Is It Possible to Conduct the Service of Morning Prayer in the BCP Format Using the BAS?
by David M. Paton
MORNING PRAYER ACCORDING TO:
|BCP ORDER OF SERVICE
Sentences of Scripture (optional on weekday)
The Lord be with you
Anthem or Hymn (optional)
|BAS ORDER OF SERVICE
available (p.45) or sentence for day (optional)
could be used earlier during
A comparison of the BAS order of service for Morning Prayer with that of the BCP shows that it is indeed largely possible to follow the BCP format while using the BAS. The order followed in the BAS is generally very similar to that in the BCP, except that in the BAS the Lord’s Prayer is used at the conclusion of the Intercessions and the Thanksgivings in the BAS. In addition, a number of the Canticles and Collects are not included with the section on Morning Prayer in the BAS. This makes their use more difficult in the BAS.
It is instructive also to examine the format of Morning Prayer in other recent Anglican Service Books. In the ASB 1980 of the Church of England, the format is very similar to that in the BCP 1962. A helpful addition is that the Priest may begin the service with a short introduction that indicates the aim of the service and that summarises what will be done during the service. The wording used in the APB 1989 of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa is closely similar to that of the ASB 1980. However, the act of penitence comes after the Venite or the Jubilate Deo.
“A New Zealand Prayer Book” (NZPB 1989) is also generally similar in format to the ASB 1980. It has, however, two very interesting and, in my opinion, commendable aspects. First, it has attempted to be culturally relevant (and sensitive) in that it includes sections in Maon and provides an adaptation of the Benedicite that celebrates God’s creation in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Second, there is a section that provides different Collects (which it terms Songs of Praise) and Collects for each day of the week and for mornings and evenings. I have found this to be a particularly helpful feature that can contribute significantly to one’s own daily devotions.
In conclusion, it is indeed possible to conduct the service of Morning Prayer using the BAS while adhering to the format in the BCP 1959. However, in order to he able to follow and to participate in the service, the congregation would have to be alerted to the pages involved. I would suggest that this approach could well have advantages. An obvious example would be where many in the congregation are less than 30 and/or are relatively new to the Anglican Church. For them, the style of language in the BAS would be very much more familiar, but the format followed would still be very close to that of the BCP 1962. This article is offered in the hope and prayer that it will contribute to reconciliation between the various liturgical factions within our Church.
- The BCP Exhortation may be shortened, or “let us confess our sins to Almighty God” may be used instead. In both the BCP and BAS the Exhortation, Confession and Absolution are optional. However, if they are used, they are to be used as a unit.
- These begin “O lord, open thou our lips.”
- The versicles and responses on page 11 of the BCP starting “O lord, show thy mercy upon us.”
- I have been unable to find the equivalent of these prayers in the BAS. The following version of these versicles and responses is from “The Alternative Service Book 1980” (ASB 1980) and is reproduced with the Permission of The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. It would be appropriate to use as the style would be similar to the rest of the service.
Priest: Show us your mercy, O Lord
People: and grant us your salvation.
Priest: O Lord, save the Queen;
People: and teach her counsellors wisdom.
Priest: let your priests be clothed with righteousness:
People: let all the nations acknowledge your saving power.
Priest: O Lord, make your ways known upon the earth;
People: and let your servants shout for joy.
Priest: Give your people the blessing of peace;
People: and let your glory be over all the earth.
Priest: Make our hearts clean, O God;
People: and renew a right spirit within us.
5. “An Anglican Prayer Book 1989” (APB 1989) has a revised version of this prayer which some may consider more in keeping with the rest of the style followed in the BAS. This is reproduced from page 53 of the APR 1989 with the permission of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa:
“Heavenly Father, your Son has promised
that whenever we pray in his name you will hear us:
answer our prayers as may be best for us
granting us in this world the knowledge of your truth
and in the world to come the fullness of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”