Monday, November 3, 2008


Speaking of reading the Rubrics of the prayer book, most people, and that includes most priests and even bishops, don't. By not doing so they miss a great deal of the positive teaching of the Book of Common Prayer for the Rubrics are not just for telling us how to perform the service, a task for which they are insufficent, but they are also to tell us what the service is about and what the teaching of the Church is in various areas. Read the Rubric at the top of page 321. It tells us a great deal of what the Church expects of us in terms of regular receiving of the Lord's Supper and how, in time of sickness, we are expected to notify the priest so that the priest may bring the sacrament to us, either by celebrating in our homes or by carrying the reserved sacrament to us from the regular service of the Church.

Likewise, it is a rubric on page 313 in the Visiation of the Sick that reminds us that arricular confession is a regular part of the teaching and practise of the Church.

Therefore we should know, that just as we are not intended to read only portions of our Bibles, we ought also to read all of the Book of Common Prayer so that we can know the teaching therein. And knowing the teaching of the prayer book, we should hold it as the standard against the performance and teaching of our priests and bishops. They have promised "conformity" - and in the case of the bishops, "obedience" - to it. If they don't give that in the fullest, without any mental reservation or evasion, then you have good reason to question their faith and their performance. If they try to twist it into something which it is not, you have even better reason to question their honesty. The Book of Common Prayer is a minimum standard and most of us, honestly, don't make that minimum standard. Churches and missions in the Anglican Continuum from a lack of their own buildings are generallyincapable of offering publicly the DAILY offices. They also fail in their ability to celebrate the communion office on all those ocassions for which the prayer book provides propers or implies by ribric that it should be celebrated. But we make no secret of the fact that we know that we are falling short and that more, much more, ought to be done to keep the faith and practise of the Book of Common Prayer.

Godparents in the baptismal office are asked to promise that the child will learn the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments as well as "all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health". Other than the whole of the Bible, where are we to find those things save in a large and particular knowledge of the Book of Common Prayer? Consequently we ought to read the Rubrics of the prayer book, but not just them. It is all of the prayer book which we ought to know and use to our soul's health.

How well do YOU know the Book of Common Prayer?

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