Christian Worship Today: Its Crisis and Renewal

H W Cant

The minister of St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, in the Lee Lecture for 1974, outlines some causes of the crisis as he sees it: the passage from a sacral to a secular universe, the accompanying crisis of faith, and the social changes which absent people from their home at weekends. The author then outlines signs which show the extent of the crisis: the sign of ‘leavetaking’, of prayerlessness in the faithful, of dumbness (failure to articulate the faith), of a ‘geriatric’ society (absence of young people). He disagrees with Charles Davis’s contrast between the ghetto and the desert as a way of tackling the situation (the church reconvening in the desert). Worship must become again a genuine celebration of the life of the Risen Christ. We must have a greater expectancy. We do not try to obtrude worship of our own. We need to acknowledge our life in fellowship together and with Christ, making room for each other. We also must identify with Christ in his service of the world and be ready to meet him in ordinary men and women.

Volume 05, Number 01 May 1975, p19