Please don’t call the liturgy police!

So, I did one of those things you’re probably warned against in Liturgy classes in seminary, but then I didn’t take such a class. Our 12 noon Spanish-language service has been without a regular priest since the retirement of Pat Size last year. It’s a small, but lively and very committed group and we are committed to seeing it thrive and support as long as needed. They continue to worship together, saying Morning Prayer some Sundays, relying on supply priests and occasionally a deacon to lead services. Although this solution may seem to be cobbled together, it has had one great benefit–raising up lay leadership and lay ownership of that worship service, empowering the laity to do the people’s work (liturgy).

When I met with the congregation several months ago to check in and see how I might support their efforts, I suggested on the spur of the moment, that we experiment with me celebrating the Eucharist in English, and they responding in Spanish. Today was our first trial.

It was interesting. Occasionally, I heard English responses to my words, but for the most part, we did it half and half. There was something of a disconnect, for me at least, but at the same time, we did come together around the altar as the Body of Christ, to share Christ’s body and blood, and in that coming together, we became one. It may be that in time, we will all become more comfortable with this experiment and find ways of making it more meaningful. I must say, it is rather odd, though, to use two languages in the liturgy. It seems to go against the notion of “common prayer.” Right now, we are planning on continuing the experiment on a monthly basis for the fall. We’ll see how it goes.

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