Arlo D. Duba
In the spring of 2002 a proposal was drawn up and shared among a few Presbyterian friends that would bring about a group for support of liturgical and Reformed worship in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. At the meeting of the Seattle University Institute for Liturgy and Worship that July, the proposal was expanded and given shape. It immediately became an ecumenical effort. Given the liturgical convergence that has been evident throughout the twentieth century, this would be a joint endeavor of people who support the original, basically Calvinistic liturgical directions of the sixteenth century.
At that same Institute in July of 2003, an ad hoc Steering Committee was formed with the Rev. Dr. Fritz West, a UCC pastor and liturgical scholar, chosen as its convener. A planning meeting was held, the name “Association for Reformed and Liturgical Worship” (AR&LW) was chosen, and a Constitution Drafting Committee and several other committees were formed. As West said, we want to capture the heart and soul of the Reformed and Calvinistic tradition in worship. As we approached the formation of AR&LW we quickly surveyed the history of the liturgical efforts that were set in motion in the Reformed tradition, its high and low spots and its direction at the present. What was and is its genius? What was and is at its core? These we have sought to embody in AR&LW, trusting that it will represent the best of the tradition. The Constitution we developed seeks to summarize this in the following way:
||This is a voluntary association of institutions and persons who aspire to the understanding, and practice of Christian worship that is Reformed and liturgical, affirming the historic ordo, with sensitivity to cultural context. The historic ordo includes a commitment to: the norm of a weekly Lord’s Day service of Word and Table, an intentional ministry of formation leading to and flowing from the font, the observance of the liturgical year with lectionary, the practice of daily prayer, and a commitment to life patterned on worship.1
In July of 2004 the constituting meeting was held, again in conjunction with the Seattle University Institute for Liturgy and Worship. This essay seeks to put that effort into its historical context, and to trace the threads that have been prominent in liturgies of the Reformed tradition through the years. It is these that we seek to express in AR&LW.
Calvin sought to build his theology and liturgy on the practice and theology of the early church, therefore making it truly evangelical, truly catholic and truly reformed, thus using the amplified phrase that grew out of the Blake-Pike Proposal.2 It is in this trajectory that we envision the development of AR&LW.
For the first one hundred years the Reformed tradition was a strongly liturgical tradition. This fell into disarray due to a number of factors, basically because of the development of the enlightenment and the rise of individualism with its concomitant loss of cohesion and sense of community. The “frontier” and colonialist mentality also entered in.
This essay seeks to survey the currents in the Christian church that have led us to the present. We will first survey the historical landscape, highlighting a few of those points at which this Calvinistic ideal received noticeable recognition. We will note the general disintegration that took place liturgically, then trace the threads in the last half of the twentieth century that began a process of being woven back together. This will culminate in an analysis of the theological and liturgical statements that are in the founding documents of AR&LW.
A Deep Reformed Liturgical Tradition
Reform movements have always been present in the Christian church. What climaxed in the sixteenth century Reformation began several centuries earlier, with John Wycliffe (c.1330-1384) who questioned the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass, as well as Jan Hus (c.1373-1415), who returned the cup to the laity and who was the first in the second millennium of the Western church to serve communion to children “right upon their baptism,”3 and others. In every case, the proposed reforms involved the worship of the Church.
Both Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564) sought not a new church, not new denominations (such a term had not yet been invented in the Christian church), but a reform of the one Church of Jesus Christ in the earth. The work of both reformers had bold and significant bearing on worship. Indeed, it can be said that the theology of both had their primary theological expression in the worship that they developed.
In addition to their emphasis on the worship of the assembly, these reformers pressed for the extension of that worship into daily life, in a mission of establishing a more godly new society through the lives of those who worshipped. The “giving glory to God” took place preeminently in the service of worship, but “giving glory to God” continued in the daily life of service in the home and community, for the common good, and in works of mercy, especially for the poor.
In this article we are particularly focusing on the reforms that started in Switzerland in the mid-sixteenth century with significant individuals, among them Ulrich Zwingli, Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Marie Dentière, Théodore de Bèze, and Katharina Schutz Zell. The winds of reform had already been blowing in Strasbourg and Geneva when Calvin entered the scene as an exile from France. He was not the originator, but a systematizer. His gifts were stellar among these stellar theologians and scholars from whom he received much. Thus, the patterns of thought and of practice that developed from this cluster are most often called “Calvinist.”
A survey of the liturgies listed in Hughes Oliphant Old’s The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship indicates that in the first half of the sixteenth century more than two dozenliturgies were formed in the various Reformed communities.4 Showing the similarities among them, he points out that the Geneva liturgy was the product of a large community, with each person and each city contributing to its refinement, so much so that it was “in very a real sense the liturgy not of Calvin, not of Geneva, but the liturgy of the Reformed Church.”5
I am using the term “Calvinist” synonymously with “Reformed tradition,” though it is certain that there is no homogeneity among the descendents in this tradition, with some embracing the free, “words only” tradition in worship, consciously or unconsciously following Zwingli.
The Genevan Psalter
Most church leaders and members today who identify with the Calvinistic tradition are oblivious of the deep liturgical tradition out of which we were born. As early as the 1536 edition of the Institutes Calvin expressed his conviction that the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated every Lord’s Day. This was never to be realized. Members of the consistory of Geneva feared that to increase communion from the requirement of receiving only bread, and that only once a year, to the expectation of receiving both the bread and the cup more than fifty two times a year (at least every Lord’s Day plus the festivals) was too much! This was especially so in light of the “superstitions” that the common folk had accrued around the sacrament.
Calvin and the early Calvinists stressed order in worship, evidenced by Calvin’s Genevan liturgy of 1542 which was named The Form of Prayers and Church Song, with the Manner of Ministering the Sacraments and of Consecrating Marriage, according to the Practice of the Early Church. The word “prayers” in this title referred to the entirety of worship as prayer. Elsie Anne McKee emphasized that “Protestants generally agreed on the usefulness of having a prepared text for most parts of the service. . . Putting the words of prayer and praise in the mouths of the whole congregation was vital. . .”6
The first words spoken in worship were scriptural, using Psalm 124:8: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Worship would acknowledge our sinfulness and God’s grace and would include the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, all of these to be sung. Twenty-one metrical Psalm texts were provided by Clement Morot to be sung in the French language to settings composed by Louis Bourgeois. And the texts of almost all the prayers were provided. Free, individually prepared prayers were suggested at only three points in the worship. The Calvinist theologians were quite insistent that proper words be used in worship, for these words would carry the essential message and theology of the reform in which they were engaged.7
Here are a few of the emphases that characterized the resulting worship:
A focus on God, the initiator and effecter of relationship with humanity,
An emphasis on the extensive role of scripture in worship and life, with lectio continua daily reading and study of the Bible, utilization of biblical language in the liturgy,
A strong emphasis on the efficacy of the sacraments as means of grace,
A stress on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as the basis of God’s redemptive action,
A strong sacramental and Christological expression in worship,
The inclusion of both word and full participation in the supper in every Lord’s Day service,
Extensive congregational participation in worship, through the singing of psalms, canticles, prayer, and creed, and through the giving of alms,
The mutuality of worship (Eucharist) and ethics,8
The extension of glorifying God through diaconal service in daily life, “for the life of the world.”9
A Tradition Attenuated
The Dutch, Hungarian and Romanian Reformed, in contrast to their English speaking counterparts, were more faithful in preserving their Genevan liturgies, and islands of such liturgical expression prevailed among many transplants to the American continent. In contrast to liturgical developments in Britain and Scotland, “(t)he wording for the Lord’s Supper prescribed by Calvin, and by the church rules of the electoral Palatinate was preserved unchanged in the churches of their respective areas . . .on into the nineteenth century.”10
In English speaking lands deterioration began with the Forme of Prayers of John Knox, soon to be known as The Book of Common Order (1564). Word and Table still stood together. “But we must admit that in Scotland, where the Supper was celebrated infrequently, the union of Word and Sacrament was not as palpably experienced as elsewhere in the Reformed tradition.”11 Knox allowed that communion celebrated four times a year be normative rather than an exception as it was in Geneva. He also did not insist on the necessity of communion on the festival days of the church; in fact, the church year was suspect. Bard Thompson says that in the Scottish church “the minister enjoyed a large measure of freedom, that, at the inspiration of the Spirit, he might now and then frame his own prayers. Yet he was expected to honor the liturgy, which belonged, after all, to the whole people and was the instrument of ’common’ worship.”12
Thus for the better part of the sixteenth century the Reformed tradition followed a liturgy that was very much prescribed, and thus “common.” In practice, however, adherence to the liturgy began to diminish. Toward the end of the century Puritan and Separatist sentiments became more prevalent. Individualism and innovations began to encroach on these set liturgies, introducing variations and in some cases, contradictions. From 1569 to 1662 Calvin’s theology continued to be paramount, but worship practices were changing.13 It was conjectured by an Anglican that they could say, “We have a Popish liturgy, a Calvinistic theology, and an Arminian clergy.”
During the tumultuous early 1600’s, the Book of Common Prayer had been abolished for fifteen years and Separatist forces gained strength. In this context, the Westminster Assembly was convened in July of 1643 to reform the standards of the church in the British Isles and to produce a liturgy satisfactory to all, while hoping to maintain unity. Rancorous sessions followed with “many serious and sad debates,” and in May of 1644 it was announced that sadly, they were unable to produce a liturgy, but presented Parliament with a directory instead, the Westminster Directory for Worship.
This was a directory that never had the benefit of being hammered out on the anvil of parish use. Rather, it was the result of ten months of wrangling in an anguished and fragmented committee. By its adoption the Scots surrendered the Book of Common Order, and the Geneva and Strasbourg prayer books were pushed aside. The Westminster Directory for Worship became the constitutional worship document for English speaking Presbyterians for almost 320 years. As J. Shackelford Dauerty intimates, the Directorylacked the clout to suppress untoward worship expressions, and its lack of explicit directives encouraged idiosyncratic innovations.14 He says that during the period from the 1640’s to the mid-nineteenth century the Reformed church “suffered the dark ages of her worship history.”15
The Congregational Church in England had a similar history, with similar variations on form vis-à-vis freedom. While Richard Baxter (1615-1691), a Presbyterian, was the primary author of the Savoy Liturgy of 1651, Congregationalists played a role in the formation of the Savoy Declaration of 1658. This and other works such as those of John Owen (1613-1683), sought to give greater form than Westminster had provided.16 However, the continuation of competing religious antagonisms within the prevailing enlightenment ethos led to rigidity in every camp. These had deleterious effects on Christian worship and they continued both in Europe and in America throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries.
The Palatinate Liturgy
In 1559 Elector Frederick III came to power in the western Rhine region of the Palatinate. He was a Protestant who put Zacharias Ursinus at the head of the school that his predecessor had established. He asked Ursinus, together with Caspar Olevianus, for a time professor in the University of Heidelberg and preacher to Frederick III, to provide a confession of faith or catechism for the Palatinate. The result was the Heidelberg Catechism. Ursinus and Olevianus also produced the Palatinate liturgy, one of the first “uniting liturgies.” They included Lutheran components, with hints of anabaptist elements. Yet it remained essentially Calvinistic, Olevianus, Ursinus and others providing a link with Calvin’s Geneva. This liturgy continues to be used as the Order for Holy Communion in congregations in both Germany and in America.17 However “(t)he sacrament does not figure in the liturgy in any real sense. . . the emphasis fell, not on response but on the Word.”18 This liturgy became a fountainhead for subsequent liturgical developments among many of the Reformed in subsequent centuries.
