Thursday, January 21, 2021

Called to Walk in the Light as Children of Light


For better or worse we all are influencers. We can be a positive influence in people’s lives or we can be a negative one. We can appeal to better angel of their nature. We can urge them to give others the benefit of the doubt. We can draw their attention to the fact that it is easy for us to misjudge the intentions and motives of others. Or we can bring out the worst in people. We can encourage suspicion and distrust. We can feed their perceptions that they have been unfairly and wrongfully treated and therefore are entitled to nurse grudges and exact revenge.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus, the choice has been made for us. Jesus calls us to be a positive influence—to be light and to be salt. We are called to be peace-makers, not nurturers of ill-will and fomenters of conflict.

When Jesus talks about causing division, he is not talking about deliberating turning people against each other and inciting hatred and strife. He is acknowledging that families and communities will strongly disagree over him and his teaching. Some will accept him and his teaching; others will reject not only him and his teaching but anyone who accepts them. They will persecute those who do. We have seen this happen when Muslims and Hindus embrace the Christian faith.

Christians are called to be in the world but not of the world. This means that we cannot retreat into our own fantasy bubbles on our own social media platforms any more than we can isolate ourselves in our own communities and schools separate from the rest of the world. We are called to be witnesses to Jesus, to represent him and his teaching in the world. We cannot do that if we withdraw from engagement with our fellow human beings.

There is a very real temptation to draw back from engaging the community and its unchurched population at a time when we should be actively engaging them even more than we have in the past. This is attributable to a number of factors. One is the rapid social change that that the United States has been experiencing in the last sixty years. Another factor is the political polarization and the tribalization of US society, which has not left American churches unaffected. Politics has become an idol in many American churches, displacing Jesus and his teaching in the hearts of their clergy and congregations. Rather than treating those who have a different political opinions from themselves as Jesus taught his disciples to treat others, they are treating them in ways that are seriously at odds with his teaching. This has led some observers to conclude that adversarial politics has become America’s new religion.

Adversarial politics has no place in the Christian Church. An issue that divides my community is the appropriateness of a statue of General Robert E. Lee on the courthouse square, erected early in the twentieth century and commemorating Kentucky’s Confederate war dead. Members of the community, faculty and students of the local state university, and the town council has called for its removal. They view it as a symbol of racism, white supremacy, Jim Crow politics, and slavery. The county board and what may be best described as a Southern heritage preservation group have opposed its removal. The latter group is made up largely of people from outside the community and even from outside the state. When those seeking the removal of the statue organized protests supporting its removal, this group organized counter-protests. One of the organizers of these counter-protests is local in so far as he lives in a neighboring county.

I know people on both sides of the issue. They are for most part churchgoing Christians. The protestors seeking the removal of the statue view the counter-protesters as bigots, racists, white supremacists, and worse. On the other hand, the counter-protestors regard the protestors as antifa, anarchists, communists, Marxists, and socialists. Both sides have demonized each other. 

I cannot say to what extent the counter-protestors are racially motivated. Those I know want to preserve what they view as their Southern heritage. The accusation that the protestors are antifa, anarchists, communists, Marxists, and socialists is ludicrous. The protestors consist of idealistic students and respectable members of the community. Few, if any, have read Das Kapital. None of them advocate the overthrow of all forms of government or the public ownership of the means of production. They support the local police. What largely divides the two groups is what the statue represents to them.

What I am seeing is Christians using issues like this one to justify the avoidance of dialogue with their fellow-Christians and their withdrawal onto social media platforms where extremism, hate, conspiracy theories, and the advocacy of violence is rife. It is doubtful that these Christians will be a moderating influence upon these social media platforms. The evidence points to the opposite. 

The Bible warns us about the dangers of keeping the wrong company, how evil companions can lead us astray. Doing things in the darkness is not Jesus’ way. We were called into the light to walk as children of light. We cannot let our light shine before others and glorify God with our lives, if we hide in the darkness. We must put our trust in God and walk boldly in the light.

Thursday's Catch: The Tools You Need for Successful Blogging and More


The Tools You Need for Successful Blogging Brandon Cox shares some of his favorite blogging and online publishing tools.

9 Tangible Benefits of Bible Reading for Your Church The more often people engage in Scripture--a minimum of at least four times a week, the greater the effect it have upon key areas of their lives.

Short on Volunteers? How to Rebuild Your Volunteer Team During COVID-19 You don't have to wait until things get back to "normal." You can start building/rebuilding your team now by using some of the following principles and tips.

Why You Can’t Do Social Media Alone By taking a multi-person approach involving staff and volunteers to running its social media, a church can see three huge benefits to its social media.

Why Biden's Bible Is So Big Millions of viewers on Wednesday were astonished at the size of the aging leather-bound Bible used when President Joe Biden took the oath of office, a volume substantially larger than the common pocket-sized editions of Holy Writ.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday's Catch: The Patriotic Idolatry and More


The Patriotic Idolatry Donny Friederichsen draws attention to how American exceptionalism and Dispensationalist theology have contributed to theology becoming the handmaiden of political agendas in the United States.

The Question is Not Whose Side is God On? ...but are you on God's side?

Failed Trump Prophecies Offer a Lesson in Humility The apostle Paul warns us that prophecies are subject to those making them. Rather than being a special revelation from God, they can be the product of wishful thinking and a fertile imagination. The late Ian Watson, himself a leader in the charismatic movement in the Anglican Church, warned his fellow charismatics about giving more weight to special revelation than to Scripture and urged them to subject all thinking to Scripture.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Sharing That Next Viral Post About Human Trafficking Where children are concerned, one should always check the source of the information. A number of Christians have been misled by innacurate or false information circulating on the internet. As Shayne More warns us in this article, passing on this information to others can have real-world consequences.

Leaders and their Listening: at which of the 4 Levels do you listen? The most basic of all human needs is the need to be understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. Listening occurs at several levels. Charles Stone describe four fundamental levels in his article.

What’s Still Working with Online Small Groups The reception to online groups ... has met with a mixed reaction. Let’s talk about what’s not working, and then examine the bright spots that are working.

7 Deadly Sins of Small Group Ministry I believe there are at least 7 deadly sins of small group ministry. I also believe they are forgivable, but there is a consequence. In this case the consequences almost always affect unconnected people, group leaders and group members.

A Simple Test to Evaluate Your Outward Focus and Evangelistic Potential Take this simple test and learn more about your outward focus and your evangelistic potential.

All Hallows Evening Prayer for Wednesday Evening (January 20, 2021) Is Now Online.

All Hallows Evening Prayer is a ministry of All Hallows Murray and is an outworking of All Hallows Murray’s mission to show and share the love of Jesus. Services are normally posted on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings and may be posted at other times. 

The Scripture reading for this evening is John 10: 1-18, Jesus the Good Shepherd. The homily is titled, “Jesus Is Your Shepherd Too.”

This evening’s second psalm, David Ashely White’s choral arrangement of Carl P. Daw Jr.’s paraphrase of Psalm 23, “The Lord My Shepherd Guards Me Well” is available from Selah Publishing. The dismissal song, Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of the American folk hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” for SATB voices and organ is available from J W Pepper. Both are marvelous settings and would make a wonderful addition to any choir or schola cantorum's repertoire. 

The link to this evening’s service is: https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/2021/01/all-hallows-evening-prayer-for_20.html#more

Please feel free to share the link to this service with anyone whom you believe might benefit from the service.

If an ad plays when you open a link to a video in a new tab, click the refresh icon of your browser until the song appears. An ad may follow a song so as soon as the song is finished, close the tab.

Previous services are online at: https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/ 

May this service be a blessing to you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Tuesday's Catch: Dethrone Politics and More


Dethrone Politics When a sizable segment of the population says that political affiliation matters more than religious identity, we’re witnessing something greater than mere polarization; we’re watching the transmutation of politics into religion. For many Americans, it’s not that politics supersedes religion, but that politics is their religion.

How Do Love for God and Love for Others Relate? The Two Greatest Commands as One? This is a lengthy article but it is a worthwhile read.

7 Reasons We Must Be Patient with Church Change Some changes are so immediately needed – like the sudden changes COVID required – that we must move quickly as church leaders. On the other hand, many changes necessarily take longer than we might like – and it’s wise to be patient.

10 Goals for Your Groups Ministry in 2021 Ken Braddy offers 10 goals for groups in your church. As he puts it, "It’s a way of preparing to take on 2021, to fight for the spiritual health and wellbeing of our members, and to encourage people to once again regather for regular Bible study."

How To Write A Worship Song: 3 Tips To Get Started A good hymn or worship song does more than generate worshipful feelings, it serves as a means which God uses to transform our lives.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Monday's Catch: Five Moves Churches Are Making in the Second COVID Spike and More


Five Moves Churches Are Making in the Second COVID Spike Churches need to prepare for the next spike which the health experts are warning that the new, more infectious variant may cause in March. The vaccine rollout has been slow and plagued by a number of problems.

Don’t Drop the Rock! The fall of Christian leader can have a ripple effect that can cause widespread harm.

Ministry With, Not Merely To One of the servers at a former church of mine was born with Downs Syndrome. At another church a woman with developmental disabilities served with me in the hospitality ministry.

‘Paul and the Gift’ Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving Theologian John Barclay distills and updates his game-changing study of God’s “incongruous” grace in Christ.

9 High-Impact Leadership Lessons from 2020 Your outcomes in 2021 will largely be based on what you learned and how you grew in 2020.

Don't Edit Your Prayers The use of formal prayers in corporate worship can shape our expectations on how we should pray. These expectations can form a barrier to less formal, more conversational prayer which many Anglicans and Episcoplaians must overcome in order to grow in their prayer life.

An Unhealthy Craving In 1 Timothy 6:3-5, the Apostle Paul is addressing the character and manipulation of false teachers. In context, Paul is stating that false teachers have an unhealthy craving for controversy. This is, of course, undoubtedly true. However, this principle applies to all Christians as well.

What is the Difference Between an Analog Vs. a Digital Mixer? Both an analog mixer and a digital mixer can deliver fantastic sound, but they represent different ways of thinking about the process and the finished result.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Early Reformed Eucharistic Prayer, Its Characteristics, Its Use, and Its Implications for Reformational Anglicans


What are the distinguishing characteristics of the early Reformed eucharistic prayers? A number of the early Reformed leaders compiled eucharistic liturgies. Among these leaders was Zwingli. Bucer, Farrel, Calvin, Coverdale, a Lesko, Cranmer, and Knox. A comparative study of these liturgies enables us to identify several characteristics that distinguish the eucharistic prayers used in these liturgies from earlier and later eucharistic prayers. I use the term “eucharistic prayer” in a technical sense. They are eucharistic prayers in so far as they are prayers of the eucharist. 

One of the distinguishing characteristics that these prayers share is that they are not prayers of consecration. We are accustomed to thinking of eucharistic prayers as consecratory prayers. These prayers do not serve that function. Rather they are prayers for the communicants. They may more accurately be described as prayers before communion or prayers before the Lord’s Supper.

Unlike Luther’s German Mass, they do not use the Words of Institution to consecrate, or set apart, the bread and wine for sacramental use. Rather they use the Words of Institution as a Scriptural warrant for the church’s celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Words of Institution may be read separately form the eucharistic prayer. This is another distinguishing characteristic of the early Reformed eucharistic prayers.

A third distinguishing characteristic of the early Reformed eucharistic prayers is that they do not contain an invocation of the Holy Spirit to bless and sanctify the bread and wine. Reformed theologians did not find any support for this practice in the Bible. On other hand, they did find evidence of the practice of praying for the Holy Spirit to infill human beings. They therefore concluded that such an invocation was not consistent with the teaching of the Bible. Early Reformed eucharistic prayers are, as Peter Martyr Vermigli put it, “prayers for men,’ not “prayers for bread and wine.”

In his First Apology, the earliest account of a eucharistic celebration, written around circa 150, Justin Martyr makes not mention of any invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine in his two descriptions of the eucharist in Rome. In the first description the president of the eucharist “offers praise and glory to the Father of all in the name of the Son and the Holy Spirit” and “gives thanks at some length” that those gathered “have been deemed worthy of these things.” In the second description the president “offers prayers and thanksgiving to the best of his ability and the people assent, saying the Amen….” The practice of invoking the Holy Spirit does not appear in eucharistic prayers until later.

Because it appears in these later prayers, some liturgical scholars assume that it was also a feature of the eucharistic prayers in Justin’s time, but Justin’s account does not support this assumption. If such an invocation was as important part of the earliest eucharistic prayers as these scholars maintain, one might expect Justin to refer to it. If anything, the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the elements in later eucharistic prayers and the offering of the consecrated elements as a sacrifice point to how quickly the early Church fell into error and departed from the teaching of the Bible. Those who argue that because the early Church did it, we should do it too, choose to ignore the fact that ancient error is nonetheless error and its antiquity or wide-acceptance does not make it any less error. Error was rife even in New Testament times. The argument that the doctrine of the early Church was purer because the early Church was closer to apostolic times does not hold water. While church tradition can perpetuate truth, it can also perpetuate error. For this reason, Protestants insist that it should be tried by the test of Scripture as Bishop J. C. Ryle put it.

The compilers of the Anglican Church in North America’s The Book of Common Prayer (2019) in adopting an invocation of the Holy Spirit appeal to what they describe as an “ecumenical consensus.” They neglect to mention that this so-called “ecumenical consensus” does not represent all denominations and churches and does not enjoy the recognition of all Anglicans. For example, An Australian Prayer Book (1978) contains six eucharistic prayers, none of which contain an invocation of the Holy Spirit on the elements. Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel-Shaped Gatherings (2012) contains four eucharistic prayers. None of these eucharistic prayers contain such an invocation. The rationalization that the compilers of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer use for their adoption of such an invocation in the book’s eucharistic prayers is simply justification for what amounts to personal preference. From a Reformed point of view it is a preference for a practice that has no support in Scripture but is contrary to biblical practice.

