beloved accoutrements

Mark Kaley, Canon Orthodontist, pictured with Beloved Accoutrements

Mark Kaley, Canon Orthodontist, pictured with Beloved Accoutrements

Which parts of our tradition are most important to pass along to others? What pieces of our faith are truly indispensable, and what things look and feel central – let’s call those things Beloved Accoutrements – but aren’t quite?

Here’s the question I’m getting at: what almost-but-not-quite-central things would I be willing to give up (and this question only works in the first person) if it meant that others could better encounter those things that are really at the core of my faith?

I’ll just admit it: I like the gear that comes along with being a liturgical church. I love the colors, the great traditional hymns, the pageantry, the architecture, the language, the art, the vestments. I’m sure I like these things for all the right reasons. For me, they are a fitting way to offer praise and a perfect image of the richness of life in God. But if I’m honest with myself, I also like these things because…well, just because I do.

Perhaps those things that can seem kind of vital to doing church aren’t, much as I’m loathe to admit it, as vital as I’d like them to be.

Beloved accoutrements are usually beloved for good reason. I tend to like the ones that have stood the test of time. Others will prefer BA’s that remind them of the place they grew up, or the time that they first came to church, or simply because their familiarity makes it easier to worship.

Mr. T

“Beloved Accoutrements” Baracus: I ain’t singing new hymns, fool.

We don’t necessarily need to part with these things. Purging the good stuff in hopes that it will bring “them” in the door seems kind of a silly thing to do.

It’s helpful though to figure out what “things”, however wonderful, may in fact be Beloved Accoutrements. They’re all good, they all speak of God. But what would I be willing to part with if it meant opening new doors to the same church?


About bernardowens

I'm an Episcopal priest in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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