- Propers – Collect and Lessons for St. Barnabas the Apostle
- YouTube link to our livestream of the 10:30 Sunday service
- Announcements for the week of Sunday, June 4th, 2023
- Rector’s Ramblings: First Book of Common Prayer (1549)
The Collect and Lessons for St. Barnabas, with Commemoration of the First Sunday after Trinity.
The Book of Common Prayer 1928.
The Collect for Saint Barnabas the Apostle.
O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Collect for the First Sunday after Trinity.
O GOD, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epistle. Acts xi. 22.
TIDINGS of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. And in these days came prophets from Jerusa1cm unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judæa: which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
The Gospel. St. John xv. 12.
THIS is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a. man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Processional: 367 – When morning gilds the skies
Sermon: 572 – O Master let me walk with thee
Recessional: 579 – Rejoice ye pure in heart
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Announcements for Sunday, June 11th, 2023
If you are visiting us – Welcome to Christ Church Anglican, Southern Pines! Thank you for being with us. We are very pleased to have you, and we hope that your worship here is a blessing to you. Please sign the guest book on the table in the narthex, and provide appropriate contact information. Include your email address in order to be placed on our parish email list: you won’t be bombarded with mail, but it’s a good way to keep in touch. And may God bless you!
Adult Christian Education – We have completed our last week of adult Sunday School for this program year! On June 11th we began our summer hiatus, and will pick back up again in September with a book study: most likely Live Not By Lies, by Rod Dreher. Many thanks to those who came out at 9 o’clock for our Spring session – we had some excellent discussions, as we went over the material on “Being an Anglican.” May God continue to bless us in the Summer season, as we take a bit of a break before starting our new study in the Fall!
Service Updates – While there was some concern about making the service over-long, there remains a strong sentiment to include selections from the Old Testament and Psalter to our Sunday worship. Our monthly Vestry meeting was held yesterday (Saturday, June 10th), and after discussing the issue, the decision was made to add the Old Testament Lesson and Psalm appointed in the Prayer Book lectionary for Sunday Morning Prayer to our service of Holy Communion, immediately prior to the Epistle, rather than appending an abbreviated version of Morning Prayer to the beginning of the service. Starting next Sunday, the Second Sunday after Trinity, we will be conducting this as a trial usage through Trinitytide, and reevaluate prior to the beginning of the new liturgical year this coming Advent.
Holy Days for the Week of June 11th:
Wednesday, June 14th: St. Basil the Great, Bishop (379)
Friday, June 16th: Joseph Butler, Bishop (1752)
The First Book of Common Prayer (1549)
Although a formal break with the Papacy came about during the time of Henry VIII, the Church of England continued to use liturgies in Latin throughout his reign, just as it always had. However, once Henry died and the young Edward VI attained the throne in 1547, the stage was set for some very significant changes in the religious life of the country. And so a consultation of bishops – headed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and known as the Windsor Commission – met and produced the first Book of Common Prayer.
This first English Prayer Book came into use on Whitsunday – the Day of Pentecost – being June 9, 1549, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth. From it have descended all subsequent editions of the Book of Common Prayer according to the use of the various national Churches and jurisdictions of Anglican Christianity.
It is generally assumed that this book is largely the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, but, as no records of the development of the Prayer Book exist, this cannot be definitively determined. It is, however, a reasonable assumption, and for that reason the Prayer Book is often known as “Thomas Cranmer’s immortal bequest.” This is particularly apt for those books in the direct linear descent from the original, which in England consists of the 1549, 1552, 1559, and the definitive 1662 Books of Common Prayer; in America, the line continued with the 1789, 1879, and 1928, which of course is the one we use.
After that, things got, shall we say, a bit more confused! The only modern Prayer Book I would consider to be firmly within the classic tradition is the Reformed Episcopal Church’s 2003 book, which is in traditional language, and contains the Eucharistic Canons and many traditional prayers from both the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books. The rest are, at best, books of alternative services; and the more honest of them call themselves by some variation on that name.
