A short note on the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
“All the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil.”
“Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.”

Shakespeare? The King James Bible? Close — the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the liturgical and literary masterpiece that along with the playwright and the landmark Bible helped shape the English language, [marked its 350th anniversary in 2012].

Anglicans Celebrate Book of Common Prayer’s 350th Anniversary by Trevor Grundy for Ecumenical News International and posted by Sojourners on May 2, 2012

From the same article:

The anniversary actually refers to the revised edition that still stands as the official doctrinal standard of the Church of England and most other churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. After Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer set out to replace the Latin missal with a book of liturgical services and prayers in English that would also incorporate theological changes, such as less prominence for saints.

The Prayer Book now appears in many variants in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and has influenced the liturgical texts of other denominations.

The book’s language — another phrase is “till death us do part” from the marriage service — resonates even today, said Bishop Stephen Platten, chair of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission. “Even in an apparently secular world, large numbers come to have their children christened or baptized. The cadences of the Prayer Book have become part of a treasury of prayers and reflections that have helped to fashion people’s lives,”

Read the entire post by Trevor Grundy.

Do you have some favorites from the Book of Common Prayer? Share them in the Comments section here. Keep the conversation going …

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Photo from the article by Trevor Grundy via Shutterstock

Wind Chimes: 14 Dec 2012

Graduates of A4T1 Girls School, Kabul
Graduates of A4T1 Girls School, Kabul | An Episcopal Relief and Development Partner Program

[John said] “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

Luke 3:8 NRSV

Sometimes the music in the chimes makes the heart dance. Refreshed by the dance, every activity of the day is energized. What do you hear?

By word and EXAMPLE

Imagine that. The words of John spoken in the 1st century Judean wilderness thunder into the “Christmas Season” of 21st century America. “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.”

When asked by the people “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:10) John, in so many words, says ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (3:10-14) Luke goes on to tell us, “…with many other exhortations, [John] proclaimed the good news to the people.” (3:18)

In our Baptismal Covenant we promise that, “with God’s help,” we will “Proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” In Advent we annually discover, joyfully, that fulfilling such a promise is a noble way to live life. ~dan

A blessing based on the readings of Advent 3 (12/16/12)

Go now and rejoice in the Lord always.
Do not be afraid or worried about anything,
but in everything trust God and pray.
Bear fruits worthy of repentance,
sharing what you have and being gentle with all.

And may God rejoice over you with gladness;
May Christ Jesus renew you in his love;
and may the Holy Spirit give you peace beyond understanding
to guard your hearts and minds in Christ.

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources for 12/16/12

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea (reprised):

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: Photo Gallery of Episcopal Relief and Development

Wind Chimes: 13 Dec 2012

Clean water: part of the effort of Foundation Cristosal in El Salvador

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Perhaps the chimes are as persistent as John the Baptist, singing to us to turn around, change direction, find and go toward the music. What do you hear?

Repentance

In our ‘Spiritual Day Hike’ at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert) yesterday we talked about repentance, among other things. It turns out we, who have participated in many a Bible study and have sat through many a sermon, are good students and seekers. More importantly, each of us could report continuing efforts, even daily efforts, to re-turn to the Lord.

Our wide ranging musings and reports accord well with the succinct description in the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Repentance: Sincere contrition, involving acknowledgment of wrongdoing in the sense of both admitting guilt and feeling guilty […] remorse must be accompanied by resolve to cease doing wrong and do what is right […] In biblical idiom, the sinner is called on to “circumcise the heart” (Deut. 30.6; Jer. 4.4), “wash the heart” (Jer. 4.14), or become “single‐hearted” (Jer. 32.39); to make a new heart (Ezek. 18.31), a heart of flesh, not stone (Ezek. 36.26)

Such feelings and behaviors, we agreed, are developed one day at a time, one experience at a time. It was encouraging to me (and I believe each of us ‘on the hike’) to hear of triumph and failure and resolve to do better each day. ~dan

It is part of our Baptismal Covenant

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? — “I will with God’s help.”

