I recall what my seminary worship professor said about the clergy: that we are, among other things, “ritual technologists.” We ought to know the right way to do the mechanics of worship. I thought about this when I commented favorably to a Presbyterian minister about his denomination’s must-have Book of Common Worship. He responded to this praise with exasperation: “A thousand pages of worship material, but not a word about how to use it!”
Getting the words off the page and into worship is a basic competancy of the ministry, but one for which Unitarian Universalists are poorly prepared. I suspect this is because such “priestcraft” was assigned to the barrel of superstition in the more distant past, and more recently denegrated as something of a trade-school skill. I suppose it is the sort of thing that elders teach their juniors, and I am not at all aided by the fact that my elders by-and-large either dismissed Christianity or dismissed tradition full-stop. Well, by this time you know I am traditional (but not a traditionalist) and a Christian. Like most people, I like worship that works. Call this my bid for eldership; indeed, I have spent a lot of time on this blog addessing the issue of “practical theology” and I hope visitors will avail themselves of the search feature, whether they are ordained or not.
So, for the next few entries, on and off, I’ll review a few things I’ve picked up. I hope they help.
Next: The rhythm of the morning service