C.S. Lewis and the Liturgy

C.S. Lewis and the Liturgy

“The advantage of a fixed form of service is that we know what is coming. Ex tempore public prayer has this difficulty; we don’t know whether we can mentally join in it until we’ve heard it – it might be phony or heretical. We are therefore called upon to carry critical and devotional activity at the same moment: two things hardly compatible. In a fixed form we ought to have ‘gone through the motions’ before in our private prayers; the rigid forms really set our devotions free. I also find the more rigid it is, the easier it is to keep one’s thoughts from straying. Also, it prevents getting too completely eaten up by whatever happens to be the preoccupation of the moment (i.e., war, an election, or what not). The permanent shape of Christianity shows through. I don’t see how the ex tempore method can help becoming provincial, and I think it has a great tendency to direct attention to the minister rather that to God.”                                                                       (Source: C.S. Lewis, Letters, 1 April 1952)

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