Sunday, December 27, 2009

Short and Sweet!

As above, but almost marvelous beyond even the words into which it was put. I found it in the comment section of a blog where the person offering it said that he found it in a mailing list. Now that is a list that I would like to be on.

"ANGLICANISM: Offering personal ordinariates for disaffected Roman Catholic since 1549."


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Boxed In

Today is the feast of Stephen and on it as on the feast of Christmas itself we are house bound by snow and ice. That means that the liturgy is and has been the office since getting out on the roads would be all but impossible if not crazy suicidal. But that does not mean that we will not remember and celebrate the feast of the first martyr, the deacon Stephan, whose preaching of the gospel brought him death by stoning. However, let us be clear, in spite of the temptation we will not get stoned. A glass of wine with the pot roast and carrots, perhaps, but no more than that.

On the other hand, we do have memories and regrets. Among them is that we have never had the opportunity to "deacon" on this the feast of the first deacon martyr. Somehow on all of those occasions on which we have been where there could be a celebration of this feast, we have always had to be the celebrant. Having received the order of deacon on an Ember Saturday in December, it had been my hope to arrange for just the smallest of celebrations of this feast so that I could read the gospel with the diaconal stole on my left shoulder. No such luck! A big winter storm blew in from the Pacific and by the time it was over, the feast and such opportunity had passed. And by the bishop's order I was priested on the Ember Saturday in Whitsuntide and sang my first Eucharist on Trinity Sunday.

But it would be nice to find a place and time where one could slip back into the servant role, knowing that even as a priest one is also and always a deacon as well, to be able to as humbly as possible don not the cope and chasuble of the priest, but even the meanest of old red dalmatics and be the deacon on this feast. Next year, the feast will fall on a Sunday and with out the chance of the visit of another priest who might be persuaded to celebrate, I probably won't get the chance then either. So it may never happen but in my dreams. And yet I remember the time of the Cromwellian Interregnum in England when the use of the Book of Common Prayer was forbidden and made criminal and even under those circumstances true Anglicans took the risks and celebrated Holy Communion on all the Sundays and Holy Days of the year. There is even a legend that small groups would enter St Paul's in London and find a cornor where they would not be observed so that they might maintain the tradition of a daily celebration in that place until the king and the Church returned. And this is what we have to do as well. We have to find a building, however small and mean, where an altar can be erected and the offices and the Eucharist celebrated in complete conformity to our own Book of Common Prayer. After all the ancient Romans did so in the catacombs underneath the city where the dead were buried and the ancient Celts did so in clearings in the forest. Again, according to legend, the first church at Glastonbury was made of waddle, sticks interwoven and plastered with mud.

Given the circumstances of our Lord's birth and the place where he instituted the Eucharist, we should all recognize that those who will only attend the offices and Holy Communion in a grand stone building with a magnificent pipe organ are less Christians than we would like them to be. We all want things to be the best that we can offer, our own poor equivalent of the shepherd's gifts as well as the gold, frankincense and myrrh of the Magi, but what is most important is that we give ourselves, "our souls and bodies," to follow and worship our Lord wherever we must. If we can not do that, the grandest of cathedrals are monuments erected to ourselves and not to Him.

This is Stephen's day; he gave his life to preach the gospel. What have we done; what are we doing to measure up him?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Honest to God . . .and to ourselves!

There is a group of Anglicans who greatly admire what we call the religious life and which do their best to promote monasticism among us. They seem to place a very high value on other people living lives under rule and practicing the vowed virtues of "chastity, poverty and obedience." The truth is that these are virtues that belong to all who call themselves Christians and are equally attractive when practiced in the course of our daily lives.

But what is necessary is the old fashioned virtue of keeping your word, simply doing what you said that you would do. Here I am writing of the vows which are taken and made at the ordination of bishops, priests and deacons according to the Ordinal which now forms part of the Book of Common Prayer. When you take orders as an Anglican you ought to do so in obedience to the rite by which you received them and with the intention of using that rite appropriately. Unfortunately, right from the reign of Elizabeth I there have been far too many who have wanted office in the Church but when ordained refused to do what they promised they would do so. This has given us three parties in the Church whose chief charactoristic is their refusal to do what the Church has ordered in the way the Church has ordered it. They are the so-called 'evangelical' or low church party, the broad church party and finally the Anglo-papalist party who does most of what is required but chooses to do so with the ornaments and ceremonial of a foreign church. The result is that many both inside and outside the Church have any idea who we, as Anglicans, are or were intended to be. Consequently, this is another plea for all Anglicans, lay and clergy, to do what the prayer book orders in the way in which the rubrics in the prayer book tradition intended it to be done. And to that point I have chosen to quote two books, both of which I think are very much to the point.

