Ending the Daily Office

Although optional in 1979, the Daily Office in the 2019 Prayer Book ends with a pair of sentences. “Let us bless the Lord. / Thanks be to God.” is a final doxology, our last word of praise offered to God. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ… be with us all evermore” is a final benediction, God’s last word to us. Together, they form a “goodbye” in both directions between the congregation and our Lord, much like the Blessing and Dismissal at the end of the Communion liturgy. The option of Ephesians 3:20-21, however, tips the closing balance in favor of doxology.

Officiant: Let us bless the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The dialogue (or versicle and response) was added in the 1979 Prayer Book, drawn from ancient Gelasian and Roman Office liturgies. It functions in the same way as the Dismissal at the end of the Communion service, which was also first introduced to the Prayer Book tradition in 1979. Both were optional in that edition, but now this dialogue has been fully adopted as a standard part of the the Daily Office liturgy.

What follows is “the grace” taken from 2 Corinthians 13:14. This is functionally like a blessing, or a benediction, used to close the Daily Office since 1662, and the Litany since 1559. Like the 1979 Book, however, our Prayer Book offers Romans 15:13 and Ephesians 3:20-21 as alternatives. The first is also a benediction, but not explicitly trinitarian; the latter is a doxology, rather than a benediction.

A de-revision: A Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time,
with one accord to make our common supplications to you;
and you have promised through your well-beloved Son
that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will grant their requests:
Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us;
granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting.

As the name indicates, this prayer’s earliest-known appearance is in the Eastern Orthodoxy Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and Saint Basil, at the end of their Entrance Rites. It first came to Anglican liturgy at the end of Archbishop Cranmer’s Litany of 1544, before the first Prayer Book was compiled. It was removed from the Litany in the American Prayer Books of 1928 and 1979, and the 2019 Prayer Book has followed suit. This prayer was added to the Daily Office in the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, and then the English Book of 1662, where it has remained all subsequent Prayer Books, albeit rendered as optional starting in 1892.

In 1979 several wording changes were introduced. In part this was to align the text with the primary Scriptural reference (Matthew 18:19-20), as well as to conform more closely to the Eastern liturgy from which Cranmer originally drew this prayer. This revised phrase, “you will be in the midst of them” has been rolled back in our present version: “you will grant their requests.” Although the 1979 revision matches the biblical text, the historic Prayer Book wording matches the liturgical purpose of the prayer in its specific context. At the end of a worship service or liturgy, assurance of God’s answering of prayer is more appropriate than assurance of the presence of the Lord.

This ancient prayer draws together two sayings of Jesus: Matthew 18:19-20 (“where two or three are gathered”) and John 14:13-14 (“if you ask me anything in my name, I will do it”). Functionally, this prayer is akin to the shorter Occasional Prayers #98, 99, and 100, though its specific appeal to the prayers of the church gathered makes it particularly appropriate for the public liturgy of the Church. In that light, the rubric rendering it optional in American Prayer Books since 1928 is probably a concession for instances where the Office is said by an individual in private.

To offer God “our common supplications” is described here as a gift of grace – liturgy and worship are not so much the efforts of man as they are the power of God in us. And even the power of prayer itself is based on the promises of Christ. In short, this prayer both humbles us and encourages us, as we rehearse the basic theology of prayer: God commands it, God empowers it, God fulfills it. And even when we get it wrong, we simply hope that God will answer “as may be best for us”, which is spelled out as knowledge of his truth and life everlasting. If we come away from the Daily Office remembering nothing else, that desire for divine knowledge and life will be enough.

Commemorating Richard Hooker

Here’s a book that I’ve just added to my list Things I Should Have Read In Seminary: The Laws of Eccleiastical Polity by Richard Hooker. I recently finished reading books I through IV of this monumental work as rendered into modern English by the good folks over at the Davenant Institute. Check it out if you haven’t before; I highly recommend it.

