Liturgically Speaking

1. The Season of Advent

2. Epiphany

3. Pre-Lenten Season

4. Lent

5. Palm Sunday: A Celebration in Passing

6. Feast of the Holy Trinity: Peculiarly Anglican

7. How Many Sunday's in Trinity?

8. All About the Advent Wreath

9. Our Human Duty and Responsibility

10. What is a "Feria"?

11. The Three-fold Ministry of the Church

12. Worshipping with our Senses

13. Is it "Mass", "Eucharist", "Holy Communion", or what?

14. Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament

15. The Communion of Saints

16. 1928 Prayer Book - A long History

17. Worship of the Church - Early Christian Era

18. Preaching, Teaching, Worshipping: A Balancing Act

1. The Season of Advent

With the First Sunday in Advent, we begin a new Christian Year, not as we do our secular year on New Year's Eve; rather, we begin the new Christian Year in a more solemn fashion, similar to Lent.

With the adoption of Advent in the sixth century, the intent of the Western Church was not a second Lenten Season, but a period of liturgical preparation for Christmas. It was not until the eighth century that Advent was commonly considered the beginning of the Christian Year.

Historically, the Christian Year had several "beginnings." Initially, Easter Day was considered the start of the Christian Year, a practice that is still maintained in the Eastern Churches.

In the fourth century, the Western Church adopted Christmas Day as the beginning of the Christian Year; however, four centuries later, Advent had replaced Christmas as the beginning of the Christian Year, with the focus on the preparation not only for the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, but also on the Second Coming at the end of time.

That Second Coming we tend to look toward with a sense of fear and dread. Indeed, we do have second thoughts when it comes to being judged for how we have conducted our lives in this world. Fearful not only of being judged for what we have done, but also for what we have failed to do.

It is the first Coming that we celebrate each year with joy: joy that God entered into the world, taking upon Himself our flesh and living among us in the form of a man in order to redeem us from Satan, sin, and certain death.

And so we can see in the four week period of Advent the joyful expectation of the birth of Christ, and the redemption that comes to us through His Incarnation, while at the same time reflecting in awe on the judgment that still awaits us.

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2. Epiphany

On January the 6th, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ. The word Epiphany means manifestation or appearance, and for the Church, this is the day when we celebrate the manifestation of our Saviour and Redeemer to the world, and remains one of the major festivals of the Church.

The Epiphany dates back to the second century, when Gnostic heretics began to observe the day as our Lord's manifestation at his Baptism. January 6th was chosen to rival a pagan festival of that time, the birth of Osiris. Gnostics, contrary to the Doctrine of the Church, did not accept the human birth of our Lord, rather they considered the Baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan as His first appearing, as the Holy Spirit descended from heaven upon the man Jesus.

Some time after that, the Eastern Church adopted the date and festival, but it was associated with the Nativity of Christ, consistent with Church Doctrine that Jesus is both human and Divine.

By the fourth century, however, the Western Church, centered in Rome, had established its own celebration of the Nativity of Christ on December 25th.

Toward the end of the fourth century, both the Eastern and Western Churches began to adopt one another's festivals; however, the Western Church chose to associate the Epiphany more with the visit of the Magi, and emphasize the festival as the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

It may be noted that while the Eastern and Western Churches have adopted each other's festivals, December 25th has never been accepted in the Armenian calendar. Doctrinally, we, Anglicans, remain in accord with the Eastern Orthodox Church, as does the Roman Church.

In England, the popular name for the Feast of the Epiphany became Twelfth Day, which concludes the Christmas festivities.

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3. Pre-Lenten Season

The Pre-Lenten seaso is both a precursor to, and an extension of Lent, coming to our Prayer Book by way of the medieval missals.

The "gesima" Sundays---Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima---instituted in the late sixth century, each refers to the period of time before Easter: 70, 60, and 50 days respectively.

From history, we may recall that the late sixth century was a perilous time in Italy, and those sad and perilous conditions are reflected in the propers for these Sundays. Whether pestilence, famine, earthquake, or the ravages of the barbarians, these difficult times and circumstances led to an increased awareness and dwelling on the shortcomings of humankind in the eyes of God, and the assumption that God was punishing mankind for his evil deeds.

There was at the same time in the Eastern Church a tradition that observed an eight-week, rather than a six-week Lenten fast. This Eastern Church influence contributed to the adoption of the Pre-Lenten season by the Western Church that we observe today as an extension of the six-week Lent, and preserved by the English Church. It remains as a period of preparation for the penitential season of Lent, and an important part of our Catholic Heritage.

Though it would take centuries for the Church to adopt a systematic division of the Church Year, there still remain differences in the Church between the Eastern and Western branches, yet undivided in Faith once delivered.

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4. Lent

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting for 40 days, Lent is a solemn observance in the liturgical calendar and a preparation leading up to Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Traditionally, Lent parallels the Forty Days that Jesus spent in the wilderness following His Baptism by John the Baptist.

Lent has as its purpose self-examination and penitence, and self-denial, in preparation for Easter.

The history of Lent within the Church can be traced back to the earliest days of the church. St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.200) wrote of such a season but then it lasted only two or three days, not the 40 observed today.

