Liturgy Lesson: The Propers

Liturgy Lesson: The Propers

In our Prayerbook, on pages 90-269, we find the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels. Called the “propers” from the Latin proprius, meaning "own," they’re the lessons and prayers belonging to the particular Sunday, Holy Day, or special occasion, such as weddings. These very ancient devotions were probably arranged in their present order by St. Jerome, in the 4th century, and although designed to be part of the Communion service, we also use the collect all week for the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. The term "collect" refers to these as the collected (unified) prayers of the people; our collects mostly originate in the writings of Gregory the Great, who gathered them out of 4th and 5th century liturgies. Archbishop Cranmer, the father of the English Reformation, along with other Godly men, authored some in the 16th century, and a few a bit later. These ancient Scripture readings and prayers harmonize a central truth appropriate to the liturgical day’s devotions and lead us to worship as St. Paul commended, “decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40)—a Scriptural tasking to all Christians seeking God. However, to really get the full benefit from the propers requires us to enter worship well prepared for a spiritual interface. That’s why, in the Newcomers’ course, we teach everyone that the best way to approach worship is to prepare ourselves through personal examen and invoking the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for ourselves and all around us. That way, we not only ensure St. Paul’s “decency and order” but also enable ourselves to another Scriptural injunction—to worship in “spirit and truth” (St. John 4:23-24). After all, God looks on our hearts—the real proper of the day that we lift to Him.

Collect for the 13th Sunday After Trinity

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for
the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 1928 BCP p. 207)

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Beata wrote:
I love the Anglican way of worship

September 18, 2014 @ 1:36 PM

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