Last Sunday was not only the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity and the Sunday in the Octave of the Feast of All Saints, but it was also the Third Sunday Before Advent. As the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity, the prayer book rubrics requires that the collect, epistle and gospel shall be used at the celebration of Holy Communion. Because it was also the Sunday in the Octave of All Saints, the collect for that feast will be read at the communion service which will also be marked by the proper preface for that feast at the Sanctus. But what is required by it also being the Third Sunday before Advent?
Here reference must be made to pages xl and xli of the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. There you will find a series of proper psalms, and lessons for both Morning and Evening Prayer These are ordered for every day, morning and evening, from the Mattins of the Third Sunday before Advent through Evensong before Advent Sunday itself. These psalms and lessons reflect the theme of the approaching Advent season so that we will be better prepared for the season to come.
Now I know that most of the parishes in the Continuum do not have daily celebrations of the offices. Indeed Evensong is almost extinct among us. This is extremely unfortunate because anything less complete use of the prayer book where missions or parishes have their own buildings is something which harms all of us who call ourselves Anglicans. Now the public reading of the offices does not have to be done by the priest. He should be doing so but there are times when he cannot. That means that the lay people in the parish have a very important role here and should be taught how to properly and in accordance with the rubrics properly read the offices. This is a legitimate part of the priesthood of all believers.
But even in those places which don't have buildings or other permanent meeting places, the congregation can be taught and encouraged to read the offices either by themselves or in their families. This will make us all more familiar with Holy Scripture. In fact the two things which we all need to know better is the Bible and our Book of Common Prayer.