Welcome to Tips & Tricks #8:
SING HIS PRAISES…LITERALLY
One of the best ways to learn something is to sing it. Isn’t that how most of us learned our ABC’s? Creating an Anglican home consists of bringing the faith and the things of God into the home. We sing a lot of our Daily Office (Morning, Evening and Night Prayer). It helps me memorize the prayers and allows me to meditate on them. I find myself with the melodies stuck in my head and the words just naturally accompany the tune.
How do you know you’re saved? This question is a very commonly asked question among teenagers and young people in the Baptist tradition. The answer that is often given by a pastor or preacher is that if there was a day in their past that they prayed to accept Christ into their lives and they meant it, then they are saved.
There are a lot of issues with this approach to salvation. I would like to address some of them, and recommend you watch this video by Paul Washer, a Southern Baptist preacher, who addresses this issue directly.
This post is a response to a previous post in which I talked about the Problem of Individualism in the Church. I claimed that Individualism has hurt the church, and I stand by that position. This post is a warning of the dangers of collectivism in the church.
When mentioning to our family members and friends how we are Anglican, we get a lot of confused looks and questions. Once they hear the word “father,” they think that we’re Catholic. Also, in conversations with friends who are wives of Anglican priests, they talk about getting flack for being married to a priest–thinking that all men who wear collars must be celibate! Well, this post is a little unpacking of the tradition of calling pastors ‘father,’ the clerical collar and the allowances of the men who wear them.
Welcome toTips & Tricks #4
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Merry Christmas one and all! We celebrate the first coming of our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, in this Christmas season. We call it “Christmastide” or the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” Most all of us have heard of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, but pay it no mind as we dutifully take down our Christmas decorations the day after Christmas. (If we leave them up past New Year’s Day, we are considered lazy and disrespectful!) But the celebration of Advent an Christmas in the Anglican Church calendar is very different from what we are used to here in America. Here are some major differences:
Individualism. It has ruined the church. We all understand as Christians that there is a need for the individual to come to faith, repent and believe in Christ Jesus as his personal Savior in order to be considered righteous in God’s eyes. We understand that we cannot rely on the faith of others to enter the gates of heaven. We must work out our individual salvation in fear in trembling. In this context the individual is important and we should focus on that. But is individualism consistent with Christianity?
The blood of Christ bought the Church (not an individual) (Eph. 5:25); all of us together (not individually) are the body of Christ; where two or three are (not one) (Matt. 18:20), there Christ is; Christ said we will be known by the love we have for one another, not for ourselves (John 13:35); Christ said the moral law is summarized in how we love God and one another, not how we love ourselves (Matt. 22:38-39). The whole Christian perspective is otherly, not individualistic!
I posted previously about how to read & pray every day using the Daily Office and explained the importance of praying and reading the scripture daily. Remember that the Daily Office was written for daily church services, and now that we don’t have the ability in the modern day to go to church every day, I’m adapting it to fit the needs of family daily prayer. And now here’s the nitty-gritty.
The structure of the Daily Office breaks down into four parts: the Opening, the Psalms, the Readings, and the Prayers. These four parts fall under one of two categories: the Ordinary and the Proper. The Ordinary parts of the Office stay the same all the time, while the Proper parts change according to the day or season of the Church Year (includes different psalms, readings and prayers).
How do we implement the Daily Office into family prayer? How frequently in the day should we pray as a family?
In centuries past, it was easy to walk to your parish church and attend daily prayer services. People could pray and hear the scriptures daily. Today, with our busy schedules and churches many miles away, going to church every day just doesn’t seem possible. This places a heavier burden on individual families to be diligent in their commitment to prayer and scripture at home. I found this to be especially hard in non-denominational and baptist circles, where I was just told to read and pray as the spirit led. Or, pick a devotional among the hundreds of thousands out there. How do you go about picking one?