The first is one of those books which every Anglican lay or clerical really ought to know. It is Proctor and Frere's A New History of the Book of Common Prayer.
"The Puritan party from the days of Elizabeth to the present time have never honestly accepted the Prayer Book: its members have been too much of churchmen to leave the Church, but too little of churchmen to value its principles: they have remained in a false position, attempting to subvert the system to which they nominally conformed. It has been pointed out how openly the attempt was made in Elizabethan times; and, though it has in God's good providence failed all along to win any substanial recognition, it has been able at times to establish an evasive and false tradition of Prayer Book interpretation which has practically popularized and sought even to justify a system of disloyalty to the Prayer Book. The party has had its conflicts with the loyal and more wholehearted churchmanship, and the issues have hitherto not been finally decisive. The failure of the Elizabethan attempt to puritanise the Church inaugurated the period of loyalty of the early Stuart times: the success of this recovery was too rapid and too injudicious, and so the revenge came speedily; for a while sectarianism and puritanism had their way, until a short experience of their results under the Commonwealth produced a fresh reaction. The failure of the Puritans at the Savoy inaugurated another period of loyalty under the later Stuarts, but, when Church life was systematically crushed in the 18th century by Whig politicians and latitudinarian bishops, the reign of the false tradition and the evasive, disloyal or merely torpid attitude to the rules of Church worship again set in; and those who tried to be loyal system, whether early followers of Wesley, Clapham Evangelicals or Oxford Tractarians, were all alike in turn charged with innovation, disloyalty, and even with Popery. The contest still survives: the Puritan party still works for a system which is not the system of the Catholic Church or of the English Prayer Book, and defends its disregard of plain rubrics (e.g., as to fasting or daily services) and its want of sympathy with the system (e.g., as to the frequency and discipline of Communion) by appealing to the evasive tradition, which in the dark days of its history it has been able to form, and would like to fasten permanently upon the Church. Thus there is no feature more marked in the history of the Prayer Book than this contest between the Church system of worship expressed in the Prayer Book and the false interpretation which has grown up through a continous tradition of evasion and rebellion"

The other quotation if from the Reverend Canon J. C. L. Dart's The Old Religion. "This Protestant fifth column is still with us. Declarations are constantly being made that the Church of England comprehends many points of view and that all of them have an equal right to exist within its borders. We are told that extreme "Evangelical" Churches are as much "Church of England" as "Anglo-Catholic" ones, perhaps even more so. But this is simply not true. This is proved by the one authoritiative document which the Church of England has issued -the Book of Common Prayer. Doctrines which are contrary to it are disloyal. Churches which do not obey its directions represent disloyal and rebellious elements."

There you have it: the question of honesty and obedience, not set away in an enclosed community, but in the totality of the Church itself. Is it right that we should not only expect it but require it of all who have made these promises to the Church and to God?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Conceptionof the Blessed Virgin

This feast is in the calendar of the of the English book of 1662 and the 'Deposted Book' of 1928. It is also in the prayer book of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church of Scotland. It was also in the calendar of the Sarum Use. Acoording to Liturgy and Worship the "date was deduced from that of the Nativity on Sept. 8. The Festival has been though to have originated in England before 1066. Abolished at Canterbury by Lanfranc, it was reintroduced into England in the twelfth century." This feast has been in the English prayer book calendar since 1559 and is indicative of the Catholic intention of the Settlement of Religion under Elizabeth I. As a black letter holy day it was not provided with a proper collect, epistle and gospel. But the reasons for that were not religious but economic.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lambreth Conference of 1867

I found this quote in F. W. Puller's The Continuity of the Church of England Before and After It's Reformation in the 16th Century. London, Longman's, Green and Co., 1913. Since I very much agree with it because it sets for the classical Anglican position, I thought it worthwhile to pass it on.

"We do here solemnly record our conviction that unity will be most effectually promoted by maintaining the faith in its purity and integrity, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, held by the primitive Church, summed up in the Creeds, and afirmed by the undisputed General Councils."

Would it not be a great thing if the current Archbishop of Canterbury, establishment Anglicanism, and all those who call themselves Anglican were equally of that opinion. Instead we have folks who have another faith and attempting to cause us to believe that It is Anglicanism and Christian.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent Comes Again!

Tomorrow is the Advent Sunday and in accordance with the old usage we will be blue again. That will take us away from those to whom Ritual Notes is the authority for Catholicity, and will set us apart from even those who think themselves Anglicans but would never bother to consider obeying the Ornaments Rubric. They now that they have compromised their principles by using stoles over their surplices almost universally do so with the Roman colours.

Advent is one of those strange seasons which I long ago decided that essentially eluded the comprehension of those who gave us our prayer book. I know that some of their reasoning was based upon economics. England had been made poor by a hundred years of civil war and needed to get back to work. The liturgical system of the medieval church was beyond the comprehension of what we would think of as "the man in the pew" because it was in a language which he didn't understand and about a subject that was open to him only by the pictures painted on the church's walls. And the climax of the season was the feast of Christmas which seemed to be about the nativity of Jesus - until you started reading the appointed scriptural lessons and the prayers which accompanied the service.

That is not to say that the Sarum liturgy or those of Lincoln, York or Bangor were not beautiful. As one who spent too much of my late teen years reading through the volumes of the Henry Bradshaw Society how marvelous, how incredibly beautiful they were and were intended to be. But be cause of the language issue they were open and understood only by an intellectual and educated elite while the ordinary Christian knelt on the floor of his or her parish church and said their beads. They had been present at mass; there duty had been done but they were really at a closed door.

The first Book of Common Prayer opened that door for them. I am not sure that they appreciated it. Kneeling there and saying their paters and aves was easier. Now they were being assaulted by a load of Scripture that was almost more than they could take in and digest. The psalms, the Old Testament lessons, the Gospels and more; and then there were the clerical fights over just how it was to be done and how much they would be allowed to actually participate. The change was too quick and too radical for most of them to comprehend or make their personal piece with. Indeed we have seen the same thing with the Roman Church when they switched their liturgy from the old Latin rite of Pius V for the Novus Ordo of Paul VI. They went from full churches to ones almost as empty as those of the Episcopal Church after thirty years of their version of the new Roman liturgy.

And us? Well, we have more than four hundred years of it now and we still can't seem to get it right. High and crazy; low and lazy, broad and hazy with each insisting that they are the real Anglicans. And then we enter the occasional church which seems to be praying of itself. When the services begin the majority of the people seem to know what they are doing and refer only to the service sheet for the number of the hymns. They know where they are and what they are doing and do it well. They do not seem to be noticing each other but are all focused on something, somewhere beyond themselves and the present moment. If it were not for the sense of joy and peace which prevails we might think to be frightened.

