Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, June 24, 2013

Exploring the Prayer Book - Rector's Rambling - June 23, 2013


On the first day of my Liturgical Theology class in seminary (the study of worship), the instructor handed out a take home assignment, due before the end of the semester.  It was at least seven pages of questions if I remember correctly, maybe more.  The answer to every question could be found in the Book of Common Prayer.  Of course, this meant that we had to spend an extraordinary amount of time in the Prayer Book, looking for those answers.  That was the point of the assignment.  The old adage about Episcopalians is that “what we pray is what we believe.”  The Book of Common Prayer is our life of prayer and that life forms our belief and who we are as members of the Body of Christ.
Most of us know the first section of the Prayer Book: Morning Prayer (and maybe Evening Prayer), and the Holy Communion, along with the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for Sundays, holy days, and special occasions.  This is the primary worship of the Church.
But there is a a rich treasure-trove of material that follows these services which helps to keep us pointed toward our Lord and aids in our holiness from birth until death.
Beginning on page 273 we have what is known as The Pastoral Offices: The Ministration of Holy Baptism, Offices of Instruction, The Order of Confirmation, The Solemnization of Matrimony, The Thanksgiving of Women after Child-birth, The Order for the Visitation of the Sick, The Communion of the Sick, and The Order for the Burial of the Dead.  These all mark milestones (or prepare us for milestones) in our life in Christ.
Over the summer we will look at these offices, and see how the theology of each office/order/milestone helps us to understand that our entire life is infused with Divine Grace and intertwined with our Lord’s desire to guide and govern us with His good Spirit.
If you do not have a copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer we have used copies available (free) in the parish office, or they can be ordered new on-line from www.AnglicanBooks.com (the edition we have in our pews) or www.AnglicanMarketplace.com for a deluxe hardcover or leather-bound edition.