Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The American Flag and Liturgical Worship

{Painting by Artist Chris Peters}

In honor of Flag Day on June 14, the National Review Online featured an article by Leon and Amy Cass. The article summarizes the history of the American Flag and why respect for the flag is “so necessary and desirable.” It concludes:

The universal philosophical principles can command the assent of the mind. But they cannot by themselves attach the loyalties of the heart. For that we need symbols and songs, stories and speeches. We need holidays and rituals, shared times for remembering and appreciating. We need ordered respite from commerce and amusement — and politicking — for expressions of communal gratitude.

In my opinion, the Casses build an excellent case for liturgical worship. In fact, they seem to propose that humans have an innate need which can only be fulfilled by something bigger than ourselves and even bigger than our intellect. We need the church year. We need liturgy.

Symbols, songs, and stories help our hearts ascend to that place where our minds might already reside. Doctrines and dogma by themselves aren’t enough to move our hearts. Our hearts are swayed by the holidays and rituals that we experience in community. For that reason, every week Christians come together to receive ordered respite from commerce and amusement for the ultimate expression of communal gratitude--The Great Thanksgiving, that is, the Eucharist.

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