Monday, August 06, 2007

Daily Prayer - once a week?

As part of my preparation for a Cursillo weekend, one for which I am actually responsible this time, I've been working on finding prayers and meditations for Morning and Evening Prayer. I'm already thinking of which ones I shall read and which delegate - and realising how much I enjoy doing this kind of thing. And yet, other than when I'm in a retreat-type situation, where I can more or less fall out of bed and into the chapel, I don't ever join in such services. When I go to church, it's for the Eucharist. Kimberly has just posted an interesting question about church practice: why one congregation will be content to have matins when there is no priest present, while another will administer the Reserved Sacrament and continue to have a Eucharist.

And it was while attempting to analyse my response to the question that I realised how alien it would now seem to have a non-Eucharistic service as the main Sunday diet of worship. It seems such a sterile exercise without the music traditionally associated with the service, and such a torment with anything but a seriously good choir. And then there's the difficulty of finding one's way around the Scottish Daily Prayer book, and the innate Englishness of the Book of Common Prayer...

And I end up thinking there'd be no focus. It'd be like the C of S services I grew up with, only without the 40 minute sermon. Perhaps these services only work as the beginning and ending of a day - not something done once a week but a routine self-dedication of the kind that few of us actually manage. But I'm about to enjoy four days of just that - and a great deal of hard work in between!


  1. Anonymous12:54 AM

    I think Matins has its place. At Holy Trinity Ayr we have it on the 2nd and 5th Sundays of the month - therefore it's invariably once a month. Also we have mid-week Eucharists at both Maybole and Ayr so that everyone can enjoy Eucharist at a time that suits them. On the Cursillo note - ROLL ON THURSDAY!!

  2. On Matins - de gustibus non est disputandum!

    On Cursillo - quo citius, eo melius.

    And on posting so late at night - we'll never last the pace!

  3. "there'd be no focus. It'd be like the C of S services I grew up with"

    No focus? Good grief, no wonder the C of S is in trouble if this is typical of people's experience!

    "...only without the 40 minute sermon."

    Only 40 minutes? :-)

  4. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Seems to me it's not a case of Matins or the Eucharist. It's a case of both and! Our Daily Prayer is a good discipline to get into, and Matins and Evensong give us the framework to do some good prayin' even when we don't really feel like it or feel a bit "dry". The Eucharist now.... that has to be central to at least our Sunday worship, if not our daily worship. The action of taking, blessing, breaking for renewal and so that we can go out sharing Jesus with the world is the pattern of our Christian lives, and should be seen as essential to us all. If Christ does not feed us Eucharistically, if not daily then at least weekly, then we lose something important in our faith journey. Or is that just the spike in me talking?

  5. Looking forward to four days of both and, me spikey friend!

  6. Anonymous5:06 PM

    A problem I find with liturgical worship and a seriously good choir is that it can all become cosily esoteric.
    I don't advocate dumbing down Christian worship but I do feel there is a robust simplicity innate in the gospel that could be obscured by educated middle class taste.
    This has led to many churches losing their way and no longer being able to engage their local community.

  7. You have a point, Jimmy - but it's not the fault of the liturgy. It's the people, I'm afraid, every time.