A promise we make to God and to each other in our Baptismal Covenant.

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Foundation Cristosal —  “We are a faith-based organization of Anglican roots dedicated to human rights and community development work in El Salvador. We partner with people and organizations from diverse philosophical, religious, and political backgrounds to accompany the Salvadoran people in the construction of a just society.” (Home Page Welcome and Introduction)
  • A personal testimony from Ms. Alexandra Howard a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego.

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: Foundation Cristosal

Wind Chimes: 28 Sep 2012

Two of the favorites to be named the next Archbishop of Canterbury
(LT-RT) The Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft and The Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby. Photo credit: Chapter and Verse / PA

Here is today’s sampling of the music made by the Spirit in the Wind Chimes.

What do you hear?

Former oil executive still bookies’ favourite as final decision due on Archbishop of Canterbury (posted 9/26/2012)

Quote . . .The Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, was confirmed as the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Rowan Williams, as the Crown Nominations Commission began a two-day meeting to make its final decision.   [1]

Hat tip (ht) to John H. for sending the link to this article. Somewhere in the world, you can find someone else to take your bet on anything you can imagine. More seriously, pray for those making this selection (a request made near the end of the Telegraph article), and pray for the one who will step up to this ministry.

It is never too late to pray

The Crown Nominations Committee has done its work (9/26-9/27/2012) and names are being sent to the Queen for a final decision. An announcement will be made in the week of September 30, 2012. I believe it is never too late to pray. Here is the prayer to be offered for the Committee (and for the Queen) as the decision is made:

Almighty God, you have given your Holy Spirit to the Church to lead us into all truth: bless with the Spirit’s grace and presence the members of the Crown Nominations Committee. Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love, that they may seek your will, manifest your glory and prepare the way of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen. Prayer for the Crown Nominations Committee

Please join me (and so many others) in prayer.

Obama at the U.N.: A new religion doctrine

President Obama on Tuesday (Sept. 25) gave a forceful speech at the United Nations, in which he challenged much of the world’s assumptions about free speech and religion.

The article, by Lauren Markoe, goes on to extract five points which she says “add up to as close to an Obama Doctrine on Religion as we’ve seen.”

Read the article on Religion News Service

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[1] You may read the full article by John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor for the Telegraph, here: http://bit.ly/QXiwTt. At this point (9/28/12) two names will be forwarded to the Queen who will choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Her choice will be announced next week.

What we are doing on earth—a bishop speaks

The Rev. Dr. Mariann Budde was consecrated as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Washington on 12 Nov 2011 and was “seated” in her cathedral and preached her first “episcopal sermon” on 13 Nov 2011 in the National Cathedral. You can read her entire sermon here: What we are doing on earth.

To whet your appetite for reading, I offer this tidbit from the midst of her remarks. It is a remeinder to all of us of the unique character of our Episcopal Church (firmly in the “Anglican Tradition”). Enjoy.

My friends of the Episcopal Diocese of this Washington, you have called me to serve as your bishop at a decisive moment of opportunity and challenge for us all. The opportunity is all around us. We of the Episcopal Church have been entrusted with a particular expression of Christ’s gospel that is priceless. Think of what it means to you to have a spiritual home with such an appreciation of mystery and all that is beyond our knowing and curiosity about the world as we can know it through the rigorous inquiry of science.

Think of what it means to you to have a spiritual home that lives the Via Media, the middle way among all expressions of Christianity, affirming the wholeness of faith that can only be fully experienced in the creative tension of polarities — heart and mind, Catholic and Protestant, word and sacrament, mysticism and service, contemplation and social engagement. Think of what it means to you to be part of a Church that does not ask its members to agree on matters of politics or theology or biblical interpretation, but rather to allow the grace of God to unite us at the altar of Christ in full appreciation of our differences and the God-given right of everyone to be welcome at God’s table.

Come back and leave a comment or two. Share your reaction to her sermon. What is stirred up within you? What did you learn? What did you relearn? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Photo: Episcopal News Service