Monday, 10 May 2010

On the Filleting of the Liturgy

There's just something a bit wrong about this.

This is Rev 22: 12-21.
“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. 
And this is what it looks like, according to the lectionary

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. 

So this is what has been removed:


Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

So the message would appear to be this: Christians are children.  We must not scare them.  We must not let them tackle hard passages.  We must save them from looking at a text in full, and in context, and tackling in frankly.  We must have only good news, and no nastiness.  The Prophets of Baal went home chastened, the Beast goes for therapy and is released on parole, and Jezebel was a loving wife who died in her bed.  And they all lived happily ever after.

5 comments:

philgroom said...

One of the reasons I think pew Bibles are important, especially in churches where people don't bring their own...

Kathryn said...

It always amuses me that they take out the bit about those who take away any of the words...
Happens too often. cf the bloodthirsty bit of Ps139
oooh...
verification is "Goentire" Truly it is!

Sally said...

and so the message looses its power and challenge and become nice, for nice people...

Helegant said...

Exactly!
The Gospel of nice...(rant over)

Actually, we have church bibles on each chair and encourage everyone to follow the reading, so that rather scuppers the filleter's work.

Yewtree said...

The bowdlerisation of Christian liturgy??? Whatever next!