All Saints Anglican  All Saints’ Church
Greenville, SC REC Reformed Episcopal ACNA Anglican Church in North America Parish 1928 BCP 1928 Book of Common Prayer Divine Hours Daily Offices Breviary terce sext compline prime vespers

Week 11

Liturgical Note: In the entrance way to many Anglican sanctuaries you will find a Stoup (literally cup or basin) filled with holy water. Prior to entering the church many parishioners will dip their fingers into the water and cross themselves. The practice is both ancient and biblical. The idea is that when we come into God’s house after being out in the world we are dirty (both literally and spiritually). Therefore, we need to be cleansed and renewed. Thus, the use of the stoup is an act of prayer of sorts. We come to God’s house confessing our need to be clean and turning to God to wash us. At the same time, the stoup points back to and reminds us of the onetime inclusion of Baptism and the ongoing cleansing that Baptism assures us is ours in Christ. The Stoup then helps to set the proper framework for worship and thus provides a fitting preparation for the service.

 

Liturgical Location: we are in the midst of the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church. Thus far we have prayed for the biblical grounding of the entire Church, the nations of the world in which the Church ministers, the leadership of the Church, and the particular congregation to which we belong. Next, the prayer prompts us to pray for the particular needs of specific individuals. Notice then the flow: as the prayer progresses it moves from the Church in general to more and more particular (or local) concerns. Importance: remember one of the major functions of the liturgy is to inform your own personal devotion. As such, the prayer reminds us of the scope and balance that our own prayers are to have.

 

II. Prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church

 

F] Prayer for individuals in need

And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succor all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity [Especially_______________ ].

 

In this portion of the prayer we turn to the specific areas of need that confront particular individuals. As we do so, we are reminded that God does not limit his concern to the inward life of man. Rather, He created, redeems and cares for the whole of life. Notice then the holistic scope of the prayer reflects the holistic nature of grace. At the same time, the prayer qualifies or puts the present life in perspective by reminding us that this life is transitory. As such, it is not the full or eternal life that God has in store for His people (Beatific vision). On the other hand, as the prayer prompts us to pray for the concerns of this life it reminds us that this life and world are not disposable. Rather, they matter. Thus, while the present order is passing away, nonetheless, it awaits and will share in the redemption of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21).

 

Note: the beatific vision is the idea that when we encounter beauty in this life (be it in nature, art, worship, or friendships) that beauty is incomplete, temporary, and marred. As such, the beauty of this fallen world always points beyond itself suggesting the fullness to come. As such it leaves us with a longing and a desire for the restored, redeemed, and permanent.

 

G] Prayer for the Church Triumphant
And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate.
Amen.

 

At this point the prayer reflects the full nature of our communion. Those who have died in Christ are still part of the body of Christ and are active with Christ in His work.

Revelation 20:4 And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Please note: Scripture does not tell us exactly what role those who have died in Christ now play in the work of Christ but only that they are active and reigning with Him. Therefore, it is best that we not speculate beyond what Scripture says.

 

Next, notice we thank God for their life and ministry and we ask that they continue to grow in their love and service of God.

 

Importance: it is vital to note that we are not praying for the dead in the classic sense of the term. That is, we are not asking God to give them grace or standing in His kingdom that were not already theirs in life nor are we suggesting that there is something more that is needed to supplement grace (I Peter 1:3-6; II Peter 1:3). Rather, we simply thank God for their life and ministry and ask that they continue to grow in their love and service of God. That is, we ask that those perfected by grace will continue to discover its boundless blessings and joys as they daily learn new aspects of our infinite God to love, trust, and worship (such then is nothing less than what Scripture promises each believer):

1 Corinthians 13:13 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Notice that none of the virtues that Paul says abide eternally are stagnant. Rather, each one indicates real growth and development within perfection. Thus, because we are finite and God is infinite, even when we are perfected in glory, there will still be boundless things to learn about God. Likewise, there will still be parts of His eternal plan that we must wait for as they unfold. Thus, in heaven we will still hope, trust, and discover new aspects of God and His plan to love.

 

Bottom line: rather than seeking something that does not belong to the believer, this portion of the prayer asks for only those things that God assures every believer is theirs at death. As such, the prayer underscores the believer’s ongoing participation in the body and work of Christ even after death and thus gives concrete expression to the unbroken nature of our communion.

 

Finally, we ask God to grant us the grace to follow their good examples of faith, ministry, and conduct.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the (leg of the) race that is set before us (think relay race)

In the end, this portion of the prayer gives expression to the ongoing unity of the whole body of Christ without superstition or violation of the all-sufficient nature of grace.

 

 

Website Builder