And so it begins again, the new liturgical year replacing the one just past. We have said or sung the same songs, the same canticles and heard the same prayers, the same lessons and the same gospels for all of our Christian and Anglican lives - and yet it is always new, taking us almost by surprise. What we once said in our innocence is now said with tingling anticipation it has become so intense, so quietly thrilling. Are these not in the most the same people who have always been here, but how has it become greater, sharper than the last time that we were here and saying these words. Didn't we understand then; do we now? And when will we know? And why is our body responding so strangely? Is it because we know that He is coming and that we must be ready?

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

INCENSE: A Word from Dearmer

When I first read the Introduction to Dearmer's Parson's Handbook, I was very strongly struck by the following passage. It seemed to me that those who claimed to be Bible Christians should immediately be asked about their use of incense in church services. When they admit, as they will have to do, that it is not used among them, then one is free to ask if they have actually read and understood the Bible. Personally I have always felt that those who were uncomfortable about the use of incense probably didn't really believe there was a God or that Jesus was divine. There is something about waving a censor at an altar that makes you aware that you couldn't or wouldn't do it if you didn't believe in God. It would be just too embarassing.

The use of incense is a good test as to the continuance of ceremonial under the New Covenant; because it is now regarded, even by some Bishops, as a mark of extreme ritualism. Its use is mentioned in the last prophetic book of the Old Testament[4] as [9] one of the signs of the New Covenant. The birth of the Fore-runner was announced to his father when ‘his lot was to burn incense,’[5] a singularly inopportune moment from the Puritan point of view. One of the three significant gifts offered to our Lord at His birth was incense.[6] In the Revelation an account is given of the ideal worship of the redeemed, by one who, more than any other man, had opportunities of knowing our Lord’s mind upon the subject. Now the worship he describes is again ritualistic; and the use of no less than twenty-eight ‘bowls’ of incense is mentioned.[7] It is mentioned again three chapters further on[8] in a manner that is significant; for it is then used ceremonially at the altar. The angel stands ‘at (or over) the altar, having a golden censer,’ he is given ‘much incense,’ to ‘add it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar.’ ‘And the smoke of the incense, with (or for) the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.’ The Sarum Missal itself hardly gives a more complete description of the ceremonial use of incense.

Friday, November 20, 2009


This posting is going to be extremely simple. It will consist of a few paragraphs of wisdom from Percy Dearmer's introduction to Illustrations of the Liturgy. I am putting them up because they seem especially appropriate at the present moment. What is left of orthodox prayer book Anglicanism is being assaulted by the Roman Church and even its strongest theological defenders have been seduced by the missals and by Roman ornaments not invented until well after the English Reformation and religious settlement under Elizabeth I. The result is a chaos but it also presents an opportunity if we are only wise enough to seize it.

"The curse of the English Church, and indeed of the whole Anglican Communion, has been the individualism of its members. They have been a law unto themselves; and yet this individualism has seldom had the justification of originality: sometimes it has been Geneva that was copied, sometimes Rome. The result has been that our church has failed to make itself recognizable : foreigners know almost nothing about her, have no idea what she is like, would not recognize her when they saw her."

"You cannot enforce a system of worship. Even the iron-bound system of Rome has failed here. Since she has attempted to dictate uniformity, she has found herself obliged to follow the last popular fashion, however puerile or however effeminate, far more than in the comparative freedom of the late middle ages.

"What then can you do? Just what is done in literature, in art, in science, in politics, in every branch of human activity. You can educate. You can search out the facts, you can spread knowledge, you can establish principles. You can show men the beauty of the right way. You can also remove the remnants of autocratic ignorance which still unhappily linger among some of our bishops, or at least you can secure that the young men who are now learning shall know and understand when some of them come to such positions of authority; and you can spread the spirity of loyalty among clergy and layfolk alike, if only on this ground - that the spirit of individualism has proved a failure

"Antimony has been tried and has failed in every form. Every man has done what was right in his own eyes; with the result that every man has done wrong. This was disastrous; but if every man will now be content to learn, to think, and to carry out his appointed duty, if every priest will use the great opportunity which the Prayer Book offers, and if every bishop - true to that "sound learning" which Bishop Creighton described as the keynote of our part of the Church Catholic, and which is as necessary in public worship as in public speech - if every bishop will wisely lead, using the crook of a shepherd and not the driver's whip which disperses and does not direct, then we may in the future be true to ourselves, and of service to a world which is much distracted by the follies of Christians and their moral failures."

There is more to be added, but I shall not do so now. Some of this is best taken slowly and thought through bit by bit. It has taken us a long time to get ourselves into our present mess and we shall not be out of it quickly. We must learn to want to be what we are supposed to be. It may not be as exciting as adopting the role of another, but it will not make us play either false or the fool.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Service of the Church

"The Order for Holy Communion, the Order for Morning Prayer, the Order for Evening Prayer, and the Litany, as set forth in this Book , are the regular Services appointed for Public Worship in this Church, and shall be used accordingly;" except this has not been the case in the American Church and most of the other national churches in Anglicanism, either in the establishment communion or the parishes of the Continuum. If one were to ask why, the answer is not a difficult one. Up until the beginning of the Tractarian Movement the normal Sunday worship in an Anglican Church was one very long service of Morning Prayer, Litany, and Ante-communion followed by a sermon. English cathedrals and some very rare parish churches obeyed the rubric and actually proceeded to a celebration of Holy Communion every Sunday and Holy Day for which their Book of Common Prayer provided a proper. The others for reason which most of us will probably never be able to really understand felt that while the Book of Common Prayer devotes most of its pages to the Holy Communion service did not really intend that the sacrament should be offered to their parishioners every Sunday and Holy day. They seemed to believe that the purpose of Christian worship was to hear the Scriptures read and then explicated by a long and hopefully learned sermon.

