Let’s pray Evening Prayer together!

We’ve got a daily hymnody plan available, an order for using the Occasional Prayers, and some insight on how to sing Simplified Anglican Chant.  Let’s put it all together and see what Evening Prayer can be like. We did this with Morning Prayer last week, but now let’s add some chanting to spruce up this feast day commemorating St. Mary Magdalene.  I should warn you that there are a couple of stumblings, hesitations, and even mistakes as I read, pray, and sing.  That’s life, that’s reality.  I’m not here to perform for anyone, and I just want to encourage you to pray and sing, yourself, too.  Anyway, grab your 2019 Prayer Book, ESV Bible, and 2017 Hymnal, and listen and pray along!

 

Order of service (so you can get your books ready)…

  1. Opening Sentence (BCP 41)
  2. Confession *
  3. Invitatory Dialogue with Hymn #444 instead of the Phos hilaron **
  4. Psalms 108 (tune #748) and 109 (tunes #747 & 746)
  5. Old Testament: Ezra 10
  6. Magnificat (tune #743)
  7. New Testament: John 1:1-28
  8. Nunc dimittis (tune #750)
  9. The Apostles’ Creed
  10. The Prayers
  11. The Anthem (Hymn #175)
  12. Brief homiletic reflection
  13. Occasional Prayers #11-15
  14. The General Thanksgiving ***
  15. Closing Sentences

* I don’t read either absolution after the general confession when I’m praying the Office alone because there’s no “you” for me to speak to, so I take on the words of the laity in the prayer for forgiveness instead.

** The rubric at the top of page 44 allows for a hymn to replace the Phos hilaron.  Since the Phos hilaron is not a feature of classic prayer books I typically prefer to replace it with an Evening Hymn (or other hymn as in this case).

*** I tend not to pray the Prayer of St. John Chrysostom when alone, as the rubric indicates it’s optional, and because its language of being gathered for corporate prayer is not exactly fulfilled in private.

Let’s pray Morning Prayer together right now!

Okay, we’ve got a daily hymnody plan available, an order for using the Occasional Prayers, and some advice on the use of Canticles so far.  Let’s put it all together and see what Morning Prayer can be like. Listen and pray along!

Order of service (so you can get your books ready)…

  1. Opening Sentence (BCP 11)
  2. Morning Hymn (#229) *
  3. Invitatory with the Venite (BCP 13-14)
  4. Psalms 79, 80, 81 (BCP 373-377)
  5. 1 Samuel 7
  6. Canticle 8 Ecce Deus (BCP 85-86)
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
  8. The Benedictus (BCP 18-19)
  9. The Apostles’ Creed (BCP 20)
  10. The Prayers (BCP 21-24)
  11. The Anthem (Hymn #439)
  12. Occasional Prayers #25, 35-37
  13. The General Thanksgiving (BCP 25) **
  14. Closing Sentences (BCP 26)

* The first rubric on page 31 allows for the Confession and the Creed to to be omitted in one Office provided it is said in the other that day.  On my own I tend to say the Creed in the morning and the Confession in the evening.

** I tend not to pray the Prayer of St. John Chrysostom when alone, as the rubric on page 25 indicates it’s optional, and because its language of being gathered for corporate prayer is not exactly fulfilled in private.

Book Review: Liturgical Theology

Welcome to Saturday Book Review time!  On most of the Saturdays this year we’re looking at a liturgy-related book noting (as applicable) its accessibility, devotional usefulness, and reference value.  Or, how easy it is to read, the prayer life it engenders, and how much it can teach you.

Let’s start with a confession: I didn’t read all of the books in seminary that I was supposed to read.  But I did start catching up immediately after I graduated.  One of those books was Liturgical Theology by Simon Chan.  I was already a confirmed Anglican and in the discernment process for Holy Orders, and it was only then, in reading this book, that I began my deep love for the liturgy which has continued with me to this day.  I was so impressed by this book (and still in a note-taking mode like a seminary student) that I actually made outline notes of each chapter of the book.  So if you want to go into greater depth you can look at those notes here:

As you can see there, the first four chapters lay the foundation for a liturgical theology, and the last three set out concrete practices by which that liturgical theology can be expressed.  This is very helpful for those who are not familiar with liturgical worship, and need to see “why liturgy matters” before they can be bothered to learn about liturgy itself.  And even if you are familiar with liturgical worship, sometimes it’s helpful to go back to examine the foundational purposes for this way of life we share.

