I didn’t grow up going to church at all, so the Anglican Book of Common Prayer of 1662 had no particular magical qualities for me. The first time I led a service of Holy Communion from its pages, I stumbled over the phrasing, and grew tired of the sound of my own voice. However I couldn’t ignore the ways in which parishioners on that day enjoyed the resonances of the prayers, engaged with the emotional and spiritual journey on which we were led, and felt secure in their worship. There were distinct liturgical features flagging the beginning, middle and end of the service, after which we were inevitably sent on our way into the world,
confident in the God who had led us purposefully that morning. We were connected powerfully with the story of Christ’s career as it was played out that day in the church’s calendar. I could see how a generation raised to value predictable progress was at home here.
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