Friday, September 7, 2007

Back to Victoria Chapel

After a month away from the Friday Healing Services with Alpine Anglican while Father Acker has been on vacation or at synod meetings, I slid into the single pew in Victoria Chapel with a sigh of contentment. After getting seven-year-old B settled with his own prayer book, I opened my 1928 Book of Common Prayer to the Morning Prayer service as Father entered the tiny chapel and lit the four candles on the altar.

It felt so lovely to read Scripture together, pray together, and celebrate Holy Communion together with B doing acolyte duty by pouring the wine and water into the chalice at the proper times. Plus, we prayed the Litany for Healing where we ask God to help and bless for doctors, nurses, and those who are ill "in body, mind, or spirit." After Communion, Father Acker prays for healing and blessing by laying on of hands and anointing with holy oil. We also read the Psalms for the Seventh Morning (Psalms 35-36) and the Lectionary readings for the Friday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity (2 Samuel 15:30-16:4 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10). Then once Morning Prayer was over and Holy Communion began, we did the readings for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity -- the Epistle Reading: Galatians 3:16-25 and the Gospel Reading: St. Luke 10:23-37. And all the prayers, especially those prayers "for the whole state of Christ's Church" -- I love praying for our President and leaders, for unity in the Church, for purity of heart and mind, for Church leaders and pastors, and for "the comfort and succour of all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity."

But of all the prayers, the General Confession is my favorite:

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, Amd are most heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Richard Foster, in his book Prayer, recommends this prayer as the ideal of confessional prayer, and I absolutely agree. I just wish that Victoria Chapel had room for kneelers because this prayer truly necessitates the physical act of kneeling in submission before God.

I have missed the Anglican services very much and was so glad to be back in the state of quiet prayer and contemplation. Aaaaahh, I feel so at home with the Anglican mode of worship that is so poetic, so reverent, so truly worshipFULL.

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