Archive for the ‘Worship’ Tag

Muhlenberg’s Dream: The Road to the Common Service, 1748-1888   23 comments

148685pv

Above:  St. John’s Lutheran Church, Charleston, South Carolina

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/sc0169.photos.148685p/)

Reproduction Number = HABS SC,10-CHAR,42–12

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART I

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I.  BACKGROUND

European Lutherans began to settle in the colonies successfully (at New Netherland, to be precise) in the 1620s.  Then there was New Sweden, settled beginning in 1638 at the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware.  The first Lutheran church in America dated to 1646 on Tinicum Island in the Delaware River, when about five hundred people lived in the colony.  Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Netherland, conquered New Sweden in 1655.  Then New Netherland became New York in 1664.  The Lutherans (many of them Finns, for Sweden used to encompass much of Finland), cut off from Sweden, waned, and many of their leaders returned to the old country.  King Charles XI of Sweden revived the flagging Lutheran churches in the 1690s by sending ministers, catechisms, Bibles, and other books.  The founding of new congregations (many of them now Episcopalian) commenced.

There was initially much resistance in the territories which did, in time, become the United States of America to worship in English.  Many colonists with heritages in countries with languages other than English preferred the foreign language, at least for church purposes.  Many of those who preferred to worship in English became Anglicans, and many English-language Lutheran congregations abandoned the Lutheran identity for The Church of England or (after 1788) The Episcopal Church.  The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New-York (formed in 1786) favored German initially.  And, although there was an English-language hymnal and service book in that synod in 1795, the Synod’s official position just two years later was to encourage those who wished to worship in English to become Episcopalians.  Yet, as Lutherans moved into various colonies, many of them wished to worship in English and remain Lutherans.

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II.  HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG AND THE 1748 AND 1786 LITURGIES

The chaos which was American Lutheranism in early colonial times called out for the creation of order.  That task fell to Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and his assistants.  The thirty-one-year-old German arrived in America on November 25, 1742, and began his great and daunting work.  Who was a legitimate Lutheran minister?  Many imposters roamed the landscape, wreaking havoc in their wake.  To make a long story short and a complex story simple, he died in 1787, having done his work faithfully and laid a firm foundation for U.S. Lutheranism.

Muhlenberg and others gathered at St. Michael’s Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1748 to constitute the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  At that meeting they also approved the first American Lutheran liturgy, one based on German forms and the service at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church, London, England.  Muhlenberg had worked on the service with the help of two other German pastors, Peter Brunnholtz and John Frederick Handschuh.  This was a compromise liturgy, for there was a variety of Lutheran liturgies in America, and the Swedish rites, with their singing of the Collects, was too “Papist” for many Germans.  The Ministerium vowed to use the 1748 liturgy exclusively, but pastors had to copy out the text, which the Ministerium did not have published.

The 1786 revision did go the printing presses, however.  An English translation of it appeared in the Hymn and Prayer-Book For the Ufe of Fuch Churches as Ufe the Englifh Language (1795) (http://archive.org/details/hymnprayerbo00kunz).  The Reverend John C. Kunze, who had organized the Synod of New-York, wanted to encourage those who preferred to worship in English to remain Lutherans.

The form of the Communion Service is, by 2013 standards, quite sparse.  But the Liturgy of the 1795 book does contain prayers for various settings and for congregations, families, and individuals to use.  And one finds there a catechism (or catechifm), pentitential psalms, and documents explaining Christian history, Lutheran history, and the theology of salvation, aw well as forms for funerals, weddings, and baptisms.  The well-developed lectionary is another nice touch.  Also, the Communion service ends with the Aaronic Blessing (from Numbers 6:23-26) and the Trinitarian formula:

The Lord bless thee, and preferve thee.

The Lord enlighten his countenance upon thee,

and be gracious unto thee!

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,

and give thee peace.  Amen.

In the name of God the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The liturgy specifies that members are to celebrate Communion at least on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost.

Muhlenberg wanted Lutherans to think beyond their local and provincial interests and to focus on broader goals.  Thus he dreamed of a unified liturgy–one he never saw.  In a letter he wrote on November 5, 1783, the Lutheran Patriarch said:

It would be a most delightful and advantageous thing if all the Evangelical Lutheran congregations in North America were united with one another, if they all used the same order of service.

–Quoted in Luther D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America (Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947), page 181

Yet others kept that dream alive.

Negative liturgical developments occurred as early as 1786.  The revised liturgy of that year omitted the Gloria, the Collect of the Day, and the Nicene Creed, for example.  The 1748 order of worship had specified the following order:

  • Hymn
  • Congregational confession of sins
  • Gloria
  • Collect of the Day
  • Epistle reading
  • Hymn
  • Gospel reading
  • Nicene Creed
  • Sermon
  • General Prayer
  • Announcements
  • Peace
  • Hymn
  • Closing Collect
  • Benediction

But the 1786 revision, in making corporate worship minister-focused, left the congregation with little to do.  This tendency became more prominent as time passed, unfortunately.

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III.  MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION AS SINGING KNOTS ON LOGS

In 1814, for example, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New-York (yes, they hyphenated the name then) published A Collection of Hymns and a Liturgy for the Use of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches; To Which are Added Prayers for Families and Individuals (http://archive.org/details/collectionofhymn00evan and http://archive.org/details/cluthe00evan).  The driving force behind this book and its 1814 liturgy (not 1817, as Abdel Ross Wentz says in The Lutheran Church in American History) was Dr. Frederick H. Quitman, D.D., President of the Synod.  This new liturgy was minister-focused.  And gone was the Aaronic Blessing, replaced with a rubric:

The service is concluded with a hymn and one of the usual benedictions.

Dr. Wentz, in his book on American Lutheran history, criticized the Rationalistic tendencies with which Quitman infused the 1814 liturgy and with which he also influenced the 1818 German-language liturgy of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Luther D. Reed, Lutheran liturgical expert extraordinaire, noted the lack of interactvity in the 1818 rite.

Studying the 1814 New York book has revealed some interesting touches.  There is, for example, a prayer for a servant to say on pages 121 and 122.  That prayer reflected its times and the interests of those who had servants, not those of the servants themselves.  And there was a nice portion of the Eucharistic rite:

How can we ever be sufficiently grateful to thee, for preparing such a table for us in the wilderness of this world!  What good thing can we ever want, whilst we have thee for our Shepherd?  What mercy wilt thou refuse to those, whom thou hast redeemed, not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ!  What consolation and joy are poured into our hearts, whilst we contemplate him crucified and risen again, triumphing over all his fores and ours, seated at thy right hand, and raising his disciples to his own glory and happiness!

–Page 61 of the Liturgy section, 1814

Various synods–Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia and Maryland–covering more states than those names indicate–joined forces in 1820 to form the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America.  This national body did not include the Joint Synod of Ohio or the Tennessee Synod, which formed out of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and the North Carolina Synod respectively.  The General Synod published an enlarged version of the New York 1814 liturgy in an 1837 English-language hymnal.  A 1832 English-language liturgy commissioned by the General Synod and published in a 1834 edition of the New York Collection of Hymns (http://archive.org/details/collectionofhy00evan), was incredible minister-focused, allowing the singing of hymns as the only form of congregational participation.  This restricted role for laypeople continued in the General Synod’s 1842 German-language liturgy (a revision of the 1818 rite) and its 1847 English-language counterpart.  However, the General Synod did publish a revised edition of its 1847 liturgy in 1856, adding the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed to the ritual.  And, in the Creed, the Church was “Catholic.”

