Human Tears, Divine Tears: A Narrative Analysis of Anglican Liturgy in Relation to Stories of Suffering People – Summary of Dissertation

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Abstract

The relation of liturgy to suffering is the topic of this dissertation. At the heart of the Christian community is its liturgical celebration. Suffering is a universal phenomenon. Therefore the topic of the relation between liturgy and suffering is most relevant. Chapter 1 demonstrates the tension between the often optimistic tone of worship services and feelings of grief and anxiety people may bring to the liturgical celebration. An overview of literature on liturgy that addresses suffering shows that the topic is not extensively dealt with in academic liturgical-theological discourses. The gap that this overview shows is twofold: first, there is little attention to the points of connection between liturgy and stories of suffering; second, the discourses lack substantial empirical underpinnings. The present research seeks to fill this twofold gap. The research takes place in the context of the Church of England in the Archdeaconry of North West Europe (geographically this is the Benelux). The liturgical text analyzed is Common Worship, Order One. This is an apt context for this research as Common
Worship balances a core of fixed liturgical texts with virtually limitless space for creativity and use of sources in other parts of the liturgy. The project contains three specific research interests. The first is to ground the research in empirical reality. The second is a pastoral interest, and the third is emancipatory. The latter two interests explain why the starting point of this project is suffering, and that it seeks to give a voice to suffering in the academic liturgical discourse, which hopefully will bear its influence on the praxis of the Church. If the three
main branches of liturgical studies are historical research, liturgical-theological research, and ritual/empirical research, then the focus of this research is clearly in the latter, although it does include liturgical-theological reflections on the empirical results. The main research question is: How does or can Anglican liturgy in the archdeaconry of North West Europe in the Church of England’s diocese in Europe address and connect to people with regard to their narratives of serious negative life events?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-239
Number of pages7
JournalJaarboek voor Liturgieonderzoek / Yearbook for Ritual and Liturgical Studies
Volume31
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • liturgy
  • worship
  • narrative
  • liturgical theology
  • practical theology
  • empirical theology

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