With the beginning of the Tractarian or Oxford Movement, old fashioned high churchmen began to celebrate the Holy Communion service every Sunday. When these celebrations began to be celebrated in the vestments ordered in the Ornaments Rubric, low and broad churchmen responded by dropping the reading of the Litany and ante-communion service and placing the sermon directly at the end of Morning Prayer. This meant that a secondary service was given preference over that ordered by our Lord and considered central to the Church for its first fifteen hundred years. But low and broad churchmen seemed to believe that looking and acting in a way that reflected their view of the Reformation was much more important that actually keeping the obligation which they took freely when they were ordained. This meant that the Church became divided by parties which were specifically forbidden by St. Paul.

The major purpose of this blog (too long neglected, I know) is to urge all churchmen to keep the whole of the Book of Common Prayer in the manner in which it was intended. That means doing it in accordance with the English or Anglican usage and with pre-Reformation ceremonial. That will have the effect of making Anglicanism recognizable in a manner in which it is not now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Truth and Beauty; Beauty and Truth!

It has gotten that every time I face this blank page I am consumed with both anger and dispair. Why? Because I miss the austere beauty of the full Anglican rite augmented with the musical tradition of the English church at its best which seems no longer to found anywhere. Instead we have folks who call themselves Anglican who are either lusting after the Roman Novus Ordo, the Puritan Morning Prayer with Sermon or the 'Back to Baroque' Anglican or English missal service with nary a hint of the offices anywhere except for the occasional service of Evening Prayer as a prelude to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

In the local area we have four groups calling themselves Anglican. The first is connected to the Anglican Province of Christ the King which falls into the last category. The 1928 American Book of Common Prayer may be in the pew but the services would never be recognized as coming from same. The canon used is that of the English prayer book of 1662 so that the celebrant can actually recite the rest of the old Roman canon in Latin. The second is a parish of the Reformed Episcopal Church which varies between emasculated versions of the English 1662 and the American 1928. The third is a parish of the rising Anglican Church in North America which uses the TEO liturgy of 1979 with the exception of a personal re-write of the Nicene Creed by the rector and his curate. The fourth is a classical American prayer book group that seems much too small to ever grow and endure, but which alone represents the 'doctrine, discipline and worship' of classical and orthodox prayer book Anglicanism.

Yep! Mine!

And yet in the middle of such great deprivation, I also am full of hope. Why? because it is the last alone which may claim the fullness of the truth and beauty. And it is because of this truth of beauty and beauty of truth that I am sure that real Anglicanism will survive not only in the United States, but also in all the English speaking world.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lo! How the Mighty Have Fallen

I just read in the Christian History blog that a Greek Orthodox couple in Los Angeles have endowed a center for the study of the early church at Wheaton College. In the announcement mention was made of the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, but there was no mention of Anglicans at all. I was hurt.

You see, in the nineteenth and twentieth century it was Anglican scholars who were the great and consistent students of the earliest Church. Indeed, it was the basis for who we were and what we believed and taught. But now through the treason of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada and the way in which the Anglican Church in the British Isles have followed them in their heresies and embrace of immorality, it as if we have disappeared from the whole of the Christian world. Indeed, we have become a laughingstock, an embarrassment where once we were stupor mundi.

The worst of it is that we in the Continuum don't know who we are. Our parishes and missions, such as they are, reflect either the opinions of those who would have destroyed Anglicanism after the assession of Elizabeth I by their refusal to obey the Book of Common Prayer or those who decided that the only way to be either Anglican or Catholic was to substitute the use of missals and customs based upon the post-Tridentine liturgy of the Roman Church for that of the traditional Book of Common Prayer and the ceremonial and uses which the best liturgical scholars of the last two hundred years have determined was proper to it.

And that leaves me with a further question: do we really want to be Anglicans or are we just playing with religion because once the faith and practice of Anglicanism was that of the social and intellectual elite of the English speaking world? I am, let me admit it, a very high churchman who loves the fullness of English use. The language, the music, the vestments and ceremonial all move me, reminding me of the richness of the worship which God commanded for Himself in the Old Testament and for the protection of same which drove our Lord to violently drive the money changers from the temple. But I am equally made aware of the majesty of our Creator when I recite Morning Prayer and the Litany by myself on a cold morning without vestments, music or incense. Consequently, when I read something like the post in Christian History where Anglicans and Anglicanism is left out, what I hear ripping through my heart and soul is our Lord's cry from the cross: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Sermon For Maunday Thursday

"Greater love hath no man tha this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" -- St John xv. 13,14.

There is no occasion in the whole Christian year on which it is a greater joy to a parish priest to address his people, than on the occasion of the annual address in preparation for the Easter Communion, The joy consists specially in this--that he has before him a conregation of genuine Christian people. For what is the meaning of the words 'a genuine Christian?'--One who is living in conxcious obedience to all the known commands of Jesus Christ--One who is living in conscious obedience to all the known comands of Jesus Christ--One whose great aim in life is to know the will of Christ; and who, when he knows it, and so far as he knows it, deliberately sets to work to do that will of Christ. On other occasions the congregations which assemble in this church, as a rule, contain many who live in habitual disregard of one of the greatest and most solemn commands of Jesus Christ--His dying command concerning the reception of the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. It is not unfair or hard to say, that no one is a genuine Christian, or possesses any claim to be considered a genuine Christian, who, being of age, is not a communicant. I am not, for the moment, thinking of the disastrous loss which those who never come to the Holy Table suffer in their own souls. I am not thinking, for the moment, of our Lord's solemn warning, "Verily, verily, I say unto your, Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you." But I am merely thinking of the impossibility of being a good Christian, whilst habitually disobeying our Lord's command, "This do in remembrance of me." I have in mind the words of Jesus Christ, in which He addresses those who so neglect and disregard His gracious commandment. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" It is our Lord Jesus Christ who, in speaking of the Holy Communion, said quite plainly, so that none can possibly mistake His meaning, "Take, eat; this is my Body; Drink ye all of it; for this is my Blood. This do in remembrance of me."

