It is a time when small reminders of the delights of being Anglican are in order. Here is one offering:
During Lent this year on Wednesday nights we are celebrating the Holy Communion using the Book of Common Prayer – CofE 1549, 1559, 1662, and Episcopal Church 1789, and 1928 – in order to experience something of the changes and non changes in the progression. It is a wonderful way to get a sense of how Prayer Book change has reflected all sorts of issues both theological, practical and political. In a variety of way we have attempted to make the service true to the issues of the times – vestments, candles, placing of the holy table, etc., as well as by giving homilies that reflect the issues of the day when that prayer book was in use.
Last Wednesday we were using the 1662 service in the form used in our colonial parish in 1750 (plus or minus). And standing there at the north side of the table, simple robes no candles, etc I realized that deep down in my pocket was my cell phone, turned on. So I spent an agonizing 45 minutes hoping that no one would phone in the middle of the service from 1750. Had it gone off we would have had a concrete example about a radical break with the past!
What I love about being Anglican is the story that brings us to this moment, a story filled with rascals, sinners and saints, and some who were all three. And yes, I know that is not very logical, but then neither is the Anglican Communion.
And what I love about being Anglican is that I can pray the prayers of 500 years ago and live in full knowledge of the immediate moment (a knowledge brought home by the lowly cell phone.) And yes, I know that the immediacy of the moment is different than the weight of tradition, but both are accessible by way of reason and the reasonable life.