Anglicans Online banner More about the gryphon
Independent On the web since 1994 More than 250,000 readers More than 30,000 links Updated every Sunday
Will you help support
Anglicans Online?

The Paypal logotype

Noted Recently
Sites new to AO

News Centre
News archive

News flash: a summary of the top headlines
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us by email
Be notified each week

Start here
Anglicans believe...
The Prayer Book
The Bible

Read letters to AO
Write to us

Resources A to Z

World Anglicanism
Anglican Communion
In full communion
Not in the Communion

Dioceses and Parishes
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Africa
Sri Lanka

Vacancies Centre
List a vacancy
Check openings worldwide

Add a site or link to AO
Add a site to AO
Link to AO

About Anglicans Online
Back issues
About our logo

Our search engine

Hallo again to all.

Some years ago we flew to a faraway city in the USA to arrange the funeral of a dear friend who had just died. Our second stop was to visit her rector at her parish church, for she had asked that a requiem mass be held there. The rector was an affable sort, quite flexible and cooperative. Well, mostly cooperative. He said 'we can do pretty much anything you want that is in the Book of Common Prayer, except that we won't do Eucharistic Prayer C.' After a pause, he continued 'That's the prayer talking about "interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets, and so on. That one is too goofy for us."'* We remembered having seen it in the US Book of Common Prayer, but couldn't recall ever experiencing it in a Sunday Eucharist.

Recently we needed to stay after church for a few hours to wait for someone. We've read almost every book in the parish library and there was no one else around who had time for chatter. So to pass the time, we began reading from the BCP. Coming across Prayer C, we noticed this passage, a page or two past the reference to interstellar space:

Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.

We needed to hear that. We realized that we had fallen into the trap of rushing to church for solace when we felt that life was not going well and pardon when we had 'done things we ought not to have done'. But we were entirely guilty of not having asked for strength after asking for solace, and not seeking renewal after begging pardon.

There is so much suffering in the world that we had been embarrassed to talk about our own need for solace. How could our petty problems possibly compare with those of migrants, refugees, or victims of oppressive governments or of horrible disease? So we just didn't talk about it. Naturally that didn't help anything.

The late husband of the woman whose funeral we were organizing that year used to argue strenuously that it was never appropriate to compare the need for solace, to compare woes. He had been through leukaemia, grand mal seizures, bladder cancer, countless broken bones because of a congenital fragility, life-threatening asthma, cerebral blood clots, rectal shingles, and probably more that he never told us about. One of his legs was 10 centimetres shorter than the other. He never complained, never compared his troubles to anyone else's, and looked always for strength over solace. (He also never attended church, claiming that 'it doesn't work'.) He always sought strength, but did sometimes quietly look for solace. He owned a dozen editions of the Book of Common Prayer. Maybe he had read them?

It is well understood that the Bible is worth reading and re-reading (though there is much dispute as to why that is so). Not so much prayer books. Be they Common Worship, The Book of Common Prayer, The Book of Occasional Services, or other variations, the typical use of Anglican prayer books is to guide worship services, not to be read silently. Change that. Try reading your prayer book. Who knows what you might learn?

See you next week.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

23 June 2019

*If you are not familiar with the US Episcopal Church Eucharistic Prayer C, you can find it here.

A thin blue line
This web site is independent. It is not official in any way. Our editorial staff is private and unaffiliated. Please contact about information on this page. ©2019 Society of Archbishop Justus
. Please address all spam to