Thursday, October 27, 2005
The second thing the title applies to is my collection of USA Books of Common Prayer. With the arrival of my most recent EBay acquisition, an 1836 illustrated edition of the 1789 Book of Common Prayer, I now own an original edition of each major revision of the BCP in the US: 1789, 1892, 1928, 1979. To me, being the history lover that I am and the liturgy lover that I am, this marks an important day for me, truly. I don't know quite what emotion it is, but when I know that I have all of those books, it somehow brings me closer to that communion of saints who have gone before. Those souls who used those books in their pews, who prayed those words from their hearts even as I pray the words from the 1979 book from my heart. It makes me feel really good, really connected to my spiritual forebears. I think the sense I am trying to describe is a sense of assurance. More than that, I cannot say.
I told myself when I began this quest two years ago that when I actually got each one, I would say Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer from each of them for a week. Given the worship schedule of Seabury, I may not get to that until next quarter, but I will get to it. I think it will be important for me to do that. Again, I'm not sure why, but I really feel that it is.
On the homefront: Bad news from Florida Power and Light - it may be up to a full month until power is restored to my family's house. Brennan called today and they said November 15. In the grand scheme of things, that is not disastrous. But it is a trial. Pray for all those who have lost more in this year's tragic hurricane season.
To bring it all full circle, I offer you this prayer, from the 1892 revision of the American BCP, for Fair Weather:
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech thee, of thy great goodness, to restrain those immoderate rains, wherewith, for our sins, thou hast afflicted us. And we pray thee to send us such seasonable weather, that the earth may, in due time, yield her increase for our use and benefit. And give us grace, that we may learn by thy punishments to amend our lives, and for thy clemency to give thee thanks and praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A number of years ago my brother got married using the 1892 BCP. The vows were quite old fashioned. The wedding was at the H B Plant Hotel of Spanish American War fame (now the Tampa Un). Everyone wore period costumes, mostly military uniforms of the era. I was an artillary officer of 1885. My 7 year old Vietnamese/American nephew carried the flower to the bride's mother (a period custom) while dressed in a splendid white suit hand made by a Cuban tailor. My wife made her Cuban familily recipe Sangria for the reception where the bride was 'toasted into the regiment' under crossed sabres by the uniformed members of the wedding party. It was quite a production and made the Tampa news. But it was the BCP service that was the big hit.
That's fantastic! It sounds like it was a real production, an excellent party, and a wonderful marriage ceremony. I am wondering how you settled on the 1892. Most people I know that want to celebrate out of an older rite use 1928. So, what was it about the 1892 that sold your wife and you?
My brother (the Confederate Nut) and his wife are Civil War reenactors with a flair for the dramatic. When they picked the old Plant Hotel they decided on the 1890's because that was when the hotel first opened. So they wanted to use the Prayer Book that was in use at that time (otherwise they would have gone for the Civil War era book.
Now, that's what I call dedication!
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