Each week in the Bishop’s Note, I share thoughts and observations on our common faith and life together. This coming January, the College of Bishops are prepared to approve the final edition of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer. This new prayer book will become the standard* throughout the Diocese and the Province.
Beginning under the direction of Bishop Bill Thompson, and continuing under the leadership of Archbishop Robert Duncan, I am very pleased with the fruit of the hard work that the Task Force has produced, and I look forward to the roll out in a formal, printed version in the spring to early summer, with Crossways as the publisher. I am also very proud that two of our own clergy serve on that Task Force: Deacon Erin Giles and Father Jonathan Kanary.
In anticipation of publication, I would like to dedicate the next season of Bishop’s Notes to exploring the new prayer book, the theology represented, and the changes that were made.
It makes most sense to begin with Holy Eucharist, since that is the most commonly used service throughout the Diocese. There are two eucharistic prayers: Anglican Standard Text and Renewed Ancient Text; I’ll begin with the Anglican Standard Text. The Task Force gave the following as a preface:
The Anglican Standard Text is essentially that of the Holy Communion service of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and successor books through 1928, 1929 and 1962. The Anglican Standard Text is presented in contemporary English and in the order for Holy Communion that is common, since the late twentieth century, among ecumenical and Anglican partners worldwide.
Our worship begins with an opening “Acclamation.”
The People standing, the Celebrant says this or a seasonal greeting.
Blessed be God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.
According to the Merriam Webster an acclamation is: “a loud eager expression of approval, praise, or assent.” Our opening acclamation is meant to be just that: loud, eager praise and assent to our One God in three persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – who are in constant communion; sometimes envisioned as in a mystical dance. In all cases, He is ONE and THREE – in perfect union.
In addition, in eager praise we acknowledge that God’s kingdom is both present in the moment and will be experienced eternally. In our worship, we enter into God’s kingdom. We enter by gathering as the Body of Christ; singing God’s praise; reading God’s word; confessing our common Faith in God; opening our hearts and souls to God in prayer; asking God for forgiveness and hearing those sweet words of absolution; and coming to God’s Holy Table for His Holy Food, in order to fill us with His Grace so we can be sent out into the world to love and serve Him. When we open our hearts to God, we live in the midst of His kingdom.
For those familiar with the 1979 BCP, you’ll notice that the new “Opening Acclamation” is slightly different: the article “the” has been added before each person of the Trinity to emphasize the reality that, while the Trinity is one, we can also have a relationship with each person of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!
I pray you all a blessed week and wonderful worship on the Lord’s Day as you enter again into worship and praise!
*While the 2019 BCP will be the standard, it will not be required.