New Church of South India liturgy

I mentioned the old and new liturgies of the Church of South India: how I liked the old one, and would review the new (2004) one.

I’ve looked at two orders for morning and evening prayer, plus the joint Eucharistic service with the Church of North India and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar. Plainly, I don’t like them as much as the older services.

I get what they’re trying to do: update the texts (the scriptural citations all come from the New Revised Standard Version) and make the rites more relevant, and to offer the most options within each rite within reason. The effect is too often clunky (perhaps it comes off better in Malayalam) and mystifyingly uneven in tone and quality. Litanies that remember “the victims of . . . unjust socio-economic systems” are proper but cold and jarring.

That said, the site (US based, by the way; the CSI has overseas congregations) is still worth a bookmark. It shows how a liturgy can be indiginous without cloying. The variety in liturgical elements might make for good shopping. Plus, for Unitarian Universalists, there’s a nice use for a lamp lighting and a list of suggested bhajans (devotional songs) in the first order of service. I thought that might appeal to those looking for more chalice lighting options, and shows (for Christians) where a chalice lighting or lamp lighting rite might tie into a service.

Church of South India liturgy

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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