For several decennia narrative theories and methods have been applied to the study of theology. Practical theology has witnessed the rise of narrative in several of its domains, such as homiletics and pastoral counselling. However, narrative approaches to liturgy are still in their infancy. This paper applies the narrative theory and reading method of Ruard Ganzevoort to one specific Anglican liturgical text, i.e. Common Worship, Order One. Both the value and the potential caveats of a narrative reading of the liturgy are identified. In order to demonstrate the merits of a narrative analysis of the liturgical text the question which will lead the present study, by way of case study, is: 'How does liturgy help suffering people to find meaning in their situation?' The narrative reading method demonstrates that suffering can be interpreted in more than one way, and so the answer to the question depends on one’s interpretation of the liturgical text. Finally, the article demonstrates the relational nature of the narrative theory of Ganzevoort. Storytelling is used to begin, maintain, change or end relationships. Liturgy is clearly meant to change or maintain the relationship between God and people.
- Common Worship
- Practical Theology