". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Great Quote on the Liturgy

"The blessing of the liturgy is that it wipes out self."--Rumer Godden

I found this quotation in an excellent column by the Anchoress (go read if you can--it's both funny and profound). It reminds me of a post I wrote a little while back on a different but related topic. And it calls to mind my own experience, especially as I get older, of relying more and more on the liturgy in my own prayer life. These days it seems like it's all I can do to compose a prayer in my head. I do best with intercessory prayer and confession of sins (there are always people to pray for and sins to confess), but beyond that I find myself floundering. My mind wanders; I fall asleep; or the words just won't come. Thanks be to God for the words He has given in the liturgy. When I can't pray, I can count on them to pray for me. And even if my mind wanders during my feeble "repetitions" I can trust that God's word does what it says and that my prayers are not in vain.

6 comments:

Susan said...

I think that's the wrong link for the Anchoress column. You posted that same link to Loopers for a book sale.

Cheryl said...

Ooh, thanks, Susan. It's fixed!

William Weedon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elephantschild said...

I find that the liturgy is especially good for me when I'm in a depressed funk, because it's NOT ABOUT ME. It's OUTSIDE of me, and it's OBJECTIVE.

When a person is down in the dumps, a happy joy-joy song just doesn't cut it. At all. But the Word of God in the liturgy? That I can cling to.

atara said...

Well, I love written prayers. I hate praying out loud in a group of people ad lib. OH, I just hate it!

Cheryl said...

I agree, Atara. I have always been very uncomfortable with it, and I also don't care to have others pray ex corde unless they are pastors or people whose theology I absolutely trust (like my husband). The prayer leader has such a responsibility to pray the prayer rightly--that's a responsibility I don't want. I'm too likely to say something stupid. And I'm not talking about my words being less than beautiful--I'm talking about the likelihood that I will say something truly wrong. If I do so in my personal devotions, I know God will understand. But if I were to get it wrong for a group of people that are trusting me to speak for them and who are prepared to say "Amen" to my words . . . that is just too much responsibility. I prefer to leave it to the pastor (or my house pastor, a.k.a. honey).

The only people I feel comfortable using my own words to pray out loud in front of are my children.