Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Continuity in prayer book worship

From The Living Church-

For hundreds of years after the Reformation, Anglicans looked to the texts and rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer as a principal source of liturgical unity. When the preface of the 1549 Prayer Book declared that from then on “all the whole realm shall have but one use,” it canceled out a certain degree of medieval liturgical variety in a bid for uniformity. Though from the very beginning bishops, clergy, and congregations construed the text and rubrics differently, they were by and large sources of liturgical unity.

As their use became more familiar after the great vernacular watershed of the Reformation, the texts of the Book of Common Prayer became not only a source of unity but also of continuity. Liturgical texts bear meaning: not in a uniform sense but with a degree of nuance that allows them to carry freight of various sorts. In this they are like the texts of Holy Scripture. Different emphases and different interpretations coexist together. Over time, texts would continue to be extensively mined and new meanings discovered. This is true of any liturgical text in any tradition, but Anglicans have perhaps been uniquely conscious that their texts function in this way.

More here-

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