Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:2
I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.
Reflection: Lewis on Liturgiology — Part 1
By C.S. Lewis
There is no subject in the world on which I have less to say than liturgiology. And the almost nothing which I have to say may as well be disposed of in this letter.
I think our business as laymen is to take what we are given and make the best of it. And I think we should find this a great deal easier if what we were given was always and everywhere the same.
To judge from their practice, very few Anglican clergymen take this view. It looks as if they believed people can be lured to go to church by incessant brightenings, lightenings, lengthenings, abridgements, simplification, and complications of the service. And it is probably true that a new, keen vicar will usually be able to form within his parish a minority who are in favour of his innovations. The majority, I believe, never are. Those who remain—many give up churchgoing altogether—merely endure.
Is this simply because the majority are hide-bound? I think not. They have a good reason for their conservatism. Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value. And they don’t go to church to be entertained. They go to use the service, or, if you prefer, to enact it.
Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best—if you like it “works” best—when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it.
As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.
*Excerpt from Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, C.S. Lewis.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in my heart the love of your Name; increase in me true religion; nourish me with all goodness; and bring forth in me the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Full prayer available online and in print.
1 Samuel 31 (Listen – 2:03)
1 Corinthians 11 (Listen – 4:20)