There is evidence that, in 325, at the Council of Nicaea, Lent as a 40-day Lenten season of fasting, was discussed, it's intent is unclear as to whether it was just for new Christians preparing for Baptism or everyone.

In the Eastern Church, in the early days, one only fasted on weekdays, while in the Western Church Lent included Saturdays. Regardless, the observance was both strict and serious with only one meal taken a day, near the evening and there was no meat, fish, or animal products eaten.

Until the 600s, Lent began on a Sunday, called Quadragesima or Fortieth Sunday. It was then that Gregory the Great moved the beginning of Lent to a Wednesday, which is now called Ash Wednesday, so that the exact number days in Lent would be 40, not counting Sundays, which are feast days. Gregory is said to have started the ceremony from which Ash Wednesday has derived its name. As Christians came to the church for forgiveness, Gregory marked their foreheads with ashes reminding them of sackcloth and ashes which is the biblical symbol of repentance and mortality, using the words: "You are dust, and to dust you will return."

By the 800s, some of the Lenten practices were becoming more relaxed and Christians were allowed to eat after 3 in the afternoon, by the 1400s noon. Eventually, various foods such as fish were allowed

While in Anglicanism, Lent is taken very seriously, in the Eastern Church its practice is even more strict.

Yet, the focus remains on a spiritual preparation, even a spiritual discipline augmented by a physical regimen, to make us meet partakers in the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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5. Palm Sunday: A Celebration in Passing

When we celebrate Palm Sunday, it is more properly, according to the Prayer Book, referred to as the Sunday next before Easter, commonly called Palm Sunday. Interestingly, the Prayer Book only refers to this Sunday as Palm Sunday in an off-handed manner: neither the Gospel nor the Epistle, not even the Collect, have anything to do with the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem less than a week before His Crucifixion.

The omission of this momentous event in the life of Jesus goes back to the Reformers in 16th century England. Greatly influenced by the Reformation on the Continent and with a special distaste for the blessing of any material objects, including palms, they deliberately set out to remove from the Prayer Book and the Liturgy any such references. This included the blessing of palm branches in commemorative celebration on Palm Sunday of that historical and very significant event in the life and ministry of our Lord.

The Reformers sought to purge the English Church of any semblance of catholicity. Thus, because of their efforts, if we are to commemorate Palm Sunday, we must take the ceremony and ritual of the blessing and distribution of palms from a source different from our Book of Common Prayer. While keeping with Anglican Tradition prior to and after the Reformation, we address the omission of old rites in the Church through the use of the American Missal, here at All Saints', or the Anglican Missal, often used in other Parishes of the ACC. Both are considered very appropriate sources and reflect the most ancient Christian usage and, indeed, incorporate ritual common in the English Church predating the Roman rites that were in use at the time of the Reformation.

Historically, though, the Palm Sunday procession, as well as other customs of the Holy Week observances, date back to the fourth century, and specifically to the Church in Jerusalem.

Through the efforts of Emperor Constantine and his mother, many of the holy sites in and around Jerusalem were identified. These Holy Sites became sacred places visited by the many pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land in those early days. Dramatic representations were developed of the events surrounding those fateful days leading up to the Crucifixion. These representations, still practiced today, made such an impression on

Christian travelers in the Holy Land that similar observances were adopted elsewhere in the Church, among them the Stations of the Cross, re-enacting that triumphal entry of our Lord into the Holy City, that began on the Mount of Olives with singing and waving of palm branches, as today the bishop there retraces our Lord's entry riding upon an ass and escorted into the city by throngs of the faithful, who gather to celebrate the event.

Though simply celebrated here, we still are united through the Church with those everywhere celebrating Christ's triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on that fateful day.

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6.Feast of the Holy Trinity: Peculiarly Anglican

When we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity, or Trinity Sunday, we are doing something that is peculiar to Anglicanism, and we may note that it was St. Thomas Becket who directed the regular observance of Trinity Sunday throughout the realm.

Looking back, Anglicans follow the Sarum custom which emphasizes the Feast of the Trinity, while Rome follows the Gallican custom, relegating the Feast of the Trinity to a position equal with that of a Saint's Day.

It is notable that the Roman Church numbers the Sundays following Pentecost until Advent as "Ordinary Time," while Anglicans number the Sundays from Trinity until Advent as Sundays in the Season of Trinity.

We Anglicans are a stubborn lot, and stick to a tradition that typically reflects our English religious heritage, and divides the liturgical calendar into two periods: Advent to Pentecost, during which we observe the historical Christ, and Trinity to Advent as a period of instruction on our Catholic Faith.

While the Epistle and Gospel appointed for this Sunday are more closely associated with Pentecost, the Collect brings home a truth that has challenged the Church Fathers and subsequent theologians since the turn of the first century.

What we are celebrating today, with the Feast of the Trinity, is the ultimate self-revelation of God and his redemptive purposes. He is revealed to us as a conscious, intelligent, purposeful life, a reality that is found in the mutual love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the Three Persons of the Godhead, distinguishable as Persons, yet indistinguishable as essence, that for the Cappadocian Fathers of the 4th century, such as St. Basil, was not abstract, but a concrete reality.

