I'm using Rite I and the Decalogue in Lent. If you are an Episcopalian, you know exactly what this means...Victorian language, heavy emphasis on human sinfulness and need for repentance. If you are not an Episcopalian, you probably don't care and can stop reading here!
My choice for using Rite I and the Decalogue during Lent has nothing to do with whether I prefer one to another, or whether I believe one to be more or less holy than another. My choice for using them is far more pragmatic and has a lot to do relationships.
Now I can already hear some of you say, “what does Rite I or Rite II have to do relationships?” Since I started supplying for a church in January, they have one combined Sunday service rather than two, and the format has been mainly that of the former 10:30am service. Some of the 8 o’clock folks have felt a tad disengaged with this. As a result, some have chosen to stay home rather than attend Mass. As a way to reach out to them, I chose to use a simpler service during Lent…a few less hymns, traditional language and more moments of reflection in the service.
Over the years, I can easily say that the two of the most important lessons I have learned are these; (1) Knowing that I can’t always have it my way; (2) Knowing that successfully working with others often requires compromise. These are lessons that come when you commit to being in relationship with others, and these lessons can only be appreciated when those relationships are allowed to mature.
They are good lessons, and fantastic ones to practice during a time like Lent when we are encourage to allow God to take us out of our comfort zones and into a deeper fellowship with Him through self-examination, prayer and fasting.
So I hope people appreciate a little change in the Sunday morning worship. Because even though change can be scary, it can often bring us into a closer relationship with God, our neighbors and ourselves.