Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Lucy of Syracuse, Virgin and Martyr

The American Church with its attempt to reconcile the traditions and prejudices of both high and low Anglicans failed to produce its own black letter calendar of feasts or to incorporate that of either of its mother churches. On the other hand it provided a proper for the feast of a saint other than those of the Red Letter days in its calendar and also lessons and proper psalms for evening and morning prayer for various types of saints for whom parishes or missions might be named. It thus, strangely, attempts to have things both ways to the satisfaction of neither party. Indeed, by so doing, it has created and sided with a party of its own and encouraged the very thing which St Paul has written that we should banish, i.e., the spirit of party itself. It has tried to pretend that it has no need for the celebration of the saints and thus of the doctrine of the communion of saints while celebrating the feasts of those disciples of our Lord listed in the New Testament as being his apostles. Unfortunately this has resulted in the very pattern of prayer book worship itself being violated and one of the most important of our Lord's commandments to his apostles and disciples being, for all practical purposes, rejected.

The prayer book intends that the historical pattern of Christian worship that existed from sub apostolic days until the Reformation should be continued. That meant that in any place where there was a church or chapel the priest or other minister in charge was to say daily the morning and evening offices of the Church with the Eucharist being celebrated on all Sundays and other holy days for which the prayer book provided propers, that is to say a collect, epistle and gospel or indicated by rubric that such celebration was appropriate. This provision is found by our low churchmen to be very offensive in that if they acted in obedience to the prayer book as they promised at their ordination, they would appear to be doing what ministers of the Roman Church do. It does not matter that this is what our Lord and his apostles and evangelists ordered and that the entirety of the Church did from Pentecost till the continental reformation (if it can be called that) for no other reason Romans, whatever their other failings, continue to do it. On that ground, you would also expect them to give up their belief that Jesus is "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" and our savior simply because the Roman Church continues to believe that also.

So be it!

But there is a reason for some of these missing black letter days in they point us to those movable feasts and fast which still retain a place in the prayer book calendar such as the Ember Days. St Lucy's feast is one of those as it occurs on the 13th of December and the Advent Ember Days are ordered to be kept on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after. The next question is will they have remember to announce these fast days and the reason for them on the Sunday previous and will they actually provide so much as a single communion service on any of the three days when we, the Church, are supposed to pray that God will send us a proper supply of men to be deacons, priests and bishops in the next generation. And if they, the deacons, priests and bishops in this day and time don't, will there be faithful lay men and women who will take up their prayer books and bibles and say the offices privately so that the Church's work may be done?

I would like to hear from those where it was done and also from those where the clergy neglected it.


Death Bredon said...

I fear that observance of the Ember Days is almost extinct in all Anglican circles. But, I believe that the APCK college of bishops still require their priests to write embertide letters.

Canon Tallis said...

And how will they know when to write the letters if they and the bishops fail to keep them Ember days? The major problem with the American Church (and I suspect with the rest of establishment Anglicanism) was the refusal to keep all of the prayer book as the prayer book itself so plainly intended. The very idea of the prayer book, the calendar and the succession of services is that it teaches you the theology of the Church if only you will recite the appropriates lessons at the right time. It is picking and choosing, being high or low that has caused all the trouble. It is enough to be mere Church.

Death Bredon said...

My thoughts precisely.