Don’t get me wrong; I knew that Hooker’s Laws were important in the establishment of classical Anglicanism, that it was a monumental work of English prose, groundbreaking in the field of English-language philosophy, and the beginning of a distinctly Anglican perspective on Christianity as Reformed Catholicism, neither Papist on the one hand nor Radical Puritan on the other, but firmly moderated where it needed to be, in line with the other Protestant churches of Europe. A lot can be gleaned from well-written reviews and cliffnotes. But finally, ten years later than I believe I should have, I’ve finally started reading through this thing. And since today, November 3rd, is Hooker’s commemoration day, this seemed the right time to share some thoughts therefrom.

If you want or need a brief generic introduction to Hooker himself, you can jump over to Wikipedia, or read this little bio I wrote up two years ago.

A lot can be gleaned from an outline, so here are the first four books of the Laws in outline. (Some of the titles below are modernized for clarity.)

The Preface: RADICALISM, When Reform Becomes Revolution

  1. The Cause and Occasion for Writing this Work and What is Hoped for from Those for Whom Such Pains are Taken
  2. The First Establishment of Presbyterian Discipline by John Calvin in Geneva and the Beginning of the Conflict in the Church of England
  3. How So Many People Come to be Trained to Approve of this Discipline
  4. What Has Made the More Learned Approve this Discipline
  5. Their Call for a Trial by Debate
  6. No End to Conflict Until Both Sides Submit to a Definitive Judgement
  7. An Outline of the Remaining Books
  8. Why We Have Many Good Reasons to Fear the Consequences of Your Reformation, if it Indeed Took Place
  9. Conclusion

Book I: DIVINE LAW and HUMAN NATURE

  1. The Reason for Writing this General Discourse
  2. The Law by which God has from the Beginning Determined to Do all Things
  3. The Law by which Natural Agents Work
  4. The Law by which Angels Work
  5. The Law by which Man is Directed to the Imitation of God
  6. How Men First Begin to Know the Law they Should Observe
  7. Man’s Will, which Laws of Action are Made to Guide
  8. Of the Natural Way to Find Out Laws by Reason to Lead the Will to What is Good
  9. The Advantages of Keeping the Law Taught by Reason
  10. How Reason Leads Men to Make the Laws by which Political Societies are Governed and to Agree about Laws of Fellowship between Independent Societies
  11. Why God has made Known in Scripture Supernatural Laws to Direct Men’s Steps
  12. Why So Many Natural Laws and Laws of Reason are Found in Scripture
  13. The Advantage of Having Such Divine Laws Written
  14. The Sufficiency of Scripture unto the End for which it was Instituted
  15. Positive Laws in Scripture, how Some of them are Changeable, and the General Use of Scripture
  16. Conclusion: How All of This Pertains to the Present Controversy

Book II: THE WORD OF GOD

  1. How Far Does the Authority of Scripture Extend?
  2. Doing All Things to the Glory of God
  3. Must All Things Be Sanctified by the Word of God?
  4. Acting Without Clear Direction from Scripture
  5. Negative Arguments Derived from Scripture
  6. Arguments from Scripture’s Silence
  7. The Proper Weight of Human Authority

Book III: THE WORDS OF MAN

  1. Defining the Church
  2. Must Scripture Contain a Complete System of Church Government?
  3. Church Government is not a Matter of Salvation
  4. We Do Not Dishonor Scripture
  5. The Word of God and the Words of Man
  6. All Churches Add Laws Beyond Scripture
  7. The Appeal to “General Rules of Scripture”
  8. Reason May Also Serve as a Tool of the Spirit
  9. The Right Use of Reason in Devising Church Laws
  10. Why Scriptural Commands May Not Always Bind
  11. Can Biblical Laws Be Changed?

