Anglican Practice for Today – Reflection for 1 JUL 2018
Last week we looked at the ancient roots of our faith as we continued a series of reflections considering how we might describe the Anglican tradition as:
“A Biblical faith, rooted in ancient tradition, relevant for the questions and challenges of today, and with a bright hope for the future.”
This week we will explore the ways this ancient and Biblical faith prepares us for the questions and challenges of today. Instead of trying to generalize about contemporary culture, I will talk about the ways the Anglican tradition speaks directly into my life.
I find the order and discipline of the lectionary and the liturgical calendar a great comfort in the rapidly changing pace of daily life. The lectionary forces me to consider portions of Scripture that I might otherwise skip over and the liturgical calendar orders the seasons in a manner that orients me to the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the continued work of His church. In particular, the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer grounds each day in prayer and Scripture. Through the Daily Office, I am carried through the Psalms each month. The Psalms give name and prayer to the full spectrum of human emotion and experience. They invite and instruct me to pray with full honesty and feeling.
I find the community inherent to Common Prayer a stabilizing factor in an uncertain world. In the liturgy of the Eucharist, we rehearse together the Gospel of Christ and join together in the mystery of Holy Communion. We are nourished spiritually in a way that is beyond description. However, it is our ministry at the assisted living facility that has truly revealed the formative, transformative, and sustaining nature of our sacramental liturgy. When nothing else remains, the words practiced over years of worship and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist continue to minister to our hearts.
Several contemporary writers have described in more or less detail the relevance of our Anglican practice to daily life. Robert Webber’s classic Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail describes how Anglican worship and practice fill in the spiritual and sacramental gaps of the Evangelical movement. Rev. Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary describes her experience of Anglican spirituality in the daily life of a working mother. In a recent blog post, Rev. Dcn. Joshua Steele concludes that “within the Anglican tradition the Holy Spirit can teach us:
To value community in a world of rampant individualism,
To value history in a world of idolized novelty,
To value lasting beauty in a world of wasteful materialism,
To value steady reverence in a world of frantic busyness,
To value submission to authority in a world of radical independence,
To value unity-in-disagreement in a world of tribalized conflict.”