Sunday Morning Forum 2: Concerning the Service of the Church

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The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church. BCP p. 13

What is being assumed in this statement?

  • Christian worship is not a “flat” undertaking; the Eucharist is the principal act, the point from which all other worship derives.
  • If someone said they worshiped God in their work or play—say, gardening or building something or playing golf with a friend—is that worship? How might such activities be understood in relation to the Eucharist?
  • Worship is an “act”? But who is/are the agent(s) doing the action? Us? God? Both together? Do you see worship as primarily a passive or active undertaking, or both?
  • It’s expected that the Eucharist be celebrated on the “Lord’s Day” (Sunday) and other major feasts. What is the significance of the “Lord’s Day”? How do the day and the rite reinforce each other?
  • Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, while not the principal act of worship, are included with the Eucharist as the regular services appointed for public worship. How does the Daily Office tie together our Sundays with our weekdays?
  • Worship as described here is assumed to be public. What are the implications of that?

In all services, the entire Christian assembly participates in such a way that the members of each order within the Church, lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons, fulfill the functions proper to their respective orders…

Elaborate on the line, “the entire Christian assembly participates…”?

  • What observations have you made about participation in worship?
  • Discuss there being different orders or roles with different functions. How do these complement one another?
  • How does your role in worship inform your actions outside of worship? Have you been drawn to another order/function?

Other things the section, “Concerning the Service of the Church”:

  • Language – traditional and contemporary: What are the tensions here?
  • Hymns and Psalms: how do these “Sing themselves into our souls”?
  • Anthems and instrumental music > not a performance for spectators; only appropriate in aiding the congregation when the people’s attention is on the action they are corporately performing.
  • “Sing or sung” > this rubric is usually for acoustic purposes (again participation) rather than for any theological claims.

Sources:

  • Book of Common Prayer
  • Hatchett, Marrion J. Commentary on the American Prayer Book. The Seabury Press: 1980.