Saturday, February 7, 2009

Holy Things

I'm now in my fourth and final semester at Duke Divinity School, taking a full course load and attempting to write my master's thesis on confirmation in the mainline church. So far I'm really enjoying a class on Liturgy & Formation with Dr. Fred Edie, Director of the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation (have your juniors & seniors applied yet? The deadline for DYA is this month. Don't miss out!) The reading list is fabulous, from Edie's own Book, Bath, Table, and Time: Worship as Source and Resource for Youth Ministry to Don Saliers' The Soul in Paraphrase (plus a chapter from a book on imagination by some chick named Sarah Arthur...). By far the most profound text for my own reflection has been Gordon Lathrop's Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology, which should be required reading for everyone interested in the formational potential of worship. In speaking of the parable of the yeast in the dough, he writes:

"The woman's leavened holy bread is a symbol for [the coming reign of God] in the teaching of Jesus. It then becomes clear that, according to this word of Jesus, the place of the preparation of the holy bread, the people involved in this meeting with God, and the very place of the epiphany of God are all different than expected. But the bread is still bread for a festival, for a meeting with God. The struture of expectation found in the old grain stories remains the same. Also the teaching of Jesus expresses the longing for the face of God, for the true holy place of God, for the good bread, and for the holy festival. Ritual order, while criticized, provides the vocabulary for the proclamation of the gospel. Time and again this is the pattern of biblical speech: old structures are used to speak the new grace. The single sentence of our parable reveals the deep biblical pattern" (26).