Archive for the ‘Enriching Our Worship’ Tag

Enriching Our Worship (1998)   1 comment

episcopal-shield

Above:  The Episcopal Shield

Enriching Our Worship (1998), authorized by the General Convention in 1997, is the first in a series (of five books so far) of thin paperback volumes of supplementary liturgical resources for The Episcopal Church.  My copy, which predates Enriching Our Worship 2-5, lacks has the simple title Enriching Our Worship, not Enriching Our Worship 1 (hereafter abbreviated as EOW1), as subsequent printings do.

The 88-page book contains alternative texts for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Great Litany, and the Holy Eucharist.  The purpose of these texts is to expand the range of metaphors for God beyond the predominance of masculine imagery contained in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The metaphors for God in EOW1, although not exclusively feminine (some are masculine), are primarily so.  The Standing Liturgical Commission, which prepared the book, drew from the Bible and prayers and writings of saints to accomplish a more balanced approach.  Thus Isaiah 66:10-14, which personifies Jerusalem as a mother, has become Canticle E.  Thus we read Canticle Q, a prayer of St. Anselm of Canterbury (died 1109)  in which he addresses Jesus as a mother.  Thus we see generous use of the writings of Julian of Norwich.  And thus we read the following blessing:

May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children be upon you and remain with you always.  Amen.

I found an insightful comment on page 13:

All liturgy is based upon a set of agreed-upon assumptions.  Whenever those assumptions are altered, there is the possibility of congregational reaction ranging from confusion to anger.

Masculine imagery for God is among the most traditional assumptions regarding Christian liturgy.  Yet feminine images for God occur also in the Bible, so they too are part of the range of Christian tradition reaching back to antiquity.  Patriarchal thinking, however, has ignored and minimized these for thousands of years.

The expansion of the range of prayers in EOW1 pertains to other issues also.   For example, the 1979 BCP version of the Great Litany  contains one petition for the President of the United States and all in positions of authority.  The EOW1 version of the Great Litany has three petitions.  We still pray for the President and all in authority, of course.  But we add the Mayor, the Governor, our state legislators, the members of Congress, and the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the most graceful ways to become more inclusive is to mention women from the Bible; EOW1 does this well.  In Eucharistic Prayer 1, for example, the celebrant says:

Through Abraham and Sarah

you called us into covenant with you.

–page 58

Did not Sarah play a vital role in salvation history?  I think that she did.

If EOW1 is a sign of what the next U.S. BCP will resemble, I anticipate that volume confidently.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Book of Common Prayer (2004)   2 comments

Ireland_amo_2010284_lrg

Above:  Ireland, October 11, 2010

Image Source = Jet Propulsion Laboratory

(http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=49687)

Image Courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A NOTE ABOUT SOURCES:

The contents of this post flow from Bishop Harold Miller’s chapter in The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Payer:  A Worldwide Survey (Oxford University Press, 2006, pages 431-437), his lecture at the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University (http://www.yale.edu/ism/colloq_journal/vol3/miller1.html), my online research, and my use and study of The Book of Common Prayer (2004).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SOME ONLINE RESOURCES:

The Texts Themselves:

http://www.ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=worship&id=12

Worship Homepage, Church of Ireland:

http://ireland.anglican.org/worship/1

Previous Editions of the Irish Prayer Book:

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Ireland.htm

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Eternal God and Father,

whose Son at supper prayed that his disciples might be one,

as he is one with you:

Draw us closer to him,

that in common love and obedience to you

we may be united to one another

in the fellowship of the one Spirit,

that the world may believe that he is Lord,

to your eternal glory;

through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004), page 335

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PREFACE

Liturgy interests me.  My childhood experiences of bad liturgy in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia interacted with my innate interest in ritualism to make me an Episcopalian.  There were other factors, of course, but those two constituted major factors in my decision to convert.  So I have become attached to versions of the Book of Common Prayer.  I know the 1979 BCP of The Episcopal Church the best.  Indeed, I am a Rite II person.  The 1928 Prayer Book is nothing more than an artifact to me; may it reside only as an exhibit in the proverbial museum of liturgy.  A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/a-new-zealand-prayer-bookhe-karakia-mihinare-o-aotearoa-1989/), among my favorites, has carved out a niche on the vanguard of Prayer Book revision and liturgical renewal.  I seek it out when I want more adventurous and less traditional rites, more experimental than even The Episcopal Church’s Enriching Our Worship series offers.