In other liturgical news, the Joint Synod of Ohio (1818-1930) published an 1830 English-language liturgy which gave the people little to do.  The Joint Synod worked on the General Synod’s 1847 liturgy.

Frontier conditions made doing proper liturgy difficult.  Thus going to a minister-focused model was practical.  Yet that act constituted bad theology, for “liturgy” means “work of the people.”  The people did not “work” much when all they did was sit, stand, and sing.  To borrow words from  the much-maligned 1814 New York liturgy, Lutherans lived “in the wilderness of this world.”  Breaking away from a frontier mentality was a requirement for doing proper–or at least better–liturgy.

That liturgy was on the way, starting with the Pennsylvania Liturgy of 1860.  A new liturgical age was about to dawn.

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IV.  LITURGICAL RENEWAL

In 1860 the Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Other States published A Liturgy for Use of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (http://archive.org/details/liturgyforuseofe00np).  This liturgy, based on Muhlenberg’s 1748 forms and pre-Reformation rituals, laid the foundation for subsequent services in the next few years while appropriating parts of The Book of Common Prayer generously.  One who reads the 1786 and 1860 liturgies carefully then pays close attention to the Common Service of 1888 should recognize the lineage.

Some particulars of the 1860 Liturgy follow:

  • The Nicene Creed is present as an “occasional” substitute for the Apostles’ Creed.  In both Creeds the Church is “Christian,” not “Catholic,” a pattern which repeats for the rest of the century and beyond.
  • The Liturgy keeps the long General Prayer before the sermon not because it works best there but because people have become used to it being there.  Later (by a few years) services move the General Prayer to a spot after the sermon, thereby not interrupting the flow of the service.
  • There is, as in subsequent liturgies influenced by this one, a section of rites for “Ministerial Acts,” such as funerals, weddings, baptisms, and installations.
  • The fixed feasts in the book are Christmas Day (December 25), the Circumcision of Jesus/New Year’s Day (January 1), the Epiphany (January 6), and The Festival of the Reformation (October 31).

The General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States of America (1820-1918) divided twice during the 1860s.  First the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of America organized in 1863.  It renamed itself the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America in 1866 then merged with the Holston Synod and the Tennessee Synod to create the United Synod of the South, known simply as the United Synod of the South, in 1866.  The General Synod split again in 1867, when the more conservative General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America constituted itself.  By the way, the antecedents of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) (1918-) helped to form the General Council then left it–one in 1869, another in 1871, and the third in 1888.  Also, the General Synod, the United Synod of the South, and the General Council reunited in 1918 to create The United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), which merged into the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1962.  The LCA helped to create the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in 1987.

The Southern Church, called the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America in 1867, published The Book of Worship (http://archive.org/details/bookofworshi00gene) that year.  This book, which owed much to the  1860 Pennsylvania Liturgy, constituted a great liturgical advance.  The order of Morning Service set the General Prayer after the sermon, unlike the 1860 rite.  Hints of the Common Service of 1888 began to become prominent , as in the Confession of Sin.  And the presence of rituals for other occasions, as in the Order of Ministerial Acts, indicated that the liturgy was not an afterthought tacked onto a hymnal.

The Church Book (1868) (http://archive.org/details/chuse00gene) was another great liturgical advance and foreshadowing of things to come.  The 1868 Book, revised over the decades to include music (http://archive.org/details/evanluth00gene), Ministerial Acts (http://archive.org/details/congruse00gene), and more options for Introits and Collects (http://archive.org/details/chuluth00gene), was in English.  Its German-language counterpart debuted in 1877.  The Church Book, owing much to The Book of Common Prayer and the 1860 Liturgy, set the pattern for the Common Service Book (1917).  There were no Matins of Vespers yet, but the lectionary, two forms for Morning Worship, and the prayers were impressive.  Also, the General Prayer followed the sermon and the Aaronic Blessing ended the service.  The Church Book gained slightly wider acceptance in 1872, when the Tennessee Synod accepted it in place of that body’s 1840 liturgy.

The General Synod revised its liturgy further in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s.  The Provisional Liturgy of 1866, never authorized, became the basis of the “Washington Service” of 1869, authorized by the General Synod.  This was the Provisional Liturgy plus the Gloria Patri, the Kyrie, and the Gloria in Excelsis.  It constituted a great advance in recovering a historical Lutheran order of worship.  This Service appeared in the Book of Worship (1871) (http://archive.org/details/bookofworship71gene). an unfortunate volume which consisted mostly of hymns with about twenty pages of services tacked onto the front and prayers, the Augsburg Confession, and Martin Luther’s Small Catechism tucked in at the back.  The Liturgy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (1881) (http://archive.org/details/liturgyofevangel00gene), however, added more material and kept up will and with the Lutheran Joneses–the General Council’s Church Book and the Southern Church’s Book of Worship.

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V.  THE SHORT TRAIL TO THE COMMON SERVICE, 1870-1888

In 1870, the Reverend Doctor John Bachman, Pastor of St. John’s Church, Charleston, South Carolina (hence the photograph at the top of this post), wrote the leaders of his denomination, the (Southern) General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, telling them that greater liturgical uniformity among U.S. Lutherans would increase domestic and foreign respect for U.S. Lutheranism and enable the Lutheran churches to accomplish more good in the world.  That proposal failed in 1870 yet passed six years later.  The General Council agreed to cooperate with its Southern counterpart in 1879.  And the (original) General Synod, parent to the other two bodies, joined the party in 1883.

Work got underway in 1884.  All three denominations worked out their disagreements over the committee’s proposed liturgy and the Common Service debuted in 1888 (http://archive.org/details/congruse00gene).

Analysis of the Common Service will wait until the next post in this series.

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VI.  OTHER LITURGIES

I have focused on the mainstream of Lutheran liturgical development so far.  That has been appropriate.  Yet I would be negligent if I were to ignore other liturgical traditions within U.S. Lutheranism through 1888.

It was commonplace for many Lutheran services in the United States to occur in German or some other foreign language into the twentieth century.  In fact, foreign language Lutheran services continue to occur.  Southwest of my location, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Church of the Redeemer (http://www.redeemer.org/) hosts a German-language service, for example.

Back in the nineteenth century….

It was commonplace for English and foreign-language services to coexist within the same denomination.

  • The Norwegian Synod produced its first English-language hymnal in 1879.  Some members of the Missouri Synod used this volume.
  • The Missouri Synod, which used the Saxon and Loehe Agendas primarily for worship, published the unofficial Lutheran Hymns For the Use of English Lutheran Missions in 1882.
  • The Buffalo Synod (1845-1930), of German origin, produced its first English Language hymnal, The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, in 1880, with the Joint Synod of Ohio and Other States (http://archive.org/details/evangelicalluthe00evan).  The music edition appeared in 1908 (http://archive.org/details/evangelicalluthe08van).  The service 1880 service was either the 1867 Southern Lutheran service or a variant thereof, where as the 1908 rite was either the 1860 Pennsylvania Liturgy or a variant thereof.
  • Finnish Lutheran congregations began to form about 1867.  Prior to that date Finnish Lutherans had joined Norwegian or Swedish congregations.
  • The (Swedish) Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church published its first English-language hymnal after 1888.
  • Danish Lutherans in the U.S. published their first English-language hymnal after 1888.

