Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Saying Alleluias and the spirit of the BCP

I’m still pretty new here at St. Paul’s Salt Lake City, especially in the grand scheme of things.  I’m learning the customs of the community, as well as figuring out how we will share in the leadership of the church.

St. Paul’s likes their Alleluias.  (Paul Higginson:  if you read this, enjoy the irony!)  They finish every service with them.  Their response to whatever form the dismissal takes (except during Lent) is always “Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!”

The thing is, this is the EASTER season response.  The Book of Common Prayer says clearly:

From the Easter Vigil through the Day of Pentecost "Alleluia, alleluia" may be added to any of the dismissals. 
The People respond     Thanks be to God. Alleluia, Alleluia.

This is rather different then the rubric concerning the other “Alleluia”, at The Breaking of the Bread:

Then may be sung or said 
[Alleluia.] Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;Therefore let us keep the feast. [Alleluia.] 
In Lent, Alleluia is omitted, and may be omitted at other times except during Easter Season.

Armed with the rubric (and "priestly authority”) it would have been easy to demand no Alleluia endings.  Instead, I offered a compromise.  I said during the announcements, after acknowledging the St. Paul’s custom and what the rubric says, this:

“The spirit of the Book of Common Prayer is to make the Easter Season especially festive.  But it would be silly to emphatically stop you all from saying “Alleluia!”  So to keep Easter a bit more festive, whoever’s doing the dismissal will use the Alleluia’s only during Easter and special occasions, but you all are welcome to keep responding with Alleluias!”

And then I added, to the laughter of the congregation.

“And for those of you who couldn’t care less about any of this, thanks for putting up with this announcement!!!”


I share this as a reminder to myself that we all have our religious custom things that we do.  Being kind, gracious, and understanding to authentic forms of faithful expression is a lot more important than an insisting your way is right, even if you do have a rubric on your side.

3 comments:

Sheelagh Higginson said...

Paul Higginson says ALLELUIA! ��

Kurt said...

I was counting on that, Sheelagh! :)

tonip1 said...

Alleluia and Amen