A fourth distinguishing characteristic of early Reformed eucharistic prayers is that the only sacrifice to which these eucharistic prayers refer is Christ’s offering of himself on the cross for the sins of the world. There is no reiteration or reoffering of Christ’s sacrifice or pleading of his self-offering. They do not suggest that Christians, when they celebrate the eucharist, participate in any way in Christ’s sacrifice. They are the beneficiaries of his sacrifice but not participants in it. They do not support the Lambeth doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice any more than they do the Medieval and modern Roman doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice.

Early Reformed eucharistic prayers may include other elements such as thanksgiving and praise, intercessory petitions for Christians rulers, the congregation, and the sick, petitions for the forgiveness of sin, and petitions for worthy reception but these elements vary from prayer to prayer. A number of early Reformed eucharistic prayers are prolix and wordy but these characteristics are not particular to early Reformed prayers. They are more particular to the times and the kind of formal speech that people used in addressing kings and princes. A number of the early Reformed prayers like Thomas Cranmer’s 1552 Communion Service’s eucharistic prayer incorporate elements from the Medieval Roman Canon such as the Sursum Corda and the Sanctus.

How does the 1662 Communion Service’s eucharistic prayer stack up to the early Reformed eucharistic prayers? The short answer is not very well. This is not immediately obvious because the 1662 Communion Services’ eucharistic prayer uses texts from the 1552 Communion Service’s eucharistic prayer. The Restoration bishops made several changes that negate its Reformed credentials. The changes put the prayer in a tradition that goes back the 1637 Scottish Canon, the 1549 Canon, and the late Medieval Sarum Canon. They substituted “the Lord’s Table” for “God’s board” in the rubric before the Prayer of Humble Access. They labeled the section of the prayer, "Almighty God, our heavenly Father” as “the Prayer of Consecration.” They added the manual acts to the Words of Institution and an “Amen” to the end of the prayer. They added a rubric directing the priest to “consecrate” more bread and wine with the Words of Institution if he ran out of bread and wine during the distribution of the communion elements. They also added rubrics directing that the priest cover what remained of the “consecrated” elements with a “fair linen cloth” and consume them after the service with the assistance of members of the congregation. These changes represent a decided shift away from the doctrine of the Reformed eucharistic prayer of the 1552, 1559, and 1604 Communion Services.

A part of the problem is that we have become so accustomed to these changes after using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for the last 350 odd years, we do not recognize them for what they are and how they affect the doctrine of the Communion Service. The widespread acceptance of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1661 Ordinal as historic formularies blinds us to their defects. The two not only have defects but they also have contributed to the proliferation of Anglican service books, which some Anglicans deplore.

We must also remember that the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1661 Ordinal were the work of the Restoration bishops who, with the exception of the Bishop of Norwich Edward Reynolds, were Laudian High Churchmen and Arminians. Both Bishops John Cosin and Matthew Wren had been influenced by the two early High Churchmen, Bishops Lancelot Andrewes and John Overall who were also the founders of the Arminian wing of the Church of England.

Andrewes combined the eucharistic prayer of 1552-1604 Communion Services with the first Post-Communion Thanksgiving from these Communion Services in imitation of the 1549 Canon and used it in his private chapel. He adorned with chapel with many church ornaments from pre-Reformation times. He also placed the table against the east wall and used elaborate ceremonial which included bowing, genuflecting, and kneeling.

Andrewes and Overall were close friends. Cosin was at one time Overall’s secretary. Cosin and Wren played a leading role in the 1662 revision of the Book of Common Prayer.

Among the changes that Cosin had wanted to make to the 1604 Communion Service was to add an invocation of the Holy Spirit like the one that the Scottish bishops had incorporated into the eucharistic prayer of the 1637 Scottish Communion Office. But due to fear of the kind of reaction that the Scots had to that communion office, the language of the 1604 Communion Service’s eucharistic prayer was kept. The introduction of the 1637 Scottish Prayer led to the Bishops’ War and the abolition of Episcopacy in the Scottish Church.

What we see in the 1662 revision is not just a dilution of the Reformed doctrine of the 1552-1604 Communion Services but a movement away from that doctrine. A parallel movement is discernible in the 1662 baptismal services with the addition of a petition for God to sanctify the water in the font in the prayer before the baptism. This petition reflects the influence of the 1637 Scottish Prayer Book and is redundant. Earlier in the service the Ark Prayer states that God, by the baptism of his Son Jesus Christ, sanctified the Jordan River and “all waters” for the mystical washing away. of sin. There is no need to ask God to sanctify what he has already sanctified!

This change would bear fruit in the twentieth century and in this century. The prayer before the baptism would become modeled upon what by the twentieth century had become to be viewed as a proper eucharistic prayer—a prayer with an invocation of the Holy Spirit to bless and sanctify the matter of the sacrament. This view had its antecedents in the thinking of the Usager wing of the Non-Juror movement. The Usagers took the position that the eucharist was invalid unless the eucharistic prayer contained such an invocation. The prayer before the baptism would be drafted to give emphasis to the priest’s role not just as an administrator of the sacraments but as the consecrator of the sacraments—the minister to whom God had at his ordination with prayer, laying on of episcopal hands, and anointing with blessed oil had been give the special gift or grace to transmogrify or confect bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and to infuse the water in the font with the power to wash away sin. The baptismal rites of the 1979 and 2019 Prayer Books are examples of the kind of fruit that this change would bear.

The baptismal services of the 1662 revision also inherited the problematic language of the baptismal services of the 1552, 1559, and 1604 Books of Common Prayer, which the Tractarians and others have interpreted as teaching baptismal regeneration. This is not surprising since the Laudian High Churchmen had a high view of the sacraments. It is one of the distinguishing characteristics of their school of churchmanship.

One of the results of the disparity between the theology of Anglicans who are Reformed in their theological outlook and the doctrine of the Prayer Books that they are expected to use—1662 Prayer Book, 1928 Prayer Book, 1979 Prayer Book, 2019 Prayer Book, and so on is that they find themselves in the unenviable position of using services books that do not embody their theological views and defending their use of these service books. Among the reasons that they find themselves in this position is the persistence of the belief that everyone must use the same Prayer Book. However, uniformity of doctrine and worship is a lost cause in this day and age. The denomination-wide use of only one service book is a thing of the past. We may not wish to admit it but uniformity of doctrine and worship was illusionary in the days when a single Prayer Book was used. Different clergy used the book differently. They made additions, alterations, and omissions—some authorized and others not. Prayer Book revision was the denomination catching up with its clergy and congregations.

If North American Anglicans who are Reformed in their theological outlook want a service book that embodies their doctrinal views and reflects their worship practices, they are not going to find it in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer or a modern English translation of the 1662 Prayer Book. They certainly will not find it in the 1928 Prayer Book, the 1979 Prayer Book, or the 2019 Prayer Book. They will have to produce their own rites and services. This may come as a disagreeable surprise to some of us but it is a reality of the day and age in which we live.

We can choose to live in a fantasy world in which we imagine that all kinds of people eventually will come out of the woodworks, exclaiming their delight at finding a church that uses the 1662 Prayer Book or its modern-English translation or we can live in the real world, in which lengthy services in Jacobean English hold little appeal for most people, churchgoers and non-churchgoers, and do not lend themselves to online use. Jesus commissioned his disciples, which includes ourselves, to make disciples of all people groups. He did not commission them or us to push a particular service book. The purpose of a service book is to advance the progress of the church’s mission and not the other way around.

If the optional invocation of the Holy Spirit is dropped from the eucharistic prayer in my article, “A Proposed Supplemental Eucharistic Prayer and Post-Communion Thanksgiving,” the resulting prayer is one that fits the distinguishing characteristics of the early Reformed eucharistic prayers. It does not mirror any one of these prayers. It does incorporate textual material from the 1552 Communion Service’s eucharistic prayer with some additions that make it more useful in a twenty-first century context. Does it need some further tweaking? Most likely. But it offers an example of how Reformational Anglicans—those who have been influenced by the Reformed doctrines and principles of the English Reformation and those who have a Reformed theological outlook can draft worship resources for their own use, worship resources that are in line with their own beliefs and which may inspire others to make use of them, others whose thinking otherwise might be influenced and shaped by the eucharistic prayers that they find in worship resources like the 2019 Book of Common Prayer.

It makes no sense for Reformational Anglicans to hobble themselves with an older Prayer Book, even in a modern English edition, that does not serve them well on the North American mission field. This is putting one’s preferences before evangelistic engagement, a practice that has proven over and over again to be to the detriment of churches that follow it. The claim that a Reformational Anglican network of churches or an individual Reformed Anglican church and its clergy are seeking to preserve doctrinal purity rings hallow since the 1662 Book of Common Prayer only partly embodies Reformed doctrine and contains much that conflicts with that doctrine.

Reformational Anglicans need rites and services that embody, teach, and reinforce what they believe. They need rites and services that are understandable and practicable and which can be tailored to the circumstance of the churches that are using them. Reformational Anglicans need rites and practices that are winsome and which will arouse a positive response from clergy and congregations outside their tradition and outside the Anglican Church, clergy and congregations that share their beliefs or which may be led to adopt them. They need rites and services which will enable them to further the cause of the gospel rather than create obstacles to people hearing the gospel and responding to it.

As long as Reformational Anglicans use rites and services that do not reflect the Reformed doctrines and principles of the English Reformation, they will never take their rightful place as the heirs and interpreters of the English Reformation, historic Anglicanism, and the central Anglican theological tradition.

All Hallows Evening Prayer for Sunday Evening (January 17, 2021) Now Online


Among the reasons that All Hallows services of Evening Prayer are not streamed is to engage people in the services so that they are not just viewers but are participants. As well as being able to sing along with the hymns and psalms where these songs have congregational parts, they are able to read the Scripture reading and the homily, observe the periods of silence, and say the versicles and responses and the prayers.

It is recommended that everything that may read should be read aloud. In this way is written is not only read but heard. When we read silently, we are apt to read very quickly—even skim through what we are reading—and not benefit from what we have read. The periods of silence are there to provide opportunities to reflect on what has been sung or read and heard—opportunities to pray silently or aloud at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

It is hoped that these services will be a life-transforming experience for their participants, one that helps them grow in their relationship with Jesus.

The Scripture reading for this service is John 7:10-18—Jesus at the Festival of Booths. The homily is titled, “The Abundant Life.”

The service features two new pieces of music. The first piece is Thomas Keesecker’s arrangement of Carl P. Daw Jr. ’s paraphrase of Psalm 84, “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place,” for SAB choir, organ, and optional assembly. Information on how to purchase the full score may be found at the end of the video. The second piece is Claire Holley’s arrangement of Carl P. Daw Jr.’s hymn, “O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines,” for solo voice. Additional information about this arrangement is found on the same page as the video.

The link for this service is: https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/2021/01/all-hallows-evening-prayer-for-sunday.html#more

Please feel free to share the link to this service with anyone whom you believe might benefit from the service.

If an ad plays when you open a link to a video in a new tab, click the refresh icon of your browser until the song appears. An ad may follow a song so as soon as the song is finished, close the tab.

Previous services are online at: https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/

May this service be a blessing to you.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

3 Ways the Church Can Respond to the Capitol Hill Riot

 

One of my favorite writers, Walter Brueggemann, says, “The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in illusion, grieve in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.” The violent rushing of the Capitol building last week brought me back to this quote again and again.

Many of us are asking right now what we can do. I offer Brueggemann’s quote as a starting point. Read More

3 Ideas to Involve Church Members in Congregational Care


Take care of each other. Reach out to one another. Call. Text. Email.

These are the messages I’m getting from my church leadership. In fact, this past Sunday, my pastor asked the congregation to do these very things. The next night, on a Zoom call with the discipleship pastor and other community group leaders, we heard the same messaging.

They aren’t alone in their concerns. Last summer, pastors indicated to LifeWay Research that one of their top concerns was pastoral care from a distance. And with the recent COVID spikes necessitating virtual or otherwise adapted ministry, the concerns remain. Read More

Three Ways You Can Engage Your Neighbors


God has placed you in your neighborhood or your apartment complex for a reason. He has given you a mission field to build his kingdom by showing and sharing the love of Jesus with those around you. In response, I want to offer three practices Christians should consider in tearing down these fences and engaging their communities with the gospel of Jesus. Read More

Also See:
The Bible in Evangelism

Friday, January 15, 2021

All Hallows Evening Prayer for Saturday Evening (January 16, 2021 Now Online


Welcome to All Hallows Murray’s weekly services of Evening Prayer. Services of Evening Prayer are normally posted for Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.

This Saturday is the first eve of the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. The link to Saturday evening’s service is: 

https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/2021/01/all-hallows-evening-prayer-for-saturday_15.html#more 

The Scripture reading for Saturday evening’s service is John 6: 22-59. The title of the homily is “Jesus, the Living Bread.” The dismissal song is Michael Burkhardt’s arrangement of Carl P. Daw Jr. paraphrase of the canticle Dignus es, “Splendor and Honor, Majesty and Power.”

The following description of this arrangement was posted with the video: ”The popular tune SHADES MOUNTAIN by K. Lee Scott (1976) has been fashioned into a celebratory hymn-anthem by composer Michael Burkhardt. Written for a new pipe organ at the Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior, Green Valley, Arizona, the organ part is understandably in the foreground. There is a congregational part as well as a verse for SATB choir. Optional brass quartet parts are also available. The text is by Carl Daw (1990) and speaks of creation, blessing, redemption, and service. There is a congregational part as well as a verse for SATB choir. Optional brass quartet parts are also available.”

The choral score, the full score, and the instrumental parts are available from Morn Star Music and are downloadable. The link to the catalog page is 

https://www.morningstarmusic.com/catalog/product/view/sku/50-4305*

Recommended uses are as a song of praise at the beginning of any eucharistic celebration, as a song of praise after the distribution of the communion, preceded by a period of silence; and as a final hymn after the Blessing and before the Dismissal. If this piece is used as a song of praise at the beginning of the eucharist, it is recommended that the liturgical ministers and the choir take their places beforehand or the liturgical ministers enter during the organ introduction if the length of the introduction permits. The choir, however, should take their places beforehand. If the piece is used as a final hymn, it is recommended that the liturgical ministers should leave informally after the Dismissal.

