Well, this one slipped by me since I noticed we received it in the store back in October. For those of you who are like me who don't come from a liturgical background there is a lot of unfamiliar language. IVP has a series of Pocket Dictionaries which are excellent resources for laymen and especially small group leaders who need a handy reference work that will provide definitions on any number of topics. The latest in the series is this one: the Pocket Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship. Since I've decided to follow the liturgical year this year I thought this would be a great resource. I'll give you one example.
The other day I was looking through the Book of Common Prayer and I noticed something called "The Collects". There was a prayer that followed it but I didn't know why it was called a Collect. This was a perfect opportunity for me to use my newly acquired dictionary. I looked it up and sure enough it was there. Here's what it said:
collect. A fixed liturgical *prayer for a particular occasion (i.e., the prayer of the day), so called because it was the comprehensive prayer of the *minister that collected the prayers of others present. As some are quite ancient, collects encapsulate a tradition's theological reflection (see lex orandi, lex credendi). Many liturgical books provide the texts of numerous collects.
This was very helpful. You'll notice some words are preceded by an asterisk. This is to indicate that that word is defined elsewhere in the dictionary.
With that I thumbed through looking for words I was never quite sure of the meaning: vespers, matins, introit, daily office and more. They were all there and most were very helpful. I say most because I would have liked a couple of them to give a little longer definition but it is, after all, a pocket dictionary. Over 600 terms are included. Topics include:
- Practices, such as altar call and benediction
- Rites, such as baptism and Eucharist
- Symbols, such as incense and dove
- Texts, such as Apostolic Constitutions and Book of Common Prayer
- Gestures, such as kneeling and sign of the cross
- Vestments, such as alb and robe
- Musical terms, such as a cappella and Agnus Dei
- Observances, such as All Saints' Day and Easter
- Architectural features, such as apse and sacristy
It also has three pages of bibliography for those who want to dig deeper. It is a paperback with 136 pages and sells for only $8.00. I look forward to using mine all year long.