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Prayer Book PawPaw

Today is the commemoration of Thomas Cranmer who is the great-grand-daddy of our Book of Common Prayer. There were, in fact, a group of Bishops who wrote the original Book of Common Prayer in 1549. The prayer book which was used at Jamestown was the 1662 version. The early revisions were often small, reflecting theological leanings and belief.

The Gospel today is Luke 18:9-14 ( Eucharistic Lectionary). Jesus tells those around him that those who boast and do things for show will find themselves passed over in favor of the humble. There may not, at first sight, appear to be much which links the two themes. The Book of Common Prayer was written at a period when there were a lot of questions about what the Church should be. It had become wealthy, powerful and full of pomp and show, whilst making unreasonable demands on the people.

The Book of Common Prayer was an attempt, in England, to level the playing field, just a bit. One book for the nation rather than the various versions of liturgy and readings which patch-worked the country, requiring multiple books, when they were rare and expensive and, thus, the preserve of the rich.

There are arguments both for, and against, liturgy. One argument in favor of it is that it forces us to really deal with what we are saying - we cannot simply change our tune every time the winds of fortune change. What we say as a church, we mean as a church and we repeat as a church in good times and in bad. Now is not the time to ignore our liturgy because we cannot be in the same building, now is the time to explore our liturgy so that we can pray together.

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This is such a anxious and frightening time, The book of common prayer offers us comfort with inspirational words, prayer that joins us together.

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