About words and waiting

I had just finished the draft of my translation of a German article about the Christian liturgy about a week ago.

It had proven as challenging as I’d thought, probably more so, demonstrating just how specialised academic vocabulary really is! But that is not the point I really want to make…

No, while it was fun to learn how to translate words such as ‘Rubrik’ (‘rubric’ in most cases – easy!) or ‘Apostolizität’ (indeed, ‘apostolicity’!) I had my moment of revelation a day later at choral evensong at New College.

Having grappled with the development and meaning of the liturgy for quite some time, I was struck to hear Dr James Hanvey (Master of Campion Hall) speak about this in his sermon.

Our Gradgrind culture doesn’t like waiting and so it gives us all the means to fill up the time so we don’t waste it. We make ourselves busy, productive, we’re back in control and we’re distracted.

But liturgy is different. Liturgical time is filled with waiting.

That certainly made sense to me – I do think sometimes we need more time just to be, and to reflect. Doesn’t matter how but it’s something that’s surely good for anyone?

New College Cloisters (09/05)

New College Cloisters (09/05)

PS: Very grateful to the Vatican for offering translations of all their major documents, a life saver! Though I almost wish we’d just all stuck with Latin 😉

PPS: Or indeed Greek – pace Dr Hanvey: “Quietly like the slow breaking of the waves upon the coastal rocks, in its seasonal rhythms, inscribing God’s salvific time within our time – healing our chronos with his kairos – the liturgy teaches us how to wait.”


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