What we take for granted as the Doctrine of the Trinity was hammered out over several centuries from differing conceptions of the Godhead, many of which were declared heretical, such as Arianism.

Undoubtedly, what God has revealed is far beyond human comprehension, yet it has been man's endeavor to study and classify God as if he were a specimen in a laboratory.

From the study of Holy Scripture, we find that God is One, while at the same time three Persons. That is the mystery of the Holy Trinity: the Unity of the Trinity, three persons co-equal in all things, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

"The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, and yet they are not three Gods, but one God"….co-equal yet one God; co-eternal; of one substance. There is no time when God was not; there is no beginning and there is no end.

This is the Doctrine of the Trinity. This is the doctrine taught by the Church, and proved by Holy Scripture. It is a mystery beyond our human reason to comprehend, only to accept.

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7.How Many Sunday's in Trinity?

The number of Sundays after Trinity vary each year depending on when Easter falls.

Fortunately, the Rubrics in the 1928 Prayer Book tell us to do to accommodate whatever number there are for a particular year.

There is a specific procedure for when there are more than 24 Sundays after Trinity Sunday. For instance, there were 26 Sundays after Trinity in 2014.

If there were 27 Sundays after Trinity, then we would use the Propers for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany on the 25th Sunday and the Propers for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany on the 26th Sunday.

Now, wait a minute! In 2014 there were 26 Sundays after Trinity but you've only accounted for the 25. What happened to the 26th Sunday?

The Sunday Next Before Advent is counted as one of the Sunday's after Trinity.

Normally, there are 24 or 25 Sunday's after Trinity, including the Sunday Next before Advent; that is, depending on when we celebrate Easter Day. Actually, there could be more than 25 Sundays in the Season after Trinity Sunday, all depending on the date for Easter Sunday.

Christmas Day is a fixed festival of the Church but Easter Day is moveable, depending upon when the first full moon occurs on or after the 21st of March.

Thus, the number of days after Epiphany are determined not by Christmas but when Easter Day falls, which also determines the date for Ash Wednesday.

In the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, there are tables for finding Holy Days, in particular, Easter Day. Unfortunately, the table for finding Easter Day ran out this year. Not too worry, there is a procedure to follow to determine all the Easter Days to come.

Good luck in using the procedure. It may be found on Page lii of the Prayer Book.

The good news is that there are other options available to keep up with Easter Day, including the annual Ordo Calendar, and websites on the internet.

In 2014, Easter Sunday for both the Western and Orthodox Church was April 20th. Ash Wednesday was March 5th; Palm Sunday, April 13th; and Good Friday, April 18th.

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8. All About the Advent Wreath

The history of the Advent Wreath is a bit clouded, but its popularity throughout Christendom today goes back to more recent times.

The Wreath itself can be traced back to pre-Christian Germanic tribes, who sought to break the bleakness of winter by lighting candles and invoking the sun god to return with the warmth and brightness of spring. In a symbolic fashion, they created a wreath of evergreen, in which they placed candles. The evergreen would remind them of life, and the round wreath would remind them of the circle of time, and that spring would indeed return.

In Scandinavia, there was a similar custom, with candles placed around a wheel and prayers offered to the god of light to turn the wheel of light toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

This tradition of a circle with lighted candles was gradually adopted and adapted by Christians, so that by the Middle Ages, wreaths of evergreen and candles were being used as a spiritual preparation for Christmas.

But, it was not unto after the reformation that the custom caught on, and became quite popular in Germany.

Closely associated with Lutheranism, the custom involved placing four candles in a wreath of evergreen, and, as each candle was lit, Scripture was read, along with prayer, in a family devotion, especially using the custom to instruct children on the Coming of Christ.

Over time, as other denominations adopted the custom, particular Biblical meaning was placed on each candle, specifically pointing to Jesus Christ as the Light of the World, as we find in John 3: 17-21.

Today, we place five candles on the Advent Wreath: three purple, one rose (or pink), and one white.

In typical Anglican tradition, one candle is lit each Sunday of Advent, until all four candles are burning on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Then, on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day, the fifth candle (the white one) is lit.

Symbolically, the first purple candle lit represents Hope; the second, Love; the third candle, pink, signifies Joy; the fourth, purple, is for Peace; and, finally, the fifth, white candle stands for Christmas, the birth of our Saviour Who is the Light of the World.

The pink for the Third Sunday in Advent has its origin in a papal tradition around the fifth century,with the pope blessing roses to be sent to Catholic sovereigns on the Fifth Sunday in Lent. The effect was to break the solemnity of Lent, and this custom was passed over to Advent, where rose becomes the color of the Third Sunday, called Gaudete Sunday, taking its name from the Latin word Gaudete, meaning "Rejoice", the first word of the introit of this day's Mass, thus breaking the solemnity of Advent, and its solemn preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, and the expectation of the Second Coming.

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9. Our Human Duty and Responsibility

Regardless of the season of the year, everywhere one looks, there is beauty and tranquility, and the wonder of all of God's Creation. Here it is for us to enjoy and to preserve. And we are one of the great wonders of his Creation.

We are, creatures of God, creatures in His Image, set apart from the rest of living things because we are created in God's Image, endowed with a soul, a conscience, a will.