The Dutch Reformed very early availed themselves of the Palatinate liturgy. Early liturgical developments among the Dutch are recounted in the 1968 Report of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) Liturgical Committee19 and in Howard Hageman’s “Three Lectures.”20 Both sketch the role of Petrus Dathenus (or Peter Datheen) in this development, concluding that in Datheen’s liturgy of 1566, the “forms and prayers are mostly nothing but a Dutch translation of a German original, the so-called Palatinate Liturgy, the twin to the Heidelberg Catechism.”21 The 1968 CRC Report details the several changes that Datheen made to that liturgy.22
The “Three Lectures” by Hageman were delivered at the centennial celebration of Western Theological Seminary in Holland Michigan in 1966. Hageman and his Reformed Church in America (RCA) committee had worked fifteen years on their assignment of writing a liturgy for the church. By this time they had finished the research and the writing of their draft. The General Synod of the RCA had just approved the committee’s work that would result in a book that would be published in 1968 as Liturgy and Psalms. In these lectures Hageman expressed pride that the Dutch Reformed church “has always been a liturgical church.” He said that he was grateful to Dort that “. . .we use not a book of forms, nor a book of worship, nor a ritual, but ’The Liturgy’.”23 He quotes an unnamed church document describing “our historical position as that of a Reformed Presbyterian and Liturgical Church, neither falling into the formality of episcopacy nor the baldness of Puritanism.”24 Yet he admits that whether one considers the earliest religious gathering in 1628 or the first officially organized English speaking congregation of Dutch people in 1792, the Dutch Reformed church in America “was liturgically stillborn”.25
Bruno Bürki provides an excellent summary of the interrelationships of liturgical form and liturgical freedom, as well as the liturgical changes and developments on the European continent, especially as “orthodoxies” hardened and conflicts arose and were resolved in these countries.26 As immigrant groups of these Reformed moved to America, and as they became anglicized, the vast majority absorbed the effects of enlightenment, revivalism, and individualism in spite of their liturgical parentage This altered, eroded, or completely discounted and abrogated liturgical expression.
Hageman summarized by saying that, in general, Reformed liturgies “proliferated in the sixteenth century, died in the seventeenth and were buried in the eighteenth.”27
Nineteenth Century Attempts at Recovery
The nineteenth century has been called the century of romanticism. Notable were the Oxford Tractarian movement and the Gothic revivals in architecture, art, and literature. It was the dawning of a romantic desire to recapture the imagined glory of the past and to move to a utopian future. It became fashionable to revivify the music of previous epochs. Thus this included the recovery of Gregorian chant. This period saw movements toward liturgical recovery. Some of these were romantic attempts to repristinate a past idealized epoch. Others were efforts seeking historical and theological integrity and recovery. Among the Reformed there are several nineteenth century efforts that deserve our attention.
The Disciples of Christ. Thomas Campbell, and his son, Alexander, both born in Ireland and both Presbyterian ministers, were émigrés to western Pennsylvania. They sought to restore primitive Christianity and took Calvin seriously in stressing that the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Day are integrally linked. In 1809, they and a group gathered around them formally advocated a return to simple primitive church practices and weekly communion.
Meanwhile, Barton W. Stone, the Presbyterian minister who hosted the Kentucky Cane Ridge Revival of 1801, founded a movement in 1804 with a passion for the unity of God’s people. He too sought to restore primitive Christianity, and came into conflict with his Presbytery. Stone met Campbell in 1824, and subsequently they continued private correspondence and a public discussion in their respective journals in the hope that they could join forces. In 1831 representatives of their movements established a formal union, which they hoped would unite all Christians. They continued using names that had been widely used previously—Christian Church and Christians, preferred by Stone’s associates, and Church of Christ and Disciples, preferred by Campbell and others in his movement. The churches that have descended from this union have celebrated the Supper with the Word every Sunday for almost two hundred years, with simplicity, dignity, and little ceremony. Both father Thomas and son Alexander Campbell died in Bethany, West Virginia where Alexander founded and was President of Bethany College.
From the beginning the Disciples have taken seriously the liturgical role of the officers of the church, stressing the priesthood of all believers and participatory worship. To be sure, they were also afflicted by the “westward ho” culture, but “(t)he notable difference between Disciples and other churches around them was their rejection of the revivalist system.”28 Yet, the rising cultural attraction of the individualistic over the corporate tugged at them, and they succumbed in large part to the individualistic. Thus, they never developed a set liturgy, and only in the twentieth century began to take seriously the historic continuity of the church around the Table.
The Disciples’ strong conviction was and is that there is but one true church of Christ, and all who name the name of Jesus are a part of it. In their strong emphasis on Christian unity, they were ecumenical pioneers, instrumental in the formation of the National Council of Churches and the Faith and Order Commission of which we will speak later in this essay.
The Catholic Apostolic Liturgy
By 1815 Edward Irving (1792-1834) had a Masters degree from Edinburgh and received a license to preach in the Church of Scotland, becoming the assistant to Dr. Thomas Chalmers at St. John’s Church, Glasgow in 1819. He was ordained in July 1822 and was called to a kirk in London. His tall, commanding presence and his sonorous eloquence gained large crowds, so large that the congregation soon built a new church in Regent Square where it counted among its attendees members of Parliament, poets and bankers, the elite of London. Among them were Henry Drummond, a Member of Parliament, and John B. Cardale, a retired lawyer and liturgiologist. Irving introduced a liturgy characterized by symbolism, metaphor, and mystery. He had a theological appreciation for the early church and its worship. The worship in Regent Square placed emphasis on the sacraments and on the holy, spiritual life. He inveighed against the “infidelity of Evangelicalism” that had eroded the Calvinistic understanding of the sovereignty of God, and had diluted the worship of the Church of Scotland.29 Cardale’s scholarly Romanticism became a strong influence and added new dimensions to Irving’s Calvinistic predilections. This, together with Irving’s penchant for imaginative allegorical exegesis, homiletical (and theological) hyperbole, severe satire and his allowance and encouragement of charismatic expression, led to his excommunication by the Presbytery of London in 1830. In 1833 the Church of Scotland deposed him from their ministry roster for his theological excesses.30
Horton Davies attributes the “catholicizing” of the Catholic Apostolic liturgy to Cardale and believes that he was responsible for much of the ceremonialism that was developed after Irving’s death. Scholars date the Catholic Apostolic liturgy to1830, 1833 or to Irving’s death in 1834. The Liturgy and Other Divine Offices of the Church was not published until 1847, thirteen years after Irving died. The preface indicates that “the liturgical changes were all made upon a two-fold principle: all had to be in accord with Holy Scripture and the worship ’must gather up into itself every pure and precious thing which had been developed in the Church in all past ages through the guidance of the Spirit of Christ’.”31
Though there are no minutes of its development and its sources are not documented, this liturgy is important as one of the first manifestations of a new “liturgical awakening” in the nineteenth century stemming from the Reformed tradition. Characteristics of this worship were:
Its strong basis in a recovered doctrine of the church, sacraments, and ministry,
An emphasis on the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, beginning with monthly Eucharist (quite frequent by Church of Scotland standards), becoming weekly in 1836,
A strong emphasis on the efficacy of the sacraments as means of grace,
A strong emphasis on the unity of the whole church stemming from one baptism. (thus, a strong Ecumenical emphasis and goal),
Extensive participation by the congregation, with sung and spoken responses,
Included prayers from pre-Reformation Western, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox sources,
A strong emphasis on the theology of the Incarnation and the divinity of Christ,
A strong emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit, attributable to Calvin, including the “invocation of the Holy Spirit, the scripture reading and proclamation” of the word, and extending even to a double epiclesis in the Eucharistic prayer,
A strong emphasis on music and the arts, mystery and awe, with silence and ceremony.
Euchologion (1867) of the Church Service Society of the Church of Scotland included or adapted significant portions of this liturgy.32 D. H. Hislop is extravagant in its praise.33James Hastings Nichols speaks of its romanticism and its influence on the Mercersburg movement.34 Hageman says “among the liturgies of Christendom it would certainly belong in the very first rank.”35 Davies points out that it leans in two seemingly contradictory directions, charismatic on one side and institutional-liturgical on the other. It used a formal liturgical structure and text, and also allowed spontaneous “prophesyings” and free prayer.36
The Bersier Liturgy
Eugène Bersier (1831-1889) was a free church evangelical pastor of Calvinist persuasion who was called to his first congregation in Paris in 1855. His preaching and worship drew crowds,37 many from l’Église Reformé de France. Through Cardale, a copy of the liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church came into his hands and was a factor in setting him off on his liturgical quest.38 An ardent, self motivated scholar, he did extensive research in Calvin and the practices of the early church. Based on this research he developed a liturgy, seeking to provide the words of prayer and praise for the mouths of the faithful in his congregation. The congregation grew, obtained a prime bit of real estate in the center of Paris, and established the Paroisse Evangelique de l’Étoile in 1869, building a magnificent edifice. During religious difficulties during the 1860s, Bersier had become known as a reconciler and had established close associations with people in l’Église Reformé de France, the national French Calvinist Huguenot denomination.
Bersier published his liturgy in 1874 and 187639 for presentation to the Reformed churches of France, including l’Église Reformé de France. On April 6, 1877 the Synod of l’Église Reformé de France received Bersier as one of its ministers, and also received and chartered the church as l’Église de l’Étoile, which continues as a congregation of l’Église Reformé de France to this day. Bersier’s widow, writing a memoir after the turn of the century said that he immediately “began to serve l’Église Reformé de France entirely, with an absolute devotion.”40
Bruno Bürki said that the scholarship represented in the liturgy that Bersier had developed for his own congregation “led him to submit a highly motivated worship book proposal with a detailed commentary to all the Reformed synods of France. His intent was to bring about a fundamental liturgical renewal. At that time, of course, the synods did not have the foresight to join this project.”41
In the Preface to his book Bersier enumerates seven principles he sought to embody in his liturgy:
- He criticized the “too exclusive role given to teaching under the form of the sermon,” allowing it to take the legitimate place of adoration and common prayer.
- He believed that every aspect of the worship service should express facets of the faith of the church, and that the entire service is to express the great truths and facts from which the church draws its life, and to which the church is to witness.
- He wanted to give the congregation a continuously participative and responsive role in the adoration of God and in “petitioning with a live voice the forgiveness of God.”
- He was seeking to restore the presence of scripture in worship, suggesting that three lessons be read at each service, rather than the mere citing of a text as “a kind of prologue to the sermon”.
- Reflecting back on his free church background, he wanted to preserve the strengths of improvised prayers while expressing “in the liturgical prayers that which is always rightfully to be requested of God in public worship.”
- He had a strong conviction about the unity of the Christian church and wanted to renew worship that would enable “the voice of the believers of all the centuries to be united with those of believers of today, and that beneath the divisions that separate the churches, one may sense the convergence that is uniting all the redeemed of Jesus Christ.
- Above all, he wanted to restore the Holy Supper to its rightful place as the integral climax of weekly Christian worship, affirming Christ’s presence in worship (and in the Supper) and that the Lord “shares himself with those who receive him in faith.”42
Bruno Bürki provides additional characteristics of the worship that Bersier developed. Among them are:
A renewed emphasis on the Christian year,
A strong emphasis on the trinitarian faith, confessing the divinity of Christ,
Extensive participation of the congregation, with sung and spoken responses,
A strong socio-ethical commitment.
A cycle of initiation rites, with the enrollment of catechumens, enumerated stages of catechetical development and the provision of opportunities to reaffirm or to exit the program at any stage.
Bersier said worship must “offer space for the adoration of God.” He thought theologically about the life, worship, and witness of the church, and his liturgy is very carefully integrated with his theology. “His emphasis on the sacraments is . . . community building rather than institutional. He was an evangelical pastor, and his motivation was pastoral. . . Through congregational worship . . . the congregation is built up as the body of Christ. Strengthened by worship, it can then fulfill its Christian responsibility in the public, political sphere and in its social surroundings.”43 Both in his parish and in the book he presented to the synods, Bersier clearly and systematically delineates the theological principles that guided him in the formation of his liturgy.
Bersier had a major influence on the pastorate of Richard Paquier (1905-1985) who, building on his parish work, published Traité de Liturgique, Essai sur le fondement et la structure du culte (Dynamics of Worship: Foundations and Uses of Liturgy).44 In turn, both Bersier and Paquier were influential in the liturgical formation of the Taizé Community where Brother Max Thurian became a much read interpreter of Reformed theology and worship. His two volumes in the Ecumenical Studies of Worship series by John Knox Press,45 as well as his The Mystery of the Eucharist,46 provide a Reformed viewpoint for the Reformed community.
The Mercersburg Liturgy
The foundation of a German Reformed church in this country was laid by colonists from the Palatinate and other parts of western Germany and also from Switzerland. The first minister came to America in 1710 and the first congregation was founded at Germania Ford in Virginia in 1714, though the primary locus soon was Pennsylvania. The Mercersburg Seminary was founded in 1825 and John Williamson Nevin (1808-1886), a Presbyterian of Irish descent, joined the faculty in 1840, coming from Princeton Seminary. Philip Schaff (1819-1893) left his Swiss-German roots and joined the faculty in 1844.
