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, July 22, 2013

The Offices of Instruction - Rector's Rambling for July 21, 2013

Becoming familiar with the Book of Common Prayer is a great aid to the life of the Anglican/Episcopal Christian.  Beginning on page 273 we have what is known as The Pastoral Offices.
Having discussed Baptism, the next office is the Office of Instruction.  Learning the faith is a vital part of being a member of the Church.  Since the assumption is that most Christians were baptized as babies/children, The Offices of Instruction (p. 283) point the person toward the next sacrament – Confirmation.  These offices are written to be a type of worship service in and of itself, with the rubrics (instructions) calling for an opening hymn and two other hymns as well.  The rubrics also instruct standing, sitting, and kneeling at various times.
Since at Baptism the godparents are instructed that they are to make sure the child learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed, and the Ten Commandments, the Offices of Instruction are based on these very things.
The first Office of Instruction discusses in a question and answer format these three promised items, with prayers interspersed throughout.
The second Office of Instruction deals with the items in the Catechism concerning the Church, including her foundation in Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and our responsibilities as members.  It also lays out an explanation of the sacraments of the Church and her Orders for Ministry.
One particular answer always sticks out to me, as it mirrors pretty closely what is known as the Precepts of the Church.  “My bounden duty is to follow Christ, to worship God every Sunday in his Church, and to work and pray and give for the spread of the kingdom.” (p. 291)
Of course, one does not have to just do these Offices as a public service.  It is good for every member to review them as a refresher, or perhaps to learn them for the first time!