a liturgical note from Deacon Mary Baker
In the summer of 2020, when meeting together was still not possible due to the pandemic, we began Morning Prayer on Zoom on Wednesday mornings at 7:30a. The times were dire, and the church was in upheaval. We encouraged those who could not join us on Zoom to pray the morning daily office at home – so we could be together in Spirit; and to use the online prayer insert with a cycle of names of all the Souls to remember and lift up in prayer.
Today we are in a new season, but these All Souls traditions continue. We provide a Daily Office Prayer booklet online and in paper form, links to the Book of Common Prayer Daily Office online, and an online link to the prayer insert you see in your Sunday bulletin – all to assist the Souls to continue to pray for each other and engage in some form in fixed hour prayer. Go to our Prayer page to find these resources.
This practice is as ancient as our faith. In Judaism the day was marked with the pattern of morning, noon, and evening prayer (Psalm 55:18). We know the apostles continued this tradition because they were gathered at the third hour (9:00a) to pray when the Holy Spirit descended upon them at the First Pentecost. Our earliest liturgies dating back to the late 200’s all include services for morning, noon, and evening prayers, accompanied by lectionaries of Scripture to be read in the services. All through the centuries, Christians have been encouraged to come to the daily services at their churches and cathedrals, or to pray and study the Scripture in their homes. The Daily Offices were to be prayed communally.
At the time of the English Reformation, only the wealthy possessed Bibles and prayer books, so Archbishop Cranmer, in true Reformation fashion, specified all English clergy were to say the daily offices and proclaim Scripture publicly “in the church, in the English tongue, to the end that the congregation may be thereby edified.” (1549 BCP) Thus, every morning and every evening the church bell was rung to summon the community to prayer.
We may not have physical bells to ring, but we do invite each of you to join us in prayer for each other — individually, or with your families and small groups. And consider joining us for Wednesday Morning Prayer, which will continue throughout the summer at 7:30a. Just log onto Zoom.