In 1843 Nevin had published The Anxious Bench, an attack on the revivalist assumption that mortals have the power of decision and “self conversion,” and that revivalists can manipulate the work of the Holy Spirit.47 When Schaff joined the faculty in 1844 and was received by the Synod of Allentown, PA, the retiring president of Synod, Joseph Berg, preached a sermon, arguing “for a strong denominational spirit and a Reformed self-consciousness that admitted no need of further reformation.”48
The Synod next heard Schaff deliver his inaugural address on “The Principle of Protestantism.” Schaff’s thesis was that history has a dynamic development, and that the Reformers were seeking to balance a historic “catholic unity,” with a dynamic evangelical Protestant thrust into the future. He spoke of the necessity of observing both the “catholic principle” and the “protestant principle.” The catholic principle holds that authority precedes freedom and church precedes faith, that the Word of God is experienced corporately as a historical, external authority. But also built into creation is the protestant principle of movement, of freedom and growth, whereby the Word of God is experienced individually and internally as freedom. He maintained that both must be held in tension. It was this dialectic that caused the movement to called “evangelical-catholic.”
He thus emphasized that the Reformers only began a reformation, and that the church is obliged to continue it (semper reformanda). The contrast could not have been greater. Schaff said, “Protestantism is the principle of movement, of progress in the history of the church; progress, not such as may go beyond the Bible and Christianity, but such as consists in an ever-extending knowledge of the Bible itself, and an ever-deepening appropriation of Christianity, as the power of a divine life, which is destined to make all things new.”49 At the same time, Schaff placed great emphasis and importance in the historic unity of the church, thus discouraging and discrediting ecclesial fragmentation.50 Nevin concurred with Schaff, translated Schaff’s material into English, and published his book in 1845. The two melded together as a team and the Mercersburg theology had its genesis, and with it came the conception of the Mercersburg liturgy.
Nevin’s, The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (1846) expressed the positive side of Nevin’s theology.51 As its subtitle indicates, it seeks to recover Calvin’s Reformed theology and its liturgical expression. This liturgical theology and its movement were born of theological and historical concerns, not romantic visions of a lost utopia. Nichols seems to criticize Mercersburg by titling his book “Romanticism in American Theology: Nevin and Schaff at Mercersburg.” Nonetheless, he credits Schaff (and Nevin by implication) with being very close to the theology and methods of the sixteenth century reformers, as he, in the line of Calvin, urges Protestants to understand their historical roots.52 It is interesting to read Brian Gerrish’s evaluation of Nevin. Here are two theologians of Calvin, one hundred sixty years apart, and there are certainly points of meeting and agreement.53
A central tenet of the Mercersburg theology was the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Some have said that the entire Mercersburg theological system and its worship, center on that one item. Jack Maxwell unearthed an analysis that stated, “the true ground principle of Christianity . . . is not Christ’s death, but His incarnation; which not only comes before the atonement, but forms the basis also of its universal possibility and power.”54 This principle motivates much of liturgical practice today, with a stronger emphasis on Christ’s life and ministry, thus filling in the gap between “born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,” for example in the Creed and in the Eucharistic Prayer.55 This understanding of Incarnation and its replication in daily life is also expressed in the founding documents of AR&LW.
Nevin and Schaff believed strongly in the unity of the Christian church. Their methodology had a very strong ecumenical thrust. They saw the positive side in opening doors to the liturgical treasures of the early and medieval church, thus valuing the catholic principle, though both men leveled severe critiques of the theological misunderstandings of the Oxford and Cambridge movements as well as of the “new measure” revivalist folks, thus invoking the protestant principle.56
In 1848, the General Synod of the German Reformed Church expressed its desire to revise its liturgy. The resulting liturgy had a difficult and conflicted gestation period. Controversy raised its head from the very beginning, and ultimately, the liturgy, commonly called the Order of Worship and referred to as the 1866 Mercersburg Liturgy, was adopted by the General Synod of 1866 by 7 votes, 64 to 57, being opposed primarily by the Midwest classes.57
Maxwell’s thorough research of the documents determined that, in the process of formation, at least twenty-seven antecedent liturgies were consulted, and of some of those, there were multiple editions and revisions. He adds that this incredible list of sources used by the compilers of this liturgy is “not exhaustive” (though certainly exhausting!). Schaff, the historian, is undoubtedly the one who provided access to the number of early and medieval as well as Reformation liturgies that are listed. Maxwell then identifies both the material original for this publication, and the three dominant sources used: the Palatinate liturgy, the Catholic Apostolic Liturgy and the Book of Common Prayer.58
Characteristics of this liturgy were:
It was based on a theology of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and a strong Calvinistic ecclesiology,
It had a strong emphasis on the unity of the Christian church,
It had a strong emphasis on the sacraments, the demand for balance between Word and Sacrament in Lord’s Day worship, and an insistence on weekly Eucharist,59
It stressed the integral relationship between Baptism and the Supper. The invitation to communion included the words, “Renew inwardly your baptismal engagements and vows. Renounce all sin both in your lives and in your hearts,”60
It included a strong Calvin-like theological statement of “the meaning of the Holy Communion” as part of the invitation,
It emphasized strong commitment to diakonia, to service to others in the Christian’s daily walk,
It involved extensive participation by the congregation, through responses, Amens, and singing,
It had a strong emphasis on the Holy Spirit. There are many epicletic references. Interestingly, the intercessions are included in the epiclesis section of the Eucharistic prayer, which itself includes two formal prayers of epiclesis,
“The chief festivals of Christmas, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity, were restored as in the sixteenth-century . . .”61
The Eucharistic prayer is in trinitarian form, with congregational responses after each of the three parts. Many anamnetic elements are in the first section, and the words of institution stand virtually alone in the second section, being “declared” after the “Holy, holy, holy,” and they are followed again by the words, “Let us pray.” Mercersburg said that they held to the “spiritual real presence” while the “broad church group” held to the “real spiritual presence” of Christ in worship and in the Eucharist. Mercersburg also emphasized an objective ecclesiology, and an objective efficacy of the sacraments.
Though an alternate (“western US”) liturgy was later approved, the Mercersburg liturgy was never repealed, and a Mercersburg Society continues to this day with the publication of the New Mercersburg Review and a pan-reformed membership. The German Reformed Church, one of the denominational traditions that make up the UCC, brought with it the tradition of the Mercersburg liturgy.
It is notable that the developers of the worship patterns and liturgies considered thus far all were committed to the reform of the whole church. They had a very strong ecumenical concern, and carried a conviction that the worship that they were advocating was to result in a renewed life and spirituality of the church, in service to the world, and for the renewal of the world.
The Dutch Reformed Church. As we have seen above, the Dutch Church was very much indebted to the Palatinate Liturgy and the Heidelberg Catechism.62 While the Reformed in various places in Holland continued the use of this liturgy and derivatives of it, the erosion of liturgical interest among the Dutch more closely resembles that of the English speaking churches than of the other continental bodies, though the recovery of liturgical interest in Holland was more rapid there than in the English and American churches. The predecessor to the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in 1792 published a liturgy translated into English from the Dutch. However, Hageman parodies the circumlocuitous and embellished preface as follows: “the liturgy herewith published is not to be taken seriously except as a general indication of what might be called liturgical etiquette.”63 As he came to the conclusion of his Pulpit and Table chapter, “The Liturgy Finds a Theology”, he says, “All throughout our discussion of the various movements in the liturgical life of the Reformed churches in the nineteenth century there has been no mention of the Dutch Church, and for good reason. There was nothing to mention.”64
Some members of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Christian Reformed Church in America (CRC) showed significant interest in the Mercersburg phenomenon. The German Reformed and the Dutch Reformed had occasional joint meetings of their General Synods, and there was much sharing of interest and ideas. However, a majority of the Dutch Reformed tended to side with the western “free church” opponents of the Mercersburg theology and liturgy.
The 1968 “Report of the Liturgical Committee” of the CRC concurs on considering the nineteenth century as essentially void. The writers of that report simply state that from the late sixteenth century to the early twentieth century the Dutch Reformed churches had no official liturgy, but that a consensus seemed to have developed. “It was not until 1933, that a Dutch synod actually defined the order of worship for the whole church. This is the order that had already come to be common practice – in the Christian Reformed Churches of the U.S.A. as well as in Holland.”65
The General Synod of the RCA in 1853 appointed a committee to study the worship of the church and submit proposals. As Hageman indicates, this was probably not due to a great interest in liturgy, but an attempt to keep up with the action of the German Reformed Church begun in 1848. This committee developed and circulated a provisional liturgy in 1857 that contained “an order for Public Worship, the first in our history.”66 This draft was not accepted by the Synod, but “a book had been let loose in the church. Copies of it were not recalled but were circulated and used.” And this book did set the stage for the Liturgy of 1873. Hageman had great admiration for the Rev. Dr. M. S. Hutton, pastor of the Washington Square Church in New York, elected in 1870 to guide the RCA in the development of the Liturgy received and approved in 1873, but the chief strengths of both the 1857 and 1873 books was in their borrowings from the liturgies already mentioned, including the Euchologion67 of the Church of Scotland.
English speaking efforts. Meanwhile, among the English speakers in both Europe and America there were occasional voices speaking out in favor of liturgical decorum and historic faithfulness to the traditions of the church and of the Calvinistic Reformed tradition. Among the Presbyterians Charles W. Baird, an American who had spent time in Europe, wrote Eutaxia in 1855, reprinted in 1856 as Presbyterian Liturgies: Historical Sketches.68 This was “seconded” (so to speak) by Andrew A. Bonar in Scotland, by his 1858 publication of Presbyterian Liturgies with Specimens of Forms of Prayer for Worship as Used in the continental Reformed and American Churches; . . . and Forms of Prayer for Ordinary and Communion Sabbaths, and for other Services of the Church. Both these volumes sought to convince Presbyterians that “there was no antagonism between Presbyterianism and Liturgy.”69
There were notable instances of individual pastors introducing Presbyterian liturgies into their congregations. Charles W. Shields, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, an enthusiast about high church worship, introduced such worship there, and published an interesting volume, The Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, which he turned loose on the church, to little effect, although his liturgical writing on the history of the Savoy conference and the liturgy of Richard Baxter did earn him an invitation to the faculty of Princeton College.70
Within the Congregational family in Britain, Davies traces the budding interest in historical Reformed worship to The Congregational Magazine in 1843. Two names stand out, Thomas Binney, and John Hunter.
Binney edited Baird’s Presbyterian Liturgies for a British printing, using it to advocate the combining of liturgical forms with free prayers, as Irving had done.71 He was enthusiastic about the singing of hymns and psalms to elicit congregational participation, and was a friend of the hymn writer, Lowell Mason. As Davies says, “we link his name with that of the other great pioneer of Congregational worship, Isaac Watts.”72 Davies seems to intimate that the poetic and musical dimensions of the nineteenth century liturgical awakening were among the Congregationalists, not the Presbyterians.
Davies calls John Hunter “Congregationalism’s greatest liturgist in the nineteenth century.”73 He was a British poet and hymn writer, but he was also a theologian and historian. His theology and his liturgical practice, the prayers he wrote and advocated, are in his Devotional Services for Public Worship. This was published in 1882, and nine more editions were published, the last appearing in 1920. He was a master of the English language and wrote prayers that connected with the culture of the later nineteenth century.
Davies compares Hunter’s prayers with Walter Rauschenbusch’s Prayers of the Social Awakening. “No English composer of forms of worship has ever expressed the ’Social Gospel’ with such compassion, incisiveness, and liturgical felicity.” Davies proceeds to provide examples of Hunter’s felicitous prayer language. “His gifts lie in parallelisms and antitheses of phrases, in the occasional phrase that stabs the conscience awake, in the wedding of ancient prayer form and modern language, and in the wide range of interests expressed.” In other words, he took both contemporary English and contemporary culture seriously.
Hunter defended Christian symbolism, stressed liturgical musical expression, but warned that congregations are in more danger of being “choir-ridden than priest-ridden.” He always emphasized the responsive and participatory role of the congregation, reclaimed the use of the Christian year, spoke positively about the “Sacrament of the Word,” thus anticipating the position of a later Congregationalist, P. T. Forsyth,74 and always insisted on the balance between freedom and form.75
In 1865 a group of like-minded ministers of the Church of Scotland formed the Church Service Society. They developed and published the Euchologion (1867). Davies charts the contents and trajectory of that series of editions in his Worship and Theology in England and notes that at least one of the compilers had been a good friend of Irving. TheEuchologion went through at least six revisions before 1890. But it was never adopted by the Church of Scotland. Nonetheless, again, a book (or series of books) was set loose, and they permeated the Church of Scotland, and significantly changed the worship patterns of that ecclesial body.
