Book of Common Prayer follow up

Title page of the Prayer book of 1662, printed...

Title page of the Prayer book of 1662, printed by John Baskerville in 1762. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, today we had the service that followed the original BoCP and while it was very different, it was also really, really nice. The main difference was, as I thought before, that the order of the service was all jumbled up and yes, that was confusing at times. I thought it was rather interesting that all the ten commandments were recited at the beginning of the service and the archaic language was, of course, very beautiful. I liked that it was different and special. Here is what I didn’t like: During most of the service, the minister stood with the back to the congregation. She was, of course, meant to be facing God and this is the very traditional way of saying the mass in the Catholic church as well (today pretty much no-one does it that way anymore, though). For me, it felt weird, unknown and distancing. We discussed this after the service and a retired vicar that I will call Jonathan here (it is not his real name) made the good point that the priest is meant to be a member of the congregation, facing God and that the two times she actually faces the congregation for the absolution and the blessing, the fact, that she is speaking for God then is greatly emphasised. This is true, but I still prefer the other way.

Overall, I think I could get used to it and I certainly liked it for the celebration it was of tradition and the history of the Church of England and the BoCP. I also like that we don’t usually use archaic language more, though. It makes the connection to God we feel during worship less extraordinary and more as a part of our normal life and I think that is as it should be. After all, the writers of the BoCP decided to hold the services in English rather than Latin so everyone could relate to the service and understand what is being said.

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Filed under CoE, Community, History, Prayer

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