Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Heps, who did steps, aren't stepping anymore they're doing choreography

That's the word that stays in my head when a long while ago Roland got a bunch of folks from the CotRRBP and the CotGL (both Episcopal) to attend... you know I don't have an alternative name for Holy Cross (Orthodox). Anyway, Ronald briefly explained the choreography so that we wouldn't get hit by a hot thurible.
There is a fair amount of optional choreography in worship. Of course, this does not trump music that is in common with the various traditions I run into as I dance along the theological fence. But I do wonder why does one bend the knee at this point of the Nicene Creed and why genuflect at various points, or bow at others? I'm really wondering now that I've just noticed, yes, just noticed that there are no crucifixes (savior on a stick) in the procession nor anywhere to be seen. Where the &%$!@ is my Lord dying for my salvation! What I thought was the crucifix was actually a really ornate cross. I thought I was bowing before the reminder of the sacrifice and symbol of G-d's love. Beh.


Roland said...

At CotGL there are numerous processional crosses, and the crucifer can choose to use any of them. The "usual" cross is the silver Christ the King on a black pole, but there are also an ornate Coptic cross and a fleur-de-lys cross. There is a small processional cross with an actual crucifix, but it is normally used only for funerals. There is also the original processional cross, which is a plain brass cross on a red pole. This was the first processional cross in the whole diocese, and it was quite controversial in its day, even without an image of our Lord's body!

One bows to the cross, whether Christ is explicitly shown or not, for the same reason one bows to the altar or the Gospel book - it's a symbol of Christ.

At CotRRBP, I would be surprised if they had an actual crucifix. The fact that they do MP as the main service twice a month should be a clue that the parish is at the Protestant end of the Episcopal spectrum.

Mari said...

One of the reasons I heard about bowing at the altar was that the 'host' was present. And I've heard some (all?) RC churches have a small crumb of the host for adoration of the host something or another.
MP, that's the Sunday I go to the screamy baby services.

Roland said...

Bowing to the altar and venerating the sacrament are two different things. One should always bow to an altar (except during a procession). And one should always genuflect toward the Blessed Sacrament. Traditionally (like at CotGL), the Sacrament is stored in a tabernacle above and behind the altar, so genuflecting covers both duties. But in most modern RC churches, the tabernacle is at a side altar, which you may or may not be able to find. If you see it, genuflect to it. Otherwise, just bow toward the altar.

Hint: If the Sacrament is present, there should be a lamp burning nearby.