Discussion in 'Liturgy, and Book of Common Prayer' started by JayEhm, Apr 1, 2018.
Any online tutorials or even courses on the Book of Common Prayer?
What is it you want to know, the history of it or how to use it? If the former, there are plenty of books on the subject. Try the Prayer Book Society Shop for a selection. If the later, follow the directions given in the BCP itself, its fairly self-explanatory. Ask on here if yoy have any questions, a number of us are quite familiar with the use of the BCP.
The Prayer Book Society is your best resource. Sprawl the articles on www.pbs.co.uk and you will receive as much information as any other course can give you. They're excellent!
I will second the recommendations for the Prayer Book Society website! You might look in your local library for a copy of The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary by Massey Shepherd. It is out of print and as he wrote it in the 1940's, it focuses on the 1928 BCP. But it is quite the resource on the BCP.
I'm sure all of us will be more than happy to help with explaining how the BCP works. In general it's a LOT simpler than first appears. The whole BCP basically consists of set liturgies intended for various occasions of life (Holy Communion, Holy Matrimony, Baptism, Funerals, etc). Liturgy is the overall word for a prescribed sequence of divine worship (see St. Paul who talks about "liturgizing").
One of the most used liturgies is called "Morning Prayer", also known in hieratic language as "Matins" (Evening Prayer is known as "Evensong", which might resonate with you if you've read J.R.R. Tolkien's novels). It is meant to be extremely easy to use, and was formed out of the bulky and cumbersome medieval monastic Offices.
Matins/Morning Prayer is meant to be prayed every single morning in a church context (so this isn't necessarily a private devotional, although many use it as such). It has a general confession and an absolution that is uttered by the priest, but also an alternate text, in a purely lay context. As for what to do, you basically just read the text, start to finish. Each section has instructions (rubrics), explaining what is to be done. The entire liturgy will take you 45-60 minutes to go through. Many new Anglican church plants, or a house church without clergy present, will use the Morning Prayer as their Church service for the week; it doesn't require clergy and does not involve holy communion.
There are three things which vary from day to day, and they're indicated within the text as you will go through it:
When it's time to read the psalms, flip further into your BCP to find the psalms section. A good BCP will have the entire Psalter, all 150 Psalms, printed right there in the BCP. You will expect to read 2-3 Psalms assigned for that morning. Combined with Evensong and Holy Communion, you will have gone through the entire Psalter every month!
Where it talks about the First Lesson and the Second Lesson, that is your cue to read the prescribed Scripture reading for today. This is called the lectio divina (as opposed to lectio continua promulgated by Zwingli): passages of highest beauty and importance, picked out by the Church over 1000-1500 years ago. Each day you will have a different section assigned. The complete calendar of daily assigned readings is in the front of the BCP, listing basically every day of the year.
The Weekly Collect:
Near the end of the MP you will come to the collects, which is an ancient word for set prayers. Collects are short, highly-condensed ancient prayers of incredible beauty, translated into the most elevated English that human hands could form. For some people, private devotionals consist of just reading various collects on various occasions. Think of the grace before meal as a collect (and indeed Anglicans have a collect for grace before meals).
In the MP, three collects are read. The first collect varies; the last two are always the same every every single morning throughout the year. They are very famous and highly elevated. The first collect is always different, and derives from the prior Sunday's Holy Communion Service (Communion was intended every Sunday). Flip to the prescribed readings for Holy Communion, and read the Collect there. Then flip back to your MP, and finish out with the Collect for Grace and the Collect for Purity.
So in total you will have needed to flip three times: to the Psalms (then back). To the Scripture/Lectionary Calendar (then back). To the Weekly Collect (then back). It will take a little getting used to for the first day or two, but by the end of the first week this will feel right at home. It does for all of us.
A few good summary. I'd advise finding one or two bookmarks and finding the psalms and readings in advance of starting. On Sunday you can use the set readings printed in the BCP itself, but otherwise you will also need a Bible (the King James perfectly compliments the BCP as it uses the same style of language). There are also incidentally collects and readings for certain other Holy Days throughout the year. If following the rubrics strictly, you would after the Collect for Purity then read a Collect for the Queen's Majesty, a Collect for the Royal Family, A Collect for Clergy and People, the Prayer of St. John Chrysostom and finish with the Grace. The Prayer for all Sorts and Conditions of Men is also prescribed to say after Morning Prayer and is a useful further prayer of intercession.
