Daily Archives: March 28, 2007

On the Theology of the Daily Office

The Anglican Scotist wrote a few days ago and mentioned something about the theology of the Office. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. One of the things I keep returning to is how much structure matters. By “structure” I mean a variety of things. It includes but is not limited to 1) the order in which the elements appear (the most basic sense of the word ordo), 2) which elements are chosen when options are available, 3) how often do the elements/ordo change, 4) what prompts the elements/ordo to change.

I’ve been using the Anglican Breviary a lot recently but also found my Office Book which I had managed to loose on my desk. My experience of switching between the two has opened my eyes to the importance of noticing changes and what triggers them. Furthermore, the structure makes a definite theological impact in terms of what elements are not there–especially what elements are displaced or replaced.

There are a lot of options in the Daily Offices. Even if you are going strictly by vanilla 1979 BCP, the liturgy can have and express several different theologies based on how the required, optional, and possible elements are deployed…