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VII.  CONCLUSION

The Common Service of 1888 did not impose liturgical uniformity upon U.S. Lutheranism.  It has yet to do so, as a review of hymnals and service books in use among U.S. Lutherans confirms.

There is, God willing, more to come.  With these words I conclude this post, the first in a planned series.  Next I will read for and prepare part two.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 14, 2013 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10:  THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL OCCUM, PRESBYTERIAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT CAMILLUS DE LELLIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As much as possible I prefer to work with primary sources, although secondary sources frequently prove invaluable in making the best sense of those primary sources.  And I prefer to work with actual bound volumes as much as possible.  For this post, however, most of my sources have been electronic, and I have provided links to them.  So I consider those linked ones cited properly.  I did find certain bound volumes invaluable.  Those credits follow:

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Marggraf, Bruce.  “A History of Hymnal Changeovers in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.”  May 28, 1982.

Schalk, Carl.  “A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

KRT

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An Incomplete Recovery of the Holy Eucharist   7 comments

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Above:  My Copy of the 2004/2005 PC(USA) Book of Order

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While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins….”

–Matthew 26:26-28, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

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This post follows these:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/

Reading them first will enhance one’s comprehension of this post, which refers to the book covered in another post:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/

THE AUTHOR

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BODY

In 1983 The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) reunited with the mainly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [PC(USA)].  At reunion the denomination adopted the Directory for the Service of God, a revision of the 1961 UPCUSA Directory for the Worship of God and the 1963 PCUS Directory for Worship and Work.  The 1983 Directory says in part:

The ordering of public worship shall maintain fidelity to the Scriptures and the practices of the New Testament church, taking account and utilizing the historical experiences of the universal church that are consistent with a right demonstration of the gospel.

The service of worship is to be ordered so that all participate.  Worshipers should not be mere spectators, but participants who, together with the minister, are engaged in a joint ministry of service to God through corporate worship….

Book of Order (Louisville, KY:  The Office of the General Assembly, 1988, S-2.0400)

Of the Holy Communion the 1983 Directory says:

Since the Sacrament is an action in which the whole church participates and is part of the public witness of the church to the power of the Word, it is normally celebrated in the regular place of worship as the culmination of the public worship of God.  It should not be isolated from the acts of worship which precede and follow it.  Thus it will be preceded properly by the reading and preaching of the Word, during which the people may prepare to receive and appropriate the Word of God offered to them in the Sacrament, that the sacramental Word may be shown forth in full unity with the written and preached Word.

–S-3.0500.a

The PC(USA) 1989 Directory of Worship, in continuity with its 1961 and 1983 predecessors, affirms that

In the life of the worshiping congregation, Word and Sacrament have an integral relationship.  Whenever the Lord’s Supper is celebrated it shall be preceded by the reading and proclamation of the Word.

Book of Order (Louisville, KY:  The Office of the General Assembly, 2004, W-2.4008)

This is to occur

regularly and frequently enough to be recognized as integral to the Service of the Lord’s Day.

–W-2.4009

This means

in no case less than quarterly.

–W-2.4012

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CONCLUSION

Last year I reviewed the Book of Common Worship (1993).  Recently I began to review its four predecessors (1906, 1932, 1946, and 1970/1972), contextualizing them.  One recurring theme in this series of seven posts (ordered almost as oddly as novels in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, I know) is the effort to recover that which was lost.  The Worshipbook (1970/1972) and the Book of Common Worship (1993) stand on the shoulders of giants and reflect the times in which committees forged them.  Unfortunately, the recovery of that which was lost–good liturgy and weekly Communion–remains incomplete.  The rejection of Christian tradition (even John Calvin’s tradition) has become a tradition itself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)–Services   17 comments

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Above:  My Copy of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)

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This post follows these:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/

Reading them first will enhance one’s comprehension of this post.

THE AUTHOR

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INTRODUCTION

Philip H. Pfatteicher wrote:

…the new is not always found in opposition to the old but arises from the old as natural growth and development.  Stability and continuity are essential elements of catholic Christianity.

Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context (Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990, page 10)

Sometimes that which is new is really a recovery of something older than the status quo ante yet lost.  Thus innovation can incorporate deep respect for tradition.  The best of the liturgical renewal of the the 1960s and the 1970s (such as The Book of Common Prayer of 1979) demonstrates this principle.  Its embrace of pre-Reformation (even ancient) liturgies as foundations for new ones (in modern English, fortunately) was a positive development.

The Worshipbook, a remarkable achievement in some respects, fell far short of liturgical greatness.  It, the first major U.S. Protestant book of worship in contemporary English, followed the Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1965/), written in Elizabethan English, by just a few years.  Both books became dated very quickly, but for different reasons.  The 1965 volume’s olden-style language made it a relic of a bygone era by the early 1970s.  But The Worshipbook (Services, 1970 + Hymns, 1972) became dated because of the presentist nature of its language.  The liturgical failure of the volume helped the shapers of the Book of Common Worship (1993) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/) learn vital lessons as they created a modern service book with lovely modern English.

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BODY

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Above:  My Copy of the 1963-1964 UPCUSA Constitution

The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) in 1958.  The pre-merger bodies and the mostly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) had already collaborated on The Hymnbook (1955), successor to The Presbyterian Hymnal (PCUS, 1927) and The Hymnal (PCUSA, 1933).

The UPCUSA replaced its amended version of the 1788 Directory for Worship with the new Directory for the Worship of God in 1961.  This Neo-orthodox document established the Holy Communion as the normative Sunday service:

It is fitting that it be observed as frequently as on each Lord’s Day, and it ought to be observed frequently and regularly enough that it is seen as a proper part of, and not an addition to, the worship of God by his people.

The Constitution of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philadelphia, PA:  The Office of the General Assembly, 1963, page 108)

The 1961 UPCUSA Directory rejected Jure Divino and embraced a combination of Scripture and Christian history.  It also established two readings (from the Old and New Testaments) as the norm in public worship and favored the unity of word and sacrament, making that union normative.

The PCUS replaced its 1894 Directory for Worship (amended in 1929) with the new Directory of Worship and Work, a vaguer and more conservative document which stressed the proper relationship of worship to the rest of life, in 1963.  This document, unlike its UPCUSA counterpart, contained some rituals–for Holy Communion, baptism, and confirmation.

These developments and the changes in the Roman Catholic Church and in mainline Protestant denominations during the 1960s influenced the shape of The Worshipbook.  Ecumenical and liturgical convergence also came to bear on the fourth volume in the Book of Common Worship series.  The Worshipbook–Services (1970) was bound two years later as the front part of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  Thus the 1972 volume was the successor to both The Book of Common Worship (1946) and The Hymnbook (1955).  This was an ecumenical effort, being an official publication of the UPCUSA, the PCUS, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Of the 1972 hymnal I choose to make only one statement, which speaks for itself:  The organizational structure is alphabetical order.  In contrast, The Presbyterian Hymnal:  Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs (1990), its immediate successor, follows a different system for hymns:

  • Christian Year;
  • Psalms; and
  • Topical Hymns.

As I type these words I await the release of Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal (2013).

The Preface of The Worshipbook explains the rationale for the name change from Book of Common Worship:

The Worshipbook is a new book with a new name, offered in the hope that it will serve a new age in the church.  The old and well-beloved title of the former book, The Book of Common Worship, has been sacrificed because the word common is no longer used as it was in times gone by.  The change in title is symbolic of the attempt to help Christians, and those who may become Christians, to hear God’s word, to worship him, in the language of their needs and aspirations today.

