Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Meanwhile, on the Episcopal calendar... commemoration of the first Book of Common Prayer

Today, or yesterday, or all week, take your pick, is the time for commemoration of the first Book of Common Prayer. Many revisions of course in those very early years, and you think theology wasn't political back then? HA! We started in mess, dear sisters and brothers, and in human mess we remain.

In the midst of it all, we pray, sometimes in too orderly a fashion (on this holy day I will spare you my rant about how there is a literalism of the Prayer Book that can be as rigid as biblical literalism -- although this day might be the very time for such a rant) but this is what binds us: we are a church woven together by common prayer, prayer layered upon prayer, Sunday upon Sunday, day after day, season following season, week by week. Year after year.

This didn't all drop from the sky, divinely inspired as it may have been. Some of the interesting history of the early Prayer Book is here.

And here's a little musically related P.S. about the 1550 edition. (Facsimile on the right.)

That link also has information about how it was just one prayer book after another in that first decade. Enough to give you liturgical whiplash.

Old dude in the early Middle Ages, name of Boethius, wrote a book called The Consolation of Philosophy. Me, I think it's history that is consoling. You think we're having a turbulent decade or two? Try the middle of the 16th century.


Ed said...

The Merbecke linke was fascinating! I've often wondered what he actually wrote, but hadn't yet been motivated enough to track it down.

johnieb said...

(Taps foot impatiently for link to prayerbook idolatry post, then thinks and finally gets it); you haven't written it yet? Well, perhaps silence is best, though I scarcely may speak from much experience with that. Though they are rare, I cherish such moments. Auch, the Rules!

Oh well; it's almost noon. Bye.

Jane R said...


It's a rant that can wait. (For my undying prose you can always poke around the archive of this blog -- I started it on Ash Wednesday. There are some sermons in there, a while back.)

Whew, it's been a busy day. And it's not quite over. But I put up some nice Brazilian music for all y'all.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, I thought Jesus left several copies of the first prayer book in England during his visit there with Joseph of Arimathea, anticipating the need by many centuries.

Jane R said...

Yes, of course, Mimi, how could I forget?! Thank you for setting us straight once again. (And I don't mean straight in the sexual orientation sense.)