Can God Be Present in the Liturgy in an Age of Deconstruction?

Graham Hughes

Abstract


The question of 'presence' inhabits, to about the same degree but in very different forms, both the presuppositions of Christian liturgical practice and post-modern, or more exactly, post-structuralist, discourse. On the one side, the discussion reaches back many centuries, perhaps initially surfacing as a discussion in the dispute between Paschasius Radbertus and Ratramnus of Corbie in the ninth century as to the mode of Christ's presence in the eucharist. For Protestants, with whom the eucharist or Sacrament of Holy Communion as they prefer to call it carries less importance, the notion of 'presence' finds a more diffused form as a 'presence of God' inhabiting the entire liturgy. Though less clearly articulated, the idea (of 'presence') is here not less structurally or theologically important.

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