Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Going to The Office—Daily.

For the last two weeks I've been led to talk prayer; at StB two Sundays ago and in Saskatchewan last weekend at Emmanuel, St Louis; St Stephen's, MacDowall and St George's, Prince Albert. On October 20th at StB it was the gospel of the day and Jesus telling the parable about the "need to pray always and not to lose heart" in Luke 18:1. Last weekend in Saskatchewan it was The Following Jesus Weekend which culminated in the Rule of Life on page 555 of The Book of Common Prayer with its reference to "the practice of private prayer, Bible-reading and self discipline."

We Anglicans have no excuse. The Daily Offices; Morning and Evening Prayer, with their associated lectionaries, are simply brilliant. It doesn't matter how I feel, how articulate I am, how holy or spiritual I am feeling, the offices in either book, The Book of Common PrayerThe Book of Alternative Services, not to mention the Church of England's online offices, will pick me up with words of Holy Scripture set to prayer and carry me aloft into the heavenlies where the winds of God can whip through my hair. They will for you, too.

In "Breaking the Habit," over at The Community, Laura Marie Piotrowicz writes of the importance of "going to the office" every day:
My daily office is important to me; it keeps me grounded and connected and helps me find a holistic spirituality to my day. Establishing the habit of the daily office took some discipline, and I do my best not to break it. It doesn’t necessitate a lot of resources (there’s an app for that!), it doesn’t take a lot of time, but there is much benefit. As one person recently said at our bible study, it’s a chance to be “close and sweet with God.” 
So I live the habit. I pray, daily, because I choose to. It’s important to me to include prayer in my daily routine, as the practice enhances my day.
You can read Laura's whole piece here.

The offices, of course, are liturgy. Some people find liturgy repetitive and, therefore, tedious. Too bad. I need repetition because I leak and I forget. Some people call liturgy empty ritual. So fill it. Matt Marino over at his excellent The Gospel Side blog has something to say about liturgy and repetition in his "Spiritual Baseball: the unlikely path to intimacy with Jesus":
What I discovered was that the power is precisely in the repetition…that, as a rough rock in a stream becomes a smooth stone from years of water flowing over it, the Christian is formed into the image of God when we surrender ourselves to the three-fold pattern of daily immersion in the Scriptures, weekly feeding in the Eucharist, and the annual cycle of the Christian year, combined with contemplative practices like those of the desert fathers. I have found that these are re-orienting my perception of reality, the way I view time, life, and the world around me, in ways that words on a page cannot fully capture. It is freeing me to love those who oppose me and work for the good of those who seek my harm.
You may not be interested in walking the path to the ancient Church, known in Anglicanism as “the Canterbury trail.” I was not either. Ironically it is a journey that has given a depth to my walk with Christ that I never imagined. Like someone who has never tasted ice-cream, I didn’t know what I was missing.
His whole piece is worth a read, as usual, especially since it's World Series time.

Going to the office, daily, is a great way to pray always and not lose heart whether I feel like it, or not.