Please feel free to share the link to Saturday evening’s service with anyone whom you believe might benefit from the service.

If an ad plays when you open a link to a video in a new tab, click the refresh icon of your browser until the song appears. An ad may follow a song so as soon as the song is finished, close the tab.

Previous services are online at:

https://allhallowsmurray.blogspot.com/

May this service be a blessing to you.

Friday's Catch: Forward Operating Bases and More


Forward Operating Bases Each congregation was a local dispensary of grace. The form that grace took was up to each church and neighborhood.

The Danger of Students Taking a “Gap Year” from Church I took more than a "gap year." I was not turned off to the Christian faith when I went off to college. One of the first things I did was seek out my denomination's campus ministry. But it offered nothing more than a weekly Eucharist and a free chicken dinner. I would drift away from church during my six years in university and did not return until my three nieces had reached school age. Once it was thought that people who drifted away from the church when they were young adults would return when they became parents. Now that is no longer the case. Young people are marrying and having children later in life and they are not returning.

The Problem in Our Backyard I first became aware of the problem of sex trafficking of teenagers and children here in the United States while doing child welfare work for the state of Louisiana. Sex traffickers prey on runaway teens and neglected children of both sexes. They often hook their victims on drugs. In some cases parents, siblings, and other relatives may be complicit in their exploitation. As in the case of woman in this article, so may be peers.

Whataboutism Is a Mark of Foolishness The Capitol insurrection was horrifying enough as a spectacle of foolishness and symbol of civilizational decay. But another horrifying exhibit of foolishness has been the reactions to the event on social media. Namely, the widespread deployment of one of the laziest tactics to hit rhetoric since the ad hominem: whataboutism.

On Handling a Fool One very practical skill in leading a life of wisdom is to know what to do with those going in the opposite direction. How do you handle a fool? This ability is increasingly needed, is it not? For foolishness abounds in our society. Remember its origin. The Lord told us bad fruit comes from bad trees (Matt. 7:17). We truly have whole forests of fools growing these days and, with social media, they have been given bullhorns.

A Great Re-Imagined Tool For Your Toolbox. While we can focus only on the negative, let me tell you about a new tool reimagined. The telephone! No, I didn’t find out about a new app. No, I’m not streaming a new viewing option. No, not a new game my kids told me I had to have. I’ve realized how good it feels and what can be accomplished by calling someone. You read that right. A phone call.

3 Statistics for Better Communication While we all agree that statistics are helpful, they can also support almost any argument depending on the numbers you use. This article aims not to convince you that one medium for communication is better than another. The goal of this article is to give you a cheat sheet that will answer the question running around in your head: “What is the best way to communicate this?”

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Workarounds for the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite: A Guide for Reformational Anglicans


I started this project in the last quarter of 2020 but it has stretched into the first quarter of 2021. It is a long article but I believe that those who take the time to read it will benefit from reading it. The Book of Common Prayer (2019) took nearly ten years to compile but at the time of its publication it was evident that the book needed substantial revision if it was to serve the diverse group of conservative Anglicans that formed the Anglican Church in North America. 

The excitement over the publication of their own Prayer Book may have kept some ACNAers from recognizing its flaws. The 2019 Prayer Book, however, does have flaws and these flaws do not make the book the best choice for a service book for the twenty-first century North American mission as well as for an Anglican province that is comprised of several disparate theological and liturgical schools of thought. As the initial excitement dies down, ACNAers will come to recognize its theological and liturgical shortcomings and the need for Prayer Book revision. In the meantime what may be the best way forward is the issuance of a series of supplemental rites that address these shortcomings. The purpose of this article and the accompanying article is to encourage movement in that direction.

Anglicans and Episcopalians who are not affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America but one of the other North American Anglican ecclesial entities such as the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church USA, and the various Continuing Anglican Churches may also benefit from reading this article.

Introduction. In this article I explore how the Anglican Church in North America’s proposed 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite may be modified in accordance with the rubrics of the 2019 Prayer Book so that the rite is more acceptable doctrinally and liturgically to ACNA clergy and congregations that stand in the Anglican Reformed tradition. I also offer advice on how music may be best used in the rite. These suggestions are made with small congregations particularly in mind, congregation that may worship in a non-traditional setting and have limited musical resources.

I refer to the 2019 Book of Common Prayer as “proposed” because while the ACNA’s bishops have agreed to permit its use in their dioceses, the 2019 Prayer Book has never been formally adopted by the ACNA’s Provincial Council and Provincial Assembly under the provisions of the ACNA’s canons. The canons make no provision for its authorization by the College of Bishops as a body but do give individual bishops authority to determine what service books may be used in their dioceses. An amendment to the canons permits the continued use of service books that the clergy and congregations forming a diocese were using at the time of its formation, subject to the bishop’s approval.

In this article I will refer to the proposed book as the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. This is what the book has come to be called. It is not tacit recognition on my part that 2019 Prayer Book is the authorized Prayer Book of the Anglican Church in North America. It is one of several Anglican service books used in the ACNA. Its proponents, however, have been promoting its widespread use in the province. The Liturgy and Prayer Book Task Force is preparing a traditional language version of the book, presumably in hopes of winning over traditionalists wed to the 1662 and 1928 Prayer Books.

A number of ACNA churches have adopted the 2019 Prayer Book. The principal reason for its adoption is that an ACNA task force prepared the book and not the liturgical commission of another Anglican province. In other words, “it is our own book.” This rationale is not the best one for adopting a service book, but it is the one most frequently heard in the Anglican Church in North America.

The 2019 Book of Common Prayer is highly problematic for clergy and congregations in the Anglican Reformed tradition because it embodies Anglo-Catholic doctrine and practices that the central Anglican theological tradition has historically rejected on biblical grounds. While permitting Anglo-Catholic clergy and congregations to use more “advanced” Anglo-Catholic practices in their worship and ordinations, it does not extend to Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations the freedom to bring its rites and services more in line with the central Anglican theological tradition. It is far friendlier to clergy and congregations who stand in the Anglo-Catholic tradition or lean toward that tradition from a liturgical point of view.

In this article I will point the reader’s attention to a number of ways Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations can—at least in part—rectify the doctrinal and liturgical shortcomings of each section of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite. A number of these shortcomings represent departures from what has been recognized since the twentieth century, if not earlier, as sound liturgical practice. I will also suggest a few unauthorized changes that Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations might consider. The process of prayer book revision historically has begun at the parish and mission level as clergy and congregations adapt the rites and services of a Prayer Book to their needs and circumstances.

Readers may wonder why I will not be also examining the Renewed Ancient Eucharistic Rite in this article. Except for the Eucharistic Prayer, the Words of Administration, and the Post-Communion Prayer the Ancient Standard Eucharistic Rite and the Renewed Ancient Eucharistic Rite are essentially the same rite. The compilers of the 2019 Prayer Book could have easily produced a single rite with two eucharistic prayers. “Ancient Renewed Eucharistic Rite” is a misnomer. The only thing in the rite that may be considered “ancient” and even that is a stretch is the eucharistic prayer. It is ostensibly based upon an ancient anaphora but it also shows the influence of more recent eucharistic prayers. Everything else in that rite owes more to the pre-Reformation Late Medieval Church than it does the early Church and reflects the obsession of the Anglo-Catholic Movement with the late Middle Ages. The rubrics make no provision for the alteration of the eucharistic prayer in the Renewed Ancient Eucharistic Rite. and it embodies the doctrines of transubstantiation, the late Medieval Catholic and modern Roman Catholic doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, and the Lambeth doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice. It is not a prayer that Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations would want to use if they wished to maintain their theological integrity. 

While the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer closely resembles the canon of the 1637 Scottish Prayer Book, the infamous “Laudian Liturgy,” the Renewed Ancient Eucharist Prayer bears a resemblance to Eucharist Prayer III of the pre-2010 English translation of the Roman Missal. Indeed, the entire Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite resembles the 1637 Scottish Communion Office—a High Church liturgy that influenced Restoration bishops’ 1662 revision of the English Prayer Book. With the adverse reaction of the Scots to the 1637 book and their years of exile or imprisonment during the Interregnum fresh in their minds, the Restoration bishops showed greater restraint in the 1662 revision. The influence of the 1637 book is nonetheless evident in that revision.

One of the shortcomings of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer evident in its rites and services is the propensity of its compilers to show a marked preference for the floridness of the rites and services of the pre-Reformation late Medieval Church over the dignified simplicity of those of the early Church. Anglican worship at its best reflects the liturgical principle that “less is more” and is characterized by the same kind of simplicity.

The Entrance Rite. This ancillary rite, the ancillary rite that is called the “offertory” in 2019 Prayer Book, and the conclusion of the eucharistic rite which is also an ancillary rite tend to attract liturgical clutter. Dom Gregory Dix’s claims for the “shape of the liturgy” which laid emphasis on the offertory more recent liturgical scholarship have shown are historically inaccurate.

Among the clutter that has accumulated in the entrance rite are the Lord’s Prayer and the Collect for Purity. They were originally the private devotions of the priest and were not a part of the eucharistic rite itself. Archbishop Cranmer incorporated them into the entrance rite in the 1549 eucharistic liturgy. Twentieth century and subsequent revisions of The Book of Common Prayer would drop the initial Lord’s Prayer or make it discretionary, recognizing that it was not originally a part of the eucharistic rite and was redundant. In the late Middle Ages it became the practice to recite the Pater Noster and Ave Maria before the Daily Offices and the Mass and before and during private devotions like one might recite a magical incantation. It was believed that Christians could make themselves "meet to receive grace" through the repetition of the Pater Noster and Ave Maria as they could through the performance of other good works.  After hearing  a parishioner's confession, and absolving the parishioner, priests often assigned the recitation of numerous Pater Nosters and Ave Marias as a penance. The Prayer Book revision of recent years would also make the Collect for Purity optional.

Rather than taking steps to reduce the clutter or making the elements of the entrance rite discretionary and thereby giving the minister the option of streamlining the entrance rite when paring down this rite is warranted, the compilers of the 2019 eucharistic rite added to the number of fixed elements in the rite. This suggests to me that they were not well-acquainted with the principles of good liturgy and belonged to that liturgical school that idealizes the fussiness of the pre-Reformation late Medieval liturgy and seeks to model contemporary liturgies on the pre-Reformation late Medieval liturgy and not the purer lines of ancient and reformed liturgies.

For example, in all other Prayer Books that I have examined (and I have examined a large number of Prayer Books), the Summary of the Law is optional. In 2019 entrance rite it is a fixed element. The Ten Commandments may be used in its place, but it may not otherwise be omitted. I refer to the 2019 entrance rite because the so-called Anglican Standard rite and the so-called Renewed Ancient rite are, despite their pretentious names, the same rite, as I have already noted.

The introit, the Kyries, the Trisagion, and the Gloria were each at one time the entrance song of the eucharistic liturgy. The use of an introit—a hymn, canticle, or psalm—the Kyries, and the Gloria in the entrance rite is a late medieval development. Only one song is needed. The other two are redundant and can be left out. Regrettably the rubrics of the 2019 eucharistic rite do not give the minister this option. As a result an undue emphasis is placed on the entrance rite which is an ancillary rite to the liturgy of the Word and therefore does not warrant such emphasis. The only essential elements are a greeting and the Collect of the Day. Everything else—entrance song, opening acclamation, Collect for Purity, Summary of the Law or Decalogue, kyries or Trisagion, and Gloria or other song of praise, are unnecessary.

The opening acclamation is superfluous. The use of an opening acclamation at the beginning of the Eucharist is a late twentieth century development in Anglican and Episcopal Churches and was borrowed from the eucharistic liturgies of the Eastern Church. A number of the seasonal opening acclamation in the 2019 eucharistic rite are actually not acclamations. They are introductory dialogues and they further add to the length of the entrance rite. 

Since the rubrics of the 2019 eucharistic rite require the use of an opening acclamation, I recommend that the use of an opening acclamation should be limited to three—those which are printed in the entrance rite itself. This is an application of the liturgical principle that less is more. It will help shorten the entrance rite and get the liturgy off to a good start. 

A lengthy entrance rite will tire the congregation at the start of the service, will slow the pace of the service, and will contribute to the congregation’s perceptions of the service as overly-long, dull, boring, and wearisome. The perceived tediousness of the service will discourage guests from returning for a second visit.

If the service is live-streamed or pre-recorded and then streamed online, viewers will with a click of a mouse leave the service. Long or slow-moving services, when viewed online are experienced as even longer or slower moving.

The entrance rite should be limited to an entrance song or songs and the required elements—opening acclamation, Collect for Purity, Summary of the Law, the Kyries or the Trisagion, the salutation, and the Collect of the Day. The congregation should remain standing throughout the entrance rite and should join the minister in saying the Collect for Purity, an option permitted by the rubrics of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. The entrance rite should move quickly from entrance song or songs, opening acclamation, Collect for Purity, Summary of the Law, Kyries or Trisagion, salutation, and Collect of the Day. 

The Kyries or the Trisagion should be sung. It is lame to recite these songs. Most congregations can learn two or more simple settings. Healey Willan’s nine-fold Kyrie from his Missa de Sancte Maria Magdalene in D appears in the service music sections of a number of hymnals and videos of the Kyrie can be found on YouTube. These videos can be used to teach the setting to a congregation. Several metrical versions of the Kyries have been written and may be sung to familiar hymn tunes. One example is Gracia Grindal’s “Have mercy on us, Lord.”

Have mercy on us, Lord, and hear our solemn prayer. We come to hear your living Word; it saves us from despair / Have mercy on us, Christ, and wash away our sin. Pour out your grace and make us whole that new life may begin / Have mercy on us, Lord; make sin and shame depart. Renew us with your saving pow’r, create in us pure hearts. (Text: Gracia Grindel © Sundays & Seasons, Augsburg Fortress)
This particular metrical version of the Kyries can be sung to the hymn tune SOUTHWELL or the hymn tune ST. BRIDE.