With our creation came also a responsibility and a duty: to worship our Creator for He is the source of all that we are. Indeed, we were created for that purpose out of love.

While as human beings, our purpose in life is to worship God, even so as Christians we have been given all the tools needed to carry out that duty and responsibility.

God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, revealed Himself to us in a way that we could see Him through His Son. And through that revelation, we can see God's presence more clearly in all of His Creation.

At the same time, It becomes more and more clear that we live in a sacramental world.

This clarity comes through the Sacrifice of His Son to rescue us from our rebellious nature, redeem us, and make us whole again as children of God, adopted by and joined to our Heavenly Father through infinite love.

The sacraments left to the Church are reflections, in a real sense, of all of God's Creation: the "outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace."

God used the familiar to bring to us the invisible, unfamiliar, and, in particular, His Grace through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

The familiar: just as the leaves and blooms of trees in the spring are an outward sign of the life within, so it is that the outward signs of the sacraments of the Church, as in the water of baptism, the bread and wine of the Eucharist, the Laying-On of Hands of Confirmation, and so forth, signify that "inward and spiritual Grace given unto us; ordained by Jesus Christ Himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."

Of all God's creatures, we are set apart as rational beings, capable of discerning good from evil, and capable of truly loving and caring. We are even capable of accepting or denying our own Creator.

Thus, accepting God as our Creator, we come face-to-face with our duty and responsibility to worship Him, and to offer ourselves to Him in the spirit of that love by which we were created and are sustained.

In His Church, we come together in communion with all the Saints, joining together with the Angels and Archangels, and the whole company of Heaven to worship and glorify God in the form and manner given to us, wherein, we are fed and nourished with the Bread of Heaven, the Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

To worship God: our human duty and responsibility from which all else flows.

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10. What is a "Feria"?

Feria: it appears on the Parish Calendar from time-to-time, but what is it? Simply put, a Feria is a day, other than Saturdays and Sundays, when no other feast falls. It is derived from classical Latin, and originally meant "feast day or holiday," but somewhere along the way, the meaning was changed, and now it means the opposite.

In ecclesiastical use, Ferias are broken down into three classes: Privileged, Greater, and Ordinary. From here it becomes a bit complicated, with the Privileged Ferias being Ash Wednesday, and the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week. Greater Ferias are the weekdays in Advent and Lent, Rogation Monday, and September Ember Days. The Ordinary Ferias are the days outside Advent and Lent on which no other feast falls.

This is, perhaps, the simplest way to look at Ferias. Fortunately, there is the Ordo Calendar to tell us which days are Ferias, and the Missal to provide additional liturgical guidance.

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11. The Three-fold Ministry of the Church

What we mean by Three-fold Ministry is the clerical orders of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. Each one of the three orders of clergy has its Apostolic origin, indeed, the Apostles were the first Bishops of the Church. Jesus Christ chose them from among His Disciples and committed the Church to their care. It was to them that He gave all authority over the Church, with the expectation that they, in turn, would appoint successors to continue the Church in their absence.

This delegation of authority, we call Apostolic Succession, and through the Laying On of Hands, that authority has continued unbroken from our Lord Himself. It is that authority which validates the Sacraments of the Church, of which the Sacred Orders of Clergy is one.

We may recall that there are Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Holy Eucharist (or Lord's Supper), Confirmation, Penance, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony, and Holy Unction.

Clearly, the Bishop is the successor to the Apostles, and a shepherd of Christ's flock. Only the bishop can confer Holy Orders and administer Confirmation. It is said that "where the bishop is, there also is the Church."

The subordinate orders of Priest and Deacon exist as extensions of the Bishop, their functions defined and limited.

Though a Priest may be indelibly marked through ordination, his authority is dependent upon the Bishop, without whom he cannot function. He ministers to the people committed to his care, celebrating the Holy Eucharist, spreading the Word of God through teaching and preaching, and pronouncing God's Absolution and Blessing. He is often referred to as the Bishop's right arm.

Deacons normally assist Priests under the direction of the Bishop. They have limited sacramental authority, and are excluded from celebrating the Holy Eucharist, and pronouncing God's Absolution and Blessing.

When a Deacon assigned to a Parish with a Priest resident, the supervision of the Deacon is delegated to the Priest-in-Charge (or the Rector, as the case may be) by the Bishop, who retains ultimate authority over both Deacon and Priest.

Scripturally, we find reference to Deacons in the Acts of the Apostles, when seven were appointed to wait tables and carry the Lord's Supper to the sick. One of the most notable Deacons was St. Stephen, who was also the first Christian Martyr.

Over time, especially with the necessity of having a Priest (or Presbyter, as they were first called), the role of the Deacon was expanded, but still with certain restrictions as we have noted.

Deacons are permitted to baptize, officiate at marriages, preach, carry Communion to the sick and shut-ins, and, in the absence of the Priest, they may celebrate what is often called a Deacon's Mass, that is, to administer the Holy Communion from the Reserve Sacrament. Deacons do other things as well to assist the Priest, such as reading the Gospel, and administering the Cup during Communion, but are restricted from pronouncing the Absolution or giving Blessings. Of course, Grace before meals is not a restriction!

