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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Choral Morning Prayer - Rector's Rambling for October 13, 2013

Being the second Sunday of the month, today we do our “Morning Prayer and Holy Communion” service.
Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury who compiled the Book of Common Prayer, desired to have a form for daily morning and evening prayer that was not overly cumbersome for the clergy, and accessible to the laity as well.  Before the Book of Common Prayer, the clergy were expected (as are Roman clergy today) to pray the Breviary or Divine Office.  This is a set of services to be prayed seven times a day, with  a complicated set of instructions (rubrics) as to when different lessons, seasons, and feast days take precedence.
Thomas Cranmer combined and simplified Matins and Lauds into Morning Prayer, and also combined and simplified Vespers and Compline into Evening Prayer.  It is required of all clergy in the Anglican Communion (with the exception of the American Church) to pray the daily office.
It was the expectation that the Daily Offices would be done corporately or individually, but the primary corporate Sunday worship of the Church would be The Holy Communion (usually prayed with Morning Prayer and the Litany first).  Over time a change occurred and Morning Prayer alternated with Holy Communion on Sundays in many parishes.  But in the mid-20th century the proper reclamation of The Holy Communion as standard Sunday worship had taken root.
We do this combination monthly to honor the Anglican tradition of corporate Morning Prayer without missing the grace of the Holy Communion on Sunday.  But perhaps more importantly, you now know how to pray Morning Prayer and can pray it at home daily.  Morning and Evening Prayer is not just for the clergy!
The assigned readings are found on page three in this Chronicle.  The Daily Office is a wonderful discipline for all members of the Church, and aids greatly in the growth in the spiritual life.