We meet then as, in a peculiar sense, the friends of Jesus Christ. He has honoured us who are communicants with this honoured title of "friends." He has disclosed to us the conditions upon which we may rightly claim His gracious friendship, saying, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." And we know that, amongst other things, He has commanded, "This do in remembrance of me." There is but one test of friendship to Jesus Christ--not words, not feelings; but simple obedience. We prove our friendship to Jesus by obeying Him, when He spreads the Holy Feast of the Communion, and invites us to draw near and eat His sacred Flesh and drink His precious Blood.

And think, Friends of Jesus Christ, what joy it must bring to His sacred human heart as He sits at the right hand of the eternal Father in the heavenly places, that we should be assembled to consider how best we may receive the most comfortable Sacrament of His Body and Blood,--how best we may obey His dying command,--when the glad Easter Day dawns. What joy it must be to Him to see, that whilst the world forgets Him in His Passion, and even crucifies Him afresh by its sins, a little flock, such as we are, should be giving testimony to our love to Him by our obedience. For He Himself said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And this is His own special commandment, at this time in particular, "This do in remembrance of me."

I ask you to open your Prayer Books at the Epistle for the Thursday before Easter, which is written in I Cor. xi. 17 etc., which I will proceed to read, making some comments thereon. After referring to the irreverence of certain Corinthians, St. Paul says:
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you." St. Paul the speaker was not present in the upper room when our Lord instituted the Eucharist; hence he did not know, as the other apostles knew, what there took place. He received a special revelation directly from our Lord Himself concerning this matter, as he declares.

"That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. . . ." The instttitution was almost the last act of Jesus before He was taken prisoner. Unless He had instituted the Holy Sacrament then, He could not have done so later. It certainly does give immense importance to the Holy Communion to remember that it was almost the last thing He did whilst He was free.

"And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my Body, which is broken for your." It is these words of our Lord which form the ground of the Church's belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Communion. He is present in the consecrated elements really, and not figuratively. The consecrated elements are not merely signs of His Body and Blood: they are, as the Catechism plainly declares, verily and indeed the Body and Blood of Christ, present under the outward forms of bread and wine in a way which passes our understanding. Jesus Christ is present in the Sacrament, not merely because we recall Him to our minds by an act of memory; but because by His own wonderful act He communicates Himself to us in the way which He has ordained.

"Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, . . ." The more we feel our unworthiness the more sure we may be that we shall receive the Sacrament worthily.

May our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all in preparing to come to your Easter Communion. May He make known to you, one by one, on Good Friday the greatness of His love. May His love attract you and constrain you, as you enter more deeply into the meaning of His words with which we commenced,--

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Vernon Staley, Provost of the Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew in Inverness.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Lenten Array by the Very Reverend A. S. Duncan Jones, B.D.

While the time for the Lenten Array is past, I recently discovered that the Warham Guild Tract by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral is apparently completely unavailable. Copies are not to be found on any of the used book outlets nor does it seem to be posted anywhere on the Internet. As this site is dedicated to the Anglican Use, it seemed to me a very necessary thing that the text (and perhaps later, the illustrations) of this important piece of Anglicana be made available and that as quickly as possible. So here it is!

Since early days the season of Lent has had a special character as a time of preparation for Easter. The length of the period has varied. Originally Lent seems to have been no more than a week before Easter. But by the beginning of the fourth century the period of forty days was establishing itself. The lengthening process can be traced in the letter which S. Athanasius each year wrote to his suffragans informing them of the date of Easter. The underlying conception of the observance also changed as time went on. Originally teaching was the prominent feature. Lent was the time when catechumens wee prepared for the great baptismal service, which took place on Easter Eve. Then it came to be thought of as a time in hich penitents prepared themselves for the absolution which would admit them to Communion at Easter. From this the idea developed that Lent was a time of pentitential retreat for ordinary Christians. Thus it was natural that an increasing stress was laid on fasting. Teaching and fasting became the essentials of Lenten discipline. It is a period of spiritual instruction and refreshment, in which many pleasures and diversions are deduced or put away, not at all because they are necessarily bad, but because they interfere with the concentration and the recollection that the soul needs, if it is to progress on the road to heaven.

In the fast of Lent penitence undoubtedly has its place though the day before Lent begins, Shrove Tuesday, is especially the day which invites to this discipline. Lent itself should be dominated more by the thought of what is coming than by dwelling on the past. Easter with its assurance of God's triumph sheds its radiance increasingly over Lent the cleansing of mind and heart and will are under taken in response to the promise of newness of life. Viewed in this way, Lent is not a period of gloom or brooding, but of fresh vigour. Its effect should be bracing not enervating. The spirit that it should call out is that of the athlete who goes into training that he may run his race with greater success.

