Sunday, November 22, 2009
Worship Without Words: the Signs and Symbols of Our Faith
Paraclete Press sent me a complimentary copy of Worship Without Words: the Signs and Symbols or Our Faith. It explains the symbols that you find in churches that have some kind of historic architecture as well as words used during the service. The author is Roman Catholic but she covers Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches as well. I found the section on architecture to be the most helpful. I'm always getting words like chancel, sanctuary, nave, and narthex confused in my head. This book has some very helpful diagrams. One is an overhead shot diagramming the various parts of a church with a cruciform floor plan. Another gives a view from the nave looking towards the sanctuary. In many Protestant churches when people talk about the sanctuary they are referring to the area that people sit in but this is really the nave. As the book points out "nave" is the Latin word for ship and "In ecclesiastical art, the Church is represented as a ship sailing toward heaven. The ship's "passengers" are the parishioners who sit in the main part of the church." This isn't the type of book you are likely to read all the way through but it's an excellent reference.
Posted by Chuck Wiese at 4:42 PM