Category Archives: Trial Liturgy

Interim Version of Anglican Lauds and Vespers

Whenever discussions of the Daily Office come up, someone, at some point, will make some comment about how a discipline like this no longer fits into the lives of modern professional people. That is, if you’re not a priest, student, or church-worker, how do you find time to do the Office in the midst of everything else you’ve got going on??

One answer which sounds flippant but really isn’t is–if that’s important to you, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. This is easier said than done, of course. For several years I had it easy–I had a commute on public transit. So, I got into the habit of reading the Offices on my way to and from work. I had my trusty two-volume Daily Office Books which are small enough to easily stow the volume for the appropriate year in my work bag and it was no problem.

No longer.

I’m now in a city with notoriously unreliable transit that does not go from where I am to where I need to be. Furthermore, I’m putting in way more hours than I’d like–I’m not getting enough sleep as it is now, so getting up earlier is not an option…

My problem is this: I don’t have time to do the Office in a prayerfully, non-rushed manner with a book in front of me. I do, however, have a lengthy vehicular commute. The solution is a version of the Offices that I can do in the car without needing a book.

Here’s the framework that I’ve come up with: An Anglican Lauds and Vespers. As the two main day offices, Lauds and Vespers classically shared the same structure; only the elements were different and these didn’t have an awful lot of variation. I adapted the shared ordines of these two Offices for one that I could do from memory in my car. The one advantage to my current situation is that I’m not in a transit car with a bunch of other people–so I can chant it if I like…which I like…

Does this solve the initial question posed above? Is this a solution to enable the ancient patterns of devotion to be kept in the modern world? I’m not sure… It works for me–and it may work for you–but I don’t see it as a solution for the majority of church-goers. In any case, explore it, play with it, try it, and let me know if and how it works for you…

I call it “interim” in the title for a reason, though. This ordo refers to seasonal items–and they’re not included in the file. I started on adding them, but didn’t have time to get it together because I have to focus completely on the dissertation now, not on liturgical fun… They’ll show up eventually. In the meantime you can find the bits you need–the little chapter and hymn–here.(Click the “Recite the Office” button, then click on the service for which you need the material and scroll down.)

U2charist Review

Seeing this post at AKMA’s reminded me that I hadn’t posted my thoughts on the U2charist… We–the whole family–attended one a week or two ago at a diocesan event. M in particular wanted to study it in that it relates to a particular liturgical interest of hers. Here are a few things I/we found:

  • Neither one of us got to attend the whole service. Why? Lil’ H was being cranky… She wanted to wander around as she’s working on the whole walking thing. It was also in the late afternoon–naptime. This could just be a personal thing but we were not the only ones in the narthex with small children. Think about it demographically–the people you want to attract to a thing like this are of the age to have children–small ones. Furthermore, having kids is one of the reasons people of our demographic return to church. It’s doubly important, therefore, to attend to the issue of small children in worship with this service. Childcare is not necessarily the answer, either. If “inclusivity” is one of the hallmarks of the event (which is what I took away), what’s the just rationale for excluding a certain slice of the baptized?
  • The U2 music was only in place of congregational hymnody–no liturgical elements were replaced/displaced by it. Thus, it was a normal Rite 2 Low Mass, but with other congregational music. I found that interesting.
  • I liked singing along to the songs. You could definitely tell from a quick glance around who knew the U2 catalogue and who didn’t.  What I discovered, though, was that during various songs I wasn’t thinking about their lyrics but about the situations, people, and places with which I associate with them. These were very powerful memories–but not necessarily ones conducive to prayerful attentiveness.
  • I was glad that it wasn’t a Sunday morning service–because it wasn’t a typical Sunday morning experience that would nourish and nurture over the long haul. M said she thought it would be a good thing maybe quarterly for a peace/social justice/world hunger kind of event. I agreed. But–they used the propers of the week. Why? To my mind, it looks and feels like a votive mass. I seem to remember seeing in some book (Occasional Services? Priest’s Handbook?) propers for a votive mass for Peace/Social Justice. (it stuck in my memory because I had to shout down the Old Oligarch [the archetypal crusty conservative] embedded in my soul that wanted to reject such things out of hand as unnecessarily partisan.) If it seems like and is appropriate as a votive mass, do it that way!
  • On the way home asked Lil’ G what she thought. In terms of music, she has been raised with traditional church music and knows the basic chants; she also sings along to The Cure and AFI. So, trying not to bias the question, I asked her if she liked the music we normally hear in church, the music we heard today at the U2charist, or both. She thought about it for a minute, and said both.