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12. Worshipping with our Senses

Our worship invokes the senses of sight, sound, and smell, each contributing to the beauty of worship, and the offering up of ourselves entirely to God, in ritual that transcends our own Christian heritage, and draws upon our Jewish roots, from vestments to bells to incense; the Cross, statues, and candles.


Our place of worship, and our ritual depend very much on sight. We have the ornaments of the Church that include the Cross, the candles, the Altar, the flowers, the hangings with their colors for the various seasons, and so forth. We also have stained glass windows and statuary. And, then, the vestments. Each has a purpose and a history. They all direct our attention to the worship of God. They all add beauty to our worship.

Central in our Church is the Cross on the Altar. It focuses our attention on the loving sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross that we may be rescued from sin. On either side are candles symbolizing that Christ is the true light, and reminding us that in the beginning the world was in darkness, and God said, "Let there be light, and there was light and God saw that the light was good."

As we look around, we see the hangings with the colors of the Church season, the Altar prepared with a white cloth, and the Eucharistic vessels covered with a veil the color of the season.

When the clergy enter, the priest is vested in a white garment called an alb, to which is added a stole, maniple, and chasuble in the color of the season. Each has a meaning, and the use of vestments can be traced back, according to the Rev. Wm. Arthur Darby, in his book Church Vestments, published in 1856, to the Book of Exodus, perhaps even to Genesis, each giving meaning and symbolism to our public worship of God.

There is, of coursse, much more that we see in our Church. Whether it be a Cross or candle, a statue or a hanging, the Altar itself, each has a special meaning fulfilling the purpose of stimulating our sense of sight as we worship God in a place where we can feel his presence with all our senses.


While we may take music for granted, bells are another story. Generally, the church has three sets of bells: tower bells, Sanctus bells, and sacristy bells.

Tower bells are rung before the beginning of a service and also traditionally tolled solemnly for funerals, and joyfully after weddings, and on other joyous liturgical or public occasions.

The Sanctus Bell is so called because it is rung at the beginning of the Sanctus during the Eucharist. It may be a small silver bell, a group of bells, perhaps a gong, or even a switch connected to the tower bell. The Sanctus Bells are rung during the liturgy to call attention to important moments. This was especially important in the earlier days, when the liturgy was difficult to hear, or was said by the priest in a language not understood by most of the congregation. The bells are often used, even when the liturgy is in English, because people's attention does tend to wander.

During the Eucharist, the bells are rung: three times at the beginning of the Sanctus; during the consecration when the Host and chalice are elevated; when the priest says "Lord, I am not worthy" before his own communion; and when the priest says, "Behold, the Lamb of God," as a signal for the communicants to come to the altar rail.

The sacristy bell is rung as a signal that the priest is about to enter the sanctuary from the sacristy at the beginning of a service, signaling the congregation to stand.

Not the least of our sounds is the music by which we are lifted up, and our powers of meditation enhanced. It is the sound of music before, during, and after the service, not just the hymns, but often the parts of the service that are sung or chanted by the priest or the choir, or, on occasions, a cantor. Music itself can inspire us and heighten our senses.


When we think about the sense of smell, and how it might be stimulated in worship, there is a moment of pause, and the thought "what are we talking about?"

What we're talking about is "incense". It has been used in liturgical worship from early Old Testament times through the early Church, until today. It is widely mentioned in Holy Scripture, and not just the Old Testament. We find many references in the New Testament.

In St. Matthew, we read of the Magi bringing frankincense as a gift to the Christ child, and we might also remember the words of the Christmas carol, "We three kings": "Incense owns a Deity nigh" mean that incense is a sign of our belief in the Real Presence of Christ, the Son of God.

In the Book of Revelation, in chapter 5 verse 8, we read of "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the Saints".

It is not an innovation of some later period of the Church, and its use is not confined to the Eastern Church, or Roman. Indeed, in the Church of England, the use of incense in was prevalent until the mid 1600s, when it fell into disuse generally, and subsequently became illegal. Even though, it was illegal, it continued to be used in worship in isolated instances, such as in York Minster, and since the mid 19th century , its use has spread and increased. It is used throughout the ACC, and on special occasions at All Saints'.

Incense can heighten our participation in the liturgy by stimulating the sense of smell. It also provides colour, movement and sound as the thurible is swung, and its chain "chinks" and "tinkles".

And, when we burn incense, we are reminded that our prayers, like the incense, ascend to the throne of God, and mingle with the prayers of the Saints in heaven.

We have looked at hearing, sight, and smell and though it has been only a cursory look, it does give us some idea of their contribution to the beauty of worship, and the offering up of ourselves in ritual that transcends our own Christian heritage, even drawing upon our Jewish roots.

The beauty associated with the Church itself in its furnishings and lighting, especially the candles; in its music, in all the sounds, whether musical instruments, bells, or voices; in the smells, whether emanating from incense or flowers: all lead to a heightening of our senses, and draws us into a special spiritual posture for the worship of God.

All these things, that some may regard as "trappings," tell us that we are in a special place, a place of dignity and beauty, set aside for the particular purpose of the glory and worship of God. Here, because of that specialness, we find ourselves closer to God, as if in his very Presence.