Long, unrelieved texts that are recited by a minister or said by the congregation hold little or no appeal to Baby Boomers as well as the younger generations. While some long-time Anglicans may prefer said services, having become accustomed to such services and even developed a sentimental attachment to them, first time guests do not share their enthusiasm for this type of service. Churches that have said services are likely to have few guests once the word of how boring their services are is spread in the community. Online viewers will quickly lose interest and will click to something less boring. This is a reality of the twenty-first century with which clergy and congregations must come to terms. They cannot go on worshiping the way that Anglican churches did in the past and expect to reach and engage the unchurched and the unreached.

Regrettably churches and denominations, when confronted with a changing world are apt to retreat to the past. Former ACNA Archbishop Robert “Bob” Duncan advocated such a “regression,” to use his words, and the 2019 Book of Common Prayer reflects that kind of thinking.

In my opinion the Gloria should not be used as a fixed element of the service, either in the entrance rite or the communion rite. It was originally a song of praise in the office of Lauds and migrated from that office to the eucharistic liturgy in the Western Church. In the Eastern Church the Gloria is still an element of the morning office. Rather it should be used at various places in the service like any other hymn. For example, it may be used as an entrance song, a gradual between the first and second readings, or a sequence between the second reading and the gospel reading.

Like the Kyries, a number of metrical versions of the Gloria have been written and may be sung to familiar hymn tunes. Examples are Michael Forster’s “Glory to God in Highest Heav’n,” Christopher Idle’s “Glory in the Highest to the God of Heaven,” Edwin Le Grice’s “Glory to God, We Give You Thanks,” Michael Perry’s “Glory Be to God in Heaven,” Martin A. Seltz’s “Glory Be to God in Heaven,” and Nathum Tate and Nicholas Brady’s “To God Be Glory, Peace on Earth.” The latter comes from Tate and Brady’s New Version of the Psalms of David (1696), also known simply as the New Version. The New Version contains metrical versions of the Prayer Book canticles, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments. It is evidence that the use of metrical versions of these texts is not a recent development but has a long history in the Anglican Church.

A number of composers who produce liturgical music for the Lutheran Churches and the Catholic Church have composed very singable responsorial settings of the Gloria. Examples are Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation Glory to God, his Mass of Remembrance Glory to Good, Dan Schutte’s Mass of Christ the Savior Glory to God, Scott Soper’s Mass of Awakening Glory to God (Traditional Style) and his Mass of Awakening Glory to God (Contemporary Style). Videos of these settings may be found on YouTube and may be used to teach a particular setting to a congregation.

A church might consider erecting on its website a page for church music used in its services, a page which attendees can access and use to learn and practice new hymns, psalms, worship songs, and service music.

Among the major drawbacks of the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite and the Renewed Ancient Eucharistic Rite is their lack of flexibility and consequently their lack of adaptability to local circumstances. The compilers of the two rites appear to have envisioned as their primary users well-established, modest-sized congregations with deacons as well as a priest, ample musical resources, a traditional worship setting, and a preference for a pre-Reformation late Medieval ceremonial, clergy and church ornaments, and worship practices. They did not make allowances for small congregations with a single minister, limited musical resources, a non-traditional worship setting, and a ministry target group that is not keen on pre-Reformation late Medieval ceremonial, clergy and church ornaments, and worship practices. One might suspect them of wanting to pack the Anglican Church in North America with people who share their liturgical tastes and preferences.

Greater flexibility such as permission to omit all the elements of the entrance rite with the exception of the Salutation and the Collect of the Day would enable small congregations to use the Gloria as an entrance song and to move immediately to the liturgy of the Word after the Collect of the Day.

A simplified entrance rite is a must when live-streaming or pre-recording a congregation’s services as well as when holding services in non-traditional worship settings. If the entrance rite is too long or too slow and does not hold the online viewers’ attention, they are going to click to the service of a different church. The 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s rites and services are not designed for the twenty-first century mission field. As well as accelerating change in the church, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of existing church patterns of worship and worship practices.

One of the distinctives of the American Prayer Book is that a hymn may be sung in place of the Gloria. The compilers of the 1789 Book of Common Prayer recognized that in pioneer conditions of the day many congregations would not be able to sing the Gloria and reciting what is a hymn of praise was less than satisfactory. Therefore, a rubric was added to 1789 eucharistic rite permitting the singing of a hymn in place of the Gloria.

Since that time liturgical scholars have come to recognize that the Gloria was not the only hymn of praise used in the eucharistic liturgies of the Western Church at the beginning of the rite. Other canticles were also used. Using only the Gloria is a pre-Reformation late Medieval practice.

Archbishop Cranmer’s repositioning of the Gloria to the end of the eucharistic liturgy in the 1552 Prayer Book appears to have been motivated by a desire to imitate the actions of the disciples at the Last Supper who sung a hallel psalm, a psalm of praise, before they went into the night. His use of the Gloria is an application of the principle that he summarizes in his essay, “Of Ceremonies, Why Some Be Abolished, and Some Retained”—to retain the old where the old may be well-used. A number of the continental Reformed churches also concluded their services of the Lord’s Supper with a song in imitation of the disciples at the Last Supper. Calvin concluded his rite with a metrical psalm and may have influenced Cranmer For this reason the singing of some other hymn of praise as an alternative to the Gloria may be regarded as consistent with Reformed practice.

A number of the more recent Anglican service books give the minister discretion to use an alternative canticle or song of praise in place of the Gloria. A canticle that is particular appropriate at the beginning of the eucharistic liturgy is the Dignus es, also known as  the "Song to the Lamb. "A popular metrical setting of this canticle is Richard Hillert’s “This Is the Feast of Victory for Our God” and may be used as an entrance song or song of praise at the beginning of the eucharistic liturgy. Other possibilities are Carl P. Daw Jr.’s “God’s Paschal Lamb Is Sacrificed,” “My Soul Proclaims with Wonder,” “Splendor and Honor,” and “We Praise You, O God,” Edward F. Darling’s “Come, Bless the Lord, God of Our Forebears,” Ruth Duck’s “Now Bless the God of Israel,” Christopher Idle’s “God, We Praise You, God, We Bless You,” David Mowbray’s “Now Lives the Lamb of God,” Michael Perry’s “O Bless the God of Israel,” and Stephen P. Starke’s “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God.” The liturgical ministers might enter in procession to an instrumental prelude or unobtrusively take their places before the service and then join their voices to those of the choir and the congregation in one of these hymns.

Ordinarily, if a church has a choir, its members should take their places quietly before the service without drawing attention to themselves. Solemn processions with servers bearing a processional cross and torches at the head of the procession and the choir processing with the presiding minister and assisting minister should be reserved for major festivals and the feast of dedication of the church and its anniversaries. They should not be held every Sunday as has regrettably become the practice of a number of churches. 

A choir procession is one of the ways of marking the solemnity of the occasion. It should not be allowed to become an every Sunday occurrence. 

If the choir members take their places before the service, they are in a much better position to lead and support the congregational singing than they are processing through the congregation. 

Small churches that do not have a choir or music group can hold congregational rehearsals before or after a service or during the week, in which members of the congregation can learn new hymns, worship songs, and service music and practice the music for next Sunday’s service. Those who regularly attend these rehearsals can function as a de facto choir even though they will sit in the congregation on Sundays or other occasions when the congregation gathers for worship, instruction, and the sacraments. 

The use of the Salutation, “The Lord be with you. And with your spirit,” while it is printed in the rite should be omitted for the reason I explain later in this article. The Salutation, “The Lord be you, And also with you,” should be substituted for it as permitted by the Additional Directions. 

Although it is not authorized by the rubrics, a third alternative Salutation is the greeting in Ruth 2:4, “The Lord be with you. The Lord bless you.” The Scottish Episcopal Church is using this greeting in a number of its newer rites and services and I believe that the greeting merits our consideration as an alternative Salutation.

A pause for silent prayer should follow the invitation to prayer, “Let us pray,” which precedes the Collect of the Day.

The Lessons. The addition of a lesson from the Old Testament or the Acts of the Apostles in the eucharistic rites of the Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer recognized a reality of the twentieth century, which is also a reality of this century. Most churchgoers are not going to attend two services—Morning Prayer and the Holy Eucharist—on Sunday morning. They will attend only one service—the Holy Eucharist--and will not hear a lesson from the Old Testament unless it is read at that service.

The rubrics of the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite permit a psalm, hymn, or anthem after each reading. I strongly recommend that a period of silence for reflection and prayer follow each reading. If a song follows too closely on the heels of a reading, it can act like the birds in the Parable of the Sower. It can snatch away the seed of God’s Word even before has a chance to enter the soil, much less germinate and sprout.

I also strongly recommend that nothing should come between the Gospel reading and the sermon except a pause for silent reflection and prayer—no creed, no song, nothing! The recitation of a creed at this point can have the same effect as a song. It will obliterate memory of the Gospel reading from the short-term, or working, memory of the members of the congregation.

It is the practice of a number of churches to sing or recite a psalm or a portion of a psalm after the reading from the Old Testament or the Acts of the Apostles. This is not itself a bad practice. However, the way that the psalm is sung or recited often lacks imagination and may itself fit the description of an undesirable practice.

The practice of a minister and the congregation responsively reciting alternate verses or half verses is the least desirable method for reciting a psalm or psalm portion and should be avoided at all costs. It is monotonous and unedifying. So is the practice of the congregation chanting the psalm or psalm portion to the same tone, plainsong or Anglican chant, year round. Neither practice does justice to the Book of Psalms.

Some psalms should be sung or recited by a single voice. Others should be sung or recited by a small ensemble. Churches may want to consider the formation of a choral reading group to recite the psalm or psalm portion when the church does not have kind of musical leadership and acoustics to chant them. Even when the choir or the congregation is able to sing the psalm or psalm portion, the occasional choral reading of the psalm or psalm portion is appropriate. 

When the congregation sings or recites the psalm or psalm portion, the method should be varied. Among the settings of a psalm or psalm portion that lend themselves to congregational singing are responsorial psalms, metrical psalms, and hymns and worship songs based upon the psalm or psalm portion. 

When a psalm or psalm portion is sung or recited in the eucharist, the congregation remains seated. The exception is when the psalm or psalm portion is sung as an entrance song or a communion song. In the case of an entrance song the congregation would stand. In the case of the communion song, the members of the congregation would remain seated until it was their turn to go to a communion station and receive communion. If a responsorial psalm or psalm portion is used as the communion song, the communicants should continue to sing the refrain or antiphon as they process to the communion rail or station and as they return from receiving communion.

In the eucharist the Gloria Patri is normally not sung or said at the conclusion of the psalm or psalm portion.

An anthem is also an option. The anthem should be congruent with the themes and imagery of the lessons or complementary to their themes. It should not be used to showcase the choir. An anthem that does not fit with themes and imagery of the lessons will direct the attention of the congregation away from the direction in which the lessons are directing the congregation’s attention and undercut the thrust of the lessons.

Considerations in selecting an anthem include the appropriateness of the anthem to the lessons and the occasion, the acoustics of the room in which the choir will be performing, the length of the anthem, the size of the choir, the number of voices in the choir, and the difficulty of the anthem. A choir should not attempt an anthem that is beyond its abilities and requires more voices than the choir has. A long anthem will 
focus attention on the choir rather than the lessons. as well as disrupt the flow of the service and cause the liturgy of the Word to fall apart. 

Long anthems are best reserved for the time during which the Holy Table is prepared. They can be used as a mediation upon the lessons and the sermon or upon the communion.

If the choir is small, lacks sufficient voices, and must perform in a less than ideal acoustical environment, a simple hymn anthem such as a metrical setting of the psalm, psalm portion, or canticle sung in unison is the best choice. It is a good way of introducing new hymns to the congregation.

Canticles are hymns that are found in the Bible or derived from Scripture. The Gloria is an example of the latter. Like other hymns a canticle sung between the first two lessons or before the Gospel reading should fit with the lessons, the occasion, and place in the service where it is sung.

While a prose setting of the Benedicite Omnia Opera may be too long for these junctures in the service, shorter metrical setting of this canticle such as Carl P. Daw, Jr.’s “Let All Creation Bless the Lord” or Stephen P. Starks’ “All You Works of God Bless the Lord” may be used. On the other hand, longer versions of the Benedicite, prose or metrical, may be used as an entrance song or a communion song. The Benedicite is an expanded version of Psalm 148 which has been used as a communion song in the Eastern Church.

What is critical in planning the music for the liturgy of the Word is not to fall into the rut of doing the same thing Sunday after Sunday. The children’s hymn, “Thy Gospel, we believe,” which was written for children’s First Communions, was abused in this way to such extent that the commission preparing the Episcopal Church’s The Hymnal 1982 did not include it in that hymn collection for that very same reason.

This takes us to what should we sing before the Gospel reading. The purpose of a song at this point in the service is two-fold. It ties the Gospel reading to the previous lessons. It greets Christ present in the words of the Gospel. It may serve both these functions or just one of them. Whatever is sung should be fairly short. A long song at this juncture will interrupt the flow of the service and cause the liturgy of the Word to fall apart. The song should also be bright and fairly sprightly. A number of songs are too meditative for this point in the service and are better used during the preparation of the Holy Table.

One option is what Lutheran Evangelical Worship (2006) calls a “gospel acclamation.” This may be an alleluia or an alleluia and verse. An alleluia or an alleluia and verse may be sung year-round except during Lent. This does not mean a congregation should sing the same alleluia or alleluia and verse throughout the year during those seasons of the church year when an alleluia or an alleluia and verse may be sung. The same alleluia or alleluia and verse might be sung throughout a season like Advent, Christmas, and Easter. During what is sometimes called ordinary time—the Season after Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost, the same alleluia or alleluia and verse might be sung for four Sundays in a row and then replaced by a new alleluia or alleluia and verse for the next four Sundays in a row and so on. Most congregations can learn several alleluia and alleluias and verses. 

Some popular alleluias and alleluias and verses are “Alleluia Mode VI;” “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah,” “Celtic Alleluia,” “Mass of Creation Alleluia,” “Taize Alleluia,” and “Hymn Mass Alleluia.” The latter is a metrical setting of an alleluia written by Gracia Grindel and set to the tune NEANDER (or UNSER HERRSCHER).