So to summarize, I found it an interesting experience. I liked the parts of it that I participated in, but it’s not something I would either seek out or go to on a regular basis. I think its true liturgical home is as a votive mass to draw attention to a particular issue on an occasional basis (and in saying this I imagine this may well have been its original intent.) Musically, pop music is problematic to my mind because of its secular location and all the mental/memory baggage that goes along with it. Furthermore, I wouldn’t call this a pop music mass either because it only appeared at spots for hymnody; none of the liturgical chants were replaced (or even appeared…).

Random Thoughts

  • bls had an interesting parish visit yesterday and thinks about the spread of “traditionalist-yet-welcoming” priests–specifically young women priests.
  • Speaking of young female “traditionalist-yet-welcoming” priests…M did some supply work yesterday at a parish in the area. (Did I mention “beautiful” in that list of attributes…?) It’s a very interesting parish; it’s a blend of long-time locals in what’s generously referred to as a “transitioned” neighborhood, some new people moving in with a revitalization initiative but the majority of the congregants are people with mental illness/special needs who live in nearby group homes. M had done spent a couple of months there several years ago and it was wonderful to see some of the faces and personalities I remember from that time. It was also wonderful to see M behind the pulpit and altar again (they have a nice east-wall altar but supply clergy don’t have the option of rearranging furniture) and to participate in a beautiful sung mass by some who takes the time to practice it beforehand…
  • Speaking of singing, looking at the Google click-throughs that have been directing people to the site, I think I may need to put up some resources on how to point various things for chanting and also something on Anglican chant.
  • I will also be putting up–as time allows–a page with some of the trial liturgies I’ve had here including the Anglican Offices of the Dead, a cleaned up version of my Anglican Lauds/Vespers (aka the commute liturgies), and an ordo for the standard BCP Offices. This one is my inspiration; while it presents a completely proper ordo that follows the intention of the Rite II service, I’ll post the version I use with Rite I that takes its cues from the 1662 book. It’s a version that tries to honor both the classical Anglican pattern while falling entirely within the rubrics of the current authorized American use. I’ll just warn you that time is rather limited; these may be a bit in coming…
  • If I had time, I might watch some movies… Two have come to my attention recently. The first is a review of “The Lives of Others” commended to us by Raspberry Rabbit. The other is, of course, Into Great Silence commended by quite a host of people including Caelius and, most recently, Anhaga of Old English in New York with whom I once sang Compline though neither of us knew it at the time…

Trial Liturgy: An Anglican Office of the Dead

(One of the reasons I transferred to WordPress is the ability to connect files to posts–this is a test of that functionality…)

Linked here are two files for an Anglican Office of the Dead. First, a Matins of the Dead; second, a Vespers of the Dead.

I have adapted the Roman form as found in the Anglican Breviary using the same kind of manipulations that were used to create our Morning Prayer form the combination of Matins and Lauds (there is no Prime version of the Office of the Dead) and Evening Prayer from Vespers (again–there is no Compline Office of the Dead). (For those unfamiliar with these Offices, see the article from the Catholic Encyclopedia.)

Following the traditional use, these may be read after the regular days Offices 1) on the first Friday of every month where we pray for all the departed, 2) on the day of death–or the day we are notified of someone’s death, 3) again on the day of burial, and 4) on the 3rd, 7th and 30th days after either death or burial. (While a double office is preferable you could, of course, read this instead of the usual offices…)

One of the reasons I post these files is because this disputed theological topic–praying for the dead–is part and parcel of the theological conundrum that the Lutheran Zephyr brought up: the invocation of the saints. I see them as inseperable because they are rooted in a shared Christian theology of death. I’ll write more on this a little later.

I welcome comments on the Offices.