Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alexander Schmemann On the Liturgy

Alexander Schmemann
For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
quote from
For The Life Of The World
Sacraments And Orthodoxy
pages 27, 28

Alexander Schmemann offers those of us given the responsibility for the work of the liturgy a compelling insight into the importance the separate space in which the liturgical act occurs from the everyday, work-a-day world:

"The liturgy begins then as a real separation from the world. In our attempt to make Christianity appeal to the man on the street, we have often minimized, or even completely forgotten, this necessary separation. We always want to make Christianity 'understandable' and 'acceptable' to this mythical 'modern' man on the street. And we forget that the Christ of whom we speak is 'not of the world,' and that after his resurrection he was not recognized even by his own disciples. Mary Magdalene thought he was a gardener. When two of his disciples were going to Emmaus, 'Jesus himself drew near and went with them,' and they did not know Him before 'he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave it to them.' (Lk. 24:15-16)...There is no physical imperative to recognize Him. He was, in other words, no longer a 'part' of this world, of its reality, and to recognize Him, meant a conversion to another reality. The Lord's glorification does not have the compelling, objective evidence of His humiliation and cross. His glorification is known only through the mysterious death in the baptismal font, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is known only in the fulness of the Church, as she gathers to meet the Lord and to share in His risen life."
What do you think?