Three different churches and three different service styles ranging from BCP (Book of Common Prayer - 1662) through to Common Worship with a bit of something that drew largely upon the ASB (Alternative Service Book). Who ever said all our services were the same?
I love the BCP services, they are something that once the rhythm is set, become solid gold! The language is Shakespearean (actually, with the King James Bible we taught Shakespeare stuff and gave the English language words and phrases) and the style is penitent rather than party. There's movement, the Commandments and so much more in it - no wonder so many are in love with it.
The Book of Common Prayer is still, as I understand it, the principal Prayer book - ASB came and went - and now the Common Worship has arrived, but only as an add on, a bit of a novelty act in some ways I. The way some use it.
The BCP morning service, which I haven't seems since a chorister is great liturgy and provides an opportunity for an anthem and Bible set to music, is an extravaganza indeed.
The Common Worship service is pretty much just there and fills the service space with enough words to do what you need. It's workmanlike and in some places cut short enough to leave space for the amazingly interminably repetitive 'worship' and devoid of silence offerings so many appear to enjoy as Church today. Much as I love many of the modern songs, I do find myself sighing as those who have to have a new song every week and rush to be the first with the latest offering. But it is less and less about focus on God and more and more venue management - sadly there will never be enough in most of these places to need bouncers :-)
The other service was a 'bare bones' service. It ticked all the boxes and even with me preaching lasted fifty minutes! But it was what the people wanted and it was workmanlike in that it deleivered a balanced service with everything that should be on the plate to get to that which was on the table - so 'job done'.
So often these days we confuse liturgy and worship, separating them and almost making them enemies. We appear to have lost the place of silence, in fact we seem so afraid of it that should more than a handful of second of the stuff appear in a service, we pepper the silence with another piece of music or something trite - and like a meal where seasoning has been overly applied, the result is wind. But it isn't the wind of the Spirit blowing!
Few pastoral encounters today - but enough to keep me humble and busy.
Looking at a quiet week ahead as have a very different week planned.
God; his love, grace and bread will sustain me - and the company is worth having.
So bring it on.q
This place of reflection is here for me to dialogue internally and gain insight and perspective. It first appeared in this current form for some of those looking at creating their own journal as part of the their journey to discerning vocation. The Morning prayer is there also for that same purpose: to create the discipline of prayer.