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Holy Week readings: Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music commentary

Holy Week readings: Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music commentary

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers commentary and suggestions for readings for Holy Week. The cycle of readings of RCL are recommended and commentary is offered on those lessons that are often seen as anti-Jewish:

The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) is offering a commentary on some of the lectionary texts for Holy Week (March 24-31). This commentary will focus on texts that are linked to the sometimes unintended anti-Judaism which these texts have nourished in Christian liturgy.

The Commission’s work is in response to a resolution of the 2012 General Convention that called upon the SCLM to prepare “materials that assist members of the Church to address Christian anti-Judaism expressed in and stirred by portions of Christian scriptures and liturgical texts.” It continues a project first mandated by the 2006 General Convention in Resolution C-001.

“We have now arrived at the time for this project to take form in offering to the Church materials intended as a resource for clergy and laity who may be preaching in Holy Week this year (March 24-31), using the lectionary readings for the current Cycle C,” said the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, SCLM chair.

Meyers noted that a commentary will be placed on the SCLM Blog dealing with the texts that are generally considered the most problematic. That commentary, she added, will be followed in due course by other commentaries on texts which occur elsewhere during the course of the liturgical year.


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Rod Gillis

This is an important and complex issue. It’s important in terms of combating anti-Semitism, advancing inter-faith dialogue, and ultimately in terms of Christian integrity. For those not familiar with it, I draw your attention to the Good Friday liturgy in the Book of Alternative Services (Canada), Anthem 2:

“Celebrant: I grafted you into the tree of my chosen Israel, and you turned on them with persecution and mass murder. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants, but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt.

Response: Trisagion, Holy God etc. … ”

The Anthem is adapted from “From Ashes to Fire” (Abingdon 1979).

I’ve been attempting to spend Lent with Ray Brown’s 2 vol. comment on the PN “Death of the Messiah”.

However, for the first time in 35 years, I do not have the responsibility of leading The Good Friday Liturgy. My plan is spend the day quietly at home. A life time of Good Fridays, from childhood to senior adult, focusing on the wrong kind of guilt,and the wrong kind of avoidance, is sufficient.

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