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, July 21, 2015

Daily Office - not just for clergy! Rector's Rambling for July 12, 2015

Over the years that I have been rector at St. John’s (I am in my 15th year now) I have grown to deeply appreciate our second and fifth Sunday services of Morning Prayer with Holy Communion at 10:00 AM.
I pray Morning Prayer every day.  It is a minimum expectation as a member of the clergy to do so.  When I arrived here at St. John’s I added the 7:30 AM Sunday morning recitation of Morning Prayer before the 8:00 AM Holy Communion.  After all, if I am going to pray it, I may as well invite others to join me.  I have had at least two (and sometimes upwards of eight or 10) every Sunday since.
Morning Prayer, and its companion Evening Prayer, are not just for the clergy.  They are intended for all members of the church to be able to pray regularly.  Known as the Daily Office, the Prayer Book provides the form for these twice-a-day times of prayer.  Said alone, it takes about 20 minutes.
There are many advantages to using these Prayer Book forms for prayer.  First, it is Scripture and proper theology in prayer form, which then forms you by that Scripture and theology.  Secondly, using the Psalms and Scripture readings assigned for each day, you get a broad exposure to the Bible and its teachings.  Thirdly, even if you don’t feel like praying, you should pray anyway, and the forms of the Daily Office provide the platform to do that even if you don’t “feel it” on one day or another.
One should certainly also have time of private, personal prayer in which you use your own words in conversation with Our Lord.  In seminary we were warned by a wise priest that those who stop praying the Daily Office will find themselves doing the other less often as well.  The Daily Office primes the well to bring up that wellspring of prayer within you.
I highly recommend that if you do not make a habit of the Daily Office, you begin now.