by Kay Stoltz
What is wrong with the old ways? Why does everything have to be “modernized?” OK, I am old by most anyone’s standard, but new is not always improved. This is my beef, the up-dated language of the Church. The Episcopal Church in particular. For years, the 1928 Prayer Book in beautiful Olde English prevailed. The language may be archaic, but it is beautiful.
It is meet and right so to do.
“It is right to give our thanks and praise” is better? You can’t figure out what “meet” means?
We worship in the Sanctuary, a sacred place. Shouldn’t the words we use be different from everyday and not the same vernacular as common speech? Common speech is common, for Heaven’s sake. Get it?
Yes, for Heaven’s sake we should be reciting words of beauty, words set apart.
It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty,
that we should at all times,
and in all places, give thanks unto thee,
O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty Everlasting God.
Don’t you agree there is majesty, beauty in that phrasing?
It set the stage for the service.
At all times and in all places, we give thanks.
That is powerful. No matter where one is at the moment, in good times or bad, one gives thanks for God’s love and mercy.
Listen to the poetry in the old language.
The Lord is in his holy temple:
let all the earth keep silence before him.
. . . We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things we ought to have done; And we have done those things we ought not to have done;
And there is no health in us . . .
Compare that to: . . . forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things done and left undone . . .
We’ve lost beautiful language!
I am reminded of a story I heard concerning the decision of the Anglican Church to revise the King James Version of the Bible. Many were opposed and spoke out against it. A dowager, active in the church, complained vociferously, “don’t change my bible!” and uttered these words,
“If this bible was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”
Don’t think of me as befuddled as that dowager, but I suspect some of you will. In any case, I long to find others who appreciate the beauty of the old language, and want it back.
Then I will start a revolution . . .
That is, as soon as I get my knees fixed.
My battle cry:
Bring back Poetry!
Kay Stoltz lives on the Oregon Coast. She grew up in the church and then came back after many changes had been made.