Alleluia! Lord and Savior, open now your saving Word. Let it burn like fire within us; speak until our hearts are stirred! Alleluia! Lord we sing for the good news that you bring. (Text: Gracia Grindel © 1998, Sundays and Seasons, Augsburg Fortress).
A Lenten gospel acclamation is a verse with or without a refrain. A Lenten gospel acclamation may also be a carefully selected verse from a hymn or a psalm. Bernadette Farrell’s “Praise to You, O Christ, Our Savior” is an example of a Lenten gospel acclamation with a refrain. It has four verses and a refrain. Only one verse with the refrain need to be sung on a particular Sunday in Lent. “We Are Turning, Lord, to Hear You,” S205n, in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), set to the Latvian folk tune, KAS DZIEDAJA, is an example of a Lenten gospel acclamation without a refrain.

A second option is a hymn. This hymn is called a “sequence.” It may be sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “gradual hymn.” However, a gradual hymn is a hymn that is sung between the first two lesson in place of a psalm, psalm portion, or canticle. Among the hymns that have proven their usefulness before the reading of the Gospel are H. C. A. Gaunt’s “Come, Lord, to Our Souls.” William Watkin Reid’s “Help Us, O Lord, to Learn.” Anonymous’ “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present,” H. C. A. Gaunt’s “Lord Jesus, Once You Spoke to Men,” S. N. Sedgewick’s “Praise We Now the Word of Grace,” John E, Bower’s “The Prophets Spoke,” Willard F. Jabusch’s “Open Your Ears, O Faithful People” (vss. 1-2), and Handt Hanson’s “Lord, Let My Heart Be Good Soil.”

Sandwiching the Gospel reading between two halves of a hymn is an abuse of the hymn. Among the consequences of this practice is that it mutilates the sense of the hymn. Instead of worshiping with understanding, the congregation may end up singing nonsense before and after the Gospel reading. Singing a hymn in two parts—one before the Gospel reading and the other after it—also keeps the congregation from giving full attention to the Gospel reading. If a minister reads the Gospel from the midst of the congregation, he should return to his seat in silence. He does not need “traveling music” to cover his actions. The members of the congregation can use the silence to digest what they have heard.

A third option is one of the shorter prose canticles or a short metrical version of a canticle. Examples of the latter are Henry Ustick Onderdonk’s “How Wondrous and Great,” Carl P. Daw Jr.’s “Blessed Be the God of Israel,” “Seek the Lord,” “Surely It Is God Who Saves Me,” and “We Marvel at Your Mighty Deeds,” Christopher Idle’s “Bless the Lord, Our Fathers’ God,” and “Great and Wonderful Your Deeds,” and Edwin Le Grice’s “Glory, Honour, Endless Praises.”

The Sermon. A good rule of thumb is the exposition of the Word should immediately follow its proclamation while the Word is fresh in the minds of the members of the congregation. After a short period of silence the sermon should follow the Gospel reading. Except for this period of silence nothing should be permitted to come between the proclamation of the Word and its exposition. 

The recitation or singing of a creed before the sermon can prevent members of the congregation from remembering what they heard during the proclamation of the Word, displacing it in their short-term or working memory. A hymn at this juncture in the service should also be avoided. It will have the same effect. Most congregations will not see the connection between the hymn and the sermon. Often as not the connection between the hymn and the sermon will be tenuous at best. 

Contrary to what some pastors may believe, a hymn at this juncture will not put the congregation in the right frame of mind. Rather it will be experienced as busywork, something to occupy the congregation while the pastor puts his sermon notes in order

A period of silence should follow the sermon to permit the congregation to digest what they have heard. The minister should not be in hurry to move on to the creed.

The Nicene Creed. The 2019 Book of Common Prayer breaks with the tradition of the previous American Prayer Books and does not permit the substitution of the Apostles’ Creed in place of the Nicene Creed. This has been a longstanding option in the American Prayer Book and is also an option in the service books of other Anglican provinces.

The 2019 Prayer Book also breaks with the Western Church, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its predecessors, including the 1549 Prayer Book and the 1637 Scottish Prayer Book, and permits the omission of the filoque clause as is the practice in the Eastern Church. As critics of the Eastern practice have observed, its omission brings the Eastern Church dangerously close to the Arian position in its Christology.

Clergy and congregations in the Anglican Reformed tradition will retain the filoque clause in the Nicene Creed as did the English Reformers and as does the central Anglican theological tradition.

The omission of the option to use the Apostles Creed in place of the Nicene is regrettable. The Apostles Creed has historically recited at baptisms and is a useful reminder of the congregants’ baptisms. Its use is particularly appropriate on those Sundays and other occasions when the meaning and implications of baptism are preached.

It is noteworthy that the singing or recitation of a creed was originally not a part of the eucharistic liturgy and was introduced as a safeguard against Arianism. Its singing or recitation adds to the length of the liturgy. The disadvantages of long services I address elsewhere in this article.

In the Western Church the Celtic Church was the first branch of the Western Church to use the Nicene Creed in the eucharistic liturgy. Its use spread from the Celtic Church to the Anglo-Saxon Church and then the Frankish Church and eventually to the German Church. The Roman Church did not adopt the Nicene Creed until the eleventh century and then used it on Sundays and certain feast days.

In the Celtic Church the Nicene Creed was recited after the readings and the sermon and it occupied that position in the English Church until the sixteenth century. In the 1549 Book of Common Prayer it was moved to a position after the Gospel where it took the place of a sermon. When a sermon was preached or the eucharist was celebrated in a private home, the 1549 rubrics permitted its omission. The Nicene Creed did not become a fixed element of the eucharistic liturgy until 1552 Prayer Book. 

It must be remembered that in the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I only select members of the clergy were licensed to preach. Those who did not have a preaching license were required to read a portion of a homily from one of the two books of authorized homilies during Elizabeth’s reign. During that period the Nicene Creed served as a part of clergy’s instruction of their congregations. The original reason for moving the Nicene Creed to that position was forgotten by the time of the Restoration and the Restoration bishops left it in that position.

During the Prayer Book revision of the last half of the twentieth century the Nicene Creed was moved back to its original position after the readings and the sermon where it serves as an affirmation of the Christian faith and a response to the proclamation and exposition of the Word.

It was noteworthy that in the sixteenth century a number of the continental Reformers rejected the Nicene Creed on the ground that it contained unscriptural language and substituted the Apostles’ Creed. At the time of the adoption of the 1789 American Prayer Book a number of the American clergy objected to the inclusion of the Nicene Creed in the new Prayer Book on the same grounds. A compromise was struck in which ministers were given discretion to use the Apostles Creed in place of the Nicene Creed. 

As I note earlier in this section, the compilers of the 2019 Prayer Book broke with this longstanding tradition in the American Church. In light of the foregoing, the restriction of users of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer to the Nicene Creed in the book’s eucharistic rites, to a version of which permits the omission of the filoque clause, may be viewed as further evidence of the book’s leaning toward unreformed Catholicism.

Adopting the 1552-1662 position of the Nicene Creed and reciting or singing it after the Gospel reading will not amplify the Reformed character of the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite. It is a throwback to a time when no sermon was preached at celebrations of Holy Communion. It downplays the importance of preaching and the exposition of the Word. Anglican Reformed congregations are better served when the Nicene Creed is recited after the sermon, after a short period of silence in which the members of the congregation are given an opportunity to digest the sermon.

The Prayers of the People. While the Additional Directions permit the reading straight through of the form of the Prayers of the People printed in the rite, omitting the silences and “Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer,” one of the effects of this practice is that the Prayers of the People are experienced as one of the more tedious parts of the service, particularly if the congregation is expected to kneel during the prayers. If this form is used for the Prayers of the People, the congregation should be asked to stand for the prayers, if able, and the silences and the congregational response should not be omitted.

The Additional Directions do permit the use of other forms of the Prayers of the People and Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations would do well to take advantage of this permission. A number of Anglican service books, including the Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer contain much shorter forms for the Prayers of the People and the use of one of these forms is recommended.

The members of the congregation should be invited to stand for the Prayers of the People if they are able to stand. This is the ancient position for the Prayers of the People. It is also the most practical position for the prayers when a church is gathering for worship, instruction, and the sacraments in a non-traditional setting.

At St. Michael’s, a church that I helped to plant in the 1980s, we used form C from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which is also found in An Australian Prayer Book (1978), A Prayer Book for Australia (1995), and other Anglican service books. We also used Eucharistic Prayer A from the same Prayer Book. We stood for the Prayers of the People and the Eucharistic Prayer. Kneeling proved impractical if not impossible in the non-traditional settings in which we held our services. These two forms are relatively short, a decided advantage in the services of a new church plant. The congregation was given an opportunity to offer their own petitions silently or aloud before and after the form for the Prayers of the People.

One of the drawbacks of the 2019 Book of Prayer is the penchant of its compilers for unnecessarily long rites and services. When these rites and services are streamed online, they are experienced as even longer. Lengthy rites and services hold little, if any appeal, for online viewers. The compilers of the 2019 Prayer Book appeared to be unfamiliar with the KISS principle, “Keep it simple, stupid.” As more churches go online with their services, a new dimension has been added to this principle, “Keep it short, stupid.” Or “keep it short and simple, stupid.” The KISS principle goes hand in glove with the liturgical principle, “Less is more.”

The Confession of Sin and Absolution. The rubrics permit the use of an Invitation to Communion or a short Invitation to Confession before the Confession of Sin. The Invitation to Communion is based upon the one in the 1552-1662 Communion Services. It sets out the requirements that an attendee of the service desiring to receive communion must meet. These requirements are taken from Scripture. Unless the sermon or exhortation covers these requirements, it is recommended that the Invitation to Communion should be used rather than the short Invitation to Confession.

The rubrics also permit the reading of one or more sentences of Scripture as an assurance of forgiveness after the prayer for forgiveness which is also based upon the one in the 1552-1604 Communion Services. In these services the latter prayer is not labeled an “Absolution” as it is in the 1662 service. The assignment of this label to that prayer is one of the shifts away from the Reformed doctrine of 1552-1604 predecessors discernible in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. They avoid the use of this label due to its association with the unreformed Catholic notion that a priest has the power to absolve sins. 

The Reformed view reflected the 1552-1604 Communion Service is that a minister may pray for God’s forgiveness of those who are genuinely repentant and may declare God’s forgiveness of these persons but the minister does not have the power to absolve their sins. The Oxford Movement, when it reinterpreted the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in an unreformed Catholic sense took advantage of the label, “Absolution” and used this prayer as evidence the 1662 Prayer Book taught the unreformed Catholic doctrine of priestly absolution. It was the Oxford Movement that put the 1662 Book upon a pedestal in the nineteenth century as Samuel Leuenberger notes in Archbishop Cranmer’s Immortal Bequest.

In more recent times the claim that a revision of the Reformed Episcopal Church’s Prayer Book was based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer has been used to pass off a book that was closer in its doctrine and practices to the 1928 Prayer Book than the 1662. The 1662 Prayer Book and the 1928 Prayer Book share a number of common texts but embody disparate ways of thinking. In a number of places the 1662 Prayer Book does, however, pave the way for the doctrinal shifts embodied in the 1928 Prayer Book.

It is an interesting study comparing the steps that different groups of conservative Anglican evangelicals have taken to rectify the problem the 1662 language creates. In the late nineteenth century in The Protestantism of the Prayer Book Canadian Anglican evangelic Dyson Hague mounted a robust defense of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer against the claim that it taught the unreformed Catholic doctrine of priestly absolution. Bishop J. C. Ryle would write the preface to a later edition of Hague’s book. Hague’s defense, however, would not ease the minds of conservative Anglican evangelicals.

The 1930 Book of Common Prayer of the Reformed Episcopal Church omits the 1662 rubric and drops the prayer for forgiveness altogether. It retains the “Comfortable Words” from the 1552-1662 Communion Services as an assurance of God’s forgiveness. The 1956 Book of Common Prayer of the Free Church of England, while it retains the 1552-1662 prayer for forgiveness, drops the 1662 rubric and reverts to the 1552-1604 rubric. 

The Prayer Book of the Church of England in South Africa (1992) omits the 1662 rubric and renders the prayer for forgiveness into contemporary English. The Church Society’s An English Prayer Book (1994) changes the rubric to “The minister declares GOD’s FORGIVENESS….,” renders the prayer into contemporary English, altering it slightly, and in the second order of Holy Communion drops the reading of one or more “PROMISES of assurance" from the Bible. This omission is significant as we shall see.

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Liturgical Panel addresses this problem in three different ways in Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel Shaped Gatherings (2012). In The Lord’s Supper Form I they render the 1662 prayer for forgiveness into contemporary English and replace the rubric that precedes the prayer with this rubric. “The minister stands and assures the people of God’s forgiveness.” They also change the rubric that precedes the Comfortable Words. “The minister says the following words of assurance.” In The Lord’s Supper, Form 2, the liturgical panel not only uses a different confession of sin but also a different prayer for forgiveness.

The minister stands and says

Merciful Father, we rejoice that you pardon and forgive those who truly repent and trust in your Son. Deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In The Lord’s Supper, Form 3, they also use a different confession of sin. They replace the prayer for forgiveness with what the rubric describes as a declaration of forgiveness.
God is slow to anger and full of compassion. He forgives all who humbly repent and turn to his Son Jesus Christ, in whom there is no condemnation. Amen.
None of these alterations are open to interpretation as teaching a doctrine of priestly absolution as is the 1662 rubric.

In the 1552-1604 Communion Services the Comfortable Words play an important role in these services’ doctrine of forgiveness, a doctrine which is further expounded in the Second Exhortation, which the compilers of the 2019 Prayer Book revised so that it now teaches auricular confession which is not what the original Second Exhortation taught despite the claims of the Tractarians and their successors. 

The Comfortable Words assure the repentant sinner that the minister’s prayer will not go unanswered. They show that it is the nature of God to forgive the sins of those who genuinely repent and to not hold their sins against them. This is what the Second Exhortation expects a minister to do if a sinner who is not convinced that his sins are forgiven seeks his counsel—show the sinner from Scripture that God forgives sins. If the priest had the power to absolve sins, such assurance would be unnecessary. The prayer for forgiveness and the Comfortable Words, the scriptural assurance of God’s forgiveness, go hand in hand.