It was said that by 1892 more than one-third of the ministers of the Church of Scotland were members of the Church Service Society. The communion service of that book was used by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from 1890 through 1923, thus giving tacit endorsement without taking official denominational action to adopt it.76
The book was something of a digest of the liturgical advances indicated in the liturgies dealt with in this essay. Its greatest contribution was its acknowledgement, together with Irving’s Catholic Apostolic liturgy, that from now on, liturgical development must be based on “the total church,” the ecumenical church. It must garner material from every epoch of Christian history and every branch of Christendom.
Davies concludes that the Euchologion is a superb compilation of prayers from many sources, consolidating previous publications such as those here mentioned. In his analysis, only five original prayers appear in the book. Therefore I will not list the emphases of the book, but will emphasize that it, being such a compilation, became a model for much later liturgical development.
Though no Reformed denomination adopted a “Liturgy” in the nineteenth century, the seeds were planted for developments in the twentieth.
The Twentieth Century
It is evident that there were churches, especially in the eastern part of the United States, that were using the Mercersburg liturgy as the new century dawned. The Palatinate liturgy was used in ethnic communities throughout the land and the Huguenot liturgy was used in scattered parishes. But the revival movement with its format of “preliminary warm-up,” scripture, song and prayer, followed by the culminating sermon, together with the format of “Morning Prayer with Sermon” of the Episcopal and Lutheran traditions, had quite thoroughly obliterated the “Word and Sacrament” pattern of Lord’s Day worship. There were, of course, the Disciples of Christ who had continued to grow and flourish. There were scattered individuals and communities that did maintain the ancient practice and the desired Reformed practice of the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day. And there were movements afoot that would lead to change.
In the late 1800’s a group of Presbyterians gathered under the leadership of Louis F. Benson. He enlisted Henry van Dyke, who in turn invited the group to meet on March 2, 1897 at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City of which he was pastor. At that meeting the Church Society of America was born, quite obviously modeled on the Scottish Church Service Society that had produced the Euchologion. The purpose of this new group, as reported in the press the next day, was “to secure unity and harmony in the form of public worship in the Presbyterian Church, without interference with the individual liberty of the churches and without promoting ritualism.”77 The result of this organized effort was the Book of Common Worship 1906, perhaps the first “liturgy” received by an evidently free-church U.S. denomination, but at the insistence of the General Assembly, it was not made mandatory, but was “for voluntary use.”
In 1900 the RCA Synod started toward a revision of the 1878 liturgy, resulting in an abbreviated and, in Hageman’s opinion, poor liturgy of 1906. However, that liturgy was the official liturgy of the church for more than fifty years.
In 1916 the CRC called for an investigation of the liturgy. The Liturgical Committee report says that they believe “this was spurred, however, not so much by a desire for liturgical reform as by a fear of liturgical innovation that was apparently beginning in some congregations.”78 The Synod of 1928 decreed such a liturgy, but it was rescinded in 1930, and the new liturgy was dropped. The Synod of 1964 appointed a Liturgical Committee that reported in 1968 advising the Synod “as to the guidance and supervision it ought to provide local congregations in all liturgical matters.”79 The “Report of the Liturgical Committee” concluded by providing “Three Models for the Morning Worship.” A report to the Synod, printed as Authentic Worship in a Changing Culture in 1997, and The Worship Sourcebook published in 2004 followed. This latest publication provides the “eventual service book” mentioned several times in the 1968 report.
During the first quarter of the century there were two movements that were to merge in the later formation of the World and National Councils of Churches. The Life and Work Movement was officially constituted in 1925, and the Faith and Order Movement in 1927. Both sought to bridge a right brain – left brain polarity. They dealt with relating the transcendent and faith dimension of life with the tactile, quotidian and systematic nature of life. Faith and Order in particular concerned itself with the question of how worship can foster the search for Christian unity in the effort to bring about renewal for both the Church and the world. Members of the Reformed communions were much involved in the discussions of both groups. They were involved in the National and World Council discussions as those moved toward the publication of the Lima Liturgy and Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.80
The Iona Community was founded in 1938 by the Rev. George MacLeod, a minister of the Church of Scotland. It is an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and quite varied traditions in the Christian church. MacLeod’s work, as well as the worship developed at Iona, represents a masterful uniting of liturgy with issues of justice and compassion. The community seeks to relate worship and work, prayer and politics, the sacred and the secular. This community grew out of the Church of Scotland Reformed tradition and MacLeod based it on a classic and activist doctrine of the Incarnation. Its epicenter is the Isle of Iona where St. Columba founded a monastery in the year 563. It gives a Celtic expression to worship and prayer that closely relates the spiritual and the observed world. Some hallmarks of Celtic Christianity are evident inCommon Order, the present liturgy of the Church of Scotland. This book represents an expression of the inclusion of the prayers of the whole church of all time and all places.81
Immediate Antecedents of the Association for Reformed & Liturgical Worship
Weaving the Threads Together — 1960–2000
The decade of the 1960s was replete with liturgical ferment. Antecedent to that decade, movements materialized that would ultimately lead to the formation of AR&LW. A remarkable convergence was taking place, sometimes with cooperation between or among denominations, and in one or two denominations liturgical developments were taking place in isolation. We will look briefly at some of those denominational and interdenominational endeavors that were the immediate antecedents of AR&LW.
In 1957 the UCC was founded as the union of several different Christian traditions and almost immediately authorized a committee to develop a book of worship. At about that time the Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches authorized a committee to revise the Book of Common Worship. By 1960 those two groups were regularly meeting together, and the possibility of a jointly published book was strongly considered. In 1964 both bodies issued and distributed among their pastors almost identical trial liturgies for the Lord’s Day.82 We will look at these commonalities later.
As a result of the formation of the UCC several affinity groups formed. The composition of the new denomination included constituencies from the Evangelical, German Reformed, Congregational and Christian churches. Almost immediately the “Bible, Liturgy, Theology” group (BLT) formed with some heavy weight contributors: Gabriel Fackre (Congregational), Fred Trost (Evangelical), and John C. Shetler and Howard Paine (Reformed). We will see a result of the liturgical considerations of this group later.
Contributing to the liturgical ferment of the 1960’s was the writing of Oscar Cullmann (1902-1999) on liturgical insights garnered from the Bible.83 It was some time before his material was available in English, and before the work of this remarkable scholar of Bible and early Christian history came into the repertoire of worship scholars. An important document in the decade of the 60’s was the United Presbyterian Directory for Worship adopted in 1961. It was drafted by a young liturgical scholar, Robert McAfee Brown.84It foreshadowed the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican council, and there is evidence that Brown, an observer at Vatican II, may have had an influence on the development of that document.85 The Directory highlighted the themes that came together in the previous century. It was a thoroughly theological document providing the first new Directory for Presbyterians since the only slightly altered 1788-1789 revision of the 1645 Westminster Directory. It carried Neo-Orthodox tones and Barthian nuances. It stated that the Lord’s supper should be celebrated “as frequently as on each Lord’s Day, and it ought to be observed frequently and regularly enough that it is seen as a proper part of, and not an addition to, the worship of God by his people.”86 It had a strong emphasis on reconciliation in the world, and an outreach into the world.
The Directory was adopted by a large margin of the presbyteries of the church. Only seven of the 213 presbyteries, which at that time were a part of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A General Assembly, voted negatively. The Directory was and is constitutional, and not merely “for voluntary use.” By accepting this document into the constitution of the Presbyterian Church, it provided a new set of constitutional “requirements,” requirements that more than forty years later are still disregarded by many. In the Directory one can see the emerging theology of baptism with pre-baptismal and post-baptismal catechesis. After discussion of children and the Eucharist, the Directory was amended in the 1970s to invite baptized children to the Lord’s Table, thus reflecting back to Jan Hus, as seen in endnote 3 of this article. The norm of weekly Eucharist is clear.
Although there had been growing conversation between Protestants and Roman Catholics, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) with its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy sparked even greater cooperation and served as a catalyst for remarkable efforts toward liturgical renewal. The Consultation on Common Texts (CCT) and the International Consultation on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) developed in this period with Reformed people being key contributors in both.
In 1962 the Rev. Wiebe Vos, a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Netherlands founded Studia Liturgica, “an international ecumenical quarterly for liturgical research and renewal.” In 1965 Vos called a conference of twenty-five liturgists from Europe and North America which with Jean Jacques von Allmen as Chair founded Societas Liturgica, “an association for the promotion of ecumenical dialogue on worship, based on solid research, with the perspective of renewal and unity.” Societas Liturgica has met during the summer of every odd numbered year since that time and now numbers over 450 members from all over the world.
In 1968 the CRC Liturgical Committee report (see endnote 19) provided a landmark study and a thorough document. It provided a suggested or model liturgy. The Report recommended continued work and the development of a subsequent worship book. The Report was received by the Synod, and the study became, for all intents and purposes, a directory that pastors could utilize.
In 1968 the RCA published Liturgy and Psalms, the end product of fifteen years of committee work.
The most important offspring of the BLT group that developed at the formation of the UCC was the Mercersburg Society, founded in 1983 by a pan-Reformed group of pastors, professors, church judicatory persons and laity. The Society was formed for study and discussion of contemporary theology and liturgy in its relation to the nineteenth century Mercersburg phenomenon. Following the 1985 Convocation of the group, The New Mercersburg Review, the journal of the Society, was started and is published twice a year.
Howard Hageman was one of the chief movers in the founding of the Society, was its first President, and served in that capacity for a number of years. Horace T. Allen, Jr. succeeded Hageman as President and served until 1998. Dr. Allen had spent two years at the Iona Abbey at the invitation of the Rev. Sir George Macleod, and was named a Warden and was worship leader of the Abbey of Iona. He than served as the Director of the Joint Office of Worship of the Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches. In that capacity he carried responsibility for its introduction and promotion of the Worshipbook 1970, 1972 in the three Presbyterian denominations, a position he held from 1970 to1975.87 He became, in effect, the liturgical educator for the three denominations. He has recently retired as Professor of Worship at the Boston University School of Theology, and has been involved in the Mercersburg Society since its inception, contributing to its program and influence.
After the formation of the UCC there was also formed the Order of Corpus Christi (OCC), a group of about fifty primarily UCC ministers who are organized on a monastic model and are committed to weekly Eucharist and a rich liturgical life in their parishes. This is very similar to the Order of St. Luke, which is composed primarily of United Methodist ministers.
During this entire period liturgical projects with directories for worship, liturgical statements and/or trial liturgies were being considered in the UCC, the Presbyterian churches, the RCA, and the CRC. In every instance there were efforts to pick up the liturgical strands of the Reformed tradition. The formation of AR&LW traces back to these efforts. They all contributed to the dynamic that brought AR&LW into being, and they distilled the themes that AR&LW would address.
We will now examine the lines of emphasis mentioned above in their relation to the founding documents of AR&LW.
Trinitarian, Ecumenical, Incarnational, Sacramental, and Cultural Sensitivity
The AR&LW Constitution 2.1 expresses commitment “to cultivate, practice and promote worship that is trinitarian, ecumenical, incarnational, and sacramental, in dialogue with ambient and impinging culture . . .”
Trinitarian. Worship in the Reformed tradition is trinitarian in that it is based on sola gratia, the grace of God conveyed only through the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ the redeemer, in whom is revealed the face of the Father. The doctrine of the Trinity continues to challenge us. It is something about which we cannot fail to speak, but which cannot be encompassed in words. Among the streams of Christian scholarship, the Reformed speak loudly and insistently about the importance of an epiclesis, the calling on the mysterious power and presence of the Holy Spirit in every facet of worship, with no dependence on human capacity, but with full dependence on God.
Christian theology begins with Jesus Christ, and beginning with him means that we immediately move into relationships, with his Father, the divine Parent, and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This indescribable communal relationship, which on this side of eternity exists only in the Godhead, the early church called perichoresis, the great dance. This love of Jesus calls us into the mystery of this perichoresis and the intimacy and spontaneity of this relationship. Augustine said at the end of his extensive “Treatise on the Holy Trinity” that he had attempted this writing effort, not so that a final word might be said about the Trinity, but so that it would not be left entirely unsaid. In the end we are invited into the great divine mystery of the Trinity. It is also reminiscent of the C. S. Lewis’ statement that if we are still counting the steps, we are not yet dancing.
