Material for the Service of the Word

By Nathan Jennings and Richelle Thompson

The phrase “experimental liturgy” often evoke a sense of leaving behind traditional texts, shapes and language use. At a time when liturgical experimentation often assumes making language ever more contemporary, we hope to imagine ways in which A068 resolution 6, opens the door for the experimental use of alternative rites that enrich and add variety to traditional language use.

In this series, we offer prayers edited from the corpus of Jeremy Taylor as examples of alternative liturgical texts deriving from local liturgical communities in response to the sixth clause of Resolution A068, “That bishops engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts to offer to the wider church.”

Anecdotal evidence suggests that traditional language is not something that will disappear from our tradition. Younger generations seem to be drawn to traditional rites and language in a secular landscape largely devoid of the resources of inherited tradition. In offering this liturgical material for a eucharistic rite derived as a recension of Jeremy Taylor’s, we hope to affirm the continued role of traditional language in Anglican piety.

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An alternative to the Collect of Purity:

O King of Glory, Lord and Maker of the world, thou art a God knowing all things and all thoughts even long before they are; be thou present with us in this religious solemnity calling upon thee. Deliver us from the shame of our sins, from the corruption and evil inclinations that attend them, and from all the evils that may justly follow them. Cleanse our wills and our understandings from all evil lusts and concupiscence,[1] from the deceits of the world, from the violence and snares of the Devil, from all guile and hypocrisy, from every evil word and work, that we may serve thee faithfully, worship thee religiously, and pray unto thee acceptably ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

An alternative to the Decalogue, a liturgical recitation of the Beatitudes:

Minister: Our Lord Jesus, seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain; and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in Spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are the Peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God.

People: Lord, pardon our faults, and incline our hearts to obey thee, that we may inherit this blessing.

Minister: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

People: Lord, make us ready in heart and body to obey thee in everything, that we may inherit all these blessings in the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus. Amen.

As the Prayers of the People:

The Deacon or other person appointed says

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church and the world.

Receive, O eternal God, our prayers for all thy church, whom thou hast redeemed with the Blood of thy Son, and purchased as thine own inheritance. Give grace to all thy People, fruitfulness and perfect understanding in the way of Godliness. Defend, O God, thy Church, and preserve her from all Heresy and Scandal, from Sacrilege and Simony, from Covetousness and Pride, from Factions and Schism, from all that persecute the Truth, and from all that work Wickedness, and let not the Gates of Hell prevail against her, nor any Evil come near to hurt her.

Give thy Blessing, O God, to this Nation; remember us for good, and not for evil. Send us health and peace, justice and truth, good laws and good government; temperate air, seasonable showers, wholesome dews, fruitful seasons: crown the year with goodness, and let the clouds drop fatness, that we may glorify thy name, and confess thy goodness, while thou bearest witness to us from heaven, filling our hearts with gladness.

God of mercy and comfort, with humble confidence and strong desires, we approach to the Throne of Grace, begging of thee mercy and protection, [for _______]. With pity, behold the miseries of mankind;[2] put a speedy period to our sins and calamities: hear the sighings of the distressed, the groans of the sick, the desires of the poor and needy; support the weakness of them that languish and faint; ease the pains of the oppressed and them that are in affliction. Take from the miserable all tediousness of spirit and despair: pardon the penitent, reform the vicious, confirm the holy, and let them be holy still; pity the folly of the young; succor the infirmities of the aged.  Grant them that die the death of the righteous, free from debt and deadly sin, having first discharged all obligations of Justice. Receive the souls of all the departed into thy hands, [especially_____,] that they may behold thy face, and live in thy Kingdom.

Admit, O blessed God, into the society of our prayers, our Brethren, our Friends and Benefactors, , [especially ____,] and all that have desired our Prayers and all that need them, all that we have, and all that we have not remembered; thou knowest all their necessities, their joys and their sorrows, hopes and their fears; O dear God, sanctify them and us; let our portion be in the good things of God, in the peace of Conscience, the joys of the Holy Ghost, in the love of God and of our Neighbors.

O gather us to thy feet when thou wilt, and in what manner thou art pleased: only let us appear before thee without shame or sins, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our most merciful Savior and Redeemer. Amen.

In the second installment of this series, we will offer material for Holy Communion.

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings is the J. Milton Richardson associate professor of liturgics and Anglican studies at Seminary of the Southwest.

 

 

 

 

The Rev. Richelle Thompson, a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest (MDiv, 18′), is rector of Resurrection, Rainbow City, AL.  Prior to ordination, she worked for arts organizations including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

 

 


[1] This archaic word might be kept for the sake of authenticity to Taylor’s text or replaced with “desires,” or some similar word to strengthen congregational comprehension.

[2] Here and following we have retained Taylor’s original wording of “mankind,” “man,” “men,” etc., for the sake of authenticity to Taylor’s text. If retained, we recommend a note of historical accuracy be given to the congregation by way of explanation. Otherwise, we recommend the following replacements: humankind for mankind, human being for man, human beings or people for men, etc.

About The Author

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Jennings is the J. Milton Richardson associate professor of liturgics and Anglican studies at Seminary of the Southwest.

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