Lots of Episcopalians, lay and ordained, seem to think they know what confirmation is, but our canons and liturgical forms are, at best, ambiguous, and there’s nothing approaching broad agreement about how to interpret them.
Those who take up such work rarely win wealth and glory by it, for all the sacrifice it demands. The things they produce, the art that serves the liturgy of God’s people, is a common work of praise, an expression of love. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name be the praise” (Ps. 115:1).
These speakers represent a range of theological positions and disciplinary backgrounds. But what they share is a deep commitment to the life and prayer of the Episcopal Church. Don’t you want to be a part of this conversation? Don’t we need to have this conversation as a church? Prayer book revision is coming. Will you be part of the dialogue, or will you leave it to others?
The irony for the officiant is that the only way to promote harmony among the various voices at prayer is to focus on their own. The role of the officiant is to pray through the chaos so the chaos can eventually find order through the prayers. The officiant must be attentive to all who are praying, but not at the expense of their own prayers.
When Nathan Jennings says that liturgy is an “organic analogue of reality,” he means that the connections between the divine life and human life are not arbitrary. He also means that liturgical theology is something more than history (how liturgy developed) or anthropology (how people happen to behave in the liturgy). When we are doing liturgical theology we are encountering the very nature of God.
Perhaps the lesson of the ACNA BCP for us is this: thoughtful contemporary-language retrieval of classical Anglican liturgical texts and forms is very possible...However, when such retrieval sets up a uniform classical Anglicanism against errors or excesses of the liturgical movement, it can smooth out of differences in the classical Anglican tradition in a way that produces less-than-coherent liturgies.