Ecumenical. Worship in the Reformed tradition is ecumenical, seeking that which expresses the faith, worship and commitment of all the ages of faith. It seeks and affirms the organic unity of the Church of Jesus Christ, seeking unification rather than fragmentation. It seeks to press and express that unity through shared and uniting worship and service. Note that the makers of virtually all of the liturgies highlighted in this study saw themselves as advocates of the unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ, and considered their liturgies to express and to contribute to that unity. The Reformed have been at the center of the uniting forces within Christianity (though we must confess that the Reformed have contributed significantly to the fragmentation of the Body of Christ).
Incarnational. Worship in the Reformed tradition is based on the Incarnation. It gives voice to the total life and ministry of Christ, including the preexistence and eschatological Christ, as well as to his redemptive death.88 Incarnation both temporally and theologically precedes redemption. Incarnation is God’s enfleshment; God’s clothing Godself in the created order. Through burning bush, fig tree, bread and wine, through human words and metaphorical statement, God reveals Godself as desiring to be in relationship with humans such as we. Therefore, we are to be looking for the meaning or the Spirit beneath and behind the sensed reality whether it be bread and wine, water, oil, or the sound of words read and preached. We must watch for it in the metaphor that prods us to see the beyond, through the sheet of music to the sound of the music itself, through the graphic art and the phenomena of nature. It understands Christ’s enfleshment as model for us. And if God lives in us, we should be cognizant that we are to be revealers of God to others.
Sacramental. Worship in the Reformed tradition is sacramental, focusing on the central things of worship, the shared loaf and cup, the cleansing and reconciling bath, the enlivening Word. Since Calvin it has stressed the integral link between Lord’s Day and Lord’s Supper. Thus it has stressed weekly Eucharist. It seeks to incarnate the Incarnate One, beginning with the central things. The sacramental and the incarnational are very closely related, virtually equated.
Hugh Thompson Kerr, Sr., who was the pastor of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh and the editor of the Book of Common Worship (1946) of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., wrote The Christian Sacraments in 1954, “for the purpose of focusing attention upon the efficacy of the sacraments in Christian life and worship . . .”89He provided practical helps for pastors, citing Calvin often, but never mentioning Nevin or Mercersburg. It appears that he was more influenced by the Anglican and Scottish traditions when it came to specific suggestions. Interestingly, he makes no reference to Euchologion. Donald M. Baillie, Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, presented lectures at San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1952. These lectures were published posthumously in 1957 under the title, The Theology of the Sacraments, providing refreshing theological insights.90 References to Cullmann abound, and interestingly there are several quite approving citations from Paul Tillich. I do not recall finding any references to Euchologion and I am certain that there are no references to Nevin.
Nonetheless, these two authors, though it appears that neither knew of the work of the other, begin their books on the nature of Sacrament and Incarnation. They prefigure Edward Schillebeeckx’s Christ, the Sacrament of the Encounter with God91 that sees the Incarnation of Christ as God’s ultimate act of making visible and palpable, that which is invisible, namely the glory of God. But this Sacrament is not without precedent in creation. Alexander Schmemann, the great Orthodox liturgical theologian whose small study book, For the Life of the World was reprinted in Great Britain as The World as Sacrament, makes the same point.92
Kerr quotes Romans 1:20, “Ever since the creation of the world (God’s) eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. . .” (NRSV). This “seeing through” is one of the keys to the understanding of the Eucharist and Baptism, as well as to the metaphor. It goes on to say that we are to “see through” the world around us and God sets the agenda for the churches and for each Christian by calling them to pay attention to what is happening in the world around them. Finally it urges the individual Christian and the church to seek to make visible the great gift of grace. This must by extension, be evident to the world in deeds of love and mercy. Our participation in the sacraments continues as we “show forth,” “manifest,” “demonstrate” Christ, in remembrance of the great gift of the Incarnation. We live life “in remembrance” of the totality of Christ. This showing forth is not to be limited to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. We “do this” not only, perhaps not even primarily, in the assembly worship of the congregation.
Baillie spoke approvingly of a “sacramental universe,” saying that “spirituality” is too often thought of as the antithesis to “bodily” or “material.” Jesus used natural objects as instruments of faith. The “nature parables” are something more than merely accidental illustrations. “They depended on the fact that God is the God of nature, that the whole natural world is His and is fitted to speak to us of Him.”93 That gives reason for the effectiveness of music and the arts to help us to “see” and “hear” beyond the notes or words on the page or the stuff of the material world, available to us through our senses. We, like Jesus, live in “a world in which things that are seen conceal, and at the same time reveal, another world of spiritual reality” that can be seen only in and through the Spirit of Jesus Christ.94
A Christian piety means that in all things one thanks God (åõ÷áñéóôåéí) for everything at all times (Eph. 5:20). It means to live eucharistically, applying every day what one learns from the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day.
Brian Gerrish makes this point when he discusses the summary of piety or godliness, saying that Calvin unrolls “the magnificent tapestry of the twofold knowledge of God – as creator and redeemer.” He continues by speaking of God’s gifts within and God’s gifts without. Gifts within are the realization of redemption, and the gifts without are in creation. He says “gifts without include, besides the fruits of nature, the entire achievement of civilization and the very structure of society.” Living eucharistically should build on the gratitude expressed for the redemptive grace received in the Supper. Gratitude should be replicated in daily life, including gratitude for benefits received through others. “Whatever benefit we receive from others we should regard as coming from God, who alone bestowed every benefit through their ’ministry’.”95
Sensitivity to cultural context. AR&LW also addresses itself to the “liturgy after the liturgy,” the continued service of God in daily life. The Christian lives in a setting, confronting cultural supports and cultural obstructions, the ambient and impinging culture. These cultural environments exist both in the church and in the world. The worship of the gathered assembly must take into account this cultural context and confrontation, and we who formed AR&LW found both the Nairobi Statement and the CRC publication,Authentic Worship in a Changing Culture, as superb sources for understanding this relationship.96 This pertains not only to the words we use, but to the music we employ, the media we use, and the art forms we utilize. There are at least four dimensions of this interrelationship that we seek to address, as we find it in the Nairobi Statement:
Trinitarian, Ecumenical, Incarnational, Sacramental, and Cultural sensitivity; these theological themes are foundational in the Reformed liturgies that we have surveyed. These categories must be considered in the worship that AR&LW seeks to promote.
Worship is transcultural. Worship has (or should have) a commonality among all Christians everywhere, for in the Spirit we all worship the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Worship is contextual. It draws on a peoples’ cultural expression for its own expression, and thus it varies according to locale and local situation.
Worship is counter-cultural. It challenges anything in any given culture, either within a given congregation or any outside cultural impingement, that is contrary to the Gospel.
Worship is cross-cultural. It should make possible a sharing between and among different cultures. It even demands such sharing and cross-cultural affirmation if we truly believe that Christian worship is transcultural. Christian worship in other cultures should be affirmed. But, every expression of Christian worship can profit from admonition from other cultural perspectives. Both affirmation and admonition are to be practiced.
The AR&LW Constitution goes on to enumerate five areas of practice and emphasis that we have seen in the liturgies explored above. These are practices that we believe need to be addressed in worship in the Reformed tradition today. These are emphases that are shared by ecumenical partners, but are particularly paramount in the Reformed tradition.
Weekly Lord’s Day service of Word and Table. The AR&LW Constitution 2.1 expresses commitment to moving with all deliberate speed toward “the norm of a weekly Lord’s Day service of Word and Table” and a service of Word and Table on the festival days of the Christian year.
In 1964 the UCC and the United Presbyterian Church both published and distributed among their pastors, provisional liturgies.97 In both one finds the verbatim directive: “Properly the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated every Lord’s Day.”98 Both have a complete Word – Supper service, with a provision for excluding the communion should the congregation have services without the Supper. Both have fully developed three part Eucharistic prayers. Both include intercessions that reach into the world, prayers for peace, for enemies, and for rulers in every land. Both use words from the Emmaus table account in Luke 24 in introducing the supper and its prayer. It is said that this is the first time that this Lukan passage was used in a Reformed Eucharistic service, but I could not verify that. In both, the “words of institution” are within the Eucharistic prayer and those words are couched in identical words of thanksgiving rather than proclamation: “We thank Thee that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed took bread . . .”
With reference to the frequency of the celebration of the Eucharist, the Foreword of the UCC booklet states, “The use of the historic structure of word and sacrament in the development of the order for the Lord’s Day Service represents the conviction that the unity of Christendom is best symbolized in this tradition from earliest Christian practice in worship.”99 The Presbyterian book only quotes the Presbyterian Directory for Worship as stated above.100
It is unfortunate that, after the publication of the Presbyterian Directory of 1961, the cooperation among the UCC and the northern and southern Presbyterians diminished, though they still continued to meet together, but less frequently.
The southern Presbyterians chose to revise the Westminster Directory one more time, but they, with the northern and Cumberland churches, joined with the United Presbyterian Church in the development and approval of The Worshipbook of 1970, and its sequel, The Worshipbook with Hymns of 1972. This publication restated the “as often as each Lord’s Day” admonition. This book had all the basic services of the Church available in the hands of worshipers, and under its influence many congregations increased the frequency of their Word and Supper Lord’s Day services and an increase in congregational participation. This benefit was lost when in 1989 the Presbyterian Hymnal did not provide anything more than a one page outline of the Lord’s Day service.
In 1968 the CRC Liturgical Committee report presented a very strong theological and historical rationale, arguing that the church should celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. “From the Bible we learn to judge the content of the church’s prayers, its songs, and its proclamation. It is in (this light) that the basic structure of the entire liturgy must be built. And it is from this motif that the question of the frequency of the sacrament must be answered.”101 This was said after emphasizing that the New Testament basically equates the Lord’s Day with the Lord’s Supper. Later in the document it admits, almost wistfully, the fear that “it is not to be expected that the communion will soon become a weekly feature of our worship.”102
The 1968 Liturgy and Psalms of the RCA in its Preface provides on one page an Order of Sunday Worship in two columns, one that is the outline of a complete order including both Word and Table, with a parallel outline containing a quite visible gap for worship on a day when communion is not celebrated.103 This liturgy was the product of the fifteen year study committee of which Hageman was the Chair. At the beginning it clearly states that the normative Sunday Morning Service is a service of Word and Sacrament. Nonetheless, the two full liturgies for Sunday Morning Worship that are provided do not include any mention of the sacrament. Then after four baptismal orders and an “Order for Preparation for the Lord’s Supper,” the “Order for the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper” is provided, with the note that this is to be inserted in either of the two orders for Sunday Morning Worship with the words, “after the Offering the service proceeds as follows.”104 When the 1968 communion liturgy was authorized by the General Synod, it did not abrogate the 1906 liturgy for the Lord’s Supper or say that it was superseded; thus it was reproduced in the 1968 book, providing two authorized orders for the Lord’s Supper.
In this new Lord’s Supper order Hageman provides, in good Calvinistic fashion, a five paragraph statement of the “meaning of the Lord’s Supper” that begins: “Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Supper which we are about to celebrate is a feast of remembrance, of communion, and of hope.”105 This is followed by three paragraphs, one on remembrance, one on the communion presence here and now, and one on the eschatological hope. These three words were Hageman’s favorite way of speaking of the past, present and future celebrated in the liturgy106 (and it provided the title for Mast’s book!107). The first communion order has a trinitarian Eucharistic prayer, with the “Holy, holy… to be said or sung”, a very brief anamnesis, and an epiclesis that includes the “grain gathered from many fields into one loaf.” This is the order, with the first 1968 liturgy, that appears as the sole recommended liturgy in Rejoice in the Lord, the hymnal of the Reformed Church in America. It is now printed as a unified service of Word and Sacrament, entirely in contemporary English, and placed in the hands of the people for their full participation.108 This was Howard Hageman’s crowning achievement.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), of course, observed the Lord’s Supper every Sunday since its inception. However, as early as the 1960’s there were voices making suggestions regarding the liturgical practices of congregations. In 1969 a young scholar, Keith Watkins, wrote Liturgies in a Time When Cities Burn, the first of many volumes by Watkins that would direct the Disciples into the ecumenical consensus that was developing.109 Probably the key publication, done under the editorship of Watkins, isThankful Praise: A Resource for Christian Worship, with a subtitle, “Prepared for the use of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)”.110 A subsequent volume, Chalice Worship, was commissioned by Chalice Press and provides orders of worship arranged thematically and according to the Christian year and includes historic prayers drawn from diverse traditions as well as prayers written for this volume.111 This is the worship book of the denomination, indicating its growing acceptance of historical norms for liturgical worship.
