Dear Traditional Worshipers: How Do We Find Our Way?

It’s not about sentimentality. It’s not about taste or preference. It’s about meaning.

Source: Dear Traditional Worshipers: How Do We Find Our Way?

“It’s devastating to see what’s happened to worship in the church… The blindness surrounding the issue is astounding. The insistence that the common trends of the day are most fitting for public worship is wrong and short-sighted. It’s [grievous] that most churches now let Christians choose to not learn the historic creeds, or the great tradition of hymns and songs, or the great privilege of praying together and reading Scripture together. The commercialization of our sacred time, well, it’s nothing short of tragic…

“[But] it’s not enough to say ‘we like [traditional worship].’ That doesn’t matter. The worst thing that ‘contemporary worship’ did when it came on the scene was to promote itself as just another worship option, and then get away with labeling the liturgy as a choice, also. When we make the conversation about preference, we don’t get anywhere… It’s not about sentimentality. It’s not about taste or preference. It’s about meaning. So maybe we need to rethink our plan of action…

A lot of wisdom, here, in my opinion.

Man Snaps Photo Of NYC In 1956

A picture has surfaced of the New York City skyline back in 1956, which shows three buildings decorated with window crosses for Easter. Featured in a newspaper article, [the photograph] shows the buildings lit up with huge crosses.

Source: Man Snaps Photo Of NYC In 1956

The article accompanying the picture (warning: extremely add-heavy and slow-loading page) comments,

“Things were a lot different 60 years ago. For one, public displays of Christianity were something that, regardless of your political affiliation, could be appreciated and admired by all. This is not the case anymore…

“Whoever took this photo probably would never have guessed that over 60 years later, this country would have morphed into a society that would erase any display of Christian faith from the public square under the guise of tolerance, multiculturalism, and secularism.

“Even our holidays, which have been a tradition in this country for generations, are under threat. No longer is it appropriate to say ‘Merry Christmas.’ We are supposed to say ‘Happy Holidays’ to be respectful of other spiritual faiths. Of course, this is less about being multicultural and more about being anti-Christian and anti-tradition.

“This picture shows a world that makes progressive-secularists furious. It was a world where free speech actually included freedom for Christians to express their faith, without fear of censorship, mockery, or even lawsuits being leveled against them.”

As Archie Bunker would have said, “those were the days!”

 

Nation-states, happiness, identity, and rootlessness

“The nation state has taken the place of God. Responsibilities for education, healing and public welfare which had formerly rested with the Church devolved more and more upon the nation state … National governments are widely assumed to be responsible for and capable of providing those things which former generations thought only God could provide – freedom from fear, hunger, disease and want – in a word: “happiness”.”

― Lesslie Newbigin, The Other Side of 1984

There is, I think, a great deal of truth to this!

The problem is magnified still further now, though, by the fact that nation-states are under attack by stateless globalism which seeks to supersede them, and that claims to be driven by “progressive values” – but in fact is driven largely by economics (the progressives who have allied themselves with globalism are among the “useful idiots” of whom Stalin spoke, back in Soviet days).

Nation-states at least are / were somewhat organic, in most cases relatively local, with their own identity and cohesion. They share(d) ties of language, culture, ethnicity, and often, religion. Globalism promotes – ostensibly in the name of “equality,” but actually because it makes people easier to manipulate – a stateless, rootless, amorphous mass of humanity, entirely lacking in cohesion, identity, and therefore the ability to successfully resist the strings of the puppeteers.

Now, the globalists may one day learn that a tool sometimes turns in the hand of its wielder; that amorphous mob may one day turn on them! But the result seems unlikely to be a return to “normalcy” as it used to be understood – depending, of course, on how far things have degenerated by then – but rather a further descent into a newer and truer Dark Age. I fear for the future of humanity…

John Mason Neale, Presbyter and Hymnodist, 1866 | For All the Saints

Neale was both a scholar and a creative poet whose skills in composing original verse and in translating Latin and Greek hymns into fluid and effective English verse were devoted to the Church. Composer of many original hymns and translations, he greatly enriched English hymnody.

Source: John Mason Neale, Presbyter and Hymnodist, 1866 | For All the Saints

“His Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862) included a number of Easter hymns, and their inclusion in a number of English hymnals introduced an important Eastern emphasis on the Resurrection into Anglican worship. Despite his poor health he was a prolific writer and compiler as well, and his output included such works on hymnody as Medieval Hymns and Sequences and [the aforementioned] Hymns of the Eastern Church as well as Liturgiology and Church History and a four volume commentary on the Psalms.

“He also founded, with longtime Cambridge friend and colleague Benjamin Webb, the Cambridge-Camden Society, later known as the Ecclesiological Society, the arm of the Oxford Movement devoted to recovering (sometimes going behind historic precedent) Catholic practice in Anglican church architecture, vestments, and liturgical acts.

“Gentleness combined with firmness, good humor, modesty, patience, devotion, and ‘an unbounded charity’ describe Neale’s character. Though he never received preferment in England, his contributions were recognized in the wide inclusion of his hymns in Anglican and other hymnals and in such actions as the presentation to him by the Metropolitan of Moscow of a rare copy of the Old Believers’ liturgy. He died on the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1866, having left a lasting mark on worship in the English-speaking world.

