Sunday, February 7, 2010

Justice and Worship: The Tragedy of Liturgy in Protestantism

"And now at last I come to 'the tradedy of the liturgy in Protestantism' of which the title of this chapter speaks. I submit that there is a tragedy of liturgy in Protestantism, especially, though by no means exclusively, within the Reformed/Presberterian tradition. The tragedy consists in there being so little within this tradition of the very thing that we have been discussing: worship. The tragedy consists in the fact that within this tradition there is a suppression of the central Christian actions of celebrating in memorial...

The Christian liturgy is an interchange between actions of proclamation and actions of worship...

The Roman and Orthodox traditions have historically found it difficult to give due weight to the dimmension of God addressing us in judgment and grace- in short, to proclamation. The Protestant tradition has historically found it difficult to give due weight to the dimension of us addressing God in love and devotion- in short, to worship...Yet liturgies do differ profoundly in their emphases, and the tragedy of the liturgy in Protestantism- and particularly in the Reformed tradition- is that the worship dimension is suppressed, sometimes radically so. The liturgy is no longer 'eucharistic,' and a fundamental dimension of the life of the church and of the existence of the Christian is thereby stunted."

--Until Justice and Peace Embrace: The Kuyper Lectures for 1981 delivered at The Free University of Amsterdam, Nicholas Wolterstorff, ch VII p157-158.