During and following the Protestant Reformation, many churches were stripped of their furnishings, the candles, the crosses, statues, and even, in some instances, music. What was left was a cold structure, hardly befitting the joyful worship that we should be offering up to our Creator.

Fortunately, not all the churches in England were stripped completely of their beauty, and with time, most were restored to their pre-Reformation glory.

So, we may conclude that the beauty and dignity of our worship of God incorporates more than words, more than actions; indeed, it incorporates the totality of what and who we are, by affecting all our senses, drawing us into a special place, posture, and attitude, where we are able to give over our whole selves to God in worship.

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13. Is it "Mass", "Eucharist", "Holy Communion", or what?

In a word, "yes"! What the Book of Common Prayer refers to as the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion may be called by many names, including those above, as well as Holy Mysteries, Sacrifice of the Altar, and Blessed Sacrament.

Each provides a meaningful description of what we are celebrating and receiving, for example:

Holy Eucharist: a service of Praise and Thanksgiving.

Holy Mysteries: above our understanding.

Sacrifice of the Altar: showing our Lord's Death til He come Himself.

Holy Communion: that we receive our Lord in His Body and Blood.

Blessed Sacrament: the holiest of all Spiritual joys.

Moreover, as the Holy Eucharist is both a Sacrifice and a Sacrament, it is offered for both the Living and the Dead. It is an ancient custom, Scripturally based, that we remember the faithful departed through prayer during the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist; in particular, we do so, here, through the Priest's Intentions, stated before the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church.

Perhaps, we can best understand and accept this service as a Holy Communion or Eucharistic Sacrifice when we remember that it is Christ Himself Who offers, consecrates, and gives His Body and Blood unto Everlasting Life. He does this through the Priest here on earth, while presenting the same Sacrifice in Heaven, which He pleads in Glory before the Throne of God.

Truly, it is a Holy Mystery, beyond our human comprehension; yet, through this Holy Mystery, we are united to our Lord, in Communion with Him, through His Body and Blood, which we receive under the consecrated Bread and Wine. We are fed and spiritually nourished through this Heavenly Banquet.

By this Offering, not only of bread and wine, but also of ourselves, our souls and bodies, as living sacrifices, we commemorate and show forth our Lord's Sacrifice on the Cross, that One, Full, Perfect, and Sufficient Sacrifice, Oblation and Satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.

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14. Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament

It is often a custom in a Parish for the Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament to be used for the Communion of the sick and, in times of necessity, for Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, at such times as when the priest is ill, or otherwise unavailable to Celebrate the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and wine.

This is a universally accepted custom in the Church, going back many centuries, though, for a while in the English Church, during the Reformation era, it was disallowed.

The procedure for Reservation of the Sacrament is essentially the same throughout Catholic Christendom.

Following the Eucharist, the remaining Sacrament to be reserved is placed in suitable vessels.

The Consecrated Bread or Hosts are placed in a Pyx, a small metal box of silver, or a Ciborium, a silver container similar to a chalice with a lid.

The Consecrated Wine is placed in a glass cruet with an airtight stopper.

These are then placed in the Tabernacle, which sits on the Altar, or in an Ambry, which is attached to or inside a wall near the Altar.

The Tabernacle, or in the case of an Ambry, is lined with silk and has a lock.

In close proximity to where the Reserved Sacrament is kept, there is a light referred to as a Sanctuary Lamp, which burns continuously when the Reserved Sacrament is present.

Though traditionally the Sanctuary Lamp should contain olive oil, at All Saints' we use, instead, bees wax candles, as we do for our Altar candles, except for the two large ones which do burn oil.

While the Sanctuary Lamp traditionally is a white light, we use red as is frequently the custom in many Parishes.

The Reserved Sacrament is used primarily for the Communion of the Sick, and on Good Friday for the Mass of the Presanctified; however, at All Saints', we keep sufficient Sacrament in Reserve in the necessity of a Deacon's Mass, should only a deacon be available for a scheduled service.

We also have an Ambry as well as a Tabernacle. In the Ambry are kept the Consecrated Oils to use for Anointing the Sick, or for anointing a person at the point of death (often referred to as Last Rites), for anointing a person during Baptism, and for anointing a person at Confirmation.

There is hardly a time at All Saints' when the Sacrament is not present in the Tabernacle, and, thus, we all should be aware and pay proper respect to Its presence, the presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

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15. The Communion of Saints

As we go through the Church Year, we recognize and pray for various saints of the Church: the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and many of those who have been specially recognized by the Church for their unique contributions to Christianity.

While these prayers for saints are just for a limited few, or more specifically, those canonized by the Church, we should and do offer our prayers for all the saints in heaven; for indeed, those who die steadfast in the Faith become saints in heaven as the final blessed state of the faithful. This we affirm in the Apostles Creed and find so eloquently expressed in the final paragraph of the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church.

And, as we pray for the saints in heaven, all those who have gone before us, they, in turn, also pray for us: mutually, we pray that we may grow in the knowledge and love of God; that we may receive the abundance of his Grace; that we may persevere in the Faith; and that we may all in the end be united to Him in life eternal.

