99 Brattle: a blog for progressive theology and critical thinking to transform the world.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My Heart is a Raging Volcano of Love for You
By Kevin G. Thew Forrester
What if liturgy and prayer reflected at-one-ment rather than redemptive violence? Love rather than retribution? Embrace rather than condemnation? Forgiveness rather than judgment?
My Heart Is a Raging Volcano of Love for You reflects my experience of liturgy and ministry as being of a single compassionate whole. The liturgical life of the church is the deep well from which ministry draws its divine vitality.
From the divine well flows the grace to freely serve. Otherwise baptismal ministry quickly devolves to egoic attempts to save the lost world.
I believe that a challenge before us as Christians is that we live in a time of much cultural change and fear. The predominant mythic-literal ways of understanding ourselves, God, and church are in transition.
As created beings, change and evolution are part and parcel to our life as creatures of God’s creation. And yet, it is also true that the break of the 21st century seems to have ushered us into a teeming flow of accelerated changes.
As the church in worship of God, engaged in baptismal ministry, we cannot help but be affected by the cultural whirlwind. However, perhaps we may perceive within the shifting winds a divine invitation to revitalize and reform our tradition.
The eucharistic liturgy of baptism especially celebrates the Living Font from which flows our Trinitarian call as Christians to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being – divine invitations of life that flow from the one Holy Source.
In the book, My Heart Is a Raging Volcano of Love for You, I explore how meaningful and authentic baptismal ministry cannot take place apart from liturgical renewal. The images of God and Christ and church and world and self inexorably shape our sense of dignity, our notion of justice, and our image of neighbor. How we celebrate in our worship greatly determines how we serve.
To paraphrase ancient wisdom – lex orandi, lex vivendi. This pithy affirmation points out that the church has traditionally recognized that worship and life are inextricably connected, one reinforcing the other; for better or worse.
In this second volume of my At-One-Ment series I develop new forms of prayer and liturgy that draw upon our ancient catholic tradition in dialogue with our contemporary, postmodern, cultural context. These prayers reflect what I describe as an integral sacramental experience and vision of life, which invite us beyond both the individualism of modernity and the fragmentation of postmodernity.
We need to realize that the liturgy at its heart is a shout, a song, a whisper, a plea, a thanksgiving, of love. We long to be united with the Beloved who ceaselessly gives us birth and calls us home. We cast about for words that might begin to express the cry of our soul to receive the divine kiss whose moisture gives us life.
My Heart Is a Raging Volcano of Love for You is an invitation to transcend the destructive redemptive violence of conventional atonement spirituality enshrined in prayer, liturgy and hymnody. Through conversation with mystics of both east and west, I invite the church to creatively express itself in prayers and liturgies flowing from our gracious at-one-ment with God, the Font from which flows all life.
Here are collects for Years A,B,C. Here are new liturgies for Great Three Days. Here is new expression of baptismal living reflective of ancient tradition, postmodern science, and our interfaith world. Here are prayers of a progressive Christianity with ancient roots.
* The Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D., has served in the Diocese of Northern Michigan for the past ten years. He is the author ofLeadership and Ministry within a Community of Equals (InterCultural Ministry Development, 1997) andI Have Called YouFriends (Church Publishing, 2003).