I AM A PRACTICAL LITURGISTThis Blog looks at the intersection of the performing arts and Christian prayer.
Public prayer always involves some performance skills. At the very least, the leader must speak loud enough for others to follow. At the other extreme, the ministers perform the entire prayer, directed to God, for the observation of a large crowd of believers.
I became a theater person because, as a intense teen-aged Catholic seminarian, I saw participation in the Drama Club as a way of developing skills which could be useful later in saying Mass and preaching.
I was not aware then that there was a Liturgical Movement or that the Second Vatican Council was about to re-prioritize what the priest and people do at Mass. The legal changes and ritual guidelines which flowed from Vatican II broadened the applicability of a performing arts background.
With the new Missals, Sacramentaries, and Prayer Books of the Western Christian churches, there came a wider choice of texts, positions, gestures, and movements, especially as church architecture developed away from the previously standard form of nave and sanctuary with the altar against the east wall.