A Liberating Liturgy

How The Eucharist is Related to Gentrification and Why Urban Housing Is Sacred – Part II

Stephen Setzer Continue reading

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A Liberating Liturgy

How The Eucharist is Related to Gentrification and Why Urban Housing Is Sacred – Part I

Stephen Setzer

The words “Eucharist” and “gentrification” may seem to be quite disparate in their context and meaning. One alludes to ceremony, tradition, religion, and sacrament, while the other connotes cities, housing, displacement, and economics. They are seemingly worlds apart. However, it is my contention in this paper that these worlds are not so far apart as they may initially appear. Rather they are connected at a foundational level through their respective understandings of place. What is it? Is it special? To whom does it belong? And do any of these things matter? As Christians we are a part of a story, a story that is centered, interestingly, on a particular understanding of place. Rooted in the Old Testament narrative of Abraham and Sarah and the stories of exile, the Scriptures are intent upon forming our understanding of the inherent specialness of place. Moreover, Christian tradition speaks to that same understanding through the development and process of its liturgy. Particularly, through the Eucharistic liturgy we are told a story week after week of the specialness of sacred space and our place. So then in this paper I will begin to build a bridge from Christian liturgy to our urban neighborhoods and explore how an understanding of the Eucharistic liturgy can provide the urban church with a prophetic voice against redevelopment at the cost of displacement. Continue reading

Without This Bowl We Die

A sermon for All Saints’ Sunday preached on the occasion of presbyteral ordinations in the Anglican Diocese of Quebec

Mary Jo Leddy

Revelation 21:1-6a

John 11:32-44

In a recent film about the renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, he relates some amazing facts about the reach of the breath that we breathe. Suzuki says that we now have evidence that the breath that we breathe out will enter into the space around us, gradually combine and recombine with other breaths, expand and travel. This process continues, he says, such that IN ONE YEAR our breath will have travelled around the world and back to us so that we will breathe in the breath we breathed out 365 days ago.

This is an astonishing fact. As are other facts that contemporary science offers for our meditation: we are breathing in the dust of stars, every moment. We are breathing in the breath of plants and animals, the breath of countless other human beings. The living and the dead.

It is one of our most ancient beliefs that we as Christians belong to a Communion of Saints, the living and the dead. We believe we are mysteriously, graciously, sustained by the goodness, the holiness, the justice of others. They are God’s breath among us now. Continue reading

The Didache and the Ordo Romanus Primus

Their Social Imaginaries and Contemporary Liturgical Implications

Jeffrey Metcalfe

“A Human being is by nature a political animal.”1

-Aristotle

As the Canadian scholar James K. Smith has argued, one might equally say that human beings are “liturgical animals,”2 for our politics do not proceed first from a theoretical idea, but are always and already arriving from a set of pre-cognitive practices, “carried in images, stories, and legends.”3  According to Charles Taylor, these precognitive practices combine to construct a social imaginary which posit answers to the question “what constitutes a fulfilled life,”4 thus creating the ground upon which political choices will be made.  If then, as Smith suggests, liturgy is a practice which operates on the precognitive level, forming a particular kind of social imaginary, then it follows that liturgy will be both a reflection and a production of political reality. Continue reading