Renewal in Worship
Ray Covell was a librarian in Kelowna, British Columbia.
Anglican Christians will want to read this new book on worship written by Michael Marshall, Director of the Anglican Institute in St. Louis. “From the crimes of Nazism to the mass suicide of the People’s Temple in Guyana in 1979, we can see the power and the persuasiveness of worship when it has gone wrong and when it has been perverted.” Bishop Marshall looks at the reasons for worship as well as its nature and characteristics in the Anglican tradition. He believes worship needs a beautiful building as well as a commitment of body, heart and mind, senses and intellect. He examines contemporary church worship and sees the conflict between structure and flexibility not as opposites, but as complementary facets. Marshall suggests that a daily routine of worship, vigil, and prayer might solve the problem of vandalism. He sees music as “the bicycle of the liturgy... The choirs and organists of our day constitute a positive hindrance to the whole of renewal in Christian worship.” Marshall sees the organ as the “dominating tyrant — literally a one-man band.” He acknowledges that robed choirs have their place, but for a small congregation, a straggling choir, dressed in ill-fitting cassocks and surplices, attempting to sing a well-known anthem on the arrival of the local bishop turns worship into a Monty Python version of a cathedral service. Marshall discusses the signs, symbols, and ceremonies of worship and the relevance of worship to life itself; he also devotes chapters to the reading of the word of God and the power of preaching.