Thursday, November 13, 2008

Advent Book Reviews III - Ben Gordon-Taylor & Simon Jones "Celebrating Christ's Appearance"

It is possible to enliven services at this time of year with any number of gimmicks, but for communities who seek to refresh their celebrations by making full use of recent Anglican liturgical material and drawing deeply on the tradition, Celebrating Christ’s Appearing by Benjamin Gordon-Taylor and Simon Jones will be an invaluable resource.

A superb essay on the nature of liturgical time, which includes an inspiring reading of Donne’s poem “Upon the Annunciation and Passion falling upon one day”, ushers in a detailed and careful examination of the liturgical texts and options for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.

The book will help clergy and other worship-leaders as they struggle to draw together the bewildering range of materials that now exist in a coherent way that makes theological and liturgical sense. The directions about what people “may”, “should”, or “must” do are inevitably problematic in our current state of liturgical anarchy, but the authors combine scholarly erudition with pastoral realism, and have sharp eyes for foreseeing practical questions and problems.