Thomas Cranmer and the Lively Word II: Liturgy as Catechesis
The Rev. Dr. ASHLEY NULL, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Western Kansas, on Thomas Cranmer and the heart of discipleship:
Cranmer believed that the only effective motivation for the Christian life was not shame, guilt, fear or duty but rather love. And, according to the Bible, love for God sprang only from knowing that one was already loved by God. For Cranmer, such assurance of divine love was only possible by God working supernaturally through the promises of his life-giving Word. Hence, at the very heart of his understanding of Christian formation was the right proclamation of the saving truths of Scripture. Naturally, then, the first major liturgical change he made under Edward VI was to require the reading of a new set of English homilies during the Latin Mass that proclaimed his Protestant understanding of the Gospel. Ashley vividly recounted the conversions of Thomas Bilney and Catherine Parr as they experienced the lively faith set forth in these texts.
But he also went on to describe the wider liturgical framework in which conversion occurred, encompassing the daily office, the collects and litany, and, of course, the Eucharist. Ashley covered much ground in his two addresses to the Conference, shedding further light on the love, the power, and the presence of God in the practices of Word and Sacrament in historic Anglicanism.
(* Ashley Null’s third address at the AWAF Conference is not available as an audio recording.)