The spiritual idea implicit in the Lenten observance are of importance, because they largely determine the owtward symbols which convey to the worshipper the meaning of what he is doing. When the mediaeval Christian in Western Europe entered his parish church a sight met his eyes which at once brought home to him in striking fashion the special character of Lent. Every image and picture was shrouded in linen cloths. The gleaming reredoses were closed or covered up. The very altar itself was shielded from gaze by a long curtain which separated the presbytery from the choir. Behind that veil the Eucharist was celebrated with a mystery that savoured more of East than of West. So far as the veiling of the altar was concerned, it was, in fact, a reversion to earlier custom, and recalled the days when curtains completely surrounded the altar, suspended from the ciborium or roof supported by four pillars which enshrined it. When it is remembered how large a part in mediaeval devotion was played by vivid picture and bright imagery, it will be seen that the impression made on the simplest peasant must have been profound. He had entered on a holy time--forty days of austerity. 'All things,' says an old writer, 'that make to the adornment of the church are either laid aside or else covered, to put us in remembrance that we ought now to lament and mourn for our souls dead in sin and continually to watch, fast, pray, and give alms.'

The impression of austerity was increased by the nature of the material used and by its colour. The veils were for the most part of white linen, and the effect was doubtless, much that which the visitor to a great house experiences when--in the absence of the family--he passes through spacious saloons in which the rich silks and brocades are protected from sun and dust by linen coverings. What gives special interest to the practice is the fact that the use of white linen for altars and so forth contradicted the rules that were supposed to govern the colour assigned to Lent, which was, for example, red at Sarum and black at Westminster. From the covering of altars and images the use of white linen spread to the vesture of the clergy. Thus in 1472 we read of a lady who gave to Salisbury two altar cloths of linen powdered with purple crosses and 'a chasuble with all the apparel to the same belonging'; and at about the same time at Westminster it is recorded that the chapel of our Lady had an old chasuble of white for Lent. By the middle of the fourteenth century indeed white linen had become the well-nigh universal custom throughout England. Examples of white linen vestments and frontals throughout a period of two centuries before the Reformation can be gathered from every English diocese, save one--and that the remote Diocese of Carlisle, for which no information is available. The use is found in cathedral, religous house, and parish church alike. The custom is not merely English. A parallel can be found in France, where ash colour continued to be the Lenten use right down to the eighteeenth century at Lyon, Paris, Chartres, Bourges, Frejus, and Poitiers, and even into the nineteenth century at Meaux, Versailles, Pamiers, and Autun.

The inventories made in the reign of King Edward VI, when his government impounded everything of value in the churches to pay for the huge debt that they had accumulated, tell their own tale. We read of the great curtain of linen used in Lent in Exeter Cathedral; and in the parish churches throughout the land we find such entries as the veil, the covering for the rood, the canopy of cloth, vestments of white fustian and white bustian, and Lenten cloths. There can be no doubt what was the custom in England in that second year of the reign of King Edward VI to which our Ornaments Rubric points as a guide.

In modern times the Lenten array of white linen has grown steadily in favour. It has been recognized that this old custom has a teaching value that specially meets the need of today better than the sombre violet and black that gradually spread over the Church in Europe from the sixteenth century onwards. The white linen betokens an austerity which is not without cheerfulness, the spirit of Him Who said, 'When ye fast, be not of a sad countenance.' It typifies clean Lent; the time when the spirit rejoices because it is freeing itself from the encumbrances of luxury, the enervation of solf living. The Lenten array is, as it has been said, like a light fall of snow which brightens the hard earth; it is significant of expectation, of the time when once more the glory of colour and carving will break out in salutation of the Risen Lord. It sorts well with the spring of the year with its promise of flower and fruit.

It is usual to place on the linen that shrouds the altar some sign of its dedication. The symbol of the mystery or saint light worked or painted contains a hint of what lies behind and thus adds to the sense of expectancy. It is possible to overdo this aspect of the Lenten array, so that what results is merely another piece of magnificence that draws attention to itself, instead of directing the mind away from the seen to the unseen glory of God. Some will feel that possibly in certain of the examples here shown, the natural instinct of the artist to enrich has prevailed over the effort to subdue adornment. Certainly sobriety in the use of symbol sorts best with the purpose of Lent, even if the symbols be those of the Passion itself. Too much detail detracts from the desired starkness.

Opinions are divided about the veiling of the rood--if there be one--or the cross onthe altar. To some it will seem appropriate that objects which are in themselves works of art shoud for this season be shrouded. We are assuming, of course, that they are works of art, which unfortunately, is not always true. Others would maintain that Lent is just the time when the symbol of redemption should stand out with special clearness by contrast with the hiding of every other ornament. There can be no question, at any rate, that, when a large sheet hangs before the rood, with a plain red cross displayed upon it, the worshipper is lead to concentrate on the inner meaning of the Passion in its severity, just for those weeks when it is right that the price of man's salvation should be placarded before the eyes of the worshipper.

To turn to the practical aspect of the array, the following materials may well be used.

White-toned linens, not too fine, either plain or figured, are the most suitable materials for the hangings, and for covering pictures and other ornaments. If the frontal, dorsal, or covers are to be stencilled, it is advisable to use the plain linen. The frontal and dorsal can be treated in several ways, either stencilled in red, or in red, grey and black, with symbols of the Passion, powdered with roses or crosses, or with an emblem of the saint in whose honour the church is dedicated--so long as this be done with restraint. The frontal can be made quite plain with a red flax fringe, or orphreys of red braid can be used effectively. The dorsal and riddels hung full from red cords re simple and effective, or the can be made full on an open hem. Another method is to have a plain dorsal with a cross in the center of each end.

It is advisable that stencilling should not be attempted by amateurs; the whole effect is spoiled if there be not a proper balance in the design.

It is useful to have plain wooden candlesticks with can be painted red in place of the metal or ornamental wood ornaments. The altar cross can be covered with a linen veil or removed altogether.

During the last two weeks in Lent the frontal may be removed and one made of a dull red linen, quite plain or with black orphreys, be put in its place, to mark Passiontide.