It should be noted, too, that Simon Chan is not an Anglican.  He’s not even from a liturgical tradition himself; he’s an Assemblies of God Pastor.  This has the disadvantage that this book doesn’t really deal with particularly Anglican liturgical practices, but it does have the advantage of a common-ground approach to liturgical worship that highlights the similarities across several particular traditions.  When he does give a walk-through of the Communion service, it is largely identical to the shape of the 1979 Prayer Book and the modern Roman Mass, not the Tridentine Mass or the classical prayer book tradition.  This may be a let-down for the traditionalist reader, but more relatable to the modern-liturgy fan.

I’ve noticed that the website for an ACNA diocese actually has a review of this book, which you may find useful for reflection on the nature of the Church.  There’s also a review of this book on the well-known The Gospel Coalition blog which makes a number of unfounded criticisms (such as that Simon Chan does away with sola scriptura and promulgates the doctrine of transubstantiation!) which I can only tell you to disregard.  I think that reviewer either had a chip on his shoulder against the liturgical tradition, or didn’t read the book very carefully.

On the whole, I would still recommend this book quite happily.  It won’t give you an Anglican education, but its principles are sound and its commentary is insightful.  In fact, the fact that this is a pentecostal author arguing for historic liturgy makes his exhortation all the more earnest and significant.  This is no patronizing Anglo-Catholic telling the evangelical world how to fix their problems, as we often imagine liturgical theologians to be!

The ratings in short:

Accessibility: 4/5
Although this book was an assigned text for one of my seminary courses, it is not a dense scholarly read.  It is intended, I think, for pastors, worship leaders, and interested laymen who do not necessarily have any higher education.  It’s clearly organized, logically written, and peppered with citations for further reference.  (Except they’re endnotes, yuck!)

Devotional Usefulness: N/A
This is a book to read, not pray.

Reference Value: 3/5
If you’ve never read a book about liturgy and liturgical worship before, this is probably the best place to start.  It’s informative, covers a lot of ground, and gets you connected with plenty of biblical and Early Church quotations.  It won’t really improve your knowledge and understanding of the Prayer Book tradition, or English spirituality, but you can save that for another book.  From analyzing the Creed to outlining the three-year catechumenate, this is a great place to begin your foray into liturgical studies.

Why liturgy in the first place?

If you’re following this blog on Facebook, or directly, or via email subscription, chances are you’re already committed to the Anglican way of liturgical worship.  You may or may not have much to say about why you like or prefer liturgy over the free church tradition.  But you’ve probably been asked before by other Christians why you and/or your church worships the way it does.

Liturgy is not our “style”.  It is not our “flavor”.  It’s actually a part of who we are as Christians; it’s how we’re Christians.  Don’t fall into the trap of assuming or pretending that it’s a simple matter of preference.  No, it’s a principle.

For more on this, here’s a new video:

Subject Index:

  • 0:00 The challenge of understanding liturgy
  • 2:44 Why (and not why) we’re committed to liturgical worship
  • 6:15 Look at the whole, not the individual
  • 8:04 Many of us today struggle with liturgy

Three-fold Rule of Worship

Typically on this daily blog we look at specific pieces of advice or insight into some aspect or ingredient of the liturgy of the Anglican tradition.  Sometimes we’ve stepped back here to look at an entire season, but even that is still a fairly specific subject in the broad scheme of things.  Today we’re going very broad indeed: the “three-fold rule of Christian worship.”

Summarized briefly, the 3-fold rule, or Regula, is the balanced diet of Common Prayer (Daily Office), Sacramental Rites, and Private Prayer & Devotion.  The Anglican tradition, historically, has arguably the most ingenious execution of this three-fold rule, though it is a concept as old as the Bible itself.  Anyway, this is a model for understanding the total life of worship as a Christian; it was revolutionary for me in my own spiritual growth, and I hope it will be of value and insight for you as well.  So, without further ado:

Please bear with me, as I am new to the art and science of making videos.  Making eye contact from the pulpit with a congregation is quite different from making eye contact with a computer camera!  Don’t worry, I won’t inundate this blog or your inbox with videos now; but this is a new skill I’m looking into learning.  Hopefully my learning process won’t be too distracting for you.