“Most hymnals since the late nineteenth century have included many of Neale’s compositions and translations. ‘Come, ye faithful, raise the strain,’ ‘Creator of the stars of night,’ ‘All glory, laud, and honor,’ ‘Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,’ ‘Jerusalem the golden,’ and ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ are just a few of the hymns that will long remain in the corpus of English hymnody.”

Feast of the Transfiguration

 

transfiguration-large-icon

Good morning! Wishing all friends of this blog, and of St. Bede the Venerable Traditional Anglican Mission, both a joyful Sunday, and a holy and blessed Feast of the Transfiguration. It was on this day that the divine nature and glory of Jesus the Christ was manifested on the mountain in the presence of His disciples Peter, James, and John.

If I am reading the Tables of Precedence correctly, this is one of the few feasts in the Church year that takes precedence over a Sunday, although “On these Holy Days the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the Feast shall be used; but on Sunday the Collect for the Feast shall be followed by the Collect for the Sunday.” Here, then, are the Propers of the Feast:

Propers for the Transfiguration of Christ.

The Book of Common Prayer 1928.

The Collect.

O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. 2 St. Pet. i. 13.

I THINK it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,. but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

The Gospel. St. Luke ix. 28.

AND it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance war altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

Religion as the root of cultural restoration and political transformation – Knights of St. Michael the Archangel

Source: Knights of St. Michael the Archangel | Facebook

Much good thought here, definitely worth pondering.
Whether we like to think of it in these terms or not, we are – all of us – presently engaged in not merely a socio-political, but also a metaphysical war for the future of Western civilization. Not everyone recognizes it, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re caught up in it. We may choose to defend the heritage and fight for the future of Western Christendom, fight against it, or passively “take a knee,” but we cannot escape the consequences, in any case. And how we fight matters for the outcome!
“All conservative, nationalist, or otherwise ‘right-wing’ political movements are doomed to fail if they are merely reactionary, defining themselves by what they oppose rather than what they promote. That is not to say that right-wing politics should cease to oppose grave evils. Rather, such opposition can only succeed if it is rooted in a set of principles and united by core values, a clearly articulated vision of what we need and an ideological explanation of why we need it…
 
“A political movement striving to restore a civilization and its foundational culture must embrace the religion which gave rise to that culture and maintained that civilization through the trials of many ages. Modern conservatism fails to embrace the fundamentals which we aim to restore. Conservatives must define what they intend to conserve rather than merely function as the party of all who dissent to Leftism, the party which at best merely slows the destruction.
 
“A civilization, like a tree, survives storms and flourishes not because of its size or the number of its leaves, but from the depth and strength of its roots. Any restoration of Western Civilization must be solidly rooted in our historical Greco-Roman roots and the Christian faith.”
I would agree – while also noting that we ought not to forget our Celtic and Germanic (in the case of us Anglicans, most particularly Anglo-Saxon) roots, either! Follow the link for more.

Is There a Proper Role for “Contemporary” Music at Church? – The Imaginative Conservative

The history of modern music is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music. – Peter Kwasniewski

Source: Is There a Proper Role for “Contemporary” Music at Church? – The Imaginative Conservative

In which it is pointed out that “the music we employ in church always embodies and communicates an ecclesiology, a Christology, and an anthropology—it is that significant! There is no escaping it: Every bit of music we perform in church is expressing a vision of the whole and inculcating it in those who listen.”

Therefore the music which becomes part of the liturgy – the “worship experience,” if you will, though I dislike that terminology for its focus on the worshiper and not on the God who is worshiped – is not something extrinsic or incidental to that liturgy. It is, if used at all, intrinsic to the liturgy, for better or for worse: often, what is sung is often remembered better than that which is merely spoken. Therefore the music that we use matters, and matters deeply.

The author contrasts the Church’s tradition of adopting and “baptizing” elements of Pagan culture, including its musical traditions, with the situation in today’s world:

“Today’s Westerners, in contrast, are post-Christian aliens, estranged from their own history and the great cultural synthesis that could and should be theirs. The history of modern music, whether atonal or jazz or rock or pop, is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music, against its high art forms, its slowly-developed musical language, its explicitly or implicitly Christian message. In its origins and its inner meaning, much of modern Western music is a rejection of the Catholic (and European) tradition.

“As a result, it is not morally, intellectually, or culturally ‘neutral’; it is already laden with an anti-institutional, anti-sacral, anti-traditional significance. This music is not naïve raw material waiting to be Christianized, but highly articulate anti-Christian propaganda. It rejects the ideals of lofty beauty and grandeur, spiritual seriousness, evocation of the divine, openness to the transcendent, and artistic discipline, in favor of vapidity, frivolity, profanity, sensuality, and banality.”

There are exceptions to this characterization, of course, but they are exceptions which, to my mind, prove the rule. There is more, of course – much more, and all of it worth reading. The modern world is obsessed with many things, but one of them is “relevance”: if a thing, be it music, liturgy, morality, etc., is not “relevant,” it is suspicious at best, easily-dismissed, at worst. Unfortunately, as this article points out, the result is that

“Today’s popular culture… to the extent that it has grown up in revolt against the unifying principles, certainties, and demands of Christianity, is a veritable melting pot of conflicting fashionable ideologies, a volatile mishmash of tribalism, globalism, and techno-barbarism. Its underlying anthropology is suited not for saints and heroes, but for narcissists and manipulators.”