Omitting the Comfortable Words changes the services doctrine of forgiveness. The reference to the prayer for forgiveness as an “Absolution” in the 1662 rubric permits a shift from the Reformed doctrine of forgiveness to a doctrine that is more unreformed Catholic. Anglican Reformed clergy will not want to omit the Comfortable Words or refer to the prayer for forgiveness as an “Absolution.” 

While the Restoration bishops were not sympathetic to Roman Catholicism, they were, with exception of Bishop Reynolds, Laudian High Churchmen and Arminians. They embraced a different doctrine of forgiveness from the Reformed doctrine of the 1552-1604 Communion Services. 

It is the 1662 Prayer Book’s departures from Reformed doctrine and practice and the shifts that they permit toward unreformed Catholic doctrine and practice that make the 1662 Book of Common Prayer a poor standard of doctrine and worship for Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations. The “gold standard” is mixed with lead.

The Peace. Th versicle and response, “The peace of the Lord be with you. And with your spirit” is not found in conjunction with each other in the Bible. It was used as a versicle and response in the 1549 Communion Service but was dropped from the 1552 Communion Service. 

The phrase, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy Spirit. Grace be with you, Amen…” is used as a concluding blessing in 2 Timothy 4:21-22. “Peace be with thee” or “peace be with thee” are used as greetings in Judges 19:20, 2 Samuel 18:28, and 3 John 1:14 but without any response. I searched The Great Bible (1536), the Genevan Bible (1559), and the Authorized Version (1611), the three oldest English translations of the Bible used in the English Church. I also consulted the Vulgate (383-405).

The versicle and response “The peace of + the Lord be always with you. And with thy spirit…” comes from the pre-Reformation Medieval Sarum Mass and not the Bible and precedes the singing of the Agnus Dei in the Sarum Mass. During the versicle, at the place indicated by the cross, the priest made three crosses within the chalice with the third part of the host which he had broken.

As in the case of the Salutation, “The Lord be with you. And with your spirit,” I would strongly recommend against the use of this particular versicle and response for the exchange of the Peace for the reason that I give in the Eucharistic Prayer section of this article. The exchange of the Peace was not reintroduced into Anglican eucharistic liturgies until the second half of the twentieth century. More recent Anglican service books, in their contemporary English eucharistic rites, use the versicle and response, “The peace of the Lord be with you. And also with you.” The response, “And with your spirit,” is a particularity of the 2019 Prayer Book. It is used in Rite I of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, its traditional language eucharistic rite, in the imitation of the Sarum Mass and the 1549 Communion Service. The additional directions in the 1979 Prayer Book permit its use in the Roman position before or after the sentence of Invitation at the time of the distribution of communion.

It is noteworthy that the exchange of the Peace in the 2010 revised Order of the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church uses the response, “And with your spirit.”

126. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud: 
Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:
Peace I leave you, my peace I give you;
look not on our sins,
but on the faith of your Church,
and graciously grant her peace and unity
in accordance with your will.

He joins his hands.

Who live and reign for ever and ever.

The people reply:

Amen.

127. The Priest, turned towards the people, extending and then joining his hands, adds:

The peace of the Lord be with you always.

The people reply:

And with your spirit.

128. Then, if appropriate, the Deacon, or the Priest, adds:

Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

And all offer one another a sign, in keeping with local customs, that expresses peace, communion, and charity. The Priest gives the sign of peace to a Deacon or minister.
This new English translation of the Roman Missal was produced during the time that Benedict XVI was Pope. Pope Benedict took the view that the rites of the English translation of the Roman Missal which was then in use were not sufficiently dignified. Among his criticisms of that translation was that at a number of points the translation was an adaptation rather than a strict translation of the Latin texts. For example, the response "Et cum spiritu tuo" (literally, "And with your spirit") was rendered as "And also with you."

The use of “And with your spirit” is justified on the basis of 2 Timothy 4:21-22, according to the original annotated text of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. However, 2 Timothy 4:21-22 is not a response to a greeting in the Bible. It is a blessing which concludes Paul’s second letter to Timothy.

The only greeting that I found in the Bible and which has a blessing as its response is Ruth 2:4, “The Lord be with you. The Lord bless you.” “The Lord be with you” is itself a blessing. In Ruth 2:4 Boaz greets the harvesters with a blessing and they return his greeting with a blessing.

The use of “And with your spirit” as a response in the exchange of the Peace and the Salutation points to the danger of using snippets of Scripture in a liturgy in ways that do not conform with how they are used in the Bible. The mutuality of the blessings in their biblical context in Ruth 2:4 might prevent this verse from Scripture being misinterpreted and misused as “And with your spirit.” However, its use might over time acquire a meaning that is not consistent with its biblical use. 

As I have written elsewhere, the use of texts from the Bible in a liturgy does not guarantee that the liturgy is scriptural. They must be used as they are used in the Bible, not given new meanings and put to unbiblical uses.

At the time it was thought that the new English translation of the Roman Missal would influence liturgical revision in other denominations. This appears to have been the case in the compilation of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. In An Anglican Prayer Book (2008) the late Peter Toon had championed the use of “And with your spirit” in the Salutation, arguing that it was a prayer for the priest. The Liturgy and Prayer Book Task Book in its early documents makes reference to Toon’s argument as justification for its use of “And with your spirit.”

The most appropriate place for the exchange of the Peace is at the very beginning of the service in place of the Salutation and then the Old Testament greeting, “Peace be with you” or “peace unto you” would the most appropriate form for the exchange of the Peace. It is the English equivalent of the Hebrew “Shalom aleichem,” or “Peace be on you” or “May peace be upon you” or the Arabic “As-salamu alaykum,” or “Peace be upon you.” The response to "Shalom aleichem" is “Aleichem shalom,” or “Unto you peace.” The response to “As-salamu alaykum” is “Wa alaikum assalaam,” or "And upon you be peace." An appropriate response to the Old Testament greeting “Peace be with you” or “Peace be unto you,” modeled upon the Hebrew and Arabic responses would be “And with you peace” or “And unto you peace.” “Shalom” which is translated “peace” in English has a very broad sense in Hebrew and includes the peace of God. When used at the beginning of the service, the exchange of the Peace would take the form of a simple greeting exchanged between the presiding minister and the people:
Peace be with you. And with you peace.
It is noteworthy that “And also with you” is the equivalent of “And with you peace.” Neither phrase carries with it the associations that “And with your spirit” does. They cannot be interpreted as a prayer for the priest.

The exchange of the Peace may also be used as a gesture of reconciliation after the Penitential Preparation as long as its biblical use as a greeting is explained to the congregation and no other explanation beyond its use as a reconciliatory gesture is given.

Guests experience the exchange of the Peace differently from church members and regular attendees.  Thom Rainer has in his research into church practices has identified seven reasons why guests dislike stand and greet times, which is basically what the exchange of the Peace is. They are:
1. Many guests are introverts.

2. Some guests perceive that the members are not sincere during the time of greeting.

3. Many guests don’t like the lack of hygiene that takes place during this time.

4. Many times the members only greet other members.

5. Both members and guests at some churches perceive the entire exercise is awkward.

6. In some churches, the people in the congregation are told to say something silly to one another.

7. Not only do some guests dread the stand and greet time, so do some members.
I have attended churches where the members were overly-enthusiastic in exchanging the Peace with each other but ignored guests. I have also attended churches where members were perfunctory in “passing the Peace” with each other and have turned away when I went to greet them, giving me the cold shoulder. Based on these experiences and the effect a stand and greet time can have upon the flow of a service, I recommend that the exchange of the Peace, if it is used at the beginning of the service, should be kept to a simple verbal greeting. If it is used as a reconciliatory gesture after the Penitential Preparation, the presiding minister should offer a very brief explanation of its use as such a gesture before he says, “The peace of the Lord be with you always” or its equivalent.

The Offertory. The “offertory” is a misnomer for this section of the eucharistic liturgy. It is an ancillary rite, subordinate to the eucharistic prayer. Its main purpose is the preparation of the Holy Table and not the gathering, bringing forward, and dedication of the people’s alms and offerings. Whether an assistant minister brings the bread and wine from a credence table or representatives of the congregation bring them from a gifts table at back of the room, the presiding minister should simply place the bread and wine on the Holy Table. There is no need to elevate the bread and wine or say a prayer over each element in imitation of the Roman Rite.

If the people’s gifts after presented at this juncture in the service, their presentation should be unobtrusive—without ceremony and fanfare. Representatives of the congregation may bring them to the chancel step where an assistant minister receives them. Singing a doxology, elevating the alms basin, placing the basin on the Holy Table, saying a prayer of dedication, and then removing the basin from the table should be avoided. This includes the recitation of I Chronicles 29: 11, 14. They are superfluous liturgical actions. They give undue attention to this minor rite, which like the entrance rite and the concluding rite is prone to attracting liturgical clutter. A good liturgical principle to remember is fussiness adds nothing to the solemnity of the liturgy or the occasion. Excessive fussiness detracts from their solemnity!

It is noteworthy that in the 1552, 1559, and 1604 Prayers Books this part of the liturgy is not labeled the “offertory” and the churchwardens or others appointed by them gather the people’s “devotion,” their alms, and put them in the “poor men’s box.” There is no presentation of the people’s gifts. The sentences which precede this part of the liturgy and with which the curate exhorts the people to show generosity to the poor are not referred to as offertory sentences. These three Prayer Books stand more in continuity with the worship principles of the English Reformation than does their successor, the 1662 Prayer Book, which reflects the thinking of the Restorations bishops who, as I have previously noted, with the exception of Bishop Reynolds, were Laudian High Churchmen and Arminians.

With the growing popularity of online giving, the taking of a collection during this part of the liturgy is increasingly proving unnecessary. In place of such a collection a suitable receptacle may be placed in a visible site near the entry to the room in which the service is held with a sign of appropriate size drawing attention to its purpose. This receptacle can be used by those wishing to make a donation in the form of a check or cash. A credit/debit card scanner can be placed next to this receptacle for those wishing to make a donation by card. The sign should also provide attendees with information on how they can make a donation online. The worship of the congregation at this juncture need not be interrupted by sidemen passing a alms basin or waving a collection bag or basket under the congregants’ noses.

A hymn, psalm, canticle, anthem, or worship song may be sung during the preparation of the Holy Table or instrumental music may be played. This juncture in the service is also the appropriate time for a solo or small ensemble. Vocal or instrumental music helps the liturgical assembly to make the transition from the liturgy of the Word to the liturgy of the Table. The text used at this time can serve as a response to the readings and the sermon that precede it or it can prepare the liturgical assembly for what is about to follow.

The Eucharistic Prayer. In the 1552-1604 Prayer Books the Prayer at the Holy Table which precedes the Lord’s Supper and the Prayer at the Font which precede the baptism are not consecratory prayers. This is evident when one compares the two prayers. They are prayers that those who are about receive the outward sign of the sacrament will receive its inward grace. Peter Martyr Vermigli in his critique of the 1549 Prayer Book observed that the prayers that precede the distribution of communion should be prayers for the people, not the bread and wine.

One of the criticisms that is leveled at the 1552-1604 Prayer at the Holy Table is that it lacks an epiclesis and retains the late Medieval Western practice of regarding the Words of Institution as consecratory. This criticism shows a complete misunderstanding of the prayer. The Prayer at the Holy Table is a prayer for the communicants. As in the continental Reformed eucharistic rites the Words of Institution serves as a biblical warrant for Lord’s Supper that is about to be observed. They are not consecratory. In the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table Archbishop Cranmer incorporated the Prayer of Humble Access from the 1548 Order of Holy Communion because it is a prayer for the communicants. Cranmer believed that the act of eating the bread and drinking the cup in remembrance of Christ in obedience to his command is what “consecrated” the bread and wine, what set it apart for sacramental use. The rubrics of the 1552, 1559, and 1604 permit the minister to take home any remaining bread and wine for his personal use.

The 1552 Prayer at the Font parallels the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table. It is a prayer for the baptismal candidates. Earlier in the 1552 baptismal rite the Ark Prayer explicitly states that God, by the baptism of his Son Jesus Christ, has sanctified the Jordan River and all waters for the mystical washing away of sin. This view is consistent with the Scriptures. In none of the New Testament accounts of baptism is prayer offered over the water before the baptism.

The Restoration bishops made several critical changes in the eucharistic liturgy which embody a movement away from Cranmer’s Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper—a movement that began earlier in the Elizabethan Church. They added a rubric to the section of the Prayer at the Holy Table following the Prayer of Humble Access, which described that section of the prayer as a Prayer of Consecration. They also added an “Amen” at the end of that section and a rubric following the conclusion of the rite directing that the minister, with assistance of members of the congregation, consume any remaining bread and wine after the service. These changes marked a shift in how the Prayer at the Holy Table and the consecrated bread and wine were viewed.

These changes which are anticipated by the 1637 Scottish Communion Office would bear fruit in the 1764 Scottish Usager Non-Juror Communion Office of 1764, which would influence the Communion Service of the 1789 American Prayer Book. The Prayer at the Holy Table would shift from being a prayer for the communicants to a consecratory prayer with a full-blown Eastern Orthodox epiclesis.

This shift is a significant one as we shall see. It is one of the reasons that I do not believe that elements of the 2019 eucharistic rite can be used to create a rough facsimile of the 1662 eucharistic rite. It is one of the reasons that the Anglican Network in Canada’s trial eucharistic liturgy using the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table was a step in the right direction. It is also one of the reasons that I do not believe that 1662 eucharistic rite is a good model for an Anglican Reformed eucharistic liturgy—my apologies to those who have become attached to that rite.

In the remainder of this section of the article I suggest a number of alterations to the Anglican Standard Eucharist Prayer. These alterations are allowed by the rubrics of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer and eliminate some language that can be interpreted as affirming the doctrines of eucharistic sacrifice and Christ’s real, substantive presence in the eucharistic elements. They also shorten the eucharistic prayer which otherwise would be tediously long.

