An Incomplete Recovery of the Holy Eucharist   7 comments

Snapshot_20130703_1

Above:  My Copy of the 2004/2005 PC(USA) Book of Order

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This post follows these:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/

Reading them first will enhance one’s comprehension of this post, which refers to the book covered in another post:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/

THE AUTHOR

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BODY

In 1983 The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) reunited with the mainly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [PC(USA)].  At reunion the denomination adopted the Directory for the Service of God, a revision of the 1961 UPCUSA Directory for the Worship of God and the 1963 PCUS Directory for Worship and Work.  The 1983 Directory says in part:

The ordering of public worship shall maintain fidelity to the Scriptures and the practices of the New Testament church, taking account and utilizing the historical experiences of the universal church that are consistent with a right demonstration of the gospel.

The service of worship is to be ordered so that all participate.  Worshipers should not be mere spectators, but participants who, together with the minister, are engaged in a joint ministry of service to God through corporate worship….

Book of Order (Louisville, KY:  The Office of the General Assembly, 1988, S-2.0400)

Of the Holy Communion the 1983 Directory says:

Since the Sacrament is an action in which the whole church participates and is part of the public witness of the church to the power of the Word, it is normally celebrated in the regular place of worship as the culmination of the public worship of God.  It should not be isolated from the acts of worship which precede and follow it.  Thus it will be preceded properly by the reading and preaching of the Word, during which the people may prepare to receive and appropriate the Word of God offered to them in the Sacrament, that the sacramental Word may be shown forth in full unity with the written and preached Word.

–S-3.0500.a

The PC(USA) 1989 Directory of Worship, in continuity with its 1961 and 1983 predecessors, affirms that

In the life of the worshiping congregation, Word and Sacrament have an integral relationship.  Whenever the Lord’s Supper is celebrated it shall be preceded by the reading and proclamation of the Word.

Book of Order (Louisville, KY:  The Office of the General Assembly, 2004, W-2.4008)

This is to occur

regularly and frequently enough to be recognized as integral to the Service of the Lord’s Day.

–W-2.4009

This means

in no case less than quarterly.

–W-2.4012

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CONCLUSION

Last year I reviewed the Book of Common Worship (1993).  Recently I began to review its four predecessors (1906, 1932, 1946, and 1970/1972), contextualizing them.  One recurring theme in this series of seven posts (ordered almost as oddly as novels in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, I know) is the effort to recover that which was lost.  The Worshipbook (1970/1972) and the Book of Common Worship (1993) stand on the shoulders of giants and reflect the times in which committees forged them.  Unfortunately, the recovery of that which was lost–good liturgy and weekly Communion–remains incomplete.  The rejection of Christian tradition (even John Calvin’s tradition) has become a tradition itself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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