Liturgy actually is best translated, “the work of the people.” It is the expression of worship by the people of God. On this day in 1549 The Book of Common Prayer was adopted by the Church of England. The original book, published in 1549, was a product of the English Reformation following its break with Rome. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion. It also contained “occasional services”: the orders for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, prayers for the sick, and a funeral service.
English translations of Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from the Book of Common Prayer and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language. Like the Authorized King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare, many words and phrases from the Book of Common Prayer have entered common usage.
I think what is unique for Christians is that a resource like this can become a part of one’s personal worship and prayer. A pocket version is usually available so one could make this handy for daily worship and for being familiar with your own denominational roots. Denominations don’t have to be viewed negatively, although some view them as a sign of division. We can see them as St. Paul might describe, parts of the “Body,” with each part serving a different purpose.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” (Romans 12)
Vol 4 #54