Watkins published another extensive book, The Great Thanksgiving: The Eucharistic Norm of Christian Worship. It was written as a teaching tool and from a professor’s vantage point. “I talk more about what worship is and why we do it than about how to prepare and lead. Yet the purpose of the theory is to generate worship – worship that expresses God’s truth and communicates God’s Spirit.”112
The UCC Book of Worship cites Karl Barth who, “after criticizing Roman Catholics for sacramental worship that lacks responsible preaching and Protestants for sermon services that lack the sacraments . . . remarked, ’Both types of service are impossible.’ He cautioned that in Sunday worship the preaching and hearing of the sermon are compromised when the opportunity to participate in Holy Communion is denied. In a similar way, faithful sharing in the sacrament is compromised when the preaching of the word is omitted or diminished in its importance.”113 Thus it presses for weekly celebration of the Eucharist.
The Presbyterians of the north and south, now united in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), together with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, commended the Book of Common Worship, 1993 (BCW) to their pastors and congregations. In it the Service for the Lord’s Day is an integrated service of Word and Table.114 On page 66 there is a note, “If the Lord’s Supper is not to be celebrated, the service continues on page 79.” Page 79 begins without a heading, but with the simple statement: “If the Lord’s Supper is not celebrated, the service continues here from page 66.” The formatting makes it quite clear that the Lord’s Supper is integral to Lord’s Day worship.
Baptism, and intentional formation surrounding it. The Constitution of AR&LW (2.1) emphasizes “an intentional ministry of formation leading to and flowing from the font.” We noted that the Bersier liturgy included a cycle of initiation rites. The Mercersburg liturgy assumed a continuous catechizing in the Heidelberg Catechism, whether pre-baptismal or post-baptismal, with the end in view of belonging to God, and living thankfully (eucharistically) as a forgiven sinner.
While all the rites developed in the late twentieth century stress nurture and the responsibility of a congregation to provide a nurturing matrix, it was only as the implementation of the Roman Catholic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was developed that the “catechumenate” model gained prominence. With that, the norm of the baptism of adults came to the fore. The theology of Baptism which had been but slightly reformed in the sixteenth century began a significant reformation in the last three decades of the twentieth century.
The UCC Book of Worship alludes to Romans 6 in its baptismal rite of children in 1969, and in that book it directly quotes the Romans passage in the adult rite of Baptism with Confirmation. A moving prayer follows that goes beyond the sentimentality that was all too common in most baptisms.
Presbyterians do not mention Romans 6 in their services until after 1980.
“O Lord, mighty God, pardoning and life-giving Father, whose Son Jesus Christ received John’s baptism, and so began his journey to the cross, enable (this) your (servant), whose trust is in Jesus, to enter into his baptism, to have part in his death, and to rise again to the life which he supplies. As you have led (him) to the waters of comfort, guide (him) also through the storms of this world and strengthen (him) that (he) may be faithful in praise, in labor, and in suffering. . .”116
The Presbyterian Directory of 1961 states, “Baptism is both God’s act and our response.” The teaching of the “meaning of the sacrament” both precedes and follows baptism. Baptism “sets us on a journey which lasts the whole course of our lives.”117 In the 1970’s, after the church engaged in a vigorous study of “Baptism, Children, and the Lord’s Supper,” it was amended to include the statement that the invitation to partake of the Lord’s Supper “. . . shall include baptized children.”118
The 1968 RCA rite does not mention Romans 6, or the hard words of suffering and death. The concept of reaffirming our acceptance of the baptismal covenant of grace is intermittently mentioned, but no rite for such acceptance is mentioned until the 1980’s.
The UCC Book of Worship demonstrates the centrality of baptism by including the majority of the baptismal ritual in the “Order for Reception of Members: Affirmation of Baptism.”119 The order includes the renunciations and the three-fold profession of faith. The pastor then says: “By your baptism you were made one with us in the body of Christ, the church. Today we rejoice in your pilgrimage of faith which has brought you to this time and place. We give thanks for every community of faith that has been your spiritual home, and we celebrate your presence in this household of faith.” This is followed by a promise to participate in the life of the new congregation. Romans 6 is an optional opening sentence for the funeral service.
The Presbyterian BCW 1993 seeks to be grounded in the developed understanding that Baptism carries the ethical and social imperative for daily life. The prayer of the confession of sin at every Lord’s Day service is a reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant.119 This reaffirmation is included when receiving new members into the congregation, on occasions of growth in faith, in pastoral counseling and in services for wholeness, services of repentance, and in the funeral. The Directory for Worship of 1961 suggests that at the marriage of a Christian couple, “it is fitting for the minister to remind the couple of the meaning of Christian baptism.”120
In the wake of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) of the Roman Catholic Church, comparable catechumenate programs are being developed in churches of the Reformed tradition. These programs take seriously pre-baptismal as well as post-baptismal catechesis. In effect, they take seriously the issue of sacramental instruction for every age and learning level. And, all the Reformed denominations have either already moved to, or are considering moving to, the communing of all baptized persons, even the youngest of children, “right upon their baptism,” as stated in the Hussite church of the fifteenth century (see endnote 3), thus returning to the early church pattern, a pattern never dropped by the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
In the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Watkins has provided a guide in Baptism and Belonging. It includes a chapter, “Becoming Faithful . . Becoming Christian: A Process of Nurture and Celebration in Preparation for Christian Baptism.” This chapter has numerous references to the RCIA and to other catechumenate models.121 It is here that a liturgy for the Great Vigil of Easter is provided, emphasizing the baptismal nature of that service. This volume is commended for use in the church, produced by the Division of Homeland Ministries.
Observance of the liturgical year with lectionary. Time can speak. The Constitution of AR&LW, in 2.1, stresses continuity with the historic church in the observance of the liturgical year. This is consonant with the precedent set by the sixteenth century reformers. Their observance of “the evangelical festivals” makes it incumbent upon us to think of time as itself sacramental, encouraging time to speak to us of our faith.
In large part the Reformed tradition rejected the liturgical calendar under the influence of the Puritans. But, beginning with Bersier in the nineteenth century and uniformly in the twentieth, churches in the Reformed tradition have been recovering this utilization of time as an item in the “remembrance” of the faith. Several individuals and groups, indeed a number of Reformed denominations, provided two year lectionaries and experimented with various arrangements that would assist pastors by providing a fulsome diet of scripture as the basis for sermonic exposition, observing the liturgical year. In 1970 the Presbyterian churches and the UCC were the first to adapt the three year Vatican II lectionary for Protestant use. After years of ecumenical effort, there seems to be an interdenominational consensus that the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is an excellent vehicle for that assurance. The statement in the AR&LW Constitution refers to the desirability of the use of such a vehicle, in contrast to any topical or idiosyncratic treatment of the biblical material.
Although all Reformed denominations have not taken official action in strongly recommending the RCL as the authorized vehicle, it appears that most of them have placed these lectionary readings in their denominational calendars and other materials.
The practice of daily prayer. The AR&LW Constitution in 2.1 includes Daily Prayer and accompanying meditation and constant awareness that we do all things “in remembrance” of Christ. Calvin stressed the “duties of love” that are to mark our daily life, and Luther admonished Christians to remember baptism every morning in order that that awareness might follow them throughout the day. Worship on the Lord’s Day is to remind us that every day should totally belong to the Lord. A disciplined focus on scripture, Psalms and readings, together with structured prayer, will set the stage for the daily walk. In the words of the Presbyterian Directory of 1961, “Worship will feed the inner life of the congregation and extend to service to the world.”122
The UCC Book of Worship was first printed in 1986 without sections on Morning and Evening Prayer. These were added in the edition printed in 1994, thus filling out the ordo represented in the book. The “Introduction” to the book “places significant responsibility upon all the people of God to live daily lives rooted and grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ and to seek the presence of the Holy Spirit in prayer, study, planning and preparation, culminating in acts of worship filled with the grace and power of Pentecost.” Thus Luther’s consolations of grace and Calvin’s demands of grace “find mutual correction and wholeness.”123
The Book of Common Worship 1993 provides orders for meal-time prayer, for noonday and night prayer, but particularly extensive orders for morning and evening prayer. On each of the days of the week these latter two include prayers for specific Christians on each continent at morning prayers and for denominational families and church councils at evening prayers. Intercessions also vary throughout the week, according to the day. It provides a Psalter that includes all psalms appointed in the daily lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary. These are pointed for music. Also provided is a treasury of prayers titled “Litanies and Prayers for Various Occasions”124, and forty-five “Prayers for Use before Worship”125.
A commitment to life patterned on worship. The AR&LW Constitution, 2.1 stresses the integral social extension of the incarnation expressed in “the liturgy after the liturgy.” True worship will continue Monday through Saturday what it has rehearsed on the Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day liturgy conducts this rehearsal through its proclamation, its prayers, and the Eucharist. The sixteenth century reformers expected their worship to change society. Most of the authors cited above expected that the worship they advocated would not isolate Christians from the world, but move them to involvement with issues of justice and care for the poor and wretched of the earth. If the exposition of the word of God is a living word, and the bread of the Eucharist is living bread, it must be lived out.126 The sacraments must be replicated in daily life, in the liturgy after the liturgy. It is daily bread. Just as we receive nourishment in the worship event on the Lord’s Day, we continue to live eucharistically, receiving Christ’s spirit and strength in scripture and in every meal, for which we give thanks.
Other concerns. The Reformed were always insistent, perhaps more insistent than the Lutherans, that Christian worship must be in the language of the people. Yet, we are the ones who are embarrassed when we realize that Vatican II moved quickly into vernacular contemporary English while we continue to speak of “Gloria Patri,” use “debts” and “trespasses,” and hang on to wording such as “Holy Ghost” that can only be confusing to the young people in our congregations. In my searching, it appears that the CRC Liturgical Committee in 1968 may have been the first in the English speaking Reformed tradition to have provided a contemporary language liturgy. In the final section of the report adopted by the General Synod that year, we find a service titled “A Model for the Communion Service” employing contemporary language. Examples include:
“Almighty God, with one accord we give You thanks for all the blessings of Your grace; but most of all we thank You for the inexpressible gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We humbly thank You for His perfect life on earth, for His atoning death, and His victorious resurrection from the dead. We bless You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, for the gospel of reconciliation . . . grant us Your Holy Spirit, that by this holy supper our souls may truly be fed with the crucified body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . Lift our hearts to You, that . . . we may be strong in the hope of our Savior’s coming in glory.”127
By 1969 the UCC Services of the Church provided two Lord’s Day services in contemporary English. The Presbyterians followed with The Worshipbook in 1970. But there have been relapses, and failure to comply with the Reformed insistence on the vernacular.
The Task Before Us
For almost two hundred years liturgical reformers in the Reformed and Calvinistic tradition have without exception viewed their work as contributing to the reuniting of the Christian church. And they have based their reforms on a Trinitarian, Christological and historical foundation, building on the experienced lex orandi lex credendi of the early church. The worship and the experience of the risen Christ in that early Christian community was sustained by assembling together (Heb. 10:25) on the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2), devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the apostolic fellowship, the breaking of bread and to the prayers of the community (Acts 2:42). Their worship included extensive congregational participation (1 Cor. 14:26) expressed in psalms, hymns and spiritual (spirited) songs (Eph. 5:19-20). In the post-apostolic period it included litanies and responses. From the beginning it included the giving of alms, symbolically the down payment on the praising and giving thanks to God at all times and in all things with deeds of love for the poor and wretched in the name of Jesus Christ.
The early Eucharist was a time of rejoicing in the risen Christ, and was experienced as a communion both with Christ in the foretaste of the messianic banquet, and with one another. The celebration of the Eucharist today should express this same rejoicing. Instead, it continues to be the most private and individualistic event in the worship of many congregations of the Reformed tradition. The Eucharist should carry the praise of a celebration of resurrection glory, with the music being more closely related to wedding music than to funeral music. After all, this banquet is a foretaste of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Too often it focuses on Good Friday and is funereal. As one of our people has said, many worship leaders, even musicians, though they use the words of the new liturgies, can find ways to make the most celebrative of liturgies another “funeral for Jesus.”