The language of prayer interests me.  My private name for God–the one I use when speaking to God alone–is simply “You.”  It is a modern English word, for I speak modern English.  “You” is intimate without committing anthropomorphism.  To call God “Thee” in this age is to rebuild a barrier which Jesus tore down via the Incarnation.  And, in the romance language versions of the Bible I have seen, the text uses the informal form of the second person to refer to God.

I understand that it is impossible to avoid committing anthropomorphism when calling God anything other than “You,” given our human perspectives and the limitations of language.  This is especially true in public worship and liturgies for private prayer.  Yet me must remember that our language for God contains many metaphors and that the reality behind them exceeds our capacity for understanding.  So I choose not to take offense at gendered metaphors, which can prove spiritually helpful if one knows that they are merely metaphors.

REVIEW

The Church of Ireland has produced and authorized a new edition of the Book of Common Prayer which contains both Elizabethan and modern English, preserves poetry in the modern English portions, and offers a relatively conservative example of Prayer Book revision.  The Church’s previous Prayer Books (that of 1926, for example) were based mostly on the 1662 BCP.  Liturgical renewal and Prayer Book revision, starting with the publication of the first new rites in 1967, led to the Alternative Prayer Book (1984) and subsequent services in the 1990s.  There were 1926 BCP parishes, 1984 APB parishes, and parishes that alternated between the two books.  But now, with The Book of Common Prayer (2004), the Church of Ireland has just one legal Prayer Book.

Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, lecturing at the Institute of Sacred Music of Yale University, summarized the volume as follows:

A quick review of prayer books in the Anglican Communion would show many liturgical volumes that are more flexible, more inculturated, more imaginative, and more “on the edge” theologically than the liturgies of the Church of Ireland.  For example, apart from a list of Celtic saints and their dates, and one or two Irish propers, some of the Irish hymns in the hymnal, and the fact that there is an Irish edition of the new BCP, there are very few signs of Celtic spirituality in the formal worship books of the Church of Ireland.  While characteristics such as flexibility, inculturation, and imagination and not in any sense absent from the 2004 Book of Common Prayer, the book is nevertheless characterized above all else by a desire for unity in the worship of God’s people–something greatly treasured in the Church of Ireland, not least because of our other political, cultural, and theological divisions on the island of Ireland.  This desire is, therefore, part of our own inculturation in a varied and sometimes divided community.  The theme song of the 1878 preface to the Book of Common Prayer is very much part of the psyche of the Church of Ireland when it states:  “What is imperfect wiht peace is often better than what is otherwise excellent without it.”

Indeed, unity is what The Book of Common Prayer (2004) is meant to maintain.  For example the rite for the Ash Wednesday service does not mention the imposition of ashes.  As Bishop Miller said at Yale University,

Reference to such a custom might divide.

My use of the book  has been restricted to private devotional purposes.  So I am not equipped to comment on whether the volume has had a unifying effect.  Bishop Miller says that it has had such an effect; I take his word for that.

The book itself is a handsome volume.  The green hardcover book features a Celtic cross and the words

THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

on the front cover.  The spine displays smaller versions of each of those features.  There are three ribbon bookmarks (white, light green, and dark green) for the user’s convenience.  The paper quality inside is excellent and the font is easy to read.  The rubrics are even printed in red ink.  The volume demonstrates the care which people took in preparing it.

The services and prayers are a combination of Elizabethan and modern English.

  1. Morning and Evening Prayer (printed together with morning and evening portions labeled plainly) come in both forms.
  2. The rites for Holy Communion come in both forms.
  3. The rituals for Christian Initiation come in both forms.
  4. The marriage ceremony comes in both forms.
  5. The Funeral Services come in both forms.
  6. The ordination rites come in both forms.
  7. The Collects and Canticles come in both forms.
  8. Compline comes only in Elizabethan English yet A Late Evening Office comes only in modern English.
  9. The ashless Ash Wednesday service comes only in modern English.
  10. The Daily Prayer service, which comes only in modern English, features a seven-day cycle of thanksgivings and intercessions–a nice touch.
  11. The Psalter, borrowed from The Church of England’s Common Worship (2000), is stately modern English.  Those who prefer the modified Coverdale Psalter from The Book of Common Prayer (1926) have the option of using it instead.
  12. The “Some Prayers and Thanksgivings” section contains both Elizabethan and modern English language.

The most non-traditional service in the 2004 BCP is the Service of the Word, outlined on page 165 with three pages of instructions following.  The rubrics use the word “may” often, as in

A Psalm and/or a Scripture Song may precede or follow readings.

It reminds me of An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist, a.k.a. Rite III, from The Book of Common Prayer (1979) in flexibility of structure.