Book IV: IN DEFENSE OF REFORMED CATHOLIC WORSHIP

  1. The Importance of Liturgy
  2. Their Demand for Apostolic Simplicity
  3. The Charge that we Follow Rome
  4. Must All Roman Ceremonies Go?
  5. The Status of the Medieval Church
  6. Are Papists the Same as Canaanites?
  7. The Example of the Early Church
  8. The Danger of Swerving to the Opposite Extreme
  9. It Does not matter what Rome Thinks of Our Liturgy
  10. The Laments of “The Godly”
  11. The Charge that our Ceremonies are Judaizing
  12. Stumbling-blocks for Weaker Brethren
  13. Conformity to Foreign Reformed Churches
  14. In Defense of the Church of England’s Proceedings

As you can see, this is a lengthy treatise moving lowly and carefully, step by step. One of the primary purposes of these works was actually to provide a full-scale rebuttal to early Puritan complaints that the Church of England was too “Popish” and needed further reform, particularly in getting rid of bishops in favor of Presbyterianism, and eliminating Roman-infested rites and ceremonies. Many bishops had simply appealed to the status quo or to the authority of the Queen as supreme governor of the national church in reply to such dissent, so Hooker’s defense of what would later come to be known as “Anglicanism” was something new.

Rather than tackling the complaints and objections head-on, Hooker first set out a groundwork of philosophy and theology, biblical hermeneutics and interpretation. He wanted to set out the nature of law before arguing about what laws are good or not good.

For our understanding, it is critical to realize that a “law” in this sense is not necessarily a legal rule, but more generally a rule of how something works, or is. So by that definition, God is literally a “law” unto himself – who and what God is sets out the laws by which God operates. We then turn to the laws by which nature and angels and humans operate, and dive into the long and complicated field of epistemology – the study of how we know what we know. Against the Radical Puritans of his day and in line with historic Christianity, Hooker argues that general revelation, or natural theology, or the Law of Nature, teaches man a great deal about the sciences, morality, and even something of God himself (cf. Romans 1:19-20). This becomes the foundation for his ongoing defense of the role of reason in the discernment of good laws, guided by Scripture.

The doctrine of Scripture is an important subject along the way, too, especially in Book II. There he asserts full agreement with the Radicals concerning the perfection of Scripture, but he argues that the Bible does not exist to be (as we would say today) a complete textbook about everything. Rather, that which it is meant to address, it addresses perfectly. It upholds and clarifies natural law, and reveals divine truths (particularly concerning the Gospel) that would not be knowable otherwise. He even deals with the doctrine of sola scriptura, and candidly explains the reality that the Bible’s perfect authority is not justified by itself (that would be circular logic!), but discerned by reason.

With these foundations in place, Hooker is able to wade into the murky waters of disagreement over the extent of the authority of the Church. Some of it has to do with the “Regulative Principle of Worship” (a primarily Calvinist view that worship can only contain what the Bible positively allows) versus the “Normative Principle” (the traditional view that worship can contain anything the Bible doesn’t forbid). Some of it has to do with the nature of law, already taken care of in previous sections.

Book IV is where things start to get particularly interesting for the modern reader. (I mean, I actually really enjoyed the Preface and first three Books, but on the whole Anglicanism is no longer fighting to defend itself from Presbyterian detractors.) In the 4th book Hooker brings us to a series of objections to Prayer Book worship. These are still mainly about general principles, specific elements in the Prayer Book won’t be addressed until Book V from what I can tell. Nevertheless, here there are arguments that are super helpful for us today. Many of the general questions addressed are still (or again) being asked in the 21st century: is our worship too Papist? How should we address the issues of the “weaker brethren” in our midst? Why can’t we just return to the simplicity of the Apostolic Church? What does Apostolic-age worship even really look like?

Our worship-related issues today aren’t just about Roman influences; we also have controversies over Pentecostal/Charismatic elements, popular evangelical elements, and there is (still or again) a sort of Puritan party to be found here and there, pushing in the direction of Reformed Calvinist worship principles. Richard Hooker doesn’t answer all the questions that we have today, of course, but the observations and arguments he makes in Book IV are all insightful and can ground us more solidly in the tradition we have received.

I am hoping, in my non-existent spare time, to type up specific thoughts and reflections from what of the Laws that I’ve read thus far. If you’re interested in that, you can track my progress on this index page here, and/or follow my personal blog leorningcniht (Old English for “disciple”).

Prayers at the end of the week

Modern Prayer Books have given us some pretty neat prayers related to the passage and sanctity of time, and how we the liturgical tradition helps us encompass time into our very spirituality. I’ve written about a few of them already, and now we’re looking at two more from the Office of Daily Morning Prayer in the 2019 Prayer Book.