The great point of the traditional Lenten array is that it enforces the lessons of the season better than any alternative method. The shrouded altars speak of renunciation and expectation; the colour and quality of the material, plain, but bright, strengthen the appeal, to concentrate devotion on the plea for the creation of a new and contrite heart: 'Make me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.'

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stolen Goods

This piece has been appropriated from the most excellent Anglican blog, The Continuum. The Reverend Robert Hart found and posted it. It is too good to just leave there when we can "taddle it" for Prayer Book Anglican. And we do so because it reflects precisely what we believe about the classical Anglicanism which we believe and endorse.

All Glory be to God.

Reverend Brother,

THE time of Lent now approaching, which has been anciently and very Christianly set apart, for penitential humiliation of Soul and Body, for Fasting and Weeping and Praying, all which you know are very frequently inculcated in Holy Scripture, as the most effectual means we can use, to avert those Judgments our sins have deservÍd; I thought it most agreeable to that Character which, unworthy as I am, I sustain, to call you and all my Brethren of the Clergy to mourning; to mourning for your own sins, and to mourning for the sins of the Nation.

In making such an address to you as this, I follow the example of St. Cyprian, that blessed Bishop and Martyr, who from his retirement wrote an excellent Epistle to his Clergy, most worthy of your serious perusal, exhorting them, by publick Prayers and Tears to appease the Anger of God, which they then actually felt, and which we may justly fear.

Remember that to keep such a Fast as God has chosen, it is not enough for you to afflict your own soul, but you must also according to your ability, deal your bread to the Hungry: and the rather, because we have not onely Usual [1/2] objects of Charity to relieve, but many poor Protestant Strangers are now fled hither for Sanctuary, whom as Brethren, as members of Christ, we should take in and Cherish.

That you may perform the office of publick Intercessour the more assiduously, I beg of you to say daily in your Closet, or in your Family, or rather in both, all this time of Abstinence, the 51st Psalm, and the other Prayers which follow it in the Commination. I could wish also that you would frequently read and meditate on the Lamentations of Jeremy, which Holy Gregory Nazianzen was wont to doe, and the reading of which melted him into the like Lamentations, as affected the Prophet himself when he PenÍd them.

But your greatest Zeal must be spent for the Public Prayers, in the constant devout use of which, the Publick Safety both of Church and State is highly concernÍd: be sure then to offer up to God every day the Morning and Evening Prayer; offer it up in your Family at least, or rather as far as your circumstances may possibly permit, offer it up in the Church, especially if you live in a great Town, and say over the Litany every Morning during the whole Lent. This I might enjoyn you to doe, on your Canonical Obedience, but for LoveÍs sake I rather beseech you, and I cannot recommend to you a more devout and comprehensive Form, of penitent and publick Intercession than that, or more proper for the Season. [2/3]

Be not discouragÍd if but few come to the Solemn Assemblies, but go to the House of Prayer, where God is well known for a sure Refuge: Go, though you go alone, or but with one besides your self; and there as you are GodÍs Remembrancer, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

The first sacred Council of Nice, for which the Christian world has always had a great and just veneration, ordains a Provincial Synod to be held before Lent, that all Dissensions being taken away a pure oblation might be offerÍd up to God, namely of Prayers and Fasting and Alms, and Tears, which might produce a comfortable Communion at the following Easter: and that in this Diocese, we may in some degree imitate so Primitive a practice, I exhort you to endeavour all you can, to reconcile differences, to reduce those that go astray, to promote universal Charity towards all that dissent from you, and to put on as the Elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.

I passionately beseech you to reade over daily your Ordination Vows, to examine yourself how you observe them; and in the Prayers that are in that Office, fervently to importune God for the assistance of His good Spirit, that you may conscientiously perform them. [3/4] Teach publickly, and from house to house, and warn every one night and day with Tears; warn them to repent, to fast and to pray, and to give Alms, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance, warn them to continue stedfast in that faith once delivered to the Saints, in which they were baptizÍd, to keep the word of GodÍs Patience, that God may keep them in the hour of Temptation; warn them against the sins and errours of the age; warn them to deprecate publick judgments, and to mourn for publick provocations.

No one can reade GodÍs holy Word but he will see, that the greatest Saints have been the greatest Mourners: David wept whole Rivers; Jeremy wept sore, and his Eyes ran down in secret places day and night like a Fountain; Daniel mourned three full weeks, and did eat no pleasant bread, and sought God by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes; St. Paul was humbled and bewailed and wept for the sins of others; and our Lord himself when He beheld the City wept over it. Learn then of these great Saints, learn of our most compassionate Saviour, to weep for the publick, and weeping to pray, that we may know in this our day, the things that belong to our peace, lest they be hid from our eyes.

To mourn for National Guilt, in which all share, is a duty incumbent upon all, but especially on Priests, who are particularly commanded to weep and to say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine Heritage to reproach, that God may repent of the evil, and become jealous for His Land, and pity His people. [4/5]

Be assurÍd that none are more tenderly regarded by God than such Mourners as these; there is a mark set by Him on all that sigh and cry for the abominations of the Land, the destroying Angel is forbid to hurt any of them, they are all GodÍs peculiar care, and shall all have either present deliverance, or such supports and consolations, as shall abundantly endear their Calamity.

Now the God of all Grace, who hath called you unto His eternal Glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you in the true Catholic and Apostolick Faith professÍd in the Church of England, and enable you to adorn that Apostolick Faith with an Apostolick Example and Zeal, and give all our whole Church that timely repentance, those broken and contrite hearts, that both Priests and People may all plentifully sow in Tears, and in GodÍs good time may all plentifully reap in Joy.

