One of the wonderful gifts I was given for Christmas (amongst many pairs of socks and thermal under-layers) was Common Prayer:
Written by Shane Claiborne (who I’m sure you remember I am a bit of a fan of), Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (quite like him too) and Enuma Okoro ( who I’m afraid I’d never heard of but who I’m sure I would like) it’s pretty much what it says on the cover there: “A liturgy for ordinary radicals”.
Instead of following the standard 3 year plan of the traditional Book of Common Prayer this follows a one year cycle with prayers for morning, noon and night. They’ve used prayers and songs from all kinds of traditions and included saints days for all kinds of heroes of the faith. And at the end of every month there’s a little “Becoming the Answer to our Prayers” idea box.
I often get accused of being all about “mixing it up” in worship and getting away from tradition – in Aberdeen at least, the folks in Edinburgh probably think I’m pretty conservative! – so when I mentioned this to friends they were a little shocked that I’d be enthusiastic about something that is so structured. Yes, I love the idea of worship taking many forms and being a little spontaneous but I also think there is something incredible about a rhythm of prayer and breathing life into prayers spoken centuries ago and joining with brothers and sisters around the world in a common prayer. Liturgy is an amazing heritage which, in the Church of Scotland and many other congregations, we have forgotten about but it is most definitely one of the powerful forms that worship can take.
I’ve used it a little already and I’m really looking forward to using it once life resumes some kind of order again.