–Page 9

O that the language could have been poetic!  Alas, it was not!

Yet The Worshipbook, consistent with the 1961 UPCUSA Directory, makes the Holy Communion part of the order of worship, not an addition to it.  That relative liturgical innovation was really a return to a long-abandoned (by the Presbyterians) practice, one which John Calvin favored in the 1500s.  He, in turn, took it from fifteen centuries of Christian practice.

Most of the types of rituals in The Worshipbook are boiler-plate material for such a volume–baptism, confirmation, weddings, funerals, Holy Communion, ordination, installation, and recognition.  There are also litanies and many prayers and a plethora of resources for Sundays and holy days of the Christian Year, according to the revised Roman Catholic calendar introduced in Advent 1969.  That is all very good.  And the language is contemporary.  That is also fine, for I prefer modern English.  Furthermore, the desire to speak to the people of the time was noble, but there is such a thing as poetic contemporary English, which is lacking in The Worshipbook.

One element of The Worshipbook does delight me most of all.  The church adopted a slightly modified Roman Catholic lectionary.  My active imagination creates a scene in which Dr. Robert L. Dabney (see the Introduction to this post:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/) kvetches endlessly.  O bliss!

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CONCLUSION

The Worshipbook is an odd blend of the wonderful and the bland.  Unfortunately, the latter taints the effort for me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Book of Common Worship (1946)   14 comments

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Above:  The Title Page of The Book of Common Worship (1946)

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This post follows these:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

Reading them first will enhance one’s comprehension of this post.

THE AUTHOR

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INTRODUCTION

The Church of Scotland, in 1940, published its landmark Book of Church Order, which became one of the two primary foundations for The Book of Common Worship (1946).  The other main foundation was The Book of Common Prayer (1928).  Hugh Thompson Kerr (1872-1950), who had served on the committee which prepared The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/), served also on the committee which prepared the 1946 volume.  Kerr, who had earned his Th.D. from an Episcopal seminary, prepared the Eucharistic rite in the 1946 book.

The Book of Common Worship (1946), the third U.S. Presbyterian volume to bear that name yet the first to be not just authorized but official, is something of a historical-liturgical oddity.  It is a product of a time (1937-1948) when the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) and The Episcopal Church (then known officially as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, or PECUSA for short) were discussing a possible merger.  With all due respect to my Presbyterian brethren, I am glad that the organic union did not occur.  (Many of my Presbyterian brethren agree with me, I am sure.)  The merger would have been unworkable.  Sometimes it is better to remain separate and to cooperate when possible than to combine institutionally.

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BODY

The Book of Common Worship (1946) is light-years ahead of The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932), which it replaced, and of The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1945) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1945/), of The Methodist Church (1939-1968), another denomination part of which was breaking out of the shackles of long-term liturgical inadequacy.

The 1946 BCW, after the Preface and the Acknowledgments, gets down to business with prayers for preparation for worship–preparation by the congregation, preparation by the minister, and prayers with the choir.  Then follow six orders of Morning Worship, five orders of Evening Worship, two Services for Children, two Services for Young People, five Litanies, and the Commandments.  The orders of worship keep the sermon at the center of worship.

This was also true in The Episcopal Church at the time.  Prior to liturgical renewal in the 1960s and the 1970s, it was common for the usual Sunday service in Episcopal congregations to be Morning Prayer, with the Holy Communion on one Sunday each month.  The Book of Common Prayer (1979) has defined the Holy Eucharist as the central act of Christian worship, fortunately.

Back to the Presbyterians…..

Section III of the 1946 BCW is “The Sacraments and Ordinances of the Church.”  It contains rites for baptism, confirmation of baptismal vows, Holy Communion and preparation therefor, Holy Communion with the ill, marriage, the blessing of a civil marriage, the funeral, ordaining people and installing them in clergy and lay positions, recognizing various ministries of people on the congregational and larger church levels, dedicating a church, dedicating an organ, dedicating a gift to a congregation, laying a church cornerstone (now spelled without a hyphen), and organizing a church.

Section IV, “The Treasury of Prayers,” draws heavily from The Book of Common Worship (1906) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/), The Book of Common Prayer (1928), The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932), and The Book of Common Order (1940).  This section’s nine divisions are:

  1. Prayers for the Christian Year;
  2. Prayers for the Civil Year;
  3. Prayers for Special Use;
  4. Prayers for Special Graces;
  5. Dedication of Offerings;
  6. Ascriptions;
  7. Benedictions;
  8. Assurances of Pardon; and
  9. Family Prayers, subdivided into Special Intercessions, Brief Petitions, and Grace Before Meat.

The twenty-four pages of Prayers for the Christian Year are more impressive than anything in the two preceding books (1906 and 1932).

Since I am typing this post on July 3, I want to mention that the two Independence Day prayers from the 1946 BCW are those from the 1932 BCW(R).

The 1946 BCW closes with a two-year lectionary taken from The Book of Common Order (1940).  This detailed plan for reading the Bible provides a Psalm, an Old Testament lesson, an Epistle lection, and a Gospel lesson for morning and evening worship on Sundays as well as lections for each day of Holy Week and for Ascension Day.  Thus the 1946 BCW is the first U.S. Presbyterian volume of its sort to contain a full lectionary.

The 1946 BCW omits the Psalter and the previously customary Ancient Hymns and Canticles, for The Hymnal (1933) contains those.

The 1946 General Assembly of the mainly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) approved the third BCW 

for optional use in our churches.

The prominent Anglican influences on the 1946 BCW were unmistakable.  In the services, for example, the Collect for Purity, the Agnus Dei, and the Nicene Creed came from the Prayer Book.  Such elements proved intolerable to many Evangelical-minded Presbyterians, however.  One of these opponents said of Kerr:

[He] is so enamored of high ritual that I think he wants to lead our church further and faster than it is willing to go.

–Requoted in Harold M. Daniels, To God Alone Be the Glory:  The Story and Sources of the Book of Common Worship (Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 2003, page 37)

Thus the 1946 BCW, allegedly more Episcopalian than Reformed, touched and irritated many raw nerves of inheritors of reactive anti-ritualism and never received the acclaim its framers had hoped that it would.  That was unfortunate.

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CONCLUSION

The Book of Common Worship (1946) constituted a bold step into the deep waters of Christian tradition.  Unfortunately, it was–and is–ahead of its time for U.S. Presbyterianism.  The next book–called clunkily The Worshipbook (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/)–was simultaneously a great advance closer to the Roman Catholic homeland of tradition and an awkward attempt at innovation.  Unfortunately, it was artless innovation.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932)   17 comments

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Above:  The Title Page of a 1942 Reprint of The Book of Common Worship (Revised)

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This post follows these:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

Reading them first will improve one’s comprehension of this one.

THE AUTHOR

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INTRODUCTION

U.S. Presbyterian worship was changing in the late 1800s and early 1900s–not uniformally, to be sure.  Yet more church architecture was formal, choirs were more common, music was more formal in many congregations, and opportunities for congregational participation in worship were more numerous via responsive readings and recitations of the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

The Apostles’ Creed proved difficult (at least officially) for U.S. Presbyterianism for a long time.  Did the Bible grant permission to recite it?  Did that matter?  Many people, advocates of Jure Divino, claimed that the answers were “no” and “yes” respectively.  The 1906 Book of Common Worship followed an extant resolution of the 1892 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) permitting

He continued in the state of the dead and under the power of death, until the third day.

in lieu of

He descended into Hell.

