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A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (1989)   2 comments

Flag of New Zealand

Above:  Flag of New Zealand

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The entire volume is now available here:

http://anglicanprayerbook.org.nz/contents.htm.

But a hardbound copy is still better.

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One may find other resources here:

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

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A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) is a thoroughly modern resource.  It is also a departure from its predecessor, which resembled closely The Book of Common Prayer (1662).  But time and language march on, as should liturgy.

I will not attempt to replicate the excellent analysis of this volume from The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer (2006), edited by Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck.  Kenneth Booth’s chapter on A New Zealand Prayer Book provides fine explanations of the book itself and its multicultural, theological, and liturgical contexts.  I refer you, O reader to The Oxford Guide for such analysis.  My purpose here is to provide personal reflections based on private use of the book.

A New Zealand Prayer Book, the prayer book of The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, is the result of a quarter-century of liturgical revision.  The result is a book in English, Maori, and Tongan.  And the English is modern and inclusive.  In the Night Prayer ritual, for example one finds a Maori translation and two English versions of the Lord’s Prayer.  One English rendering is fairly traditional, minus archaic language.  Be banished, Elizabethan English, from Prayer Books!  Get thee to the hills and remaineth there!  (That last part is just me being punchy.) The other English translation is wonderfully non-traditional:

Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven.

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the people of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and for ever.  Amen.

Sometimes texts become so familiar in a certain translation as to become old hat.  Hearing or reading them in different translations helps one to encounter them afresh.

The Calendar is distinct to New Zealand, with the usual Universal Church holy days, of course.  So the Conversion of St. Paul is still January 25, the Annunciation is still March 25, the Transfiguration is still August 6, et cetera.  English and Maori saints (of various denominations) of the islands populate the Calendar, as do great Roman Catholic saints from antiquity to modern times.  And the Calendar includes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pope John XXIII, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as it should.

A New Zealand Prayer Book offers not only public services but private and family ones.  The rites for Daily Devotions fill pages 104-137, providing distinct morning and evening rituals for each day of the week.  In contrast, The Book of Common Prayer (1979) of my own Episcopal Church provides one form for a daily morning devotion, another for a Noontime devotion, a third for early evening, and a final one for the close of the day–one page each, four pages in all.

A New Zealand Prayer Book also provides a service called Midday Prayer, whereas The Book of Common Prayer (1979) offers An Order of Service for Noonday.  The New Zealand service provides more options, not that the Episcopal service is not lovely and meaningful.

Sometimes, in The Episcopal Church, we hear the lector read an unpleasant portion of Scripture, one which ends with people dead, injured seriously, struck blind, and stricken with a disease.  Then he or she says the prescribed prompt:

The Word of the Lord.

The congregation replies,

Thanks be to God.

If the reading comes from one of the Gospels and a deacon or priest reads it, he or she says,

The Gospel of the Lord.

The congregation replies,

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

This has proven to be awkward sometimes.  I recall that, on some occasions, the congregation has offered up a pregnant pause before saying half-heartedly,

Thanks be to God.

Someone has just died terribly or come down with a disease in the reading; are we to be thankful?  Fortunately, A New Zealand Prayer Book reduces the non-Gospel awkwardness.  The lector says,

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

Then the congregation answers,

Thanks be to God.

That is what I think when I use A New Zealand Prayer Book:

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church./Thanks be to God.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF EDWARD CASWALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD PERRONET, BRITISH METHODIST PREACHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENEVIEVE, PROPHET

THE FEAST OF GLADYS AYLWARD, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY TO CHINA

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