prayer Books to lectionaries to bowing at crosses and high altars.  Some very conservative, Low Church Protestants bristle at all of it, calling it “going through the motions” dismissively.  From time to time I have had unpleasant encounters with some of them–usually the sort which the late Molly Ivins called “Shi’ite Baptists.”  (I do live in the U.S. South.)  They do not understand, for they mistake the simplicity of worship for the purity thereof.  Those are actually separate matters.

The combination of my inherent interests and my youthful experiences brought me to the embrace of full-blown ritualism.  My father, a United Methodist minister in the South Georgia Conference, seldom preached from a lectionary, the existence of which I knew of vaguely.  But I always like more ritual and beauty of worship than those rural congregations practiced.  My adolescent self-directed study of pre-Protestant Reformation Christianity brought me closer to Roman Catholicism.  But I was too Protestant to cross the Tiber River.  So I walked the Canterbury Trail instead.

Order appeals to me.  I practice it in my living space, in my being, and in my public and private worship of God.  Tying the Bible study to lectionaries, plans for reading the Bible in an orderly manner, has provided the discipline necessary to sustain the practice consistently for years.  Converting that Bible study into a blogging project (http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/, and http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/) has encouraged me to write more, thereby increasing my comprehension and retention of material.

I collect worship books and books about worship.  Thus I have hymnals, Prayer Books, and related volumes from a variety of denominations and decades.  Many of these books contain lectionaries, all of which stand within Judeo-Christian tradition.  This post is not a history of lectionaries, but a few details are appropriate here.  Lectionaries go back to Judaism, before the birth of Jesus.   Thus they entered Christianity via Judaism.  Although the oldest known year-round Christian lectionary dates to the 600s, established, orderly plans for reading Scripture in Christian public worship existed in first century CE.

I have easy access to a variety of lectionaries.  The Jewish Study Bible (2004) and The Orthodox Study Bible (2008) contain a lectionary each.  But I, being a Western Christian, not a Jew or an Eastern Orthodox Christian, find other lectionaries more applicable or at least interesting.  Episcopal Church lectionaries for Sundays and major feast days have changed over time.  The first editions of The Book of Common Prayer (1928) contained one, but copies printed since 1945 and contained another.  The Book of Common Prayer (1979) debuted a new lectionary, since superceded (in 2007 and later printings) by the Revised Common Lectionary.  The 1979 BCP also debuted a new two-year Daily Office cycle, altered slightly and reprinted in the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship from 1993 (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/).  U.S. Presbyterians have had one proper Sunday lectionary or another since their 1946 Book of Common Worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/).  The oldest volume in my collection of U.S. Lutheran service books is the 1917 Common Service Book, which contains a Sunday lectionary.  U.S. Methodism has had one Sunday lectionary or another since at least the 1945 Book of Worship for Church and Home (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1945/).  That is a partial list of liturgies in my library.

But the fact that a church body authorizes a lectionary does not mean that many people use it, especially in much of U.S. Protestantism, affected negatively by

  1. Puritan hostility to lectionaries and rituals;
  2. the reality of frontier life and worship in the colonial era and the early republic; and
  3. widespread anti-Roman Catholicism, quite virulent, for example, in the 1928 and 1960 Presidential election campaigns.

Revivalism has thrived and become its own tradition in these circumstances.  Jerald C. Brauer, author of Protestantism in America:  A Narrative History (Westminster Press, 1953), summarized revivalism as follows:

The whole thrust of revivals was to get results in the moral life.  This could be done only by concerting individual souls.   Thus revivalism was not concerned so much with theology or with the structure of society; it was concerned with personal morality and personal conversion.

–Quoted in Kenneth G. Phifer, A Protestant Case for Liturgical Renewal (Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster Press,  1965, page 104)

Revivalism is insufficient and founded too much on emotionalism.  It was, however, the style of religion which my great-grandfather, George Washington Barrett (1873-1956), practiced.  He was a Southern Methodist minister of the old school–no ritualism, no lectionaries, no alcohol, no playing cards–and a preoccupation with personal sin at the expense of addressing societal, structural sins properly.  I know this because I have undertaken an effort to post as many of his sermon outlines as possible online (http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/family-tree-of-george-washington-barrett/http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/spiritual-religion-and-ritualism/, etc.).  The effort is in progress.

A study of his sermons reveals a pattern:  The man preached variations on the same sermon again, again, and yet again.  I wonder how the variety of material a lectionary would have provided would have changed his preaching.  I know that this variety expands my horizons theologically.  For, as Richard Bauckham wrote:

The final context which is authoritative for the meaning of a biblical text is the complete canon of Scripture.

The Bible in Politics, 2d. Ed.  (Louisville, KY:  Westminster/John Knox Press, 2011, page 17)

There is a more basic reason for using lectionaries, especially in public worship.  A good Sunday lectionary, such as either of those near-twins, the Revised Common Lectionary and the most recent Roman Catholic lectionary, provide for reading aloud much of the Bible in church during three consecutive years (A, B, and C).  This is a good things for one who values Scripture, is it not?  Among the content read are passages which a minister might have skipped over otherwise for reasons of discomfort.  But now he or she must address such material, perhaps even wrestle with it.  That is also a positive activity.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal.  Somewhere in the U.S. South, an old Baptist minister always preached on baptism by immersion, regardless of the biblical text.  Finally, some members persuaded him to preach on a text with no relation to baptism.  The pastor addressed that context seriously for a brief time before making a segue:

That brings me to baptism by immersion.

The Bible contains many germane topics.  Following lectionaries helps one cover them well and to establish connections between and among passages.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 16, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 6–THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF NORMAN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER; AND OF HIS COUSIN, JOHN MACLEOD, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

(They were quite interesting!  http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/feast-of-norman-macleod-and-john-macleod-june-16/)

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN FRANCIS REGIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BUTLER, ANGLICAN BISHOP

THE FEAST OF RUFUS JONES, QUAKER THEOLOGIAN

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Books Which Influenced This Post, Yet Which I Neither Quoted Nor Named Therein:

Jones, Cheslyn, Geoffrey Wainwright, Edward Yarnold, and Paul Bradshaw, eds.  The Study of Liturgy.  Revised Edition.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, 1992.

Micks, Marianne, H.  The Future Present:  The Phenomenon of Christian Worship.  New York, NY:  Seabury Press, 1970.

Wainwright, Geoffrey, and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, eds.  The Oxford History of Christian Worship.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press, 2006.

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