This first Book of Common Prayer retained the structure of the Latin rite and preserved – in English translation – many of the prayers of the traditional use, although some were altered according to reformed theological emphases. I have commented before that the English Reformers saw what they were doing as “pruning the garden,” clearing the faith of late-medieval accretions and innovations, and that was particularly the case with regard to the Prayer Book liturgies. That they may in a few cases have pruned away too much, should not detract from the good and needful work that they did, in pruning at all!
Because these accretions had obscured the clarity of the Word of God and the centrality of the Gospel, and given rise to distorted sacramental theology that had crept in over the centuries, Cranmer recognized that the whole liturgical corpus needed overhauling and simplifying. The principles governing the new Book were stated in its Preface.
First, the reformed lectionary was designed such that, instead of the rather scattered and disjointed segments of Scripture read in the medieval liturgy, the “whole Bible (or the greatest part thereof)” would be read over the course of a year. By such reading and by meditation on God’s Word, the clergy “should… be stirred up to godliness themselves, and be more able to exhort others by wholesome doctrine.” And by the daily hearing of the Scriptures in church, the people “should continually profit more and more in the knowledge of God, and be the more inflamed with the love of his true religion.”
Second, the English language replaced Latin, the first time since late antiquity that the liturgy was conducted in a language “understanded of the people.” Third, the number of rubrics and the complex character of the offices, which required the use of many books, were reduced only to what was strictly necessary and was “plain and easy to understand”; and only one book other than the Bible – the Prayer Book! – would be needed. Fourth, the diversity of English liturgical use would yield to the uniform rites of the Book of Common Prayer: prayer that was truly common to all – to “all sorts and conditions of men,” both the humble and the great, and to all regions, throughout the realm.
There were other principles implicit in the Book. Its liturgies and offices were meant to be as comprehensive as possible of all parties in the Church of England, those “favouring the old” as well as the new learning. In other words, it was meant literally to be a catholic – in the sense of “universal” (the meaning of katholikos in Greek), as in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” – book. Its very title, “The Booke of Common Prayer, After the Use of the Church of England, and The Supper of the Lorde and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass” invited the sympathy of conservatives and reformers alike. Thus, the classical Anglican tradition of the via media – the “middle way” between extremes – was seen at its very inception.
An overarching principle was the rule of charity, that “every man…be satisfied with his owne conscience, not iudging other mennes myndes or consciences” – a passage from the “Exhortation to Communion.” The Windsor commissioners distinguished between those ceremonies of the medieval rites that were vain and superstitious and those which served order and edification: discarding the one, retaining the other – and for the most part, doing so with a deft and steady hand.
There is much more that could be said about The Book of Common Prayer, but I do not want this “ramble” to become even more lengthy than it is! Suffice it to say that taken as a whole, the first Book of Common Prayer was, as one commentator has put it, “a reverent adaptation of the Latin rite [to the circumstances of the English Reformation], possessed of liturgical fitness and a deep eucharistic piety.”
Cranmer and his colleagues had reformed the liturgy not only according to the reformed theology of the time but also by the use of earlier, Patristic liturgies, dating to the Early Church: thus maintaining and expressing liturgical and theological continuity with the undivided Church of the first millennium and continuing through the pre-Reformation Church in England. And they managed all this while still insisting on the primacy and sufficiency of Holy Scripture, and salvation by grace through faith. So it is not without cause that The Book of Common Prayer is frequently known as “Thomas Cranmer’s immortal bequest”!
As one who was brought up in the Methodist tradition, I will close with the words of John Wesley, who remained an Anglican priest until the day he died:
“I believe there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety than the Common Prayer of the Church of England.”
I concur with that assessment, and hope and pray that the classical tradition of Common Prayer will continue to nurture the faith, as well as the hearts and minds, of Christian worshipers for at least another five centuries, if not more!
Compiled and edited from James Kiefer’s Christian Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Memorable Christians of the Past, Todd Granger’s For All the Saints, and other sources, with commentary and reflections by yours truly.
Fr. Tom Harbold