We pray, during each celebration of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, for the faithful departed of our Parish Family, as well as we pray for the living in their time of need or adversity.

While Protestants in general are reluctant to invoke the prayers of the saints, Catholic Christians, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, are more readily accepting of this aspect of the Communion of the Saints. It is Scripturally based and sound practice.

However, we must always keep a distinction between asking for prayers, and worship, or adoration. We must keep in the forefront of our minds that while invocation of the saints is important, it also is subsidiary in our worship and in the life of our Family in Christ.

It is through prayer that God's power and love, his blessings and succour are sought and found, both for us in this world and in the world to come.

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16. 1928 Prayer Book - A long History

Our 1928 Prayer Book is actually a number of books combined into one. In fact, there are five distinct parts of the Prayer Book,representing the five distinct books from which it is derived.

The first, The Book of Common Prayer, covers pages 1 thru 64, in which we find the Daily Offices or Services of Morning and Evening Prayer. These two offices were derived from the Breviary of the Middle Ages, and pared down from the seven daily monastic offices to our present day two. There are additional prayers and thanksgivings in this part of the Prayer Book, as well as the Litany and Penitential Office.

The second book is The Book for the Holy Communion, pages 65 thru 270. A successor to the medieval Missal, it contains the service of Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, along with the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels to be used throughout the Church Year.

Third, The Book of Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, pages 271 thru 342. Interestingly arranged to follow the Christian throughout his life, this part of the Prayer Book reflects the special services of the old Manual: Baptism, Office of Instruction, Order of Confirmation, Solemnization of Matrimony, the Churching of Women; then, the Visitation of the Sick with provisions for the Anointing of the Sick, and Communion of the Sick; and finally the Burial Offices.

Then, we have the fourth book, The Book of Psalms, or Psalter, pages 343 to 526. In addition to being arranged in numerical order, the Psalms are also grouped for us in daily Morning and Evening Prayer so that over a month's time, the entire Psalter is read.

Finally, book five, The Bishop's Book, or The Ordinal, beginning on page 527. In medieval times this would have been the Pontifical, containing the rites and ceremonies pertaining to the function of the Bishop, and include the Consecration of Bishops, the Ordination of Priests and Deacons, Consecration of Churches, and the Institution of Rectors into parishes.

And tucked in at the end of the Prayer Book are the Catechism, Family Prayer, and Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. 611 pages in all, not including the Roman numeral pages at the beginning which cover the lectionary, preface, table of contents, calendar, and so forth, and two pages Concerning the Service of the Church. All very interesting reading.

Our Prayer Book was not born in 1928 -- 1928 was the year that it became of age. Its real beginnings were in the early Church itself, when custom and tradition served to order the freely composed prayers and hymns. Indeed, by the end of the 2nd century, less than a hundred years after the last Apostle's death, short manuals, known as Church Orders, were in use, the most notable being the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hyppolytis of Rome, composed before the year 200.

Gradually over the centuries, texts were ordered representing the usages of principal Sees or jurisdictions. Then, during the middle ages, liturgical books were put together containing the formularies used in the services. The difficulty here was that each officiant in the service had a different book that contained only his parts of the service. To keep the service together and in proper order, a separate officiant was needed who had the Directory, or Ordinary, that contained all the cues and rules of liturgical procedure. In England, this was commonly called the Pie.

By the ninth century, the difficulty of such a cumbersome system led to codifying the different parts of a single type of service into one collection, such as the Missal that contained all the parts necessary for the Holy Eucharist; the Breviary for the Daily Offices; the Manual, or Ritual, with the Occasional Offices; and the Pontifical, with the services reserved to the Bishop.

Over the centuries, these Prayer Books or Sacramentaries evolved, until, to make a long story short, we reach the Reformation, and Archbishop Cranmer, who produced the first Prayer Book of 1549. Other revisions followed until 1662. It was the Prayer Book of 1662 that was in use in the Colonies at the time of the American Revolution, and was the basis, along with the Scottish Communion Office of 1764, for the first truly American Book of Common Prayer in 1789. And then, we come to 1928 and a final revision that drew from the English Proposed Book of 1928 and the 1911 Scottish Prayer Book.

Thus, the Prayer Book we have today has a very complex history and we owe a great debt to Archbishop Cranmer for his phenomenal effort in compiling such a magnificent expression of our faith. It remains the finest example of liturgical worship in existence, the best expression of Christian Catholic Theology, a masterpiece of the English language, and a definitive statement of Anglican theology.

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17. Worship of the Church - Early Christian Era

Many Christians today pretty much take for granted the worship of the Church, and assume that what they do in their own denomination is just what the early Christians did.

But, what did early Christians do? How did they worship? How did worship evolve in the Church to what it is today?

Though the Apostles first acts were to spread the Gospel by preaching and teaching, it was re-enforced by worship. Essentially, those early believers in Christ continued in their Jewish traditions, worshiping in the Temple and the Synagogues.

However, to this Jewish tradition, they added what were distinctly Christian components, primarily Baptism and the Eucharist.

