July 8, 2009
I’ve been working on our forthcoming Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship written by Brett Provance. Like other volumes in this series, it takes on the knotty vocabulary of an academic area and provides brief and to-the-point definitions. It will be a great aid for students of liturgy.
Having never twittered or even received a tweet, I’ve been feeling a bit sidelined. So the least I can do is provide some twittering fodder for someone else. I know that a tweet can’t exceed 140 characters (though I’m a little confused over whether that includes spaces too, which is just the kind of thing an editor would wonder about). Anyway, here are ten tweets to tuck twixt thine Te Deum and Trisagion.
cantus firmus. Latin for “fixed song” a fixed melody, perhaps traditional, undergirding a layer(s) of melodious innovation.
Cherubic Hymn. The Cheroubikon is the great hymn sung near the beginning of the *eucharistic rite in the EC, the moment corresponding to the offertory in the WC.
ciborium. From Latin meaning “a cup” (1) a container for the consecrated *bread of the *Eucharist or (2) architecturally, a baldachino-like structure.
Euchologion. Greek for “prayer book” the liturgical book of the EC with forms for both the Divine Liturgy and the Daily Office.
Germanus, St. (c. 640-733). Patriarch of Constantinople to whom is attributed a valuable commentary on the Byzantine liturgy of his time.
gesture. A meaningful bodily action that takes place in the worship service, e.g., standing, kneeling, the sign of the cross, bowing and the raising of hands.
sanctoral. A liturgical book containing the calendar and service particulars for the feast days of saints and martyrs.
trope. A textual embellishment of a fixed liturgical text, such as the four Christmas texts added to Bach’s Magnificat in E flat major.
Venite. Latin meaning “O, Come” the name of Psalm 95. Assigned to Matins, even today it is a popular text drawn on for contemporary worship.
worship leader. The person who directs the music portion of a contemporary worship service, as worship has more and more become synonymous with musical praise.
The problem is that the effervescence of twittering runs against the grain of the very impression this Pocket Dictionary (barring the final “tweet” above) leaves on me. For despite the brief definitions, the cumulative force of it all is that Christian liturgy and worship is the inheritance of long and considered reflection and practice. Layers of tradition and thought and structure have shaped the language and practice of liturgy and worship. Liturgy says, “Speak and act in these time-honored ways of reverence, submitting yourself to your betters in worship who have preceded you.” Twittering is more, “Look at me! I like sooo worshiped today!”
The comment section is below. Let the abuse begin—140 characters or less please.