The book splays open, and births Life...Life beyond that of this pain-flayed body, beyond this mortal coil. The words within whisper Truth to each soul while the translation from ancient tongues remains archaic, the work of Miles Coverdale, locked in the sixteenth century where it precedes even King James' Authorized Bible.
This book of prayer, actually a Book of Common Prayer, was published in 1928, and it remains the main prayer book for many a conservative Anglican in the States. The Word on the page is spoken aloud, prayed aloud--Words of the Ages cleft in the Rock, now intones wisdom and grace.
Each morning I riffle the translucent pages until The Venite, the Call to Worship taken from Psalms 95 and 96, memorized through daily use over the last four years:
Venite, exultemus Domino.How do we hide His Word in our hearts?
O COME, let us sing unto the LORD; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God; * and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are all the corners of the earth; * and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it; * and his hands prepared the dry land.
O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For he is the Lord our God; * and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth; * and with righteousness to judge the world, and the peoples with his truth.
Through praying it each morning, each noon, each evening, each night before bed. Through intoning Words of Life, They indwell us. He indwells us.
No matter how many days I pray these prayers, never do these Words grow rote or roll off my tongue, through my head, without leaving a glimmer of Him behind. He never leaves, never forsakes. Never.
In the glister of candleflame, He flames forth, filling and fulfilling, every one of His Promises YES.
I eat this Book, sweet on my tongue and clinging to my heart.
As evening wanes and my flannel sheets call my name, I open Common Prayer and pray the heartfelt words of Mary in the Gospel of Saint Luke as she celebrates the One growing within her, the One who will save her and us all, and I magnify Him through her words, His Word:
MY soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.As eyes droop and spirits flag, His Word echoes in my mind, lulling me into His arms. I've been praying His Word...the Psalter now so familiar from praying it night and day each month over the years...the Canticles of Evening and Morning Offices of Prayer, breathed out, second nature to me, the Scriptures of Holy Communion prayed each Friday--Grace and Truth in action.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers,
Abraham and his seed, for ever.
I pray these Words, and they implant, take root, send forth shoots into very soul. They become part of my thoughts, my words, and, I pray, my actions. They become bread and wine, very sustenance. I eat of them greedily, drink them down thirstily.
And they nourish, building my strength in Him, His Power in my spirit, my power in His Spirit.
The Word Made Real...through praying it daily.
In Common with thousands of others, I pray His Word.
Praying His Word in Common,