At noon today, several of us from the CNWE contingent were on the rooftop terrace of our residence, while bells rang across the cityscape beneath us.
And it felt like I was hovering over Rome, carried aloft on a current of breathtaking change.
Historically that’s often how it happens.
When I was teaching liturgy, I used to refer to the year 1967 as a turning point full of irony. In 1967, Lutherans worldwide were marking the 450th anniversary of the Reformation. At the same time, Roman Catholics worldwide were trying to make sense of the liturgical changes that were being implemented, sometimes too quickly and sometimes only in fits and starts, at the parish level, often by priests who had no idea how to explain what was happening, except to say “This is the new rule now and we have to do what the Church says.”
The fact was, Martin Luther had already anticipated most of these changes 450 years before — the presider facing the people, the Eucharist celebrated in the peoples’ own language, scripture readings in their own language followed by scripturally-based preaching (no longer what one liturgist called “moralistic diatribes or devotional ferverinos.”) Everyone giving the greeting of peace, everyone taking part in the opening rites, more and (mostly) better music, and, oh gosh, not to forget widespread communion under both species, bread *and* wine.
So logical. And it only took us 450 years to get there.
These graced and powerful days in Rome, the grace of the dialogue processes carried out in the context of the Synod, the winds of change and the fresh air of hope, should not be underestimated.
Indeed it. is. good. to. be. here.