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Hallo again to all.

Our reader survey is brief and we only ask about once per decade. Please?

The son of a clergyman, one of our grandfathers grew up with the tradition of daily household gatherings for morning and evening prayers in addition to attending weekly Sunday services. As a young child we remember attending church with our grandfather and being impressed at the speed with which he recited the familiar communal prayers—ahead of the priest and the rest of the congregation! It was probably due to his deafness and an inability to hear the communal spoken rhythms, but as a child, it was the 'race to the finish' aspect of his prayer that caught our attention.

With the insights gained by living many years since then, we now interpret the scene differently. Most likely he wasn't competing to reach 'Amen' before others but was continuing to be an active member of the congregation to the best of his ability, and his congregational family understood, accepted, and supported him. Community at its best is another way of looking at this recollection.

We have not inherited the sort of memory that can recite ahead of the group. We belong to the ilk who, despite having memorized it, contentedly read the Nicene Creed aloud each week from our Book of Common Prayer listening for the communal pauses and starts of each phrase. Some might call it timidity, but, for us, it is an act of release: subsuming our individuality into the worshipping chorus.

And with each pause we find we are able to unwind a little bit. Fortunately, our liturgies have many communal prayers—and thus many pauses. By the end of the Eucharist, we are more collected than we were when we arrived. Recharged. Refreshed. With better perspective on the week ahead.

When our diary overflows with events, meetings and deadlines, and we are in a frenzy juggling where we need to be when, with what, and for whom, we are tempted to skip Choral Eucharist (too long), Morning Prayer (work commitments), Evensong (still at the office), and even Compline (late supper followed by family chores). Playing hooky seems the path towards increased personal sanity until we remember the prayers and the pauses: the stillness, the clarity, the renewed sense of purpose.

And thus each week you will find us in the pew near you, prayer book in hand.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the way you love,
and do what you would do.

See you next week.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

25 October 2015

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