Of course, the Eucharist is multivalent, able to give expression to innumerable facets of biblical and theological truth. The redemptive death of Christ is certainly one of those facets, but it is not the only, nor is it necessarily the primary one. The prior facts of the Incarnation, God’s condescending act of full entrance into the human sphere on the one side, and the subsequent fact of the Resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit on the other side, are primary, though they are certainly centered on redemption. And the celebrations of the Eucharist and of Baptism include this entire spectrum. I have suggested that if a sermon cannot find its primary illustrative material in the sacraments, it probably should not be preached!
The AR&LW is committed to seeing the ordo as this comprehensive ordering of Christian worship, beginning with the central things, giving praise to God in Jesus Christ within and over against the cultural setting of assembled worship. We want to see congregational participation. We want to experience true weekly celebration of the Eucharist. We want to find contemporary cultural expression in worship, including its language. We want to hear music from the world church. We want to witness the results of Christian witness in families, in communities and in the world. We want to be part of a church alive and renewed by its worship.
The ordo of the church culminates in the living of the eucharistic life and the renewal of the Christian church. Thus we pick up the strands of the Reformed tradition, seeking to interweave them and to assist the church in discovering these relationships and to living them. We believe that AR&LW will contribute to the ecumenical convergence in worship, and we believe that we are providing a new initiative for the renewal of the church. We urge you, our reader, to join us in this exciting endeavor.128 And as we move forward, we seek to give all the glory to God.
Arlo D. Duba is Professor of Worship Emeritus
and retired Dean of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
He currently resides in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
1 See two articles on the reformation of worship in the Reformed tradition and on the stated purpose of AR&LW that provide background regarding the processes that led to the formation of AR&LW. The first is by Harold M. Daniels, “Association for Reformed & Liturgical Worship: A New Venture in Liturgical Reform and Renewal” in Call to Worship, 38:4 (May. 2005). The second is a survey of the “historic ordo” by Arlo D. Duba, “The Ordo – The Center of Liturgical Reform: Toward the establishment of the Association for Reformed & Liturgical Worship,” in Liturgy magazine, 20:3.
2 Eugene Carson Blake, a Presbyterian, and Bishop James Pike of the Episcopal Church, together drafted what was later dubbed the “Blake-Pike Proposal” after Blake had preached an inspiring sermon on the unity of the church in Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco in the spring of 1960. That proposal led to the formation of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU). Their proposal was that the Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Methodist Church, merge into one denomination. The formation of the United Church of Christ had inspired a movement that picked up fervor during the eight or ten succeeding years. The dampening of that movement is chronicled in an article by James M. Wall, “Integration and Imperialism: The Century, 1953-1961” in The Christian Century, November 21, 1984, pp. 1091 ff.
3 See the “Four Articles of Prague,” as found in Jan Zizka’s writing, 1419, published in 1420, Article Two, on the sacraments.
4 Hughes Oliphant Old, The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag, 1975), pp. 97-100.
5 Ibid, p. 96.
6 Elsie Anne McKee, “Reformed Worship in the Sixteenth Century,” in Christian Worship in Reformed Churches Past and Present, Lukas Vischer, ed. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), pp. 9, 19.
7 See Bard Thompson, editor, Liturgies of the Western Church (New York: World Publishing Co., 1961), pp. 197-210.
8 See the excellent article by Elsie Anne McKee, “Context, Contours, Contents: Towards a Description of Calvin’s Understanding of Worship” in Calvin Studies Society Papers, 1995-1997 (Grand Rapids: CRC Product Services, 1998), a paper presented at the 10th Colloquium of the Calvin Studies Society, May 18-20, 1995 at Calvin Theological Seminary. She says that “the problem in the late medieval church was a disastrous theological misunderstanding of what it means to worship God rightly . . . Both the adoration owed to God and human salvation were at stake . . .” p. 67.
9 See Elsie Anne McKee, John Calvin on the Diaconate and Liturgical Almsgiving (Geneva, Librairie Droz S.A., 1984), and a more popularly written Diakonia in the Classical Reformed Tradition and Today (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989). Both books stress the connection between the worship of the church and the servant life of the people of God.
10 Bruno Bürki, “Reformed Worship in Continental Europe since the Seventeenth Century,” (in Vischer, op. cit.) p. 36.
11 Bard Thompson, Liturgies, p. 291.
12 Ibid., p. 290, emphasis added.
13 Bryan Spinks, “The Origins of the Antipathy to Set Liturgical Forms in the English-Speaking Reformed Tradition,” in Vischer, op.cit., p. 70.
14 J. Shackelford Dauerty, “The Source of Worship, Part II” in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Volume XXXVII, Number 1, March 1959 (Published by the Department of History of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Philadelphia). See pages 24-28 for an account of the chaotic state of the church and worship in the mid 1600s.
15 Dauerty, “The Recovery of Worship” in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Volume XXXVII, Number 3, September, 1959, p. 188.
16 See Alan P. Sell, “The Worship of English Congregationalism,” in Vischer, op cit, pp. 83-106.
17 See, for example, Wentz’s United Church of Christ in Worcester, PA, (http://user1.netcarrier.com/~wentz/ChurchHistory.htm).
18 “The Report of the Liturgical Committee” to the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church, 1968, p. 20. Hereafter, Report
19 The Synod of the Christian Reformed Church meeting in 1964 named a committee to study the liturgical literature and the usage and practices of the church “in the light of Reformed liturgical principles . . .” and to bring recommendations to a later meeting of the Synod. The committee of eight persons included brilliant young theologians with a liturgical bent. Five of the eight became seminary professors, including John Stek, Carl Kromminga, Lewis Smedes, Calvin Seerveld, and Nicolas Wolterstorff. Three became distinguished pastors, John Schuurman, John Vriend and Alvin Hoksbergen. It was stated that Smedes was the primary drafter of the report. He, Wolterstorff and Seerveld continued to be contributors to liturgical thinking for more than thirty years.
20 Howard G. Hageman, “Three Lectures,” in Gregg Mast, In Remembrance and Hope: The Ministry and Vision of Howard G. Hageman (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998) [The Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, No. 27].
21 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” p. 96. See pp. 109-116 for his analysis of the Lutheran-Reformed synthesis that Frederick was seeking, and the inclusion of Zwinglian, and even anabaptist concepts in this developmental process, that resulted in “one of the most fascinating liturgical (and therefore theological) swindles anywhere on the record” (p. 112). He nonetheless acknowledges that such items as the emphasis on the eschatological provides a salutary addition to the Eucharistic rite, though he never reveals if he thought that more positive or more negative results prevailed. It is interesting that the implication is, however, that though Hageman himself was a strong Calvinist, he did admit that some salutary things could come to the Reformed, Calvinistic tradition from the Zwinglian and even anabaptist schools. In summary Hageman says “the liturgy of the Dutch church was German in origin, composed of elements drawn from the liturgies of the French church in Strasbourg, the Dutch church in London, the Lutheran church in Wurttemberg, woven together by a compiler whose theological cast was overwhelmingly Zwinglian” (p. 116).
22 The CRC Report provides the outline of the Palatinate liturgy, pointing out that the emphasis in the resulting liturgy falls on the Word, not on the people’s response to the Word, and thus, not on the sacrament. The writers of the Report make the same criticism as Hageman does and, pointing to the overweening emphasis on the Word and the downplaying of the Sacrament, they are critical of this liturgy.
In the liturgy proposed by the writers of the Report, they place the Lord’s Supper where it is historically located, and assert that it is therefore precisely where the Word of God and the human response (should) converge in a fugue-like interrelationship, thus going back to a more Reformed, Calvinistic, and early church tradition. See pp. 20 et passim.
23 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” op. cit., p. 109.
24 Ibid, p. 135.
25 Ibid. p. 121.
26 See the chapter by Bruno Bürki, “Reformed Worship in Continental Europe since the Seventeenth Century,” in Vischer, op. cit., pp. 32-65.
27 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” op. cit., p. 169.
28 Keith Watkins, Celebrate with Thanksgiving: Patterns of Prayer at the Communion Table (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1991) p. 12.
29 Hageman, Pulpit and Table (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1962). “(Irving) was the first to assert in vigorous terms that the foundation of the church is in the objective deed of God, manifested in baptism, and not in the subjective choice of the believer. Until that foundation had been laid, no real doctrine of the church, to say nothing of its liturgical life, was possible” p. 87.
30 Horton Davies, Worship and Theology in England, vol. 4: From Newman to Martineau, 1850-1900 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962), pp. 152-164. From his arrival in London Irving had been meeting with a group gathered together by an English banker, Henry Drummond (1786-1860), which was called a “school of the prophets.”. Drummond, who from 1847 until his death, a member of Parliament, was much taken by Irving, and may better be named the founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church, since its organization did not take place until after Irving’s dismissal from the Presbyterian Church and his untimely death shortly thereafter. It was in this “school of the prophets” based on a study of scriptural prophecies that Irving developed a theory of pre-millennialism (perhaps the first to espouse such a theory) and gained his appreciation of spiritual gifts. Irving, like Calvin, rejected both transubstantiation and consubstantiation, and held strongly to a (mystical) real presence of Christ in the worship of the church and in the Supper, although the congregation did not begin weekly Eucharist until after Irving’s death. After his death the church also dropped the exclusive use of the Psalter (that he had continued in the Church of Scotland tradition), and continued the elaboration of worship, to include incense, vestments, chrism, and candles, with extensive ceremonial, building on historical models.
31 Davies, op. cit., p. 159, citing H. C. Whitley, Blinded Eagle, an Introduction to the Life and Teaching of Edward Irving, p. 77.
32 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” pp. 148-151. See also, Hageman, “Liturgical Development in the Reformed Church of America (RCA): 1868-1947” in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, volume 47, No. 3, September 1969 (Published by the Department of History of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Philadelphia). “The Presbyterian Euchologion is simply a pruning of the exuberant language of the Catholic and Apostolic liturgy;” and “There can be no doubt that the primary source of prayer suggested by Dr. Hutton’s committee (the committee that developed the RCA Liturgy) in 1873 was the prayer in Euchologion,” pp. 269-270.
33 D. H. Hislop, Our Heritage in Public Worship: The Kerr Lectures (delivered in Trinity College, Glasgow in 1933, published in Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1935). Hislop says that the Catholic Apostolic liturgy “is largely based on the Prayer Book, but has a width, freedom and variety which the Anglican form lacks. This is caused very largely by two things: (1) A greater use is made of Oriental prayers with their poetic and mystical appeal. The framers of this liturgy had a far profounder knowledge of Eastern devotion than had Cranmer, . . (2) In this communion there is a much stronger emphasis on revelation in worship . . . The atmosphere of waiting makes every act of worship the response of the soul to the Call of God. Of all liturgies of this type this is the most adequate.” p. 212. Hislop quotes a prayer from that liturgy on p. 315.
34 James Hastings Nichols, Romanticism in American Theology: Nevin and Schaff at Mercersburg (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 231, 301.
35 Hageman, Pulpit and Table, op. cit., p. 88.
36 Davies, op.cit., pp. 140-141. See also, Hageman, Pulpit and Table, for a most salutary evaluation of Irving’s contributions to Reformed liturgical development. In that section he quotes from a letter written by Phillip Schaff after worshiping with “the Irvingites” in 1854. In it Schaff, writing to his wife, said “The service this morning, I believe, was the most beautiful and perfect liturgical service I have yet attended” p. 89.
37 He published several dozen volumes of sermons in his ministerial career, beginning with the first volume in 1863.
38 Bruno Bürki, “Reformed Worship in Continental Europe since the Seventeenth Century” in Lukas Vischer, ed., Christian Worship in Reformed Churches Past and Present(Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003), p. 47.
39 Bersier, Eugène, Liturgie a l’Usage des Églises Reformées (Paris: Librairie Sandoz et Fischbacher, 1876). I have been unable to locate any English translation of this liturgy. The quotes and references to it are my own translations.
40 Cited by Stuart Ludbrook, La liturgie de Bersier et le Culte Reformé de France (Doctoral Dissertation, Paris, The Sorbonne, M. Michel Meslin, Co-Director, and the Catholic Instiuute, M. Paul de Clerck, Co-Director, 1999) p. 35.
41 Bruno Bürki, op. cit., p. 46.
42 Bersier, op. cit., pp. 1-6.
43 Bruno Bürki, op. cit., p. 48. See pp. 46-48 for a description of the Bersier liturgy.
44 Neuchatel: Delachauz & Niestlé, 1954; translated by Donald Macleod (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967).