Our Lord and Savior’s descent into Hell remained an official PCUSA hot potato in 1932, when The Book of Common Worship (Revised) permitted a different substitution:

He continued in the state of the dead until the third day.

(Lord Jesus, save me from your followers!)

With The Book of Common Worship (1946), however, there is ceased to be any such substitution.  Jesus descended in to Hell.  That was it.

The saga of the U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship is somewhat like that of Dune–far from over.

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BODY

The Book of Common Worship (Revised) was the final labor of Dr. Henry Van Dyke, who had edited the preceding volume, that of 1906.  That book had become dated by 1928, so the PCUSA General Assembly that year appointed a committee, consisting partially of 1906 BCW committee members, to undertake the revision effort.  Committee membership changed from 1928 to 1931, for some people died.  Dr. Louis Fitzgerald Benson, for example, departed this life in 1930.  The 1931 PCUSA General Assembly approved the revised book unanimously then applauded it.

A careful reading of the Preface to the 1906 BCW and that of the 1932 BCW(R) reveals a less defensive tone the second time around.  The 1906 Preface is four pages long and full of push-back against allegations of uniform ritual and of ritualism.  In contrast, the 1932 Preface is two pages long and contains less strenuous reminders of early Reformed liturgies and of the voluntary nature of the new volume, just in case anyone missed

For Voluntary Use

in boldface on the title page.

The 1932 BCW(R) is an expansion of its 1906 predecessor.  The Table of Contents of the revised book organizes the rites and prayers into categories:

  1. Public Worship;
  2. The Sacraments;
  3. Holy Rites;
  4. Church Ordinances;
  5. The Treasury of Prayers;
  6. The Psalter and Other Responsive Readings; and
  7. Ancient Hymns and Canticles.

In the Appendix one finds the following:

  1. A Lectionary of the Holy Scriptures, and
  2. A List of Sources.

Some of the rites from the 1906 BCW are relabeled.  Others appear for the first time in the BCW(R).

In the Public Worship section one finds the following:

  1. Morning Service on the Lord’s Day;
  2. Evening Service on the Lord’s Day;
  3. General Prayers and Litanies;
  4. A Brief Order of Worship;
  5. The Commandments; and
  6. The Beatitudes.

The orders of worship continue to place the sermon at the center of Presbyterian worship, unfortunately.

The Sacraments section contains the following:

  1. The Baptism of Infants;
  2. The Baptism of Adults;
  3. The Communion of the Lord’s Supper;
  4. A Brief Order for the Communion;
  5. Reception to the Lord’s Supper; and
  6. The Reception of Communicants.

The Holy Rites are:

  1. The Marriage Service, and
  2. The Funeral Service.

The Church Ordinances are:

  1. The Licensing of Candidates;
  2. The Ordination of Ministers;
  3. The Installation of a Pastor;
  4. The Ordination of Elders;
  5. The Installation of Elders;
  6. The Ordination of Deacons;
  7. The Installation of Deacons;
  8. The Recognition of an Assistant Pastor;
  9. The Public Recognition of Church Trustees;
  10. The Setting Apart of a Deaconess;
  11. The Organization of a Church;
  12. The Laying of the Corner-Stone of a Church;
  13. The Dedication of a Church; and
  14. The Dedication of an Organ.

The Treasury of Prayers has seven parts:

  1. For Seasons of the Christian Year;
  2. For Certain Civil Holidays;
  3. For Special Objects and Times;
  4. Personal Intercessions;
  5. Brief Petitions for Grace;
  6. Ascription of Praise; and
  7. Family Prayers.

The expanded prayers for the Christian Year cover the following:

  1. Advent,
  2. Christmas,
  3. Lent,
  4. Palm Sunday,
  5. Good Friday,
  6. Easter,
  7. Pentecost and Missions, and
  8. All Saints.

The Civil Year prayers are for the following:

  1. New Year’s Day,
  2. Independence Day, and
  3. Thanksgiving Day.

The Independence Day prayers are original to the BCW(R).  Since I am entering this post on July 3, to include those prayers seems especially appropriate.  So here is the first one:

O Thou blessed and only Potentate, who hast granted unto our country freedom, and established sovereignty by the people’s will:  we thank Thee for the great men whom Thou hast raised up for our nation, to defend our liberty, preserve our union, and maintain law and order within our borders.  Ever give unto the republic wise and fearless leaders and commanders in every time of need.  Enlighten and direct the multitudes whom Thou hast ordained in power, that their counsels may be filled with knowledge and equity, and the whole commonwealth be preserved in peace, unity, strength, and honor.  Take under Thy governance and protection Thy servants, the President, the Governors of the States, the lawgivers, the judges, and all who are entrusted with authority; so defending them from all evil and enriching them with all needed good, that the people may prosper in freedom beneath an equal law, and our nation magnify Thy name in all the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Here is the second prayer:

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; we humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will.  Bless our nation with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners.  Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way.  Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.  Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.  In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

There is a lectionary of sorts on pages 333-338.  It does not assign readings to specific Sundays, however.  No, instead it lists suitable passages of scripture for seasons of the Christian Year, the Civil Year, and Special Occasions, such as Times of Rejoicing, Times of Adversity, and International Peace.

The sources of the BCW(R) include the following:

  1. Henry Van Dyke;
  2. Louis FitzGerald Benson;
  3. The Book of Common Worship (1906);
  4. The Book of Common Prayer (1662);
  5. The Book of Common Prayer (1928);
  6. Editions of the Scottish Presbyterian Book of Common Order;
  7. Charles W. Shields, The Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, A.D. 1661 (1864), the first in a line of unofficial and unauthorized U.S. Presbyterian worship books;
  8. Pre-Reformation liturgies; and
  9. William E. Orchard (1877-1955), a U.S. Presbyterian minister who converted to Roman Catholicism.

Not only did the 1931 PCUSA General Assembly approve the BCW(R) without controversy, but the mostly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) approved the volume in time for an advertisement on the second page of the January 1932 issue of Presbyterian Survey magazine.  The advertisement noted that the PCUS had approved the BCW(R) 

for optional and selective use of our ministers.

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CONCLUSION

The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932) was a great advance in the line of authorized U.S. Presbyterian worship books.  Its DNA, so to speak, reached back to before the Protestant Reformation, although its branch of the family sprung from the work of Charles W. Shields in 1864.  A greater stride followed in 1946, with the third Book of Common Worship.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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Ode to Liturgy   3 comments

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Above:  A Portion of the Liturgy Section of My Library, July 2, 2013

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Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness;

let the whole earth tremble before him.

–Psalm 96:9, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Come, let us bow and kneel,

even light a candle,

in a place of reverence;

may we draw near to God.

Yet about rituals some feel

badly; the forms they cannot handle;

at Prayer Books they take offense;

to such “externals” they refuse even to nod.

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They mistake simplicity for purity,

plainness for earnestness,

mustiness for piety,

and chaos for freedom.

But in order there is liberty,

in beauty there is holiness,

in smells and bells there is propriety,

and in liturgy there is decorum.

