"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Saturday, November 29, 2008


In the four Sundays preceeding Christmas, the church observes the season of Advent (this year starting on November 30). Advent literally means "coming." The Church calendar helps us create a mood of expectation. From the promise to Abraham til the coming of Christ, 2000 years passed. We give a few weeks to recreate this anticipation. We look forward to the coming Christ in his Incarnation (God becoming man). In doing so, we also acknowledge the present anticipation of Christ's second Advent, his coming not in humility but in power.

In the coming weeks, I will have the collect (or common prayer) for that Sunday from the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer was originally organized by Thomas Cranmer as a help to the many poorly trained priests and their congregants in England during the transition from Catholicism to Protestantism. The Book of Common Prayer was a reforming and evangelical book, allowing for the first time the common man to understand and follow what was occurring in the worship service, whereas before the service was in Latin. In the following years, some Puritans believed the Prayer Book should not be forced on all congregations, as the Word of God in Scripture should be the only regulator of worship. Even so, the Puritans collected their own prayers, and the protest should not be seen as a condemnation in the Reformed tradition of all common prayers, for common prayers can be a help to personal prayer, just as the Lord's Prayer is. So if you see a collect from the Book of Common Prayer, I am not imposing forced prayers on you. If you wish, read it and use it as a help to your own personal reflection and anticipation of Advent.

[Used here will be the Book of Common Prayer 1928. The 1979 book also has some very nice prayers, but I am more familiar with the 1928 book and it feels to me to have a sharper tone and theology to me personally.]


Wesley said...

umm..which part exactly of the 1979 BCP Advent collects are "liberal"? the collects for the first two are the same. The last three are different, and shorter certainly, perhaps not as thorough in some sense, but liberal?

Some times the '79 is actually an improvement. For instance: the 1928 Advent II collect is great yes, but also doesn't seem to fit. Except for the fact that is uses "blessed hope" it is not specifically connected to either confession of sin or hope for the future. It is great for reading scripture, and sounds like it was put in their for polemical reasons more then seasonal. The 79 is confessional, and links the season to the OT prophets.

The Advent III collects are just different, but both are Orthodox.

Advent IV in the 28 is stronger when it comes to sin, but the 79 has already talked about it quite a bit.

Jared Nelson said...

Out of my element on this one. Perhaps I speak on something without the knowledge to pronounce judgment. I partly make that judgment based on the conclusions of our mutual friend Chris.

I did use the 1979 Prayer book for devotions, but felt the prayers could be vague. I was probably hyper sensitive to it after reading about the debate over the PCUSA's book of worship and the universalist tendencies it had and thought the ECUSA might be doing some of the same, but I may be reading that in.

I still like the 1979, but have not used it in worship as you have and you are probably a better judge of that than me - since I trust you are orthodox...well, not on veneration of icons and saints, but on most everything else :)

Jared Nelson said...

I have edited it to show my more subjective preferance rather than authoritative pronouncements of liberalism. Now go back to catechizing those Episcopals in orthodoxy so they stop making me suspicious!

Wesley said...

lol, fair enough! will do :)