Collect for Endurance (Friday Morning)

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,
and entered not into glory before he was crucified:
Mercifully grant that we,
walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

This prayer was written by Bishop Huntington and proposed for the 1892 Prayer Book, but not adopted until 1928 where it became the Collect for Monday in Holy Week. (Before 1928, Monday through Wednesday in Holy Week did not have unique collects.) This prayer continues in that role in the 1979 and the present Prayer Books, but was adopted in 1979 for Fridays in Morning Prayer, as continues to be the recommendation here.

The theology of the cross is the major biblical background for this prayer, drawing especially from the language of Romans 8. That our Lord had to suffer before he was glorified is a major theme in the Gospel according to Saint John and famous Holy Week texts such as Philippians 2, and the application of that “way of the cross” has been an enduring element in Christian spirituality ever since. Although there are victories to celebrate, as the Collect for Strength to Await Christ’s Return indicates, we still must also take up our cross and follow him. Though we have much to endure, we can find following Christ to be “the way of life and peace.”

Collect for Sabbath Rest (Saturday Morning)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works
and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures:
Grant that we,
putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary,
and that our rest here on earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest
promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another 19th century prayer, written by Edward Benson, the 94th Archbishop of Canterbury. His original used the word “sabbath” instead of “rest” in the body of the text. Its first entry into the Prayer Book tradition seems to be in 1979, labelled a “Collect for Saturdays”, where it remains here.

This prayer reads as a brief summary of a theology of rest, drawing primarily from Hebrews 4:1-9. The rest that God appointed for all his creatures on the Sabbath day is both an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty in the old creation, and an anticipation of his completion of the new creation yet to be revealed. Our day of rest is to be a time to “put away earthly anxieties” and prepare for the divine work of worship.

Two Morning Collects: for the Renewal of Life & for Guidance

After the Collect of the Day in Morning Prayer the 2019 Prayer Book gives us a list of seven prayers, each recommended for the seven days of the week. Here are two more of them.

A COLLECT FOR THE RENEWAL OF LIFE

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night
and turns the shadow of death into the morning:
Drive far from us all wrong desires,
incline our hearts to keep your law,
and guide our feet into the way of peace;
that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day,
we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This collect was written by Bishop William Reed Huntington and proposed for the 1892 Prayer Book, but was not adopted until 1928, where it serves as one of the additional collects for Family Prayer on page 594. In 1979 it moved to its current position in the Morning Prayer Office. It references several Old and New Testament verses, perhaps most obviously the Benedictus (Luke 1:79).

If there a single prayer that summarizes a “theology of Mornings” it is this collect. The primary liturgical use of night and day is as a picture of death and resurrection, and this prayer explores several variations on that theme. It’s almost a list, carrying at least five verses of Scripture in mind and alluding to others also. Ultimately, in this prayer we acknowledge the works and victories of God, and look ahead to our own participation in that (by giving thanks) at the end of the day.

A COLLECT FOR GUIDANCE

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being:
We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit,
that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you,
but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The exact age of this collet is difficult to identify. This version is identical in content and position to that of the 1979 Prayer Book, which in turn was adopted from the Canadian 1922 Prayer Book where it was among the Family Prayer devotions. It was drawn from the 1913 book A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages, which has since gone through subsequent revisions, and is labeled as ancient.

This prayer is particularly appropriate for the morning as it implies a day ahead in which we need to remember God amidst all the busy distractions. Indeed, part of the purpose of the Daily Office (and other hours-based offices like Midday and Compline) is to help us remember God throughout the day. Drawing primarily from Acts 17:28, in which St. Paul quotes from known Greek philosophers to affirm the truth that all of reality is grounded upon the existence and will of God, this collect contrasts the doctrine of God with the sort of experience found in the story of Mary and Martha of Bethany in Luke 10, such that we pray for continual awareness of that reality: may the ever-present Spirit guide and govern us in such a way that we don’t succumb to the world’s distractions and end up living as practical atheists.

King Alfred the Great: a Saint?

