Sunday, January 24, 2016

Why Have a Proposed Revised Book of Common Prayer if You are Against Prayer Book Revision.

Why do I have a proposed revised book of common prayer, the result of several years of work, if I am against prayer book revision? There are several answers to that question.

As a layman involved in the daily prayer of the church, I had plenty of incentive to find antiphons for the canticles, find alternative prayers and canticles, etc. Also I could see some of the problems with the current daily office lectionary. I could see the attempt, no doubt well meant, to rewrite the scriptures by leaving out verses that might cause disquiet, etc. So a lot of Book II was the result of research into adding to my daily office experience.

But I slowly became aware of the rather vocal faction in the church that is in favor of prayer book revision. This alarmed me as I am able, barely, to remember the last round of prayer book revision, in which the church was told that the prayer book HAD to be revised so that we could keep the younger generation. That is to say me and people like me, despite the fact that as far as I could see we were never consulted at all.

So I thought to myself, the way this tends to work is that those who want change tend to get themselves named to supposedly representative committees. Then they go and put together what they want and present it as “what the people want.” Then even when it is made clear that this is not what the people want, it becomes the basis of discussion as it is the only alternative prayer book available.

So to stop this sort of inside pool, I set out to write this book. I read or reread the BCPs of 1549, 1552, 1559, 1662, 1789, 1892, 1928, 1979, along with the deposited English book of 1928, the books of lesser feasts and fasts, the books of offices, hymnals, etc. This book is the far from perfect result.

But you may ask, if we don’t revise the prayer book what will become of all this work you have done? Will it not be wasted?

Not at all, this can still be a resource for those saying the daily office and with the adoption of resolution 2015-D050 Authorizing “An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist” as a Principal Service, they have pretty much authorized the nearly the whole of Book III The Missal for use as the main service on Sunday in the Episcopal Church. For which I should be thankful. 

Anyway no research and thought is ever wasted in that it adds to the sum of human thought and creativity.

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