Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Noble simplicity and the eucharistic mystery
In a posting yesterday NLM critiqued 'clutter' around the altar, urging instead a noble simplicity. A not entirely dissimilar principle was at work in Cranmer's instruction for the Lord's Table to have "at the Communion time ... a fair white linen cloth upon it". It is a necessary reminder for those of us who are catholic Anglicans that there is a beauty to noble simplicity, particularly when it comes to the celebration of the holy eucharist. That said, liturgical 'clutter' is hardly the preserve of catholic Anglicans - many evangelical Anglican quasi-liturgical all-age services provide horrendous examples of verbal clutter, distracting the local church from a focus on the Word, prayer and praise. Nor to be forgotten is the physical clutter that often accompanies powerpoints and praise bands.
The picture above provides an excellent example of a traditional Anglican liturgical style. There is a noble simplicity to the altar cloths, the two candles and the surrounding architecture. The contrast with the clutter of the medieval parish and Baroque triumphalism is obvious. So too, however, is the refusal to accept a Puritan rejection of liturgical beauty. The beauty of noble simplicity allows the church to prayerfully reflect on and enter into the mystery of the eucharist.
Posted by BC at 10:53