Wednesday, 25 November 2015

I've been reading the book of common prayer this morning

Doing some research.

It strikes me that the words were not written by someone with an expectation of actually knowing Jesus, and for a people who, like Israel, would not expect to have a relationship with God themselves.

It's quite sad.


  1. This is a rather harsh judgment of the BoCP. Why you think this?

  2. Have you read much of it? Not being sarcastic - just wondering.

  3. Probably not as much as you have, but I have interacted with it, and I regularly use prayer books that draw heavily on the BoCP. I love the language of those prayers. They have a depth and reverence that I appreciate.

  4. Carol2:46 pm

    I love it, always have. First came across it as a newly born-again Christian aged aroun 11-12. I loved the beauty of the language and the solid theology being drip fed every week. I came to understand the 'body of Christ' in an interseting way with a shared liturgy. And of course I've reverted back to it big time. I know some of the theology has moved on from then - i.e. on original sin and the absolute need to baptise infants to ensure their salvation - but a lot of it is still good... especially the 'comfortable words'. Different strokes/different folks Toni...

  5. First an apology, for leaving things so long, particularly to Carol with your comment hanging in moderation limbo until I came back to the blog. Tonight I can't sleep, and oddly, this was one of the things weighing on my mind.

    My original comment was prompted from reading some of the background to the BOCP, having a little history of Cranmer and then reading in A Commination, I was struck by the way it seemed the Jewish priesthood had been replicated all over again. The language did not seem to me to be about recognising our sin and repenting, but instead about the people being purified by the priesthood, who would ceremonially 'offer Jesus' once a year as sacrifice for the sins of the people.

    The part I read that particularly prompted the view lies toward the end:
    "Turn Thou us, O Lord God, and we shall be turned. Be favourable O Lord, to thy people, be favourable. Who turn to thee in weeping, fasting and praying. For thou art a merciful Gof, full of compassion, long suffering and of great pity. Thou sparest when we deserve punishment. And in thy wrath, think upon mercy. Spare thy people, good Lord, spare them. And let not thine heritage be brought to confusion. Hear us, O Lord, for thy mercy is great, And after the multitude of thy mercies look upon us; through the merits and mediation of thy blessed son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    These were not, to me, the words of someone who would know Jesus personally, but rather to be spoken by a people who were fearful of a judgement and hoped by good deeds and imprecations to a deity, to avoid the worst. Now it may be that one might unpack this lot and demonstrate otherwise, however they would seem in keeping with a pre-Christian theology except for the imprecation of Jesus by name at the end.


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