45 Max Thurian, The Eucharistic Memorial: The Old Testament, translated by J. G. Davies (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1960), and The Eucharistic Memorial: The New Testament, translated by J. G. Davies (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1961). Thurian was the editor and the primary drafter of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Paper No. 111, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.
46 Thurian, The Mystery of the Eucharist (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984).
47 James Hastings Nichols, Romanticism in American Theology: Nevin and Schaff at Mercersburg (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), p. 53.
48 Jack Martin Maxwell, Worship and Reformed Theology: The Liturgical Lessons of Mercersburg (Pittsburgh: The Pickwick Press, 1976), p. 21.
79 Philip Schaff, The Principle of Protestantism (Philadelphia and Boston: United Church Press, 1964), a reprint of the 1845 original, being Volume 1 of the Lancaster Series on the Mercersburg Theology, p. 201.
50 Maxwell, op. cit., “As Nichols observes, Nevin’s statement that the unity of the visible church is the ’most important interest in the world’ was more than a ’pardonable homiletical overemphasis.’ Rather, ’this ecumenical thrust was to be the main feature of the Mercersburg movement’,” citing Nichols, Romanticism, p. 60.
51 John Williamson Nevin, The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (New York: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1846), facsimile reprint edited by Augustine Thompson, O.P. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2000).
52 Nichols, Romanticism, “The synthesis Schaff was urging, consequently, seemed rather to be a synthesis of pseudo-Protestant autonomy and of arbitrary Roman Catholic heteronomy, and in fact to be very close to the original intention of the Reformers.” To understand this terminology one must remember that Nichols served on the faculty with Paul Tillich. See also, Paul Tillich’s The Protestant Principle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948). We may speculate on the influence of this theological understanding on the later acceptance of a book of confessions, rather than subscription to only one confession for a given body or church, as well as the growing stated rationale for four gospels, rather than only one.
53 Brian Gerrish, Grace and Gratitude: The Eucharistic Theology of John Calvin (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), pp 3-6.
54 Cited by Maxwell, op.cit., p. 28, from an article by H. J. Rütenik in The Weekly Messenger, April 22, 1868.
55 See Arlo D. Duba, ”The Book of Common Worship – the book of Common Order: What do they say and what do they assume about Christ?” in Brian D. Spinks and Iain R. Torrance, Editors, To Glorify God: Essays on Modern Reformed Liturgy (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), pp. 121-132.
56 Nichols, Corporate Worship, pp. 163-165.
57 See Jack Maxwell’s book for a thorough accounting of the torturous journey from conception to final printing of the volume, Order of Worship (Philadelphia: Reformed Church Publishing Board, 1866). The web site of the United Church of Christ provides an account of this controversy by John C. Shetler who shows sympathy toward those who objected to Mercersburg’s “Evangelical Catholicism.” The German Reformed Church is a predecessor denomination to the UCC. See http://www.ucc.org/aboutus/histories/chap3.htm.
58 Maxwell, ibid., pp. 199-200. Maxwell’s analysis of these three sources used in the liturgy is found on pp. 439-455.
59 This insistence was heeded by only a small percentage of the congregations.
60 Cited by Maxwell, op. cit., p. 444.
61 Nichols, Corporate Worship, p. 165.
62 See endnote 21 above.
63 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” op. cit., p.120.
64 Hageman, Pulpit and Table, p. 102. This is, of course, hyperbole. He had written the article cited above, endnote 32, on “Liturgical Development in the Reformed Church of America (RCA): 1868-1947.”
65 CRC Report, p. 21.
66 Hageman, “Three Lectures,” op. cit., p.131. Hageman traces the development of this book and its successor of 1858 on pp. 127-135.
67 Euchologion, A Book of Common Order, an 1867 publication of the Church Service Society of Scotland, hailed in its time as a landmark publication and though unofficial, was used by parishes of the Church of Scotland. See below.
68 Charles W. Baird, Presbyterian Liturgies: Historical Sketches (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1960), photolithoprint of 1856 edition.
69 Davies, op. cit., p. 102.
70 Julius Melton, Presbyterian Worship in America; Changing Patterns Since 1787 (Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1967), p. 84. Melton’s account of Shields’ influence on Presbyterian worship can be found on pp. 83-88.
71 Davies, op. cit., p. 224.
72 Ibid., p. 226.
73 Ibid., p. 222.
74 P. T. Forsyth, Lectures on the Church and the Sacraments (London: Longmans Green and Co., 1917), pp. 131-132: “In the sacrament of the Word the ministers are themselves the living elements in Christ’s hands – broken and poured out in soul, even unto death; so that they may not only witness Christ, or symbolize him, but by the sacrament of personality actually convey Him crucified and risen. . . There then lies the prime effectiveness of the ministry. It is its sacramental power, not to change elements but to change souls, to regenerate personality.”
75 Davies, op. cit., pp. 229-237.
76 Ibid., p. 96. The compilers of that book sought to indicate the comprehensive and ecumenical nature of the book by its title. The word “euchologion” was the name of the 30 prayers attributed to Serapion (made bishop of Thumis, on the Nile delta, in 339 CE) that were discovered in the 19th century. The word is used as the title for worship orders in several Eastern Orthodox bodies throughout history.
77 New York Daily Tribune, March 3, 1897, cited by Sidney Pinch in Reformed Liturgics magazine, volume 1, No. 2, Spring 1964, p. 25.
78 CRC Report, p. 21.
79 Preface to the “Report of the Liturgical Committee” (CRC), p. 1.
80 Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Faith and Order Paper No. 111 (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982).
81 Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1994).
82 UCC: The Lord’s Day Service with Explanatory Notes (Philadelphia – Boston: United Church Press, 1964) and Presbyterian: Service for the Lord’s Day and Lectionary for the Christian Year (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1964).
83 Cullmann’s books that provided new biblical foundations for liturgical scholarship include Baptism in the New Testament (German in 1948, English, London: SCM Press, 1950); Early Christian Worship (German, 1950, English, London: SCM Press, 1953); and with F.J. Leenhardt, Essays on the Lord’s Supper (Richmond, John Knox, 1958).
84 The Book of Order of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, published by the Office of the General Assembly, 1967. I am using the 1967 printing of that Directory as it is found in that Book of Order. References are to the “chapters, sections” of that Directory. Hereafter, Brown.
85 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963. See Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr. “In praise of a holy heretic: A tribute to Robert McAfee Brown (1920-2000),” Presbyterian News Service, September 20, 2001. Gaffney, now well known as a Professor of Law but at that time a Roman Catholic seminarian with an excellent command of Latin, was a translator for the Observers during Vatican II. Of Brown he says, “Observers were not given formal voice at the Council, but Brown found an effective way around that rule, making his views on the draft documents known to many bishops and to their theological consultants in a very effective way. . . He was fearless and bold in articulating his convictions.”
86 Brown, VI, 1.
87 Three denominations utilized the Worshipbook: The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
88 See Arlo D. Duba, “The Book of Common worship – the book of Common Order . . .”: in Spinks and Torrance, op. cit., pp. 115-141.
89 Hugh Thompson Kerr, The Christian Sacraments: A Sourcebook for Ministers (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954), p. 9.
90 Donald M. Baillie, The Theology of the Sacraments (London: Faber and Faber, 1957).
91 Edward Schillebeeckx, Christ, the Sacrament of the Encounter with God (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1963).
92 Alexander Schmemann, The World as Sacrament (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1966).
93 Baillie, op. cit., p. 46.
94 Kerr, op. cit., p. 17.
95 Brian Gerrish, op. cit., p. 19 and pp. 44-45. Gerrish presented a paper at the 10th Colloquium of the Calvin Studies Society, May 18-20, 1995 at Calvin Theological Seminary, published in Calvin Studies Society Papers, 1995-1997 (Grand Rapids: CRC Product Services, 1998), as “Calvin’s Eucharistic Piety.” In the article he comments on his book, Grace and Gratitude saying “The switch from ’eucharistic theology’ to ’piety’ . . . is a small one, perhaps even illusory,” p. 52, and “The adjective ’eucharistic’ serves as a natural enough token of the essential link (Calvin) perceived between what occurs in the sacrament and the entire existence of the church as a royal priesthood. Believers are consecrated by the sacrifice of Christ to an answering sacrifice of praise: it includes all the duties of love to their brothers and sisters, by which they honor the Lord in his members, (and it builds on and looks forward to) the grateful worship of God that takes place in the Lord’s Supper.” Both are expressions of eucharist, of thanksgiving to God for grace received, p. 53.
The Nairobi Statement can be found in S. Anita Stauffer, ed., Christian Worship: Unity in Cultural Diversity
(Geneva: Lutheran World Federation, 1996), pp. 23-28. The entire text is available here
. A summary is available in Gordon Lathrop, Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology
(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999), pp. 233-236.
For the Christian Reformed Church publication, Authentic Worship in a Changing Culture (Grand Rapids, MI: CRC Publications, 1997).
97 UCC, The Lord’s Day Service, op.cit.
98 UCC, p. 15; Presbyterian, p. 20.
99 UCC, p. 5.
100 Presbyterian, p. 29.
101 CRC Report, p. 22.
102 Ibid., pp. 54-55.
103 Garrit T. Vander Lugt, Editor, Liturgy and Psalms, (complete title: The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America together with The Psalter) (New York: The Board of Education, 1968), p. 5.
104 Ibid., p. 63.
105 Ibid., p. 65.
106 Ibid. Dr. Norman Kansfield, the President of New Brunswick Seminary says of this statement that it is “magisterial,” It is “only 263 words in length. Two hundred of those words are a mere one-syllable in length. This was Howard’s major effort to get Mercersburg into the RCA’s liturgical veins.” Electronic mail to Arlo Duba, August 30, 2004.
107 Gregg Mast, In Remembrance and Hope: The Ministry and Vision of Howard G. Hageman (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998) [The Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, No. 27].
108 Rejoice in the Lord: A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures, Erik Routley, Editor (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985), pp. 560-570.
109 Keith Watkins, Liturgies in a Time When Cities Burn (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1969).
110 Watkins, Editor, Thankful Praise: A Resource for Christian Worship (Prepared for the use of the Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]) (St. Louis: CBP Press, 1987). This book was developed in cooperation with the Division of Homeland Ministries, but was not published by them, as was the later book, Baptism and Belonging. A previous privately published “liturgy” was developed by G. Edwin Osborn, Christian Worship: A Service Book, in 1953.
111 Chalice Worship. Compiled and Edited by Colbert S. Cartwright and O. I. Cricket Harrison (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1997)
112 Watkins, The Great Thanksgiving: The Eucharistic Norm of Christian Worship (St Louis: Chalice Press, 1995), p. vii.
113 A. Allan McArthur, The Christian Year and Lectionary Reform (London: S.C.M. Press, 1958), pp. 21-22. Cited in Book of Worship: United Church of Christ (New York: UCC Office for Church Life and Leadership, 1986), p. iv, Hereafter, UCC Book of Worship.
114 The Theology and Worship Ministry Unit, The Book of Common Worship, For the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), pp. 46-78. Hereafter, BCW.
115 UCC, Services of the Church, 3, p.14.
116 Brown, op. cit., Chapter V.
117 Directory for Worship United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., VI, 4.
118 UCC Book of Worship, op. cit., pp. 44-47.
119 See Arlo D. Duba, “Take Me to the Water: Ideas for Keeping Baptism Front and Center” in Reformed Worship, December 2001, No. 62, pp. 22-25, where I suggest that the minister should preside from the font during some portion of every service of worship. This is most appropriate for the call to confession, the prayer of confession and the assurance of pardon, but also for the reception of members, the farewell to departing members, etc. Included with this article is a form for the Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant at a marriage.
120 Brown, op. cit., VII, 2.
121 Watkins, editor, Baptism and Belonging: A Resource for Christian Worship Prepared for use of the Christian Church [Disciples of Christ] by the Division of Homeland Ministries, (Saint Louis: Chalice Press, 1991), pp. 109-139.
122 Brown, I, 4.
123 UCC Book of Worship, op. cit., p. xi.
124 BCW, pp. 792-837.
125 Ibid., pp 17-30.
126 Jean-Jacques von Allmen, The Lord’s Supper (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1966), especially chapter 4, “Living Bread and Sacrifice.”
127 Ibid., pp. 62-63.