Saturday, January 16, 2016

It's not that I Hate Prayer C

I came across this post which if it doesn't link to my thoughts on the datedness of Eucharistic Prayer C, might as well be written as a response to it.

And actually, on one level I like the prayer a lot. The way it moves from the glory of creation through the history of sin and redemption is most highly to be commended, at least in principle. It fairly cries out to be the liturgy of choice for Trinity Sunday. My problems it are in the way of tune ups. Responsive liturgy was the thing back when it was written, but in this case I think it doesn't gain us anything, and indeed immediately presents the problem that the prayer cannot be sung, because getting the congregation over the responses is just never going to work. I also find the final section awkward. Never mind how the invocation of the patriarchs has to be messed with (and I think the solution to that is to work Mary into the mix): the juxtaposition between that and the prayer is jarring. They just don't fit with each other. And that second paragraph: whatever we say, we need to find something better than "this fragile earth, our island home."

I think all of these things are fixable, and if they were fixed, we would end up with a prayer for the ages. But the force driving us to revision is, from what I can see, utterly uninterested in any of this. That's why I wrote the other article: I think that, unless there is a huge change of heart or the balance of power is way off from what I and I think most people sense, the specific purpose of the revision will be to make a book even more attuned to the progressive politics and social milieu of the present. Prayer C only hints at the early 1970s; you almost had to be there to fully read it. Enriching Our Worship is unmistakably the product of turn-of-the-century academic progressives, and that is the direction we are intended to take.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have some issues with Prayer C. I do object to the language: "Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal." For the young and healthy and prosperous, that prayer may be in order. But for those who are beaten down, by illness or depression or the ways of the world, their prayer may simply be for "solace" and "pardon." And we have condemned them as presumptuous. Perhaps we could compose our prayers with a bit more humility ourselves.
Dick Mitchell