Volume 22 Spring 1990

Protestant Sacramentalism

Rev Arthur Halfpenny

Sacramental dimensions of ordinary life and in religion. The place of the arts (and their absence in much Presbyterian worship) is noted, as is the importance of gesture and posture. Roman Catholic views of the such matters are contrasted with those which have emerged in the Protestant tradition and the charge that a recovery of the latter would compromise our position is countered. In particular, the understanding of what is believed to happen during a eucharistic celebration is discussed, where an emphasis on spiritual reception is favoured. The author argues for the reinstatement of a central altar to bring more to the fore the elements of offering and sacrifice inherent in Communion, seeing the proper position of the minister not as behind the table but in the midst of the people.

The Place of the Liturgy in the Church

Rev Charles Robertson

A paper delivered to the Edinburgh University Theological Society

The Church is liturgy. Early Reformed documents stress this, but to glorify liturgy to the point of apotheosis is wrong. Liturgy should be understood as all we do as Christians; distinction should not be made between worship and work. In worship, the reality of salvation is represented to us and God calls, challenges and empowers us to respond, a transforming encounter. An account is given of the Liturgical Movement, as well as the new understandings that have come as a result of liturgical studies. The establishment of the Church Service Society, and publications and movements that led to this, are noted. The writings of Max Thurian are appealed to in discussing liturgical practice today: worship should be God-ward not man-ward, emphasizing doxology rather than didacticism, it should be sacramental, it should be ecumenical, and it should be missionary.