A Prayer Book Lent
Friday, January 25, 2019 at 11:51AM
Robert Gallagher

Let’s try something new this Lent. Something most of our parishioners have never experienced. Let’s invite them into a Prayer Book Lent

What would that look like?

1. Participation in the Holy Eucharist each Sunday.

To include observing Sunday as the feast day that it is. None of the puritanical nonsense of maintaining our special observance or fasting behavior on Sunday. Instead a celebration of the resurrection. This must include the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25). One might make a case for Saint Joseph on March 19 and even, stretching a bit, St. Patrick on the 17th.

2. Participation in the daily office most days of the week

In the parish’s public office (yes, at least do it through Lent!) if possible and on your own, if circumstances require that.

3. Observing Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as fast days.

4. Observing all the days of Lent (other than Sundays and the Annunciation) as days of special devotion

 Observe by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion

5. Participation in the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.


We would be offering the balanced spiritual diet of our tradition.


On the parish’s part it would require:

Having a public daily office. One that is really the Office as intended not the office as an occasional service.

Using the Prayer Book liturgies for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Maybe letting go of the 1970s legalistic approach of having only one liturgy each of those days. Do the Daily Office each day of Holy Week. Consider offering an early morning Eucharist on Maundy Thursday as well as a fuller liturgy in the early evening. On Good Friday consider having Stations at noon and the Liturgy for Good Friday that evening.

Having a Eucharist on the Feast of the Annunciation


The parish might also choose to offer:

A two-session offering in late Epiphany or early Lent on saying the Office on your own. Each about 40 minutes. The first session exploring ways of saying the office with a range from doing the full BCP Office to some short form. From using the BCP to doing it on-line. The second session a week later being an opportunity to reflect on how using it that week worked out and looking at ways of revising that to better fit personalities and circumstances. Consider offering the workshop twice.

A one session workshop of two hours on helping individuals create a Rule for Lent. Based on the above but tailored to the person’s spiritual need, circumstances, and temperament. Have them write out their current spiritual practice and make note of issues of circumstances and temperament that impact it. Then have them consider the Prayer Book Lent and write out what they will commit themselves to do.

A careful weaving of a few minutes of ascetical teaching into the preaching of last Epiphany and Lent. For example –

“be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory” -- Might serve to engage how we rely on Grace and also need to make use of practices that set us in the pathways of grace (Rule, Eucharist, office, etc.)

“was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days” – Explore the relationship between “special acts of discipline and self denial” and coping with temptation.

You might reflect upon the relationship between a practice such as the Daily Office and “the day of trouble.”

5 One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; * that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

6 To behold the fair beauty of the Lord * and to seek him in his temple.

7 For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe in his shelter; *
he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling and set me high upon a rock.


One other small idea. Consider abstaining from Facebook and Twitter during Lent. Turn off the parish accounts. Caution – suggesting this to people only makes sense if we are also offering “a Prayer Book Lent.”



Article originally appeared on Congregational Development (http://www.congregationaldevelopment.com/).
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