Saturday, 15 October 2011

Online daily worship from the Book of Common Prayer

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There is a very edifying feature on the official Anglican web pages, whereby anyone can follow the cycles of Psalms and Readings by selecting the 'Traditional' language form of the Church of England service:

http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/join-us-in-daily-prayer.aspx

In the traditional Anglican style, the daily 'office' is divided into Morning and Evening prayer - with about three psalms in each (with a monthly cycle), an Old Testament and a New Testament reading (with an annual cycle), and the various other parts of the service which are almost exactly the same every day.

There in optional-extra service of 'Night' prayer - or Compline - which is intended to be followed by silence and sleep.

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It is difficult or impossible for most people to attend these daily services - especially in the traditional language form derived from The Book of Common Prayer; but the language is so beautiful and inspiring that solitary reading is (for some people, such as myself) well-worth doing, whenever it can be managed.

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In particular the 'Collects' or general prayers, near the very end of the services, should be recited or chanted with deliberation; as they contain some of the most evocative devotional phrases in English (presumed, I think, to be the work of Protestant martyr Archbishop Thomas Cranmer; 1489-1556).

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