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So from mystery and beauty

may we not run;

majesty may we embrace,

not reject;

from awe may we not flee,

but seek as flowers turn toward the sun;

proper ceremony may we adopt when it we detect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WALTER RAUSCHENBUSCH, WASHINGTON GLADDEN, AND JACOB RIIS, ADVOCATES OF THE SOCIAL GOSPEL

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Published originally at TAYLOR FAMILY POEMS AND FAMILY HISTORY WRITINGS:

http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/ode-to-liturgy/

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Posted July 2, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Psalm 96

Tagged with , , ,

The Book of Common Worship (1906)   16 comments

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Above:  The Title Page of a 1922 Reprint of The Book of Common Worship (1906)

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This post follows this one:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/.

Reading it will improve one’s comprehension of this post.

THE AUTHOR

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Online Access to the text:

http://archive.org/details/bookcommonworsh00assegoog

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INTRODUCTION:

In 1894 the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), the former “Southern Presbyterian Church,” adopted a new Directory for Worship, one which included three services:  marriage, a child’s funeral, and a general funeral.  A vocal minority of members of the denomination remained opposed to any iota of ritualism, however.  One member of that anti-rituals school was Dr. Robert L. Dabney (died in 1893), who complained about the state of affairs which culminated in the new Directory for Worship.  An 1894 volume contained this scathing critique from Dabney:

A comparison of the prevalent usages of today and of seventy years ago in the Methodist, Baptist, Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches [except those of the Secession] would startle any thinking mind.  Every one of them now admits usages which were universally rejected by them, such as architectural pomps, pictured windows, floral decorations, instrumental and operatic music.  One may say that these are matters of indifference which cannot be proved anti-scriptural; but every sensible man knows that they proceed from one impulse, the craving for more spectacular and ritualistic worship.   That is precisely, the impulse which brought about prelacy and popery in the patristic ages.  The strictest Protestant communions are now moving upon the same incline plane.

–Quoted in Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Volume Three:  1890-1972 (Richmond, VA:  John Knox Press, 1973, pages 345-346)

Other critics of that school pointed to more offenses, such as the congregation reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Deacons taking the offerings to the pulpit during the service.  Would the horrors and apostasies never cease?

One should be able to tell from my sarcastic tone in the previous sentence where I stand.  To be precise, I am a ritualistic Episcopalian–an unapologetic one.  I have the same opinion of Dabney that he would have had of me.  And I can only imagine the spasms of discontent into which The Book of Common Worship (1906) would have thrown him.

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BODY

The 1903 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) appointed a committee to create

a Book of Simple Forms and Services which shall be proper and helpful for voluntary use in Presbyterian churches in the celebration of the Sacraments , in marriages and funerals, and in the conduct of public worship.

Dr. Henry Van Dyke directed the project and edited the book.  Among the more notable members of the committee was Dr. Louis FitzGerald Benson.  The committee drew upon The Book of Common Prayer (1892) and worldwide Reformed liturgies, such as those of the Church of Scotland.  It created a book which added a congregational Prayer of Confession, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer to worship.  The 1905 General Assembly required a few changes.  Those changes made, the final product rolled off the presses just in time for the 1906 General Assembly commissioners to debate and approve the volume.   Dr. Van Dyke stood by a table stacked high with copies of the BCW.  Some commissioners were not amused and were quite offended.  One flung a copy, as if it were tainted, saying:

Faugh!  It smells of priestcraft.

Another pounded his fists on the table.  Dr. Van Dyke asked him if he would deny anyone the liberty to use the book which, according to the title page, was for voluntary use.

The Preface to the 1906 BCW is a four-page-long defense of the volume’s existence.  The book is of voluntary use, and therefore not an infringement upon the freedom of Presbyterian worship, it says.  The volume is consistent with early Reformed traditions and the Bible, the Preface tells the reader.  And the book contains forms and prayers helpful for both public and private use, it says.

The 1906 BCW contains the following rites:

  1. The Order of Morning Service;
  2. The Order of Evening Service;
  3. A Brief Order of Worship;
  4. The Commandments;
  5. The Beatitudes;
  6. The Order for the Celebration of the Communion;
  7. The Order for the Administration of Baptism to Infants;
  8. The Order for the Administration of Baptism to Adults;
  9. The Order for the Reception of Communicants from Other Churches;
  10. The Order for the Solemnization of Marriage;
  11. The Order for the Burial of the Dead;
  12. The Order for the Licensing of Candidates to Preach the Gospel;
  13. The Order for the Ordination of Ministers;
  14. The Order for the Installation of a Pastor Who Has Been Previously Ordained;
  15. The Order for the Ordination of Ruling Elders;
  16. The Order for the Installation of Ruling Elders Who Have Been Previously Ordained;
  17. The Order for the Ordination of Deacons;
  18. The Order for Laying the Corner-Stone of a Church; and
  19. The Order for the Dedication of a Church.

There is also The Treasury of Prayers, divided into five sections:

  1. General Prayers for Common Worship;
  2. Prayers for Certain Times and Seasons;
  3. Intercessions for Special Objects and Persons;
  4. Brief Petitions; and
  5. Ascriptions of Praise.

Family Prayers labeled for each day of the week follow.

Finally there follow The Psalter and Ancient Hymns and Canticles.

The Orders of Service omit the Holy Communion, unfortunately, but I suppose that replacing the sermon as the focus of public worship and restoring the Eucharist to its proper place as the central act of Christian worship would have been too much at the time, even though John Calvin would have approved.

The 1906 BCW found a certain level of acceptance, for the fact of its existence indicated a constituency favorable to it.  This constituency expanded into the mainly Southern PCUS, whose General Assembly never approved the volume but many of whose ministers used it anyway, at least for funerals and weddings.

The Treasury of Prayers has proven to be the part of the 1906 BCW I have consulted most often.  Due to my linguistic preferences, I have modernized the personal pronouns, turning “Thee” into “you,” for example.  Style aside, there is much excellent content in that portion of the book.

The inclusion of some of prayers germane to certain days and seasons (especially Advent, Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Easter Day) indicated that, in 1906, the PCUSA was more favorable than the PCUS to observing Christmas and Easter.  The 1899 PCUS General Assembly had forbidden the celebration of Christmas and Easter as contrary to Reformed Christianity and the simplicity of the Gospel in Christ and as conducive to will-worship.  The 1903 and 1913 PCUS General Assemblies forbade the Committee on Christian Education to publish Christmas and Easter Sunday School lessons.  Only in 1950 did the PCUS General Assembly affirm the religious observance of Christmas and Easter.  This constituted a de jure recognition of what had been a de facto reality since the 1920s.

The 1906 BCW lasted for twenty-six years, having made a great impact on U.S. Presbyterian worship.  The revolutionary book, possible because of a generation of unauthorized predecessors, was still, compared to its predecessors, a humble beginning.  But that was enough.

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CONCLUSION

History is inherently revisionist.  Those who condemn “revisionist history” need to do more and better homework and to choose an accurate label for what they criticize.  History is inherently revisionist because historians ask interpretive questions from their standpoint.  So I, writing in 2013, think of The Book of Common Worship (1906) through the prism of 107 years and four successor volumes.  That reality affects my judgment, for I compare the 1906 BCW to and contrast it with its successors.  My evaluation is therefore relative in a way that it would not have been if I were undertaking a similar exercise in 1932, 1946, or 1972.

