I keep thinking about worship services and the liturgies we use to shape and structure them. Sometimes this has a professional urgency (e.g. tonight, weather permitting, I am leading a training session on worship), othertimes it is my mind perambulating along, perhaps reflecting on a service I have participated in, or attempting to penetrate the inner theological sanctum of the mysteries of the eucharist (Was Cranmer right?!).
A couple of themes these days are recurring in my reflections about services. One I will describe as 'missional': is what we are doing in worship services helpful in the mission of the church? Primarily our worship services are gatherings of faithful believers, but often a non-believer is present: is what is said and done a proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ? That is, does the content and the style of the service communicate the reality of Jesus Christ alive and reigning in the midst of the congregation?
Another theme is 'christological': is what we are doing in our worship services centred on the Lord Jesus Christ, and does it flow out from Christ - his teaching, his commandments, and his life (example, death, resurrection)? It is (in my experience) remarkably easy to 'miss the christological mark' in worship services. A certain chatty casualness can easily centre the service on ourselves. A prissy fussiness about getting details right (from ritual matters through musicality to Powerpoint backgrounds) can easily centre the service on performance up front. A christologically shaped service will subsume everything said and done to the presentation of Christ and to enhancing Christ's presence in our midst.
The commitment of Anglicans to liturgy is a two-edged sword. It is often attractive because it offers excellence, dignity, and indefinable qualities in the experience of worship. But our Anglican ways can be shaped by ambition to be properly Anglican. That is not what Christ calls us to do and to be in worship: he calls us to himself, to be with him, to watch and pray with him, to listen to him and to break bread at his supper. Anglican liturgy must serve that end, not be an end in itself.