The lifting up and carrying about of Scriptures

The lifting up and carrying about of Scriptures

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 21:02:23 -0600
From: Timothy E Kruse

On the subject of scriptures/fundamentalism/etc., I have been struck recently by the following dissonance:

--Article 28, "Of the Lord's Supper . . .The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

--However, during the procession before the Gospel in many Episcopal churches, the gospeller "lifts up and carries about" the Book of Gospel Readings.

What is so dissonant to me is that the reformers of both the English and Continental Catholic Churches responded to the imbalance between Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist, by de-emphasizing the ritual trappings of the Eucharist but created new intellectual trappings for the Word: "sola scriptura".

If lifting up the Eucharistic bread and carrying it about smacks of idolatry, why is lifting up a book of scriptures and carrying them about in procession not idolatrous? I suggest that our liturgical practice might be manifesting some unspoken assumptions held by many--that scriptures are in and of themselves equal to the Word of God.

If true, then this assumption is as idolatrous as the doctrine of transubstantiation which "destroyeth the nature of a sacrament": both doctrines limit God to time and space, not to mention human conceptual constructs.

Making my point in a positive way, just as we do receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the action of Eucharist, so also do we hear the Word of God in the action of the Liturgy of the Word: God is not limited to bread, wine and words.

Tim Kruse
St. James, Austin


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