The 2004 Prayer Book contains the Revised Common Lectionary for Sundays plus readings for major holy days and saints’ days.  The retention of the practice of numbering Sundays after Trinity, not Pentecost, is a holdover from olden times.  (The Episcopal switched to counting Sundays after Pentecost in the 1970s.)  The absence of a Daily Office lectionary seems odd to me, but the Worship Homepage of the denominational website provides that information.

I detect a careful Protestant-Roman Catholic balancing act taking place in the 2004 BCP.  This becomes evident not only in the ashless Ash Wednesday service but in a comparison of Holy Communion One (traditional) and Holy Communion Two (contemporary).  The language in both refers to the body and blood of Jesus in relation to the bread and the wine of the sacrament, but Holy Communion Two contains something crucial which Holy Communion One lacks.  The priest, at the breaking of the bread, says:

The bread which which we beak

is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The congregation responds:

We being many are one body,

for we all we share in the one bread.

Where is the Incarnation of Jesus in the sacrament located?  Is it situated in the bread and wine themselves?  Or is it a non-localized spiritual presence, as in Reformed theology?  The texts are vaguer on that point in Holy Communion Two than those of Holy Communion One are.  And one can read the language (without stretching them too much) in both rites to find them consistent with Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion not withstanding.  This vagueness need not be negative and my comments are not criticisms.  Much of the beauty of Anglicanism is located in its fence-straddling between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.  My own theology borrows generously from both sides.

CONCLUSION

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) has become a valuable part of my library.  I found its services online a few years ago, printed two of them, placed the pages in sheet protectors, and used the rituals.  But it is better to have a book sometimes, and I am a man of books.  True, the 2004 BCP is not a cutting-edge volume in regard to inclusive language or any other criterion, for it is a relatively cautious revision.  But it is a nice and graceful revision, a copy of which occupies space on the same shelf as A New Zealand Prayer Book, my favorite source for good cutting-edge liturgies.  I recognize the good in both and praise them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sacramental Time   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, October 31, 2010

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

(https://picasaweb.google.com/114749828757741527421/BishopWhitmoreVisitsStGregorySAthens#5534662562033783586)

The regular worship schedule at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, my parish, includes a Wednesday 6:00 P.M. Holy Eucharist and healing service.  This week the priest could not be present, so the duty of leading the midweek service fell eventually to me.  I learned of this duty a few moments before the 10:30 Sunday morning service.  That afternoon I began to make plans.  I decided that, although the bulletin listed the Wednesday service as Evening Prayer, I would use the rite to which regular attendees of the midweek service had become accustomed.  So the service would come from Enriching Our Worship, not The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  I would lop off the Eucharist, for lay presidency seems to be a peculiarity of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, and omit the use of chrism oil.  But we lay people, by the fact of our baptism, may baptize others in emergency situations.  So we can always pray for each other in normal circumstances.

I made the oral announcement at the 10:30 service that I would lead the service and retain the healing prayers element. My purpose was to encourage the regular quorum to attend.  They did not.  The only other person present was a retired gentleman–an excellent listener, by the way–who had not been present Sunday morning.  He, a regular attendee of the midweek service, shared the time and ministered grace to me.  As I came to realize almost immediately, two was the proper number that evening.

One practice during the midweek service is to pray for others.  Each week I bring a prayer (usually from a book of worship) or a concern from the news.  This week I prayed for malnourished Africans.  It is better to give thanks for one’s blessings and to pray for the needs of others than to carp endlessly about one’s own woes, no matter how severe they might be.  And interceding does take one beyond oneself–surely a useful spiritual exercise.

While asking for intercession for a friend to whom I have had a deep emotional attachment I shared my own emotional struggles in trying to help her through her troubles and in coming to terms with my own emotional turmoil relative to her.  I needed to talk, so I did.  And my fellow parishioner, a retired counselor,  listened and offered some useful advice.

We concluded the ritual.  He went on his way.  I remained, for I had choir practice afterward.  The two of us had shared something sacramental for God had been present.

Q:  Who are the ministers of the Church?

A:  The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 855

Lay persons come first in that list, as we should.  There are more of us than clergymen and clergywomen.  So we ought to do most of the work of the Church, not overload religious professionals.  One act of ministry we can perform is to be present for each other.

Q:  What are the sacraments?

A:  The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 857

Listening and sharing are not among the seven sacraments of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, but they can be just as sacramental as the recognized sacraments:  Baptism, Eucharist, Confession, Confirmation, Anointing, Ordination, and Marriage.  May we never forget that.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 16, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY WOMEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

THE FEAST OF BROTHER ROGER OF TAIZE, FOUNDER OF THE TAIZE COMMUNITY