Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sixth Day of Christmas: Latin American reflection and appeal

The appeal: tonight, a soft sell, since I went hard sell last night. Or was it the night before? Please give to our Brazilian friends in Cidade de Deus, at the Anglican congregation of Christ the King. Details of the OCICBW Community Christmas Appeal are here.

And a short reflection tonight, because I preached this morning and wrote this afternoon and I am a little tuckered out.

But, happily, it is by a Brazilian Anglican.

He speaks of the Brazilian Episcopal Anglican Church as "a valiant venture of being that church [the Anglican Communion] in a non-English world."

The liturgical life of the church is always related to a particular culture... The problem is that non-English Anglicans have inherited their liturgical forms from a very distinctive culture, which is English.... Whereas the church in Brazil has had some awareness of the situation, it has been unable to experiment at the national level [Note from Jane: this does not mean that there is no creative experimentation at the local level, e.g. at Cristo Rei and in other congregations.] with autochthonous and creative forms of cultural expressions in liturgical life. We still hold to a poor translation of portions of the Book of Common Prayer of the American church.

I once proposed a liturgical moratorium for our Province. Bishops would release clergy and lay people from our regular bondage to the Book of Common Prayer to experiment and create. I was called subversive and irresponsible. I still think that this is one of the things we need. Liturgists would organize that moratorium , and the resulst would be analyzed by committees all around the country. ...

... Music is a crucial element in any liturgical experiment. When I speak on the liberation of liturgy from old bondages, I am thinking of the liberation from English and American hymnals currently in use in Brazil. Happily there are already some experiemens with Brazilian music, like samba, modinhas, and bossa nova; but our congregations still think that in order to be sacred, music has to be English. Although Brazilian music is important, I do not think that we should limit the music of the liturgy in this part of the world to our own music. There is a marvelous richness all around the world, ancient and contemporary, that we should share for the sake of beauty and pleasure

Any liturgical reform should also be related to mission, and should be based in a new theology relating mission to joy and freedom. Liturgy and mission are sisters dancing together in the direction of the beauty of the kingdom of God.

*****Jaci Maraschin
******"Culture, Worship, and Spirit"
******in Ian T. Douglas and Kwok Pui-lan, eds., Beyond Colonial Anglicanism: The Anglican Communion in the Twenty-First Century (2001)

This essay was originally presented at the symposium "Unbound! Anglican Worship beyond the Prayer Book" hosted by the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, in January, 1999.

Jaci Maraschin is a priest in the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, Diocese of Sao Paolo, a professor, author, songwriter and poet.

Tomorrow: Xico!

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