I also consider the book from the perspective of a ritualistic Episcopalian.  Thus I notice two glaring omissions:  the absence of a lectionary and the barest semblance of a church calendar.  Nevertheless, the 1906 BCW was impressive for its time.  The march toward the thing of great beauty that is the Book of Common Worship (1993) was a process, and the 1906 BCW was crucial to it.  That long walk began in 1864, when Charles W. Shields published The Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, A.D. 1661 (1864).  But the 1906 BCW, being the first official worship book of its denomination, crossed the Rubicon River.  That volume was a cornerstone, one which many people rejected and others never knew existed.

Next:  The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WALTER RAUSCHENBUSCH, WASHINGTON GLADDEN, AND JACOB RIIS, ADVOCATES OF THE SOCIAL GOSPEL

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Book of Common Worship (1993)   17 comments

Above:  Henry Van Dyke, 1920-1921

Image Source = Library of Congress

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Now, as Ordinary Time, the “Long Green Season,” is upon us and I wait until closer to Advent 2012 to add more Advent material to this blog, I have pondered what to put here.  Film reviews have come to mind, and I have done some of that.  And, given my interest in liturgy, reviews of contemporary books of worship seem like a good idea.  So I have decided to review at least three such volumes, which I list in order of publication:

  1. The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), of The United Methodist Church;
  2. Book of Common Worship (1993), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and
  3. Chalice Worship (1997), of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Many active members of these denominations might not know that any of these books exists, although the clergy members do.  But I, an Episcopalian, have had a copy of each since its year of publication.  My ecumenical interests also come into my religious and spiritual life.

The Book of Common Worship (1993) is the fifth in a line of volumes dating back to 1906.  The Reverend Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) was chiefly responsible for the 1906 and 1932 editions.  His hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” proved more popular than his liturgical books in a denomination (the old Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1870-1958 incarnation) with a historical resistance to formality in worship yet an equally historical insistence on worshiping “decently and in order.”  The third BCW (1946), which drew heavily from The Book of Common Prayer (1928), was too Episcopalian for many Presbyterians.  Then came the fourth in the series, The Worshipbook–Services (1970), folded two years later into the new hymnal, The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  The 1970/1972 book was an unfortunate product of its time.

In my library I have copies of the 1906, 1932, 1946, 1972, and 1993 books.  I have studied them, and have the notecards to prove it.  I have two copies of the 1946 book; one belonged to my grandmother and grandfather, good Southern Presbyterians.  My grandmother, Nell Taylor, became a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) when it formed via a merger in 1983, and served on the session of Summerville Presbyterian Church, Summerville, Georgia.  My grandfather (lived 1905-1976) was a lifelong Southern Presbyterian.  So I write from knowledge and family history.  Harold M. Daniels, editor of the 1993 BCW, has expanded my knowledge of this topic with his insider account in To God Alone Be the Glory (2003), which I have placed on a shelf next to the 1993 book.

To pick up a dangling thread, I first encountered The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972) in the Summer of 1992, at Valdosta, Georgia.  One day I read a night prayer service out of the book and found it lacking.  Actually, “clunky and uninspiring” is a more accurate description.  But the service came from a time of liturgical transitions.  The 1970/1972 book, unlike its 1946 predecessor, used modern English, which I like, but the committee had yet to find graceful modern English.  And the language was, as I wrote, “clunky and uninspiring.”  And, every time I read from that volume, I have an urge to pick up a soft drink, stand on a hill with many other people, and sing,

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony….

So the 1993 Book of Common Worship is a welcome improvement.  Written in graceful modern English, it borrows heavily from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1979), the New Zealand Anglican New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), and the Canadian Anglican Book of Alternative Services (1985), which owes much to the 1979 BCP.  The 1993 BCW also preserves the best of the 1970/1972 Worshipbook by bringing its language up to date.  The current volume is a wonderful resource for personal and corporate prayer and worship.  I know about the personal use of the book.  And, as a good Episcopalian who also uses A New Zealand Prayer Book, I recognize many of the services, sometimes in slightly altered forms.

I can tell that those who prepared the 1993 Book of Common Worship took their efforts seriously.  One measure of this is volume thickness.  Consider the following facts, O reader:

  1. The Book of Common Worship (1906)–263 pages
  2. The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932)–353 pages
  3. The Book of Common Worship (1946)–388 pages
  4. The Worshipbook–Services (1970)–the first 206 pages of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)
  5. Book of Common Worship (1993)–1,108 pages

By means of comparison, the 1970 Book of Common Prayer, a fine volume in its own right, weighs in at 1,101 pages in my late 1990s copy bound with The Hymnal 1982.  My 2007 copy (bound without the hymnal), which dates to after The Episcopal Church adopted the Revised Common Lectionary, includes the old 1979 lectionary as an appendix yet has 1,049 pages.  So the 1993 BCW is about the same size as the the 1979 BCP.

The 1993 Book of Common Worship, like the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the 1970/1972 Worshipbook, emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Communion.  I like that.  Unfortunately, this does not seem to have become the normative pattern among Presbyterians in the United States of America.

My experience of the 1993 BCW has been mainly devotional.  Each psalm comes with an appropriate psalm prayer.  The prayer services appeal to my liturgical tastes, creating a proper atmosphere in which I can encounter God in beauty.  And I have used the wide selection of prayers–those for preparation for worship as well as those for a variety of topics–privately and mined them liberally for inclusion on my GATHERED PRAYERS blog–with credit given, of course.

As one who admires the 1979 Book of Common Prayer greatly, I praise the 1993 Book of Common Worship highly.  The latter is superior to the former in some ways, as in the wider selection of prayers for various topics.  I know that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has produced a great treasure.  It would be better, though, for more members of that denomination to know of the BCW‘s existence and to admire the volume at least as much as I do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASILIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT IRANAEUS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

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Some Related Posts:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/an-incomplete-recovery-of-the-holy-eucharist/

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“In the Sweet By and By”   4 comments

Above:  The Communion of Saints

(An Image in the Public Domain)

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While growing up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., I realized that I did not fit in.  Lacking a proper frame of reference for years, I could not diagnose the issue properly until I became keenly aware of good Episcopal Church liturgy, a la The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and The Hymnal 1982.  I had latent High Church tendencies yet was in a very Low Church setting.

And the music did not help.  Southern Gospel tended to be prominent.  The diction was usually abhorrent, choirs seldom blended, and, in one church, loud and nasal singing was commonplace.  I still have traumatic aural memories.

So I was glad to convert to The Episcopal Church, bow to altars and passing processional crosses, and sing more hymns which sounded good with a proper organ.  From time to time the old hymnody–the one I fled–follows me, even into The Episcopal Church.   If I have advance notice, I can arrange to attend a different service, one without music, perhaps.  My attitude toward certain Low Church Protestant music is reflexively negative.

Much of the problem of Southern Gospel, I am convinced, is the way in which most or many people who sing it sing it.  Often the songs are too fast and inappropriately happy.  Even the sad songs sound happy sometimes.  Consider, for example, “In the Sweet By and By,” which is about the afterlife in Heaven.  Here are the words:

1.  There’s a land that is fairer than day,

And by faith we can see it afar;

For the Father waits over the way,

To prepare us a dwelling-place there.

Chorus:

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

2.  We shall sing on that beautiful shore

The melodious songs of the blest,

And our spirits shall sorrow no more,

Nor a sigh for the blessing of rest.

Repeat the Chorus

3.  To our bountiful Father above,

We will offer our tribute of praise,

For the glorious gift of His love,

And the blessings that hallow our days.