Let’s be real. It’s hard to pray and read every day if you don’t set up a routine. Even when you set up a routine, life happens and disruptions occur, and the temptation is to leave praying and reading for ‘when you have the time’ and truthfully, it’s easy for it to slip from your mind and then feel guilty on Sunday mornings when the sermon reminds us to pray and read scriptures every day. But left to our own, how do we do it? My solution is to make it a family routine based on the Anglican church’s “Daily Office.”
This post is the first of a series of three parts that include 1) the explanation of why to use the Daily Office to pray and read at home, 2) how to adapt the Daily Office for home use and 3) step-by-step instructions on how to use the Daily Prayer App for home family prayer.
Before I was Anglican, I was Baptist, and the only time I’ve heard of the word “Liturgy” was at a nondenominational Christian conference seminar about the importance of liturgy. I was 16 years old and didn’t give a care to the word so I’ve forgotten everything he said about it.
After being led by my husband to consider Anglicanism, I had to learn the word! A short explanation from a previous post:
What is liturgy? What is Anglican liturgy? Liturgy is an orderly and structured form of church worship that consists of a combination of prayers, readings, songs, and sacraments. The Anglican liturgy is uniquely defined in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It specifically contains a 3-year schedule of prayers (where you sometimes stand and sometimes sit), readings from the Bible (at least one from the Old Testament, one of the Epistles, and one from the Gospels), and the sacrament (Communion). Each year is broken down into liturgical seasons where upon a different theme is focused. This sounds boring, you may be thinking. With centuries of knowledge and time dedicated to figuring out the best chorus of verses and prayers, the liturgy is quite exciting and helps focus the soul on what’s most important: Christ. Check out this article on “Why Millennials Long for Liturgy.”
I’ve attended church my entire life, and I feel like I’ve seen all type of churches – nondenominational, pentecostal, free, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic and Baptist. From my experience with people from each kind of church, it seemed like there were the ‘dead’ churches (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic) and there were the ‘alive’ churches (nondenominational, pentecostal, and free). So I came to the conclusion that the ‘dead’ churches were the ones with liturgy, so the aspect of liturgy must be why those Christians don’t seem to have a faith that is alive.
This is the first year that we decided to make our very own advent wreath. First, let’s get some questions out of the way.
- What is advent? Advent is the period of time in the church liturgical season where we await the coming of Christ in the flesh (Christmas). The services are hopeful and solemn, not super bombastic or celebratory as Christmas.
- What is liturgy? What is Anglican liturgy? Liturgy is an orderly and structured form of church worship that consists of a combination of prayers, readings, songs, and sacraments. The Anglican liturgy is uniquely defined in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It specifically contains a 3-year schedule of prayers (where you sometimes stand and sometimes sit), readings from the Bible (at least one from the Old Testament, one of the Epistles, and one from the Gospels), and the sacrament (Communion). Each year is broken down into liturgical seasons where upon a different theme is focused. This sounds boring, you may be thinking. With centuries of knowledge and time dedicated to figuring out the best chorus of verses and prayers, the liturgy is quite exciting and helps focus the soul on what’s most important: Christ. Check out this article on “Why Millennials Long for Liturgy.”
- What is an advent wreath? An advent wreath is a wreath (like the branches twisted into a circle that people often hang on their doors) with five candles. There are three purple candles (representing Hope, Love and Peace), one pink candle (Joy), and one white candle in the center that represents Christ. The candles also represent each week of advent, so Week 1 is Hope, Week 2 is Love, Week 3 is Joy (Pink), Week 4 is Joy and Christmas Day is Christ (White). For more info on advent wreaths, click here.
- What’s the purpose of the advent wreath? It is a tool to help us think on each weekly theme as the advent of Christ draws near. Each element of the wreath has symbolic meaning. We must remember to repent from our sins and work toward a holy life to prepare for Christ.
- What happens when you light each candle? We choose to conduct a small home prayer ‘service’ that includes scripture readings, some singing, and prayers. Click on the document “Advent Wreath Prayers” for a PDF example of what we pray.