Founded in 1962 by Wiebe Vos (a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church), and now published by Societas Liturgica, Studia Litugica is a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year. It aims to encourage research in the field of worship and allied subjects and explore the pastoral implications of such research, facilitate the exchange of results and other liturgical knowledge, and deepen the mutual understanding of the various liturgical traditions and seeks for ways to make clear the relevance of liturgy in the contemporary world.
Recording as the Re-Membering Work of the People:
A Catholic-Jewish Dialogue on the Body and Liturgical Memory
Kimberly H. Belcher, Kevin G. Grove, CSC, Sonja K. Pilz
The word leitourgia, meaning the work of the people, is often used to describe Christian worship and has also been adopted by many scholars of Jewish public worship. This word implies that liturgical worship in the Jewish and Christian traditions is a work that incorporates a people or assembly. The time- and place-shifting afforded by new recording technologies, however, alters the nature of liturgical work and its relationship to tradition, memory, and the assembly. In this article, phenomenology and reflexivity are deployed to examine the role of the body and its liturgical formation on producing and revisiting recorded liturgy. Liturgical work is already practiced by worshippers who (often in defiance of official leadership) record and view recorded liturgies. The embodied work of this displaced assembly reveals unexpected similarities in Jewish and Catholic ordained leaders’ “flattening” before the physical and metaphorical cameras of Western public life. Finally, diverse experiences of recorded liturgy are used to compare theological concepts of liturgical memory in Jewish and Catholic thought.
Musicking as Liturgical Speech Acts: An Examination of Contemporary Worship Music Practices
This article examines the genre of Contemporary Worship Music (CWM) within worship contexts in terms of its formative and purposeful nature. In CWM settings, the worship leader plays a particular role in the selection and facilitation of CWM repertoire to be led by praise bands. Through the leader’s consideration of the message of the CWM lyrics, and the relational nature of CWM practices, a worship leader’s pedagogical decisions are integral to contributing to a space of dialogue for worship musicians. Drawing on previous literature addressing liturgical language in worship, I analyze the CWM context as a particular case where liturgical language shapes musicians’ spiritual formation. This examination of CWM practices includes an analysis of musicians’ engagement in relational musicking and meeting through I-Thou encounters. I therefore explore both the need for worship leaders to consider the multitudinous theological implications of their actions, as well as the way musicians are shaped and formed intimately through their musical engagement with CWM.
New Frontiers in American Evangelical Worship
Melanie C. Ross
This article puts Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis”—an interpretation of American history that held sway among historians and the general public from the late 1890s to the 1930s—in conversation with James F. White’s depiction of an American liturgical “frontier tradition”—an interpretation of evangelical worship that became popular in the 1990s and continues to hold sway in the twenty-first century. It analyzes both through the lens of contemporary critiques and proposes new lines of inquiry that will contribute to a more robust understanding of American evangelical worship.
Redacting Acts: The Acts of the Apostles in the Three-Year Lectionaries
The representation of the Acts of the Apostles in the three-year lectionaries—the Roman Catholic Ordo Lectionum Missae (OLM) and the Protestant Revised Common Lectionary (RCL)—favors the first half of the twenty-eight-chapter book over its second half. The OLM prescribes nine times more verses from the first half than from the second half, and the RCL prescribes four times more. This article compares the proportion of Acts in the lectionaries to the other twenty-six books of the New Testament, shows when in the three-year lectionary cycle readings from Acts are proclaimed, presents how much of each of the twenty-eight chapters of Acts appears in the lectionaries, hypothesizes about why the second half of Acts is slighted, and argues that the church’s liturgical tradition is weakened by muting significant passages about post-resurrection eucharists.
“Essentials” for Worship: Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book
This article explores some of the theological principles required for effective church worship. In 1927, Evelyn Underhill (1875–1941) outlined four “Essentials” or principles for effective liturgy, identified in the context of revisions to the Anglican Book of Common Prayer: adoration, the historic, the Eternal, and the interplay between spirit and sense. This article explores the extent to which these four theological principles are actually embodied in prayers that Underhill selected and wrote for retreat leading at The House of Retreat, Pleshey (north London, UK), recently published as Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book. Additional theological principles, not mentioned in Underhill’s “Essentials” essay but evident in her book of prayers, are also evaluated and exemplified. Underhill’s guidance to her spiritual directees about the value of liturgy in their spiritual lives is also briefly touched upon.
“Let the little children come”: Liturgical Revision and Paedocommunion in the Christian Reformed Church
Ryan L. Faber
This article examines the Lord’s Supper liturgies of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) and inquires into a possible relationship between liturgical changes and the admission of children to the Lord’s Supper. The stern warnings and emphasis on communicants’ understanding of the sacrament in the CRC’s oldest liturgies necessarily excluded children from participating in the sacrament. The 1968 Order for Communion was a milestone in the denomination’s liturgical growth. The absence of a preparatory exhortation and lengthy exposition provide a liturgy which can imagine children participating in the Lord’s Supper. An increasing emphasis on communicants’ communion with one another, evident in the 1981 Service of Word and Sacrament and the formularies adopted by Synods 1994 and 2016 may have helped facilitate the denomination’s acceptance of paedocommunion.
“Not My Will But Yours be Done”: The Use of the Mercy Seat in Theodramatic Perspective
The “Mercy Seat” performs an important function within Salvation Army worship. It symbolizes the central theological tenet of the immediacy of grace to all. Historically, its function was intended for use by those intending to “receive Christ” for the first time. Over time, its use has broadened to include other intentions whilst simultaneously diminishing in the frequency of its use. This article suggests that when viewed from a theodramatic perspective, the act of praying at the Mercy Seat becomes a contemporary, and improvised, performance of Christ’s Gethsemane prayer, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). The broadening of the understanding of this act to become a deliberately repeated and embodied performance of Jesus’ prayer may help to overcome the loss of use of this symbol. Drawing upon the work of Adrienne von Speyr and Kevin Vanhoozer, this article will demonstrate how the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane is embodied through contemporary, improvised performance of his prayer at the Mercy Seat by Salvationists and those new to the faith alike.
The Influence of Liturgy on Human Memory: From the Perspective of Neuroscience
Generally, there has been a lack of understanding about liturgy and ritual among reformed tradition. The Reformed and Presbyterian church has had a tendency to look down on the formative power of Christian liturgy while emphasizing cognitive knowledge and catechism education. However, liturgy is not just the repetition of a meaningless act. Liturgy has a formative power in the process of faith formation through its practice and repetition. This article studies how liturgy impacts human memory and faith formation based on several brain studies. First, while examining split-brain studies, it is argued that there is the possibility of ritual knowledge while participating in Christian worship. Second, through the discoveries made in mirror neuron studies, the way human learning is a result of not only interacting with objects, but also the observation of objects, is examined. Third, based on Eric Kandel’s habituation and sensitization experiment, it is claimed that even though liturgical worship can suffer the pitfalls of habituation, a well-balanced liturgical worship can aid sensitization. Lastly, while examining various sorts of memory, various ordo and elements of Christian worship are revealed; in combination these can create a Gestalt perception, and greatly impact human memory and the formation of Christian faith.