Incidentally, I'm amazed it takes Stalwart as much as 45 mins to an hour to say Morning Prayer. It takes me no more than 30 minutes, and my priest has told me it takes him only 15-20. 45-60 as a sung office in church maybe.
When I pray the office of Morning Prayer, it usually takes forty-five minutes to an hour for me. I guess it depends on how slowly one reads it, because different people can soak up different texts in different times. I know I'm a slow reader - because I like to grasp the text. With that said, my mother is a fast reader - if I were to sit down with her and if we were both reading the same book, in one hour I would have a thorough memory of what I'd just read. My mother, on the other hand, would have just as thorough an understanding, but she will have read more than me - and equally understand all of it.
Our parish priest said the same as yours. It takes him about quarter of an hour to twenty minutes. But see - I like to add reading hymns to the morning prayer, as well as a little devotional reading. It's my pious "getting it out of the way" measure.
Also with that said, I don't read it every morning. When I have time I do. So I haven't developed the habit! I bet if I did get the habit going, then I'd probably be down to about twenty minutes or so! That's just the basic office in the morning, all that is required.
If you are adding extra things then clearly it could take longer.
I do certainly think that the liturgy can go quicker once you get the hang of it.
When I read my office I like to savour it slowly and contemplatively
Wow, thanks folks. Plenty of help in this thread. To answer the questions on what I would like to learn...all of it! The history, the 'how to,' etc. I would also like to know more about the rubrics some Anglicans use like crossing oneself. I tend to 'cross' myself and haven't thought about when or why, it just happens.
Yours in the Lord,
Crossing oneself is a matter of personal preference really. But in Morning/Evening Prayer, the absolution would be an appropriate place if so inclined.
I have been attending and using the Canadian Book of Common Prayer but would like to get a copy of the 1662.
How do they differ? Could one use the 1662 for Lord's Day worship if the Church is using the Canadian BCP?
I'm just wondering how different they are I guess.
This looks nice:
Yours in the Lord,
PS: I use the AV most often, the Reformation Study Bible and the Westminster Reference, but for deuterocanonical books I use the Orthodox Study Bible.
You can find the 1662 here: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/book-common-prayer
I'm not familiar with the Canadian version but you can compare and see what is different. If you like it, its cheap enough to buy a 1662.
Out of curiosity, can anyone answer me why (at least in sung evensong) people uniformly cross themselves at the start of the canticles? I was reared in an anglo-catholic parish and it was the norm, but I never knew why.
It is a pious custom/gesture which was re-introduced by 19th century liturgists. The Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis are the Gospel Canticles for Evening Prayer and as such are regarded as a high/solemn point in the Office. By signing at these points we are acknowledging the significance of the Gospel to our faith. (The Magnificat is the main Gospel Canticle for EP, as the Nunc was originally the Gospel Canticle for Compline/Night Prayer until ++Cranmer conflated Vespers and Compline to form EP.) In a solemn celebration of EP, incense and tapers might be used during the Magnificat.)
The sign of the cross is an outward show and profesion that we are not ashamed to aknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour who died for us on the cross. In effect, it is a short 'creed' in action...our belief in Christ Crucified, our trust in His Passion and our faith in the Trinity, to whom we have access by the Cross of Christ.
One might see people sign their lips with a small cross using their thumb at 'O Lord, open thou our lips' then signing again with a full crossing at 'O God, make speed...' and also at the end of the Creed etc. Other pious gestures might include bowing the head at the first clause of the Gloria Patri (Glory be to the Father...) as an act of adoration of the Holy Trinity or a little nod of the head whenever the name of Jesus occurs in the Office.
The First Prayer Book left such pious actions (crossing, holding up of hands, knocking on the breast etc) to the personal preference of the individual. ' They may be used or left, as every man's devotion serveth.'
I can confirm that that the only differences you will find are mostly the addition of Canadian saints/founders/bishops, and the prayer for the Dominion of Canada. The liturgies are practically the same, as is the layout actually. The current version of the Canadian prayerbook has a striking similarity to the old 1662's of years gone by (like this one here). My grandmother used her 1662 straight on through her life, including many visits to Canada and she never had any issues (she never muttered anything under her breath during church.)
Regarding blessing oneself, both my grandparents always did (the vicar and his wife) and he always encouraged me to bless myself whenever the priest blessed his congregation. I always did it during Mass, and most people do at the ACNA parish at which I am organist.