Quite a few years ago, before I left for college, our family gathered together in Poplar Bluff Missouri at my mother’s childhood home to visit her family. I must admit that the exact year remains a mystery to me, but I do know for certain that it was in the 1990’s. I have very fond memories of that trip. That was the last time that my mother’s family was all together in one place and I miss them dearly. Since then, my father, grandmother and great aunt have all passed away. Life is different now.
One of the memories that I have from the trip is of my grandmother and I walking up to the attic and rummaging through some old books which once belonged to my grandfather. She simply laid the box before me and instructed me to take what I might want, for the remaining books were to be given away at a church sale. I found a few treasures in that box which would remain with me until this day. It was there that I first discovered an old copy of Emil Brunner’s book The Mediator. I have read through it many times, and Brunner’s wisdom has been influential in my own theological adventure. Other books, such as Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, had an influence on my early theological development.
Another such treasure which I discovered in that old attic was a tattered copy of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) according to the use of the Reformed Episcopal Church. This, I presume, belonged to my grandfather when he was a student at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Pennsylvania. At the time I was more interested in the aesthetics of the book than I was in the content. It had the appearance of being very important; and it sat on my bookshelf for many years giving an air or importance, but never being used.
A few months ago, I decided to finally take it off the shelf, dust if off and start reading it. What I discovered has enriched my mornings and has transformed my worship. This prayer book contains some of the most profound liturgy ever written. I’m starting to incorporate the BCP in my daily devotion and have found an online copy for those days in which I leave the house in a hurry (which seems to be most days as of late). Since it is difficult to find an Episcopal church which performs daily Morning and Evening Prayer, I have adapted this slightly to be used for one person in a devotional setting.
Below is the reading for today. I hope you will find it as enriching as I have:
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ out LORD. Amen.
O LORD, deal not with us according to our sins.
Neither reward us according to our iniquities.
O GOD, merciful Father, who despisest not the sighing of a contrite heart, nor the desire of such as are sor-rowful; Mercifully assist our prayers which we make before thee in all our troubles and adversities, whensoever they oppress us; and graciously hear us, that those evils which the craft and subtilty of the devil or man worketh against us, may, by thy good providence, be brought to nought; that we thy servants, being hurt by no persecutions, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Minister and People.
O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.
O GOD, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.
¶ Minister and People.
O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thine honour.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
From our enemies defend us, O Christ.
Graciously look upon our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts.
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favourably with mercy hear our prayers.
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.
O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us;
As we do put our trust in thee.
Let us pray.
WE humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant, that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honour and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PSALMS AND LESSONS
Read: Psalm 33, Psalm 36
First Lesson: Ezek. 14:12-end
Second Lesson: Matt. 25:1-13
Read: Psalm 34:1-10; 11-end
First Lesson: Dan. 2:1-24
Second Lesson: I Cor. 14:13-25
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