The people should stand throughout the entire prayer since it is one continuous whole and labeling the section after the Sanctus-Benedictus “the prayer of consecration” is a mistake originally perpetuated by the Restoration bishops. Historically Anglicans have maintained that the whole prayer and even the whole service consecrates the elements, not one section of it, thereby avoiding the medieval Western error which maintains that the recitation of the Words of Institution consecrate the elements and the Eastern Orthodox error which maintains that the invocation of the Holy Spirit’ descent upon the elements consecrates them. Thomas Cranmer himself believed that the sacramental use of the elements, the eating and the drinking, in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, consecrated them.

In the introductory dialogue I recommend the replacement of “And with your spirit” with “And with you.” “And your spirit” is interpreted by Anglo-Catholics as a prayer for the priest in which the people ask God to stir up in the priest the special gift that the Holy Spirit gave the priest through the bishop’s laying on of hands and the bishop’s anointing of the priest’s hands at the priest’s ordination and which enables the priest to confect or transmogrify ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is associated with transubstantiation and other doctrines of Christ’s real, substantive presence in the eucharistic elements. This is one of the reasons that Cranmer limited its use in the 1552 Prayer Book to those sections where it was not open to this interpretation. He omitted it from the Sursum Corda in the 1552 Communion Service.

The drafters of the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer retained the phrase from the 1552-1662 Prayer Book “…may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.” Whether the drafters realized it, the committee of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, when they revised the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration for the then proposed 1789 American Prayer Book substituted this phrase for the wording of that prayer, which suggested that the eucharistic elements underwent a change in substance and not use. The committee also restored the “there’ to the phrase “He made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered….” The compilers of the 1789 American Prayer Book went a step further. 
In The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary the late Massey H. Shepherd Jr. writes, “…after its first edition the American Prayer Book capitalized ‘Word’ as well as ‘Holy Spirit,’ to prevent any misunderstanding that the ‘Word” referred to is the Words of Institution rather the Christ the Word Himself.” 

The two superannuated Scottish Usager Non-Juror bishops who drafted the prayer had omitted the “there” because they believed that Christ has offered this oblation at the Last Supper, not on the cross. This belief was the basis of their doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice. They believed that the Words of Institution transformed the bread and wine into symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood which the priest then offered to God as a pleading of Christ’s sacrifice. The invocation of the Word and the Holy Spirit then sanctified the elements for reception by the communicants. They themselves were receptionists but the language of their prayer is realist and, as a consequence, is open to interpretation to teaching a real, substantive presence of Christ in the elements.

I recommend the substitution of the memorial acclamation “Christ has died….” for “Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father….” This substitution is permitted by the Additional Directions. 
“Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father…” can be construed as a pleading of Christ’s sacrifice, which is a doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice that was championed by the Sub-Committee on the Holy Communion of the 1958 Lambeth Conference and which the late J. I. Packer demonstrated was incompatible with the doctrine of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. The memorial acclamation does not carry that weight and makes the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer more participative—a must in contemporary eucharistic prayers. The eucharistic prayer is the prayer of the whole assembly, not the priest alone. The priest is the “tongue” of the assembly. 

A better alternative to “Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father…,” would be the memorial acclamation, “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus Christ.” It is derived from Scripture and is a better fit with the other elements of the prayer. However, the rubrics do not permit the use of this alternative. For a eucharistic prayer that is modeled on the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer and which uses this memorial acclamation and avoids any reference to sacrifice other than Christ’s, see the companion article, “A Proposed Supplemental Eucharistic Prayer and Post-Communion Thanksgiving for The Book of Common Prayer (2019).”

I recommend the omission of the section, “And we earnestly desire….” Its omission is permitted by Concerning the Divine Service of the Church which states, “A black line in the left margin of the page indicates that the material in that section may be used at the discretion of the Minister.” Since its use is discretionary, it may be omitted.” This eliminates a section that can be construed as teaching a doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass. The rubrics do not prohibit the offering of the elements at this point. This section’ omission leaves only the offering of ourselves, our souls and our bodies, which section cannot be construed as teaching that Christ through the priest offers himself to God in the priest’s offering of consecrated bread and wine and the priest’s offering of the eucharistic elements and Christ’s self-offering on the cross are one and the same, as does the Roman Catholic Church. Regrettably the self-oblation or offering does draw attention away from Christ’s oblation or offering of himself. In his critique of the Lambeth doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice in The Thirty-Nine Articles; Their Place and Use Today, Packer emphasizes that Lord’s Supper is not about what we are doing for God but what God has done for us.

These changes make the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer less objectionable from a doctrinal standpoint and more useful from a worship standpoint. Beside the self-oblation or offering the principal objection to the prayer would be the epiclesis. From an Anglican Reformed perspective, it does not respect biblical practice. The epiclesis also suggests that the elements may undergo some kind of change other than change in use. The Bible does not expressly forbid the blessing of the elements or their sanctification by the invocation of the Word and Spirit nor does the Bible prescribe the practice. The biblical practice is to invoke God’s blessing and the Holy Spirit’s descent upon people, not inanimate objects.

At the same time it is possible to rationalize the use of such an invocation on the basis of the references to Jesus’ blessing of the elements at the Last Supper and Paul’s reference to “the cup of blessing that we bless” in his first letter to the Corinthians and the interpretation of the phrase “bless and sanctify” as “set apart.” This is how nineteenth century evangelical Episcopalians rationalized its use. In their critiques of the 1789 American Prayer Book the evangelical Episcopalians who formed the Reformed Episcopal Church focused on the language of the book’s baptismal rites. It must be noted, however, that it is a weak rationalization. Some more recent Bible translations substitute “gave thanks” for “blessed” and “thanksgiving” for “blessing.”

While a foot note in the 2019 Book of Common Prayer claims an ecumenical consensus for the use of this particular form of epiclesis, this consensus is limited to churches that teach a doctrine of the substantive, real presence in the consecrated eucharistic elements and excludes churches that do not subscribe to such a doctrine. Anglicans have historically given greater weight to biblical teaching than to this type of consensus.

The compilers of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer could have easily included an optional  alternative epiclesis in the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer, an epiclesis  modeled on the petition, "Hear us, O merciful Lord...," in the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table, or an optional alternative eucharistic prayer such as the contemporary language version of the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table that the Anglican Network in Canada drafted as its contribution to the 2019 Prayer Book. This would have given Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations in the Anglican Church in North America the same kind of latitude as Anglo-Catholic clergy and congregations and clergy and congregations that incline toward Anglo-Catholic practices are given. The absence of this latitude shows that the 2019 Prayer Book is biased in favor of latter clergy and congregations and is not the comprehensive service book that it should have been, considering the makeup of the ACNA.

The phrase from the 1552-1662 Prayer Book “…may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood” does blunt the suggestion that the elements may undergo some kind of change beside change in use. This is why the drafters of the 1789 American Prayer Book used the phrase in their adaptation of the 1764 Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration.

I also recommend the omission of “Although we are unworthy….” on the same basis as “And we earnestly desire….” Its omission is also permitted by Concerning the Divine Service of the Church.

With these additions, alterations, and omissions the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer takes the form shown below:
The People remain standing. The Celebrant faces them and sings or says

The Lord be with you.

People And with you.

Celebrant Lift up your hearts.

People We lift them up to the Lord.

Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People It is right to give him thanks and praise.

The Celebrant continues

It is right, our duty and our joy, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

Here a Proper Preface (pages 152-158) is normally sung or said.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Celebrant and People

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
The People kneel or stand. The Celebrant continues

All praise and glory is yours, O God our heavenly Father, for in your tender mercy, you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption. He made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and he instituted, and in his Holy Gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again.

So now, O merciful Father, in your great goodness, we ask you to bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these gifts of bread and wine, that we, receiving them according to your Son our Savior Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.

At the following words concerning the bread, the Celebrant is to hold it, or lay a hand upon it, and here* may break the bread; and at the words concerning the cup, to hold or place a hand upon the cup and any other vessel containing the wine to be consecrated.

For on the night that he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it,* and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my Body, which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise, after supper, Jesus took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink this, all of you; for this is my Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for you, and for many, for the forgiveness of sins: Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.”

Celebrant

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Celebrant and People

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice. We humbly pray that all who partake of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, be filled with your grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him

By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.
This form is essentially that of the 1552 eucharistic prayer with the substitution of the so-called ecumenical epiclesis in place of the 1552 epiclesis and the addition of a memorial acclamation, the oblation of ourselves, our souls and our bodies from the first 1552 Post-Communion Thanksgiving, and a concluding doxology.

While the 2019 Prayer Book’s rubrics do not suggest it, everything after the Words of Institution might be said by the priest and the people together. In a number of Anglican eucharistic prayers the congregation joins in the concluding doxology. Since the oblation refers to the communicants, it is both reasonable and logical for the communicants to join in it too. This would, like the memorial acclamation, make the eucharistic prayer more participative. Lengthy eucharistic prayers in which the people have very small part convey the erroneous impression that the eucharistic prayer is the prayer of the priest rather than the prayer of the entire liturgical assembly of which the priest is serving as its tongue.

As Archbishop Glenn Davies in his pastoral letter of April 6, 2020 notes the “mindset” of thinking “…there is magic in the hands of the minister” is “erroneous.” What Archbishop Davies is alluding to is the belief held by Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics that a bishop by the imposition of his hands and the anointing with blessed oil the hands of the ordinand confers to the new priest a special grace that enables him to transmogrify the bread and wine at the Holy Eucharist into the Body and Blood of Christ, to make Christ really and substantively present in the eucharistic elements. This belief is rejected by the central Anglican theological tradition as unbiblical but is affirmed by the ACNA’s Ordinal whose rubrics permit a bishop, when ordaining a priest, to anoint his hands with blessed oil.

Permitting the congregation a larger role in the eucharistic prayer counters this erroneous belief while at the same honoring the Anglican Church’s tradition in regards to the administration of the sacraments. In the Anglican Church who may preach the Word and administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper has historically been a matter of church discipline. According to Article XXIII only those who are lawfully called and sent may do so.

The foregoing alterations, omissions, and additions are all that ministers can do to move the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer in a more Reformed direction within the limits of the Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite’s rubrics. They are admittedly a poor substitute for a modern-language version of the 1552 Prayer at the Holy Table with rubrical permission to omit the Prayer of Humble Access or to substitute an alternative prayer for that prayer such as one of these contemporary language versions of the two prayers in the 1956 Free Church of England Prayer Book.
We do not presume to come to this your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so spiritually to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
We do not presume to come to this your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to commemorate in this breaking of bread the death of your dear Son Jesus Christ, that we may feed on in him in our hearts by faith, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
Other alternatives to the 1548 Prayer of Humble Access are found in Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel Shaped Gatherings (2012).
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your many and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your boundless goodness and mercy . We are not even worthy to eat the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, always rich in mercy. Enable us by faith to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may be cleansed from sin and forever dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
All four alternatives to the 1548 Prayer of Humble Access seek to address in varying degrees two longstanding objections to the 1548 prayer. First, its language is too realist. It can be interpreted to teach a real, substantive presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements. Second, it suggests that the Christ’s body cleanses the body from sin while Christ’s blood washes the soul. This is not what the Bible teaches. In An English Prayer Book (1994) the Church Society endeavored to revise 1548 prayer and to make the language less realist and more biblical.
We do not presume to come to this your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant and great mercies. We are not even worthy to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, who delights in showing mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat this bread and drink this wine that our bodies and souls may be cleansed by Christ’s body and soul and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen..
We do not presume to come to this your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant and great mercies. We are not even worthy to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, who delights in showing mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat this bread and drink this wine that we may feed on Christ in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In a number of Anglican service books from the 1928 Proposed English Prayer Book to An Australian Prayer Book (1978), An English Prayer Book (1994), A Prayer Book for Australia (1995) and Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel Shaped Gatherings (2012) the Prayer of Humble Access may be said at the beginning or conclusion of the Penitential Preparation before the eucharistic prayer. With the type of eucharistic prayer used in the 2019 Anglican Stand Eucharistic Rite, this may be the best place for the prayer if it is not omitted.

The minister presiding at the Holy Eucharist, whether bishop or presbyter, should face the congregation across the Holy Table and not turn his back at any time to the congregation. He should speak in an audible voice and not mumble or whisper. The congregation should be able to see and hear what the presiding minister is doing and saying at all times. He should avoid superfluous gestures, making only those that are required by the text of the eucharistic prayer. God is not impressed by bowing, genuflecting, and making numerous signs of the cross. To the uninitiated the presiding minister looks like he is performing some form of magic, not offering a solemn prayer to God.

The Breaking of the Bread. Breaking the bread during the eucharistic prayer is consistent with the practice of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and permits the presiding minister to proceed to the distribution of communion immediately after the eucharistic prayer. This has been the historic Anglican practice since the 1552 Prayer Book and would be the preferred choice for Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations.

If the bread is not broken during the eucharistic prayer, it should be broken immediately after Lord’s Prayer if the Lord’s Prayer is said after the eucharistic prayer. It is preferable that the bread should be broken in silence. The wine may be poured into additional cups or chalices at this time.

The Communion Rite. The Additional Directions do not permit the positioning of the Lord’s Prayer after the distribution of the communion elements unless the 1662 order of service is used. While adopting the 1662 order of service may be tempting for some Anglican Reformed clergy, the result, however, is a rather prolix rite which, while it approximates the 1662 order of service, has as its eucharistic prayer a prayer that, except for the positioning of the Prayer of Humble Access after the Sanctus bears an uncanny resemblance to the Laudian 1637 Scottish Prayer of Consecration up to the memorial or prayer of oblation and an alternative post-communion prayer that consists of the same memorial or prayer of oblation. At this point the doctrine of the rite is no longer that of the 1662 Communion Service. 

Most ministers are likely to choose the shorter post-communion prayer, which does not quite convey same meaning as the 1552-1662 version of this prayer. If the longer alternative post-communion prayer is used, the rite can arguably be interpreted as espousing the Lambeth doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, which the late J. I. Packer showed is not congruent with the principles of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. We also live in the twenty-first century, not the seventeenth. Lengthy services discourage the return of guests for a second visit. They also do transfer well to online.

