Monday, 12 July 2010

Giertz on Liturgy & Awakening

More from the sainted Bishop Bo Giertz's 1949 Pastoral Letter to his diocese. Here he circles in on his main subject, the relationship between 'liturgy' and 'awakening' in the history of the church:
Both liturgy and awakening were found in the apostolic church. They are spoken of already at Pentecost. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?" That is awakening. "And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple" and "Now Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour." That is liturgy.

Both liturgy and awakening have been with the church throughout her entire history. The manner in which they appear is of course very unlike. Awakening is like a flickering flame above a bed of coals. It gleams forth, spreads itself, rises toward heaven, and then seems to be gone again. Its connection with the ancient church seems to be broken by intervals of darkness. And yet the connection is there, because the Spirit is one and the same, even He who pricked the hearts on the day of Pentecost; and the Word, which lights the mysterious flame, is the same Word of power that once passed over the lips of the apostles.

[Portrait of Giertz by Helene Martenson; check out her work at]

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