Repeat the Chorus

The lyrics reflect a sense of longing, as if one misses departed friends and loved ones yet anticipates reuniting with them after one’s own death.  Thus the hymn contains both grief and hope.  Yet I have almost always heard this sung as if it is all happiness.

This most recent Memorial Day morning, I heard part of Performance Today on my local public radio station.  The program that day was a concert by Cantus, a men’s choral ensemble.  Their concert included a slow and a cappella version of “In the Sweet By and By.”  It was simultaneously mournful and hopeful.  It was hauntingly beautiful.  The diction was flawless.  And I could hear the sparse harmonies and the interplay among the voice parts.  This was what I wished I had heard while growing up.

I wonder what other hymns and songs I might like if only I could hear them performed properly.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 23, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROSE OF LIMA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

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Adapted from this post:

http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/in-the-sweet-by-and-by/

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Posted April 18, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Liturgy

Tagged with , ,

Not For the Sake of Appearances   3 comments

Above:  A Trappist Monk Praying

Image Source = Daniel Tibi

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trappist_praying_2007-08-20_dti.jpg)

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (An American Translation):

Remember this:  The man who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and the man who sows generously will reap generously.  Everyone must give what he has made up his mind to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion; God loves a man who is glad to give.  God is able to provide with every blessing in abundance so that you will always have enough for every situation, and ample means for every good enterprise:  as the Scripture says,

He scatters his gifts to the poor;

His uprightness will never be forgotten.

He who supplies the sower with seed and so with bread to eat will supply you with seed, and multiply it and enlarge the harvest of your uprightness.  You will grow rich in every way, so that through me you can show perfect liberality that will make men thank God for it.

Psalm 112:1-9 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Hallelujah!

Happy are they who fear the Lord

and have great delight in his commandments!

2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;

the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches will be in their house,

and their righteousness will last for ever.

Light shines in the darkness for the upright;

the righteous are merciful and full of compassion.

It is good for them to be generous in lending

and to manage their affairs with justice.

6 For they will never be shaken;

the righteous will be kept in everlasting remembrance.

7 They will not be afraid of any evil rumors;

their heart is right;

they put their trust in the Lord.

8 Their trust is established and will not shrink,

until they see their desire upon their enemies.

They have given freely to the poor,

and their righteousness stands fast for ever;

they will hold up their head with honor.

Matthew 6:1-18 (An American Translation):

[Jesus continued,] “But take care not to do your good deeds in public for people to see, for, if you do, you will get no reward from your Father in heaven.  So when you are going to give to charity, do not blow a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues and the streets, to make people praise them.  I tell you, that this is all the reward they will get!  But when you give to charity, your own left hand must now know what your right hand is doing, so that your charity may be secret, and your Father who sees what is secret will reward you.

When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they like to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the squares, to let people see them.  I tell you, that is all the reward they will get!  But when you pray, go into your own room, and shut the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen, and your Father who sees what is secret will reward you.  And when you pray, do not repeat empty phrases as the heathen do, for they imagine that their prayers will be heard if they use words enough.  You must not be like them.  For God, who is your Father, knows what you need before you ask him.  This, therefore, is the way you are to pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Your name be revered!

Your kingdom come!

Your will be done

On earth as well as in heaven!

Give us today bread for the day,

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.

And do not subject us to temptation,

But save us from the evil one.

For if you forgive others when they offend you, your heavenly Father will forgive you too.  But if you do not forgive others when they offend you, your heavenly Father will not forgive you for your offenses.

When you fast, do not put on a gloomy look, like the hypocrites, for they neglect their personal appearance to let people see that they are fasting.  I tell you, that is all the reward they will get.  But when you fast, perfume your hair and wash your face, that no one may see that you are fasting, except your Father who is unseen, and your Father who sees what is secret, will reward you.”

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The Collect:

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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Sincerity is the heart of this day’s readings.  It is not enough to do the right thing, such as to pray, fast, or give alms; no, one must do these for the right reason(s).  These include the following:

  1. One is grateful and devoted to God.
  2. One seeks to obey God’s commands faithfully.
  3. One is filled with genuine concern for others.
  4. One seeks one’s own spiritual improvement.

And none of this praying, fasting, and giving of alms must be for show.

Multiple Hebrew texts teach the divine imperative of caring for the less fortunate.  Aside from this day’s psalm, I think immediately of Deuteronomy 15:7-11, which Paul references.  There are also too many passages from the Hebrew prophets to quote here and to remain succinct.  The Bible does teach a divine preference for the poor and condemnation of those who keep them that way and exploit them.

Many or most of us can recall incidents of politicians who rarely attend church becoming Sunday morning regulars during weeks preceding an election.  Attending church is good, of course, but we must do this sincerely, not for show.  Going to keep up appearances is inadequate.  I have never sought public office, but I can recall a few times I have attended church out of habit but, for my sake and that of others, should have stayed home that day.  My heart was not in it.  To refer to a line from the previous day’s reading from Matthew, I was not ready to make offering to God.

Neither should prayer be for show, or vain.  The Reverend Roger Williams, Puritan minister, founder of Rhode Island, and founder of the oldest Baptist congregation in the United States, objected strenuously to anyone (especially, in his case, the government of the Massachusetts Bay colony) compelling someone to pray involuntarily.  The only prayers worth anything, he said, are those offered sincerely and voluntarily.

Praying and fasting had become outward signs of respectability for certain professional religious people in Jesus’ day.  These men did not sacrifice anything when they fasted, which they did often.  Oddly enough, fasting was a luxury for them.  And one might recall the parable of Jesus in which two men pray in the Temple.  One is a humble tax collector beseeching God for mercy, and the other is a Pharisee who boasts of his deeds and who has contempt on the tax collector.  Jesus favored the prayer of the tax collector.

As to the matter of vain words, let us not think that simplicity of worship equals sincerity of it.  Anyone can go through the motions, regardless of the number of them.  If you attend a church with a regular pattern of Sunday worship, no matter how simple it might be, you go to a liturgical church.  I attend an Episcopal parish, so I go through a fairly elaborate weekly pattern of worship.  I would use a Prayer Book except for the fact that I have memorized Holy Eucharist Rite II over the years.  My words have been vain only on those days that I, for personal reasons, would have been better off staying home.  My heart has not always been in it.

Consider the following twice-told story:

There was a community worship service in a county seat town in the U.S. South.  The host congregation for this service was the First Baptist Church, and most of the local ministers helped lead the worship.  When the host pastor introduced the local Episcopal priest, who was to say a prayer, the Southern Baptist minister said, “Now Father Jones will say one of his written prayers.”  The priest walked to the pulpit and said, “Let us pray.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name….”

Sincerity in prayer expresses itself in many ways.  I know through reading that different styles of prayer appeal to various personality types, for example.  So one size does not fit all.  And the South Georgia Baptist cadence I heard while growing up does not appeal to me.  No, give me a Prayer Book any day.  I mean that sincerely.

All of these lessons from Matthew flow naturally out of the end of Chapter 5 and the command of Jesus to be perfect (that is, suited to one’s intended purpose), just as God is.  Think about it:  What does ostentation benefit anyone spiritually?  Can it prepare one for service to God and others?  No, of course not!  So let us be sensitive and sincere.  May we think more about others and God than ourselves.  Sincere and sensitive actions will from such attitudes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 2, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP IN CHINA AND JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JOHN BROWN, ABOLITIONIST

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Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/week-of-proper-6-wednesday-year-1/

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