More new liturgical resources

A couple of days ago, I received an email from Church Publishing alerting me to a new product they’re offering. Once I fully appreciated the genius of this product, it has inspired me to create my own. Please keep reading to the end, because I am including a FREE sample of my new resource, out in time for use on Ascension Day.

But first, let us celebrate the creation of additional liturgical resources:

This liturgical enrichment, intended as a complement to the prefaces and offertory sentences in the Prayer Book, is designed to strengthen the teaching themes of the day and make each Sunday’s Eucharistic Prayer unique. “The Book of Common Prayer provides just 14 prefaces for use in the regular Sunday liturgy,” said Church Publishing Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Frank Tedeschi. “Proper Prefaces and Offertory Sentences will provide a beautifully written, useful and fresh new source of lectionary-based material for the liturgy.”

First of all, let me tell you that I’m glad to see the old guard back in charge of naming things. I’m more of the “Lesser Feasts & Fasts” school of naming than the “Holy Women, Holy Men” ilk. So it gladdens my heart to see this latest title on the proverbial shelf of Church Publishing: Proper Prefaces and Offertory Sentences for the Sundays and Holy Days of Year C Keyed to Themes in the Revised Common Lectionary. That kind of title is proof that they won’t let things like market forces dictate some silly-sounding catchy title. Good for you, sticking to principle, Church Publishing!

Some will object to this resource, claiming that it’s not needed or even appropriate. These wags will claim that we have plenty of prefaces already, and that anyone who wants to get creative with offertory sentences can already read any sentence of scripture they like, right out of their Bible, prayer book, or service leaflet. Other sticks-in-the-mud will observe that rubrics do not really permit creativity with prefaces. These people will blather on and on about canons and rubrics, muttering about how the Anglican charism is rooted in ancient liturgies and common worship, not in the “creativity” of the celebrant.

Nonsense! We are Americans, and we expect endless variety. By God, if I can choose from 100 kinds of Pringles and about 431 kinds of breakfast cereal, I am not going to be content with only 14 prefaces. Sure, General Convention 2009 authorized more liturgical commons (with prefaces) for trial use, but that’s not enough. Until there are more prefaces than, say, flavors of Ben & Jerry’s, we should not rest.

So I applaud Church Publishing for providing what we so clearly need. In fact, I’d like to see even more additional options. Maybe we need options keyed to the weather or to the kind of fabric in the altar frontal. How about some musical variety? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to chant the preface to something a bit more upbeat than the traditional tone? Maybe a melody from Lady Gaga could be included. Or Frank Sinatra.

This has given me an idea. If the author, the Very Rev’d R. Steve Lipscomb, can profit from rubrical “violations”, why not me? Why not share in the vast sums that I am sure Church Publishing shares with its authors? For this reason, I have decided to produce my own set of liturgical resources keyed to the liturgical year. I am hereby announcing the title of my new resource, which I hope Church Publishing will make available: Confessions, Sancti, and Lord’s Prayers for the Sundays and Holy Days of Year C Keyed to Themes in the Revised Common Lectionary.

In the Rite II Eucharist, there is only one (!) confession (except for the one in the Form VI of the Prayers, but you get my point). The Sanctus has the same words, over and over, every week. Blah, Blah, Blah. And don’t we think Jesus would have liked a bit more variety in our prayer? Do we really think he’d be content with us making do with only contemporary and traditional versions of the Lord’s Prayer?

To answer this clear need, and to get income to pay for my iPad’s data plan, I will soon finish my collection. As a sample, I’m giving you the New Improved Liturgical Propers for Ascension Day, in case you want to use them immediately.

Confession for Ascension Day
Most merciful God,
we confess that we are a stiff-necked people
in a metaphorical sense, in our thought, word, and deed,
and in a literal sense, as we gaze heavenward today,
the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have not stretched our necks,
and we have not stretched our selves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Seriously Risen Son Jesus Christ,
and we mean risen not just from the dead,
but high into heaven,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and massage our necks,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Sanctus for Ascension Day
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth — and the sky — are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. And we mean highest.
Blessed is he who took off like a rocket, but who saves most of the fire for Pentecost.
Hosanna in the highest. And we mean highest.

Lord’s Prayer for Ascension Day
Our Father in heaven,
soon to be joined by Jesus, who is on the way,
your contrail come,
your sonic boom done,
on earth below the heavens.
Give us today our daily lift.*
Save us from the time of airsickness,
and deliver us from Jetlag.
For the flying, the rising,
and the going up are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

* The parts about sin have been omitted. Let’s face it, that’s kind of a downer when we’re supposed to be looking up on this feast day.

Please let me know what you think. Also, now that the Church Publishing Empire includes ecclesiastical haberdashery, I’ve got some great fashion ideas for vestments and clergy shirts. I’m just getting started…

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6 Responses

  1. How about a preface to celebrate the Conservative Party winning most of the sets in the recent British General Election and knocking the fascist Labour Party into the long grass?

  2. Steve Pankey says:

    I have long argued for the great minds at Microsoft to create a sarcasm font, but today I change my call and commission Church Publishing to create said font. Great stuff Scott

  3. Andy says:

    Thanks for this. May be the best thing I’ve read all day!

  4. May I make an additional suggestion to this fine one from Scott. That is, when offering absolution following the suggested or any other confession that the priest use the inclusive form, substituting “us” for “your” and “our” for “your”. See p. 117 BCP. After we are all in this together, and I hate to see priests carrying on unabsolved. That is the form we Deacons use on occasion. An Orthodox Priest told me that is always used in that church.

  5. Lisa Fox says:

    Scott, I’ve been following this conversation on the HoBD list … but your offering is THE BEST! Thanks for this.

    And I’m with Steve (above): If ever a post deserved a Sarcastic Font, yours surely deserves it.

    Keep at it, my brother! You’re working your way to the Jonathan Swift of TEC.

  6. Bob Chapman says:

    I only have these responses to your liturgical modest proposals:

    1. At least you left contrition in your confession. That is more than the inclusive/expansive language texts.

    2. Auf Christi Himmelfahrt!