Though Baptism was also a part of Jewish religious practice as a personal repentance for sin, it took on a greater meaning in Christian practice to become, not only a repentance for one's sins, but also an assurance of forgiveness and the incorporation into the Body of Christ, the Church. It was and is the once and for all initiatory rite, whereby one receives the Holy Spirit, and comes into the Church.

The Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper, for a time, was celebrated at the close of the Agape or fellowship meal, which was an extension of the Passover meal.

With these two essential elements which transformed their understanding of Judaism itself, early Christians faced a very practical problem: how to conduct worship?

Wanting to carry on with their old Jewish worship practices, while incorporating the new meaning and content, they found that they could not do both together.

Their immediate solution was to do both in parallel: they kept their normal hours of prayer in the Temple, and continued their Synagogue worship; then, on Sunday, following the Sabbath, they celebrated the Lord's Supper as Jesus had commanded.

To comply with our Lord's command, while keeping their Jewish traditions, the early Christians connected the Eucharist with the Resurrection.

Thus, as Jesus had been crucified on Friday, the day before the Jewish Sabbath, and had risen on Sunday, the third day, or day after the Sabbath, that "third day" (or Sunday) was deemed to be the Lord's Day, and His presence was experienced in the consecrated gifts of bread and wine. This parousia, as it was called, was the encounter of the people with Christ's new life in His Resurrection and, thus, it became natural that the Lord's Supper or Eucharist should be celebrated each Sunday, or Resurrection Day.

Within a very short time, a typical pattern for early believers had evolved: Synagogue worship on the Sabbath, followed by gathering after sundown for the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Resurrection Day. (Jewish custom was that the next day began at sundown.)

However, these early Christians soon came under persecution from their fellow Jews, and were forced out of the Temple and synagogues. Hence, the Church was faced with: how to structure its own form of worship?

They borrowed from the structure of synagogue worship, which consisted of prayers, a confession, eulogies, readings from the Scriptures, a homily, and a benediction. To this structure the celebration of the Lord's Supper was added and a form of worship, that was specifically Christian, evolved.

Though the worship of the Church would to continue to evolve in its structure, by the end of the first century, the core, or the synagogue structure, had developed into what is commonly referred to as the Liturgy of the Word. To the core had been added the Eucharist, inserted prior to the benediction. Finally, included in this now Christian Form of Worship was the use of sung or chanted Psalms, which had also been part of Jewish worship, and of which St. Paul had encouraged their use as in the singing of "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs".

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18. Preaching, Teaching, Worshipping: A Balancing Act

So often, we have discussed the importance of the worship of God; it is the purpose of human beings to worship their Creator. Indeed, we were created both to love and to worship God.

From the advent of the Church until the Protestant Reformation, despite its shortcomings, the Church was committed first and foremost to the worship of God.

With the Protestant Reformation, that changed. Worship was relegated to the back seat, and preaching and teaching were put behind the wheel.

Certainly, the Reformation was needed to purge the Church of many of the evil practices that had crept in over the centuries, under the administration of us human beings.

But, sometimes, the pendulum swings too far in the other direction, and, in the case of reform, it was a very wide swing away from Church's basic purpose of worship, and the administration of the Sacraments that incorporate its members fully into Christ's Living Body.

Truly, the commission of the Church includes preaching and teaching the Good News, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We Christians, corporately and individually, are charged with spreading the Word of God to the ends of the earth.

BUT, in order to do this, we must first offer ourselves to God in prayer and thanksgiving, giving Him the worship He is due as our Creator and Heavenly Father; we are to praise and adore Him, and above all else, to offer ourselves in His service.

The emphasis on preaching, teaching, and petition which was a result of the Reformation redirected our focus from God to ourselves. Our attention was now on listening to a sermon, and then asking God for what we thought we needed or wanted.

That is not what God has purposed for us. In the words of the Rev. Archibald Campbell Knowles, in his book The Belief and Worship of the Anglican Church:
God wants worship; He wants praise; He wants thanksgiving; He wants love -- deep, fervent, adoring love, not the watered down love that seeks Him for what it can get, but that soul-absorbing devotion that seeks Him for what it can give, the love that besides making the possessor consecrate his life to God, urges him to attend every service as a blessed opportunity of rendering God meet praise, worship and thanksgiving.
Without a doubt, Anglicanism meets God's requirements, providing that wonderful balance of preaching, teaching, and worshipping where the worship of God is first and foremost, where we truly offer ourselves to Him as "living sacrifices," and where we ask what can we do for Him, acknowledging that He will do always do for us what is best in His Sight.

In our sacramental form of worship, our focus is directed to God; yes, we do hear His Word, and are taught its meaning, and we do offer our petitions, but our focus is always God-ward, towards heaven; our attention is fixed on the Body and Blood of Christ; in both simple and elaborate liturgical fashion, we are drawn to God's Holy Table, as all of our senses are stimulated in his worship.

Our 1928 Book of Common Prayer is most extraordinary in that it has retained the heart of Christian worship and theology, what we call our "catholicity," maintaining our focus on our sole purpose, which is the worship of our Creator.

Fr. Knowles also has two extraordinary books which should be a basic necessity, in addition to Archbishop Haverland's book, for every churchman's personal library. They are: The Practice of Religion and The Belief and Worship of the Anglican Church.

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