Liturgica: Words and their meaning

MUCH REFLECTION has taken place in recent years on how ‘communication’ and ‘meaning’ function in worship. It would be presumptuous to think that we fully comprehend the process, but voices from various areas of interest seem to be saying much the same thing.

We normally assume that reading in public involves a process similar to what happens when reading on one’s own. We suppose that words and sentences carry fixed meaning and that there is little else to discuss apart from personal feelings or reaction to the text. Already, the words ‘personal feelings/reaction’ warn us against presuming a simple explanation. We bring to every text our own context and personal story which, in reality, modifies how we interpret what we are reading.