Advent. The season of great and ancient spiritual resources. a season of expectation and preparation. And for me, … a season in which The Book of Common Prayer fails me the most. It has removed a great many of the propers which give this season its exceptionally rich spiritual content. It is not just the “collect of Advent II” which transforms Advent II into “Bible Sunday.” The Book of Common Prayer departed from universal and catholic tradition by the adoption of a new and radically different set of propers – especially collects. In particular the Collect for “Bible Sunday” (named after the collect for the Second Sunday in Advent) provides an example of how a change of worship shows a change of doctrine. We have here a “double whammy” of revolution in doctrine and worship.
The ancient tradition, by (among other things) the passage of time, has been ripened by the Holy Spirit and is now replaced with the newly invented doctrines and liturgies of man. Man moves to the center of worship rather than God. A similar sort of revolution has taken place in the Roman Catholic world. A change of worship coincided with a change in doctrine (and morals).
In The Episcopal Church the 1970-ies saw the introduction of a new Book of Common Prayer (1979) which continued the man-centered worship and doctrine first introduced by Thomas Cranmer. The new Prayer Book differs in significant ways from its 1928 predecessor in degree, but not in essence. Though this will not be easily admitted by may an Anglo Catholic. The difference between the 1549 Prayer Book and its ancient predecessor are exponentially larger than the differences between the 1928 and 1979 Books of Common Prayer. The latter are differences along the same spectrum whereas the ancient Liturgy and the new Liturgy of Thomas Cranmer differ not simply in degree but in essence. Hard truths for some, but easily verified. The resources on Sarum Liturgy are ever increasing and can be consulted by anyone connected to the internet. The changes in the liturgies signal changes in doctrine. Or to be more precise: the new liturgies teach new doctrines.
The English Missal and the Benedcitine Office Books contain a full, traditional, and catholic liturgy for Advent. These salvage from the Book of Common Prayer what can be salvaged without sacrificing anything important. It is these sources I intend to reflect on more deeply this coming Advent Season, and from these I will supplement what is lacking from even the Anglican Breviary.
Gregory Wassen +