Friday, February 3, 2012

An exciting proposal

The topic of the new issue of Liturgy is the connection between the church’s worship and the church’s proclamation of the essential goodness of the whole created order. This topic is approached in different ways by the five authors, but by far the most ambitious and potentially far-reaching treatment of the subject is taken by Lisa E. Dahill, in "New Creation: The Revised Common Lectionary and the Earth’s Paschal Life". In this article, Dahill invites readers to enter into a discussion about the possibility of updating the Revised Common Lectionary in order to attend more closely to ecological and environmental issues. This conversation has already begun among the members of the Nature & Ecology and the Liturgical Language seminars of the North American Academy of Liturgy and among the members of the Consultation on Common Texts. Now, readers of Liturgy are invited to add their voices.

Because the article’s information regarding methodology is essential to understanding the proposed revisions, your humble blogger will not quote them here. Instead, I leave you with Dahill’s closing questions:

  • Is the need for more explicit liturgical attention to ecological scriptures best met by bringing in texts not presently heard in the three-year lectionary? Or is working more intentionally with what is already present in the RCL and the Roman Lectionary ... preferable?
  • Do these proposed Lent and Easter C texts function well within the Lent and Easter seasons? That is, do these lessons work across the two seasons viewed as a whole, moving from Ash Wednesday toward Holy Week, and from Easter toward Ascension=Pentecost? What do these (or other) creation texts contribute, if at all, toward a fuller, communal encounter with the mystery of Christ crucified and risen than the presently appointed texts? Where, if at all, might these newly proposed texts distract from such encounter?
  • Do these texts work with their respective Psalms and Gospels? What effect do the conjunctions with the Revelation readings create?
  • How might the selection criteria named above, delineating which peri- copes ‘‘count’’ as creation texts, be modified and=or used to deepen an eco- logical focus in other aspects of worship (such as proclamation, musical selection, and the composition of new prayers)?
This article proposes a conversation, so I invite you to converse in the comments or to propose another venue. Where, and among whom, should this conversation take place?

Lisa E. Dahill (2012): New Creation: The Revised Common Lectionary and the Earth's Paschal Life, Liturgy, 27:2, 11.

Lisa E. Dahill is associate professor of worship and Christian spirituality at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

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