Our common life

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I had a Twitter exchange with a fellow Episcopalian, Brendan (@indybrendan), last night about the Daily Office.

He said he couldn’t get into Morning Prayer because he’s not a morning person, but he’d be glad to pray for me during Compline before he went to bed.

Megan (@revlucymeg) piped up and said, “that’s why we have a daily cycle — everyone takes an office,” and I promised I’d have Brendan’s back at Morning Prayer. This is how the Church fulfill’s St. Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing.”

On Thursdays there’s a baptismal slant in Morning Prayer. Canticle 8 (BCP 85), appointed to follow the Old Testament lesson, recounts the Exodus — linked in Christian imagination to the Easter Vigil and baptism. The Collect for Guidance, customarily read on Thursdays, places our identity and our work in God, in whom “we live and move and have our being” (BCP 100). In the first Prayer for Mission on that same page we pray to our heavenly Father for “all members of your holy church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you.”

I added this morning, in honor of Brendan, a favorite prayer from Compline that underscores our mutual dependence, not only as members of the Church united by Baptism, but also as creatures united by life on God’s round Earth.

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 134)

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