I find much of Anglicanism to be awkward.
I was chatting with one of my coworkers yesterday about the word choices in the 1979 prayer book compared to the new ACNA liturgy (please don’t stop reading this if that sounds like a really boring conversation). He mentioned that the response “and with your spirit” feels awkward. I agreed. He then contrasted it to “and also with you” which he thought felt more normal. I thought about it, and I disagreed. I find them both awkward.
A big part of my engagement with Anglicanism coming from an Evangelical background has been learning to pursue the beauty and truth in the words or actions that might at first feel awkward.
A couple years ago I was getting tired of the really old Eucharist liturgy that we were using during Lent (the one with all the “heartilies” and “oblations”), and the Lord gently corrected me through one of the men’s small group elders who that morning had intentionally read the old english Oswald Chambers’ daily reflection in order to get out of his own head. I was convicted by his humility in his approach to God’s transforming his life. He was not looking for the perfect fit for him. He was looking for something that would reshape his soul by pushing against the resistance in his heart.
I don’t kneel out of physical comfort. I don’t take a sip from the chalice to quench physical thirst. I don’t always sing out of wanting to. I don’t respond with “and with your spirit” as if I think it’s the perfect personal response. I don’t raise my hands during the Collect for Purity as if they’re just itching to be above my head. These are ways that I command my soul, my heart, my mind, and my body to bless the Lord.
I am thankful that these Anglican forms of worship have been forming me. And I exhort you to revisit the kneeling, the clunky phrases, the bread and wine, the hand raising, and other strange acts in order to let them more intentionally shape your posture before the Lord. To Him be all glory and honor forever and ever.
Glen Packium with Rooted Network has written a quick and extremely practical blog on the physicality of worship. I invite you to check it out.