Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Common Worship Crazies

Common Worship can be crazy-making in its obtuseness, and the ignorance with which it has altered texts.

The suffrages for Evening Prayer in the BCP 1979 includes the following: 'That this evening may be holy, good and peaceful.'

This has been transferred in Common Worship to Morning Prayer, but it has been changed to read 'That this day may be holy, good and joyful.'

To be horrified by this change may, at first glance, seem like nit-picking, but between the two versions there is a great gulf fixed.

Jesus said, 'Peace I leave with you.' He didn't say, 'Joy I leave with you.' The word peace is carefully chosen.

'Seek peace and pursue it' is possible. We can make peace. We can bring ourselves to interior peace, which gives us external peace, which has a ripple effect on the world around us.

But joy is a gift. It is a by-product of peace and of self-forgetfulness. Like happiness, if you pursue it, you will never find it, because you are looking for a result for yourself. Happiness and joy come unawares to those who live in beholding. And when they come they are unrecognisable because the question 'do I have happiness, do I have joy joy' is no longer possible. That is to say, the person no longer has the self-preoccupation to care either way.

In this ham-handed change to the suffrage, do I detect the dead hand of the evo-factory? It has more than a whiff of clenched smiles, vacant eyes and closed minds.


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