Thanks to all who came to the five liturgy labs that we held this summer. They were a lot of fun. I felt very rushed trying to cram in as much as I could about each topic in 45 minutes. Those who participated had lots of excellent questions. There were always lots of donuts. It was a great time.
I hope that the discussions and experiments have made many of you curious about our liturgy—what it means, what it does, and where it came from. If you’d like to explore some of those questions on your own, I have a few great recommendations for further reading.
Inwardly Digest: The Prayer Book as a Guide a Spiritual Life by Derek Olsen (Forward Movement, 2016)
This is a really great book. If you only choose one of my recommendations, choose this one! It shows how ordinary Christians can connect the liturgies of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer to their daily lives. Derek Olsen is a fantastic author and this book is written for people in the pews. There is a chapter on the basics of liturgy and liturgical spirituality, and then three major sections: The Church Calendar, The Daily Office, and the Eucharist. Olsen explains the nuts and bolts of the services in the BCP and how they can change your life.
The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography by Alan Jacobs (Princeton Univ. Press, 2013)
Alan Jacobs is an Episcopalian who teaches cultural history at Baylor University. This little book is a cultural history of the Book of Common Prayer starting with 1549 (and before) all the way until today. It is an accessible and fascinating read.
The Liturgy Explained by James W. Farwell (Morehouse Publishing, 2013)
James Farwell was my liturgy professor at seminary. This is a very short basic introduction written to liturgy, especially what we do on Sunday Morning at the Eucharist. A lot of this will be familiar to those who attended the liturgy labs, although I probably differ from him on a few key points. His section on the different pieces of the Eucharistic Prayer would be a great follow up to last week’s session. He presents the material very clearly and succinctly.