Cranmer did away with the use of the Prayer of Humble Access and the Agnus Dei as pre-communion devotions in the 1552 Prayer Book since they implied a real, substantive presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements. The 2019 Book of Common Prayer makes them optional, permitting their omission which is recommended.

It is noteworthy that the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Humble Access, and the Agnus Dei were employed in this position in the 1548 Order of Communion which was inserted into the Latin Mass when Henry VIII agreed to the laity receiving communion in both kinds in the Mass, rather than in one kind outside the Mass as had been the practice. At the time this Order of Communion was inserted into the Latin Mass, transubstantiation was the official doctrine of the English Church. Henry himself was staunch Roman Catholic and upheld the doctrine of transubstantiation. He would not have agreed to the insertion of the Order of Communion in the Latin Mass if he had not believed that it was consistent with the doctrine of transubstantiation. It was retained in the first Book of Common Prayer of Edward VI, authorized in 1549. Bishop Stephen Gardiner who was a staunch Roman Catholic wrote in his critique of the eucharistic rite of the 1549 Prayer Book that he found nothing in the rite which did not agree with the Roman Catholic doctrines of the sacrifice of the Mass and transubstantiation. The use of this particular order has no place in an Anglican Reformed celebration of Holy Communion—none whatsoever.

The 2019 Prayer Book provides two optional Invitations to Communion. Both imply a real, substantive presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements and for this reason they also should be omitted. In their place I recommend the use of the following invitations to Communion. The first comes from Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel Shaped Gatherings (2012). “Come let us eat and drink in remembrance that Christ died for us, and feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.” The second comes from An Australian Prayer Book (1978). “Come let us take this holy sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in remembrance that he died for us, and feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.”

The following Words of Administration may be used when the consecrated elements are distributed. All of these Words of Administration are open to interpretation as teaching a real, substantive presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements.

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ

or
The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.

or
The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.

The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.
Unlike in An Australian Prayer Book (1978), Prayer Book of the Church of England in South Africa (1992), An English Prayer Book (1994), Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel Shaped Gatherings (2012), and other Anglican service books, the 1552 Words of Administration are not an option in the 2019 Book of Common Prayer, further evidence of its unreformed Catholic bias. The 1552 Words of Administration are:
Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for you, and be thankful.
During the distribution of the communion elements the rubrics of the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Rite permit the singing of hymns, psalms, and anthems. Among liturgical insights of the second half of the twentieth century was that the communion procession, the procession of the people to the communion rail or communion stations, is a foretaste of the joyous procession of the redeemed going to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. The receiving of the communion elements is not a private action that the communicants perform in isolation from each other but a corporate action that they perform as the Body of Christ. In the Body of Christ they are united to each other as well as to their Lord. 

These insights would change the way music is used during the distribution of the communion elements. Instead of providing a background to the individual communicants’ reception of the elements, the music would form a part of the liturgical assembly’s joy-filled celebration of the presence of the risen Lord in the midst of his people. The music used during the distribution of the communion elements is more celebratory and participative and less funerial. The communicants are encouraged to sing as they go to and from the communion rail or communion station. Hymns, psalms, and worship songs are selected which are so familiar or simple that communicants can sing them from memory or which have refrains or repetitions which enable the communicants to sing them without a hymnal in their hands or their eyes on a screen. Hymns, psalms, worship songs, and anthems are chosen to give voice to the joy of God’s people, their thankfulness for his love shown in Jesus, and so on.

The distribution of the communion elements is not an appropriate time for the singing of a solo. Solos at this juncture of the service draw attention away from the liturgical action and refocus it on the soloist. This does not exclude the use of cantor or small ensemble to sing the verses of a song while the congregation sings the refrain or repetitions

In the 2019 eucharistic rite in imitation of the pre-Reformation Late Medieval Latin Sarum Mass and the 1549 Communion Service the priest may “offer,” say or sing, a Post-Communion, a sentence of Scripture, at the conclusion of the distribution of the communion elements. A far better practice is to observe a period of profound silence, followed by a hymn or song of praise.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic a number of churches are using hermeneutically sealed “communion cups” containing a portion of bread and wine. While these “communion cups” may not be the way that communion has been traditionally distributed in the Anglican Church, they are preferable to administering communion in one kind only.

A church that is careless in protecting churchgoers from the COVID-19 coronavirus risks not only spreading the virus to vulnerable members of the community but also damaging its reputation in the community. It will be viewed as a church that does not genuinely care about the well-being of others. While the clergy and the congregation may dismiss the need for safety measures, this attitude will contribute to a public image of the church as insensitive and uncaring and damage its witness to the community. A fresh outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus cases traced to the church will confirm this image. Several new variants have been identified that are far more infectious than the earlier virus. The vaccine rollout has been slow and  almost a third of the people surveyed stated that they would not be vaccinated. The vaccines do not confer permanent immunity. According to the health experts, the COVID-19 coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future. My niece's daughter was infected with the virus because her school did not take the pandemic as seriously as it should and failed to report an outbreak of the virus at  the school to its students' parents. Dismissing people's fears and telling them to brace up and stop being a crybaby is not the best way to meet people’s safety needs. If a church hopes to meet people’s spiritual needs, it will need to meet their safety needs first.

The Conclusion of the Rite. After the distribution of communion the 2019 eucharistic rite concludes with a Post-Communion Thanksgiving, a Blessing, and a Dismissal. A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung after the Blessing or the Dismissal.

The Post-Communion Thanksgiving is modeled on the 1549 Post-Communion Thanksgiving, not the second Post-Communion Thanksgiving of the 1552-1662 Communion Services. Archbishop Cranmer changed the language of the 1549 Post-Communion Thanksgiving to that of the 1552 second Post-Communion Thanksgiving because the language of the 1549 thanksgiving prayer was open to interpretation as upholding unreformed doctrine as Bishop Stephen Gardiner drew to his attention. 

The phrase “….vouchsafe to feed us in these mysteries, with the spiritual of the most precious Body and blood of thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ…” inferred a real, substantive presence of Christ in the consecrated elements. On the other hand, the phrase “…dost vouchsafe to feed us, which have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual of the most precious Body and blood of thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ…” is not open to that interpretation. Rather it conveys the idea that when we receive the bread and wine in the right manner, with faith and thanksgiving, we feed on Christ. Christ’s presence is not tied to the consecrated elements. 

The difference between the two prayers’ view of the eucharistic presence is one the reasons that I consider it futile to attempt to recreate the 1662 Communion Service, using texts from the 2019 eucharistic rite. 

If the 1662 order of service is adopted, everything after the Words of Institution may be used as an alternative Post-Communion Thanksgiving. It, however, is cumbersome and includes the anamnesis or memorial from the 2019 Anglican Standard Eucharistic Prayer. As I have previously noted, the resulting prayer is open to upholding the Lambeth doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice. This drawback and its unwieldiness do not commend its use.
O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of your dearly beloved Son our Savior Jesus Christ, we your humble servants celebrate and make here before your divine Majesty, with these holy gifts, the memorial your Son commanded us to make; remembering his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and his promise to come again.
And we earnestly desire your fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; asking you to grant that, by the merits and death of your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his Blood, we and your whole Church may obtain forgiveness of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.
And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice. We humbly pray that all who partake of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, be filled with your grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.
And although we are unworthy, because of our many sins, to offer you any sacrifice, yet we ask you to accept this duty and service we owe, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen. 
The 2019 eucharistic rite makes no provision for the singing of the Gloria or some other song of praise after the Post-Communion Thanksgiving as do a number of the more recent Anglican services. If the Gloria is desired at this point in the service, the 1662 order of service must be used.

The 2019 rubrical permission to sing a hymn, psalm, or anthem after the Dismissal nullifies the purpose of the Dismissal. The Dismissal tells people that the service has ended and gives them permission to go on their way.

It may be appropriate for a choir or small ensemble to sing a choral dismissal in place of a spoken dismissal or for the musicians to play a instrumental postlude after the Dismissal. A song after the service has ended, however, makes no sense from a liturgical point of view. 

The final song of the eucharistic rite is best sung before or after the Blessing and should be selected for its familiarity and its appropriateness to the conclusion of the rite. It should send the people back into the world, to serve Christ, share the good news, and glorify God with their lives. The conclusion of the rite is not the place to introduce a new song. If a postlude is desired, a reprise of the tune of the final song is the best choice.

Further Thoughts. Cobbling together a rude copy of the 1662 eucharistic rite from elements of the 2019 eucharistic rite will not give Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations in the Anglican Church in North America a Reformed eucharistic liturgy. The 1662 rite is a mixed rite. It inherited a number of Reformed elements from its predecessors, the 1552-1604 eucharistic rites. But it also inherited some elements from these rites, which, while not entirely antithetical to Reformed doctrine and practice, nonetheless do not serve it well. Archbishop Cranmer is believed to have been working on a third Prayer Book and this Prayer Book might have corrected these problem areas. Whether the book would have corrected them, we can only speculate.

The Restoration bishops made a number of changes in the 1604 Prayer Book which, while an earlier generation of liturgical scholars concluded did not affect the doctrine of The Book of Common Prayer, may have had a greater effect on its doctrine than they realized. These changes paved the way for later changes in The Book of Common Prayer that would move the Prayer Book incrementally away from the central Anglican theological tradition. 

It must be recognized that some changes, however, did not have this effect, for example, the addition of a lesson from the Old Testament or the Acts of the Apostles and the placement of the exposition of the Word immediately following its proclamation. These changes moved the eucharistic rite in a more Reformed direction, strengthening its liturgy of the Word.

From an Anglican Reformed perspective the 1662 Book of Common Prayer may be regarded as a standard of doctrine and worship where it conforms with the teaching of Scripture, the principles of the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, and Reformed doctrine and practice. The latter may be the stickiest area because Anglican Reformed theologians and liturologists do not agree on a number of issues and consequently several different schools of thought have emerged.

The 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s eucharistic rite contains texts that embody a different theology from the texts of the 1662 Prayer Book. Two examples are the Eucharistic Prayer and the Post-Communion Thanksgiving. They reflect a different view of eucharistic presence and eucharistic sacrifice from the corresponding texts in the 1662 Prayer Book. Using the 1662 order of service will not change the doctrine of these texts. The result will not be the 1662 Communion Service. It will be, however, a service that is poorly designed for the twenty-first century mission field, even more so than 2019 order of service.

In this final section of my article I will attempt to put together a description of the characteristics of an Anglican Reformed celebration of Holy Communion, based upon my own liturgical studies.

1. It would be simple. It would be comprised of only essential liturgical elements. It would be shorn of all superfluous elements. It would be a far nimbler service than the cumbersome older liturgies which cannot be expected to serve the local church well in the twenty-first century as online services or in-person services.

2. Its rubrics would allow the minister discretion to tailor the service to local circumstances.

3. It would use music not as an adornment but as a form of congregational worship. Music would not be used to cover the actions of the ministers.

4. It would strongly emphasize the proclamation and exposition of God’s Word.

5. At the same time it would emphasize the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as the Gospel made visible. The role of the presiding minister would be that of a humble steward at the Lord’s Table, not that of a sacrificing priest.

6. The ancillary nature of the entrance rite and the preparation of the Holy Table would be respected. These two parts of the service would not be overemphasized.

7. The conclusion of the rite would be brief and would bring the service quickly to an end, sending the people out into the world to show and share the love of Jesus.

8. The liturgy of the Table would largely follow the pattern of the 1552-1604 liturgy of the Table—Prayer at the Holy Table, distribution of the communion elements with the 1552 or 1559 Words of Administration, optional Lord’s Prayer, post-communion thanksgiving, and optional song of praise.

9. The Prayer at the Holy Table would follow the pattern of the 1552 prayer but would use simpler modern-day English and would permit the omission of the Prayer of Humble Access or the substitution of an alternative prayer.

10. The Prayers of the People would be that—the prayers of the people. They would incorporate silences, congregational responses, and opportunities in which the people could add specific petitions and thanksgivings. The Lord’s Prayer would be one of the options for concluding the prayers.

Former ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan in his instructions to the Prayer Book and Liturgy Task Force called for a liturgy that would impress people. However, impressing people is not the purpose of a liturgy. The purpose of a liturgy is to focus the hearts and minds of its participants on God.

A liturgy that is solely designed to impress people will replicate in the Anglican Church in North America what happened in the Episcopal Church USA. People fell in love with the ambiance of the church but they failed to fall in love with the church’s Lord. A plain, unadorned liturgy that is celebrated with a dignified simplicity is far more powerful in transforming non-believers into disciples of Jesus Christ. Like the Holy Spirit such a liturgy points past itself to Christ.

On the other hand, an elaborate, ornate liturgy draws attention to itself, not to Christ. It also risks becoming too arcane that it is no longer edifying. This is what happened in the Middle Ages. This is what the English Reformers sought to rectify.

If Anglican Reformed clergy and congregations wish to establish a place for themselves in the North American Anglican Church, to influence its thinking, to wean its churches away from the elaborate ornateness of the pre-Reformation late Medieval liturgy, and to reshape its worship after a more Reformed model, they will need a far more winsome liturgy than the faux 1662 Communion Service permitted by the 2019 eucharistic rite’s Additional Directions. They will need a liturgy that captures the imagination of North American Anglicans and lends itself to the mission field, a mission field that embraces not only the United States, Mexico, Canada and other parts of the world but also cyberspace, a mission field that may one day extend beyond this planet.

Without such a liturgy the Anglican Reformed tradition will always be a weak influence in the North American Anglican Church. For better or worse what attracts people to our churches Is not our Reformed pedigree or the purity of our doctrine but the friendliness and warmth of our congregations and the way that we worship. I learned that lesson three decades ago. If we do not adapt our worship to present day realities and tailor it to our particular circumstances, we will become another small cluster of churches serving a tiny, shrinking population segment—an Anglican Reformed equivalent of the Continuum.
Also see: "A Proposed Supplemental Eucharistic Prayer and Post-Communion Thanksgiving for The Book of Common Prayer (2019)"