Fourth Sunday after Trinity - reflection
Hopefully by now you will have received in the post a little booklet of prayers and readings for every day next week, Monday to Saturday. I put it together because several people have asked me for something to help with their daily prayer and I hope you find it useful.
It isn’t always easy to keep up daily prayer, or to keep up daily Bible reading – as St Paul reminds us in today’s reading, “I want to do what is right, but I cannot always do it”. To do right we need the help of God, the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. But we can also help one another, which is why I’m sending out this booklet.
I put the booklet together and printed it for you, but I didn’t write it myself – it is the Church of England service of Prayer During the Day. There are lots of resources around, online and in books, so you should feel free to use something else if you prefer, but I almost always stick to the Church of England prayer services. That’s partly because it’s what I know best, but also it’s because I really love the way our Church uses the Bible in its services.
This is a legacy of the history in which our church was founded in the 16th century, in the Reformation in which churches across Europe, including the church in England, broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. When the Church of England was going through its first stormy centuries, a desire to focus on the Word of God was absolutely central. So when it came to guiding the faithful, the Church of England didn’t start with a doctrinal tract, it didn’t start by nailing its theology to a door or writing out a set of beliefs – the Church of England started with the Bible and from that Bible it built a set of prayers and services which could be used by any individual and had to be used by every church – the Book of Common Prayer.
The Book of Common Prayer, the BCP, defined the Anglican faith. But it’s not a historical document – it’s living liturgy, still in constant use in the Church of England and at St Aldhelm’s we use it for Holy Communion every Thursday. If you know the BCP you will know that everything you need is found there – all the prayers, all the Bible readings, the daily psalms, all contained in one book, small enough to pop in a pocket.
That is also the principle behind this little booklet – everything you need for daily prayer and Bible reading, in one small package. Life is tough for lots of us at the moment, and it might feel like daily discipleship is too much to expect, so let’s make it easy for one another – because as Jesus reminds us, his burden is light and if we turn to him, if we agree to take on the yoke of faith in him, we will find it easier than we expect.
I will be praying these services every day this week at 8am and you are welcome to join me. Those of you who have the technology, on Monday to Thursday I will be doing the services on Zoom – see below for instructions on joining me. Otherwise, feel free to say the service wherever you are, whenever you want, knowing that our prayers are joined in God.
Life is tough at the moment, but God’s yoke is easy and the burden is light. Let’s grow together in prayer and discipleship. Amen