From the Palace in Wells,

Febr. 17. 1687.

Your affectionate
Friend and Brother,

Tho. Bath and Wells.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Offices

Mattins and Evensong are the services appointed to be said "daily throughout the year": their public recitation in church is the most obvious of the parson's duties, it is declared to be such over and over again in the Prayer Book. These offices end with the Third Collect, after which is an anthem, with certain prayers, which are either optional or occasional. The priest may use those which are optional, he must use those which are occasional at the appointed times. These are: At Mattins on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday--Prayer for All Conditions, At Mattins or Evensong (or at both) through Ember Week (Sunday to Saturday) - Ember Collect. During Session of Parliament (presumably each day) - Prayer for Parliament.

The Prayer for All Conditions is probably intended only for morning use. At Evensong it is a good practice to use instead the General Thanksgiving, the occasions for which are not fixed. The Prayer of S. Chrysostom and the Grace must be said after the occasional prayers, and therefore conveniently used to conclude Mattins and Evensong on all occasions when the Litany is not appointed to be said.

On Sunday, however, as on Wednesday and Friday, Mattins must end at the Third Collect, because the Litany is "appointed to be said." The Ember Prayer and the Prayer for Parliament are on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, incorporated in the Litany before the Prayer of S. Chrysostom and the Grace.

The Litany must be said on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, and after Mattins, which strictly means before the Holy Communion; (for the intention of the Prayer Book certainly is that Mattins should be said before the Eucharist at "the beginning of this day" and not late in the morning. The inference is that Wednesday and Friday (not Tuesday and Thursday) are the proper days for additional Eucharists in churches where there is a celebration on three days in the week, an inference which is borne out by the First Prayer Book and older Missals. There is much spiritual loss when the Litany is misplaced from its position as a preparation for Communion, and some inconvenience results from such dislocation of the services.

Any clerk may read the Litany as far as the Lord's Prayer, when the priest's part begins. No position is assigned for the reader of this office: the processional use--beautiful though it be--is probably only convenient for a minority of churches as yet. In parish churches where it is not sung in procession, it is best to treat the Litany as a short and quiet prepartory devotion, saying it without note at a reading-desk in the nave.

The above instructions for the offices taken form the Alcuin Club's Illustrations of the Liturgy: Being Thirteen Drawings of the Celebration of the Holy Communion in a Parish Church are based upon the rubrics of the English Prayer Book of 1662 which is one of the traditional Anglican documents which the proposed new Anglican province in North America considers as one of the bases of its theology. Needless to say, you are most unlikely to find anything like this in the practice of any of their dioceses or parishes considering their continual use of the alternative service book of 1979 rather than one of the classical, orthodox Prayer Books. Indeed, such usage will also be rare in the Continuum because they have been lured from any real obedience to the Prayer Book tradition by one party or the other which has never seen fit to give the Book of Common Prayer the obedience they promised at their ordination.

This blog is devoted to the idea of full obedience to the appropriate classical Book of Common prayer and the fullness of the Prayer Book tradition. We believe that only that can truly be called Anglican. We know that many in the Continuum are unable to meet this standard because of a lack of education on the part of both priest and people as well as a lack of a building or space which the parish or mission fully controls.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Red and White

I engaged the Reverend Robert Hart in a recent post on The Continuum on our Lord's colour. He had asserted that it was white in that all of the great feasts of Our Lord, Christmas, Annuciation, Easter and Transfiguration are celebrated in white vestments. While that is true, the Bible from one end to the other mysticly describes our Lord's colour as being red. Let me give an example from Genesis 49: 10-11. "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of his people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes."

This prophetic verse is reflected in the lesson from Isaiah used for the epistle in Monday of Holy Week. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have treaden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." Isaiah lxiii. 1.

In The Revelation of John we find the following passage describing our Lord: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name writen, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called the Word of God." Rev. xix. 11-13.

From these passages it would seem that Holy Scripture makes red our Lord's colour. At the same time Revelation tells us that the four and twenty elders round the throne in heaven were "clothed in white raiment" just as the armies which followed the Lord on white horses, were "cloth in fine linen, white and clean."

I run through all of this because in the use of Sarum which was the last legal use in England before the first prayer book, red and white were the usual colours for the vesture of the altar and the ministers on Sundays. Red was used for the Sundays after Epiphany and Trinity with a darker red being used from Passion Sunday until Easter with the exception of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. White was used from Easter until the octave of Trinity with the exception of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross while a toned white was also used for the first four weeks of Lent. In short, the greater part of the Christian year was in one of these two colours leaving only Advent and the 'Gesima weeks to be keep in another colour.

On the other hand, the two most frequent uses of green in the Old Testament are in conjunction with the burning of incense unto idols under the green trees and to the use of harlots under the same. If you think not, use the Gateway Bible Concordance and search "green."

The point of all this is that prayer book usage was intended to be that of Sarum, the only English Rite and Use which had reached international status and which preceded that of the Missal of Pius V by a fair number of years. Unfortunately for prayer book churchmen in the nineteenth century, the reaction to extreme disobedience of the rubrics of the English Book of Common Prayer by Evangelicals and the low church party in general was the copying of what the Roman Church did on the continent under the belief that if communion with the Roman See had not been broken, this is what Catholic churchmen would be doing in England and in all places where Anglicanism had spread. The irony regarding this position is that the use of Sarum has a great attraction for certain Romans to this day. You will find that especially upon those attracted to what they call The New Liturgical Movement which devoutly prays for a restoration of the Tridentine mass in Latin. This would mean that those who attended these services would probably not understand more than a few words of what the priest and other ministers said exactly as had been the case for hundreds of years.