Our Prayer Book’s calendar of commemorations lists today “Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons and Reformer of the Church, 899.” This may stand out because most of the saints and commemorations seem to be churchmen – bishops, monastics, and other ministers. There are a few kings and queens, though, and Alfred is the only English one known as “the Great”. Why was he great, and why is he considered a saint?

One of the new features of the 2019 Prayer Book is the way it handles the calendar of commemorations: people are not simply named, but also labeled or described. King Alfred was a “Reformer of the Church” who died in 899AD. It may perhaps be best to understand his “reforming” role in a larger context.

Throughout his life, King Alfred was battling Danish invaders, the perennial threat to the British Isles throughout the early Middle Ages. Alfred won some important victories after some difficult defeats, yet also organized some significant rebuilding projects that saved not only the kingdom of Wessex, but Anglo-Saxon culture as a whole. He built a system of burgs (forts) to form a tangible border of defense, and he built church schools to form a new educated generation of teachers and priests. He maintained armies and built ships to counter the threat of barbarism from without and he maintained a court school to counter the threat of barbarism from within. He supplied bishops with copies of Pope Gregory the Great’s book Pastoral Care, to help ensure their ministry was carried out well, and he translated (or had others translate) many important Latin works into (what we now call Old) English. We still have copies of the West Saxon Gospels to this day!

Interesting, Alfred became known as “the Great” in the 16th century when the English Reformers started drawing upon his work and legacy in the vernacular and found it a useful counter to Papal claims for the supremacy of Latin and the supposed antiquity of its doctrines. Alfred, among others, show us an early English church that did not preach the excesses and heresies of late medieval Rome.

There is, of course, much about Alfred’s life that we don’t know with much certainty. He did, at least, have a biographer who knew him personally, which is an advantage over many historical figures from that long ago, but that doesn’t prevent the growth of legend and inference over time. Nevertheless, what we do know is that he was a good king who tried to take care of his people both in safety and in culture. He did good things for the preservation and rebuilding of the church amidst and after the devastations of war, and for that we Christians (especially of the English Church) have been very thankful ever since.

Getting uncomfortably close to Jesus

It’s the feast of St. James of Jerusalem today. We’ve got a brief round-up prepared for this holiday, plus a little devotional.

This year, meanwhile, we’re looking at the New Testament lesson appointed for Morning Prayer on this major feast day: James 1. Specifically, just the verse first.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

St. James 1:1

Compared to all the other New Testament Epistles, this really stands out. To the casual reader it doesn’t even sound like he’s writing to Christians! But this makes perfect sense when the reader considers two key things about his context.

  1. It was universally understood among the first Christians that the kingdom of Israel was being re-founded around the throne of Jesus as King. The New Covenant, further, brought a new rite of entry into the covenant people: baptism instead of circumcision. Gentiles, therefore, were eligible to join Israel with unprecedented ease! When James writes to the “twelve tribes”, he means the “Israel of God”, the Church, which St. Paul refers to in Galatians 6:16.
  2. James was based in Jerusalem, so when he wrote to his fellow believers elsewhere they were naturally considered “the Dispersion”, literally, those who weren’t in or near Jerusalem.

That said, St. James of Jerusalem did have a distinctly Jewish view of Christianity. His epistle, of all in the New Testament, reads the most like an Old Testament treatise, drawing heavily on biblical Wisdom literature and the Law of Moses. He speaks of the apostolic testimony, of course, and makes references to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, but the tone is very much reflective of someone who was raised Jewish and continues to live according that culture.

Despite this strange character compared to the majority of the New Testament’s wide-eyed perspective towards a Gentile-inclusive future, the epistle of James gives us an unexpectedly close portrait of the world in which Jesus walked. He kept the Law, he lived under the Old Covenant (thus fulfilling it), his cultural references were almost 100% parochial Jewish. Although James’ language doesn’t represent the majority tone of the Apostolic witness, it does bring us very close to what one might have experienced had one walked with Jesus during his earthly ministry.

This “awkward Jewishness” about James is compounded when you consider one of the few references to him in the Gospels. Natives of Nazareth expressed their unbelief regarding Jesus in this way: ““Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?”  And they took offense at him” (Matthew 13:54b-57a). One of the reasons (or excuses) that some people rejected Jesus was that they knew his family and relatives. They were “too close” to him to take him seriously.

