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Let’s keep the mean between two extremes

03 October 2014


From the Revd Wealands Bell

Sir, - The words of the Revd John Whittaker concerning the desirable relationship between the altar table and the service of the world (Letters, 19 September) will have resonated with many. Indeed, some may have been reminded of St John Chrysostom's question: "What good is it if the [altar] is overloaded with golden chalices when your [neighbour] is dying of hunger?"

It is, of course, true that any worship offered with a heart closed to the world's suffering is no more than a deceptive, self-indulgent rigmarole. Equally, a Church devoted only to gritty service, with no time or energy left for the sacred spaces in which we join the angels in praising our all-holy God, is diminished.

The canons on seemliness and good order exist precisely to help us keep the mean between these two extremes, and we should not lightly cast them aside.

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