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Pastor at Resurrection Anglican Fellowship in Greenwood Village, CO

The Book of Common Prayer, Part 1


       1.    If we switch the facts around about the disciples, who they were and what they did,
               it introduces a disorienting effect, because facts are not accurate according to what
               we have come to know to be 'true.'  In other words, IDENTITY MATTERS!
                PETER cannot be THOMAS and THOMAS cannot be MATTHEW.

       2.   How does the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) help define our identity as Anglicans?
              It is part of our discipleship.

       3.   LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI -  The [rule] way we PRAY defines the way we

       4.   Further derivative:   The way we WORSHIP defines the way we BELIEVE.

                 We will look at our terms in both ancient context and modern/future context.

       1.  BOOK
             a.    At the introduction of the BCP in the early 1500's, books were still something NEW.
                      Gutenberg's press had only been printing materials for about 100 years at the time the BCP was
                               being formed in England.  There was also great unrest about the introduction of both the Bible
                               and liturgical forms in the language of the people.  John Wycliffe, Wm. Tyndale and Miles Coverdale
                               are all important figures in the early translation of English bibles.  Tyndale's famous retort to a  
                              clergyman hopelessly entrenched in Roman Catholic dogma's taunt of him with the 
                              statement, “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s”. Tyndale replied, “I defy 
                              the Pope and all his laws. 

                             If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to 
                              know more of the scriptures than you!

             b.   Apologetic:  The BCP was always meant as a GUIDE to the Bible - not to
                    replace it, but to help BRING it to the people.
                     The Bible is the primary source material for authority in the Anglican world.  It has always
                            been so, as can been seen in the Articles of Religion, Article VI:

[VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.     Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.]

       2.  PRAYER
          Apologetic:   How did Jesus himself teach us to pray?   (See Matt. 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4)
                     Some claim that this is only a model prayer, giving a broad overview of concepts to be prayed about.  While
                            there is truth to that approach, the fact remains that Jesus gave us specific words and the Church has used
                            those specific words in prayer, daily, ever since!  Liturgy has power and Jesus knew it!

     3.   COMMON

           a.     Worship was not obscured;  it was made  PLAIN for all the people.
                     The BCP brought understanding to the worship of God in its early usage.

           b.      This is worship that is meant to be done TOGETHER. (Matt. 18:20)

     4.     LITURGY
             Apologetic:  Plainly defined, liturgy means the WORK of the PEOPLE.


      1.  The Breviary 
                 The Breviary is based on the "offices" or services of prayer used in medieval life in the monasteries.  See the
                         Liturgy of the Hours

            a.  Morning Prayer Office [also includes the office for Noonday]

            b.  Evening Prayer Office [also includes the office for Night Prayer or Compline]

      2.    The Missal [Latin for "mass" is Missa]

            a.  HOLY EUCHARIST

      3.   The Ritual

             a.  These are SERVICES that can be performed by a PRIEST or by a BISHOP .
                   Pastoral services, such as Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Last Rites/Holy Unction, Reconciliation, Death/burial

      4.   The Ordinal, or Pontifical

             a.   These are SERVICES that can be performed only by a BISHOP .

      5.   What Else?

             a.    HISTORICAL documents -- specifically, ones that help to DEFINE who we are as 
                   Anglicans, eg. The 39 Articles of Religion, the creeds, and other documents.

D.   THE BRIDE OF CHRIST  (Isaiah 62:5;  Rev. 19:7; 21:2)

     1.    Something OLD -
             The BCP helps to make us ... a people who maintain a RESPECT for the PAST .

     2.    Something NEW -
             The BCP helps to make us ... a PROTESTANT people who can listen for the voice of the SPIRIT.

     3.   Something BORROWED -
             The BCP helps to make us ... an INCLUSIVE church.

     4.   Something BLUE -
              The BCP helps to make us ... a people with a STORY,  and a respect for the HOLY.


As we study the Book of Common Prayer we encourage you to look into some of the original sources for our teaching and of course, to acquire and bring a Prayer Book of your very own, to class and church for worship.

The Book of Common Prayer  Order one for yourself today!  ONLINE:  WWW.BCPONLINE.ORG
     Also available on Kindle and other readers, as well as in AP form for smartphones and tablets.

The Book of Common Prayer:  A Biography, Alan Jacobs

A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer,  William Reed Huntington (reproduction of pre-1923 work
that has been deemed historically significant by Amazon and digitized for reproduction and printing)

Our Anglican Heritage;  Second Edition,  Bp. John Howe & Rev. Sam Pascoe  (subtitled "Can an ancient church be a church of the future?")

[ additional resources for new or experimenting 'anglicans']
     The Accidental Anglican:  The Surprising Appeal of the Liturgical Church, Bishop Todd Hunter 
         A very engaging personal journey story of Bishop Todd Hunter, now a bishop in the Anglican
         Church in North America.

    Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, Lester Ruth and Robert Webber
         A classic now for some time, updated by Ruth after the death of Webber a year or so ago.

Discover the Mystery of Faith:  How Worship Shapes Believing, Glenn Packiam

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