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Agreed to lead prayer at work in a couple weeks, and conveniently on the day we have a bit of extra time. This, of course, led to plotting, err, scheming, err... Anyway, I got wibbling about, and looking into liturgicalizing my hapless little Protestant colleagues. I found that the fine folks at All Saints Anglican Church have the definite best daily office service web app I've seen, by far. mmm, shiny...

This all got me thinking about the daily offices, and the sheer quality of their achievement. Truly, one of the shameful things in Protestantism has been their abandonment. (Dropping monasticism was just bound to happen, it was such a mess; never mind how bad the attempts at its reinvention are, it's still early.) A discipline which gets you to pray using Scripture's own words, punctuating life, and rotating you through the Bible in its readings, just cannot be a bad thing. And pleasantly, much of the good English prose and poetry has weathered the inevitable reforms of the years, although some of the corners clipped off the 1928 Prayer Book in 1979 were best left alone. Still, with 2k years of work, it's proven itself.

Part of this, I think, is just the aural goodness -- something that I really discovered about the Bible because of Everett Fox's Pentateuch translation, which is intended to evoke the aural character of the original text. It's just lurvely to read (though it probably seems weird to anyone how actually knows Hebrew). Still, the interplay of things both heard and said, not just scanned on a page, is critical to the mix of things called "worship". (Which word is the leading candidate for most-abused term in ecclesiastical jargon so far this century, threatening to dethrone its regnal predecessor, wretched "community"!) In particular, the Psalms really rock out when they're treated this way, especially using the BCP half-verse for the parallelisms.

So today, if you've never, or not in awhile, read through something like the Te Deum or, a personal fave, The Great Litany, and get a taste of words rattling around and doing their thing. mmm, shiny words...

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