How might Ambrose of Milan, Hildegard of Bingen, and Catherine of Siena inspire us to improve Sunday worship? What about Lawrence, John of Damascus, Thomas Cranmer, Johannes Kepler, Margaret Fell, and Dorothy Day? Even Amy Carmichael can point our assemblies toward more profound worship. In Saints on Sunday, Lutheran laywoman Gail Ramshaw, listening to twenty-four sainted voices, proposes how our past might enliven our future. Characterized by rigorous scholarship and no-nonsense honesty, her essays suggest ways to enrich the gathering, word, meal, and sending of our assemblies on Sunday.
Gail Ramshaw studies and crafts liturgical language from her home outside of Washington, DC. A Lutheran laywoman, a past president of the North American Academy of Liturgy and recipient of its Berakah award, and professor emerita of religion at La Salle University, she has published extensively about biblical metaphors, the Revised Common Lectionary, and parish liturgical practice.
"Gail Ramshaw enjoys conversations. The gathering around the table with her and other guests generates conversation with fascinating stopping points and vistas, which always return to a center point of a love for the church and liturgy. This book offers a series of conversations with friends of Gail Ramshaw. These `twenty-four elders' (Rev. 4:4), invited from the list of the church's long history, each provide the starting point for a spirited interchange on the liturgical traditions and faith convictions their lives embody. An ancient friend like Justin Martyr speaks of Sunday while a modern one like Dorothy Day muses on prayers of intercession for those homeless and in need. Anecdotes and observations about contemporary liturgical concerns limn a portrait of the liturgy of life. This series of conversations will provide hours of thought, prayer, and occasional smiles for those who pull up a chair at the table and join in."
Re v. Michael G. Witczak, SLD, Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology, The Catholic University of America
"Here is a book to make us think—with Gail Ramshaw, in the company of saints, and for ourselves—about what `Sunday' could be if we took to heart the wisdom from the past assembled in these pages. As sagacious as ever, and in the most personal voice in her own writing since Under the Tree of Life twenty years ago, Gail Ramshaw continues to offer us vivid, winsome, lively reading. A wonderful book."
Stephen Burns, Professor of Liturgical and Practical Theology, Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia
"Here is some of the richest fruit of Gail Ramshaw's fifty-some years spent studying and constructing liturgical language.
"In her wise and sparkling treatment, these twenty-four saints ask us to examine our ways of worship to consider adopting faithfully the practices of other communions, accommodating both introverts and extroverts, noticing the poverty of liturgical rigidity, and much more.
"If not for the vast historical and theological information Ramshaw offers, this book would be valuable just for her questions: Can yards of red cloth speak Holy Spirit? Are individual chairs for worship best for families? Is `ordinary' the best word for the green season?
"This book makes me want to know my Christian ancestors."
The Rev. Melinda A. Quivik, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Liturgy, President, North American Academy of Liturgy
“Through all these prominent members of the past belonging to different Christian confessions, Gail Ramshaw illustrates the experience of Sunday in the presence of Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists, etc. with their diversity of currents and approaches. It is an original presentation of Christian models that history has bequeathed us, with an ecumenical vision, so that their message does not remain silent and they remind us what dimensions must be present to Sunday believers thus enriching the cult assemblies, the celebrations of the word, the breaking of bread, or other liturgical forms proper to the Lord's Day.”
"Gail Ramshaw delights and challenges as she probes the lives and writings of saints through the centuries, inviting her readers to think deeply about what Christians say and do in Sunday worship. With more questions than answers, she encourages her readers to re-imagine and re-invigorate their worship practices."
Ruth Meyers, Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics, Church Divinity School of the Pacific