And that sort of thing can be a challenge for Christians, sometimes, too. We know about his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. We hear about his relatives, including this James. They’re unapologetically Jewish, undeniably 1st-century Roman Palestinians. And still we exalt and worship that Jesus as God-in-the-flesh. St. James can bring us very close to Jesus, and sometimes that can be a little uncomfortable. It’s somehow “safer” to imagine Jesus in isolation, with no mother, no relatives, just a man descended from heaven. But, thank Him, that isn’t who he is; he’s a real person from a real lineage and race and region.

A Collect for Strength to Await Christ’s Return

If there is a single prayer that summarizes a “theology of Sundays” it is this collect.  The Lord’s Day is associated with many things – God’s reign over all creation, the resurrection of Jesus, and the many spoils and great redemption wrought through that victory.  It is from that resurrection power that Christian derive courage, boldness, and obedience to live for him both today and in anticipation of the last great Day.  The worship on this day therefore leads to the works throughout the week, and in so doing we sanctify time itself (cf. Question 298 in the Catechism, To Be A Christian).

Among this list of collects, this one is the only one that is not the same in the 1979 Prayer Book.  That prayer for Sundays in Morning Prayer was short both in length and in theological and devotional content.  Ironically, the prayer we have appointed instead was written originally for the 1979 Prayer Book, where it was found as Occasional Prayer #69.

O God our King,
by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ on the first day of the week,
you conquered sin, put death to flight, and gave us the hope of everlasting life:
Redeem all our days by this victory;
forgive our sins, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will;
and steel us to wait for the consummation of your kingdom on the last great Day;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for Peace at Morning Prayer

This prayer, like its counterpart in Evening Prayer, addresses the trouble of enemies. Perhaps the first question is who are our enemies? As in several of the Psalms, this is a nebulous concept, a fill-in-the-blank opportunity, and we should take care how we treat it, even in the silence of our hearts. The scriptures teach us that the enemies of the Christian are the world, the flesh, and the devil. Those are the forces that turn us away from God; those are the real threats against whom we need protection, and against whom we must fight. We must fight because peace is not found in avoidance of conflict, but in steadfastness despite conflict. Through “the might of Jesus” we pray for God’s defense “in all assaults”, not from all assaults. The goal or purpose of these prayers is that we “may not fear.” That is where our peace is found.

This Collect for Peace is one of the standard Morning Prayer Collects, appointed daily in the classical Prayer Books. Derived especially from the Psalms and the Gospel of John, and from the meditation of St. Augustine of Hippo, this prayer was used in the Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries as a post-communion prayer. In the Sarum Rite it was also appointed for the end of Lauds, whence Archbishop Cranmer carried it over to our Morning Prayer liturgy.

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord,
to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom:
Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies;
that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries,
through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Why the Collect of the Day in the Daily Office?

The first collect after the Suffrages has always been the Collect of the Day. The 1979 Prayer Book made this optional, but ours restores its requirement. The use of the Collect of the Day outside of the Communion liturgy seems to have originated with Archbishop Cranmer himself. This is, in a sense, a Reformation answer to the tradition of Daily Mass: rather than expecting the people to watch the priest celebrate the Sacrifice of the Altar throughout the week, the primary concern was that the people would come and hear the Word of God read throughout the week. The inclusion of the Collect of the Day was therefore an acknowledge of prior tradition both by acknowledging the liturgical calendar in the daily services and by bringing to peoples’ minds the previous Sunday’s prayers and lessons miniaturized in its Collect.

The purpose of using the Collect of the Day here in the Daily Office is either to bring to mind the Communion service on the previous Sunday or the present holy day. The majority of the Office is quite static, unmoved by liturgical season or other occasion; this Collect is its primary link to the sacramental life of the Church.

Although the Collect of the Day no longer relates directly to the readings in the modern Communion lectionary, its repetition from the previous Sunday or present holy day still serves as a tangible link between the Daily Office and the Holy Communion.