Do we miss out?

This is a post comes out of some thoughts that have been going through my head for a while. The question is do we at the more evangelical end of the Anglican spectrum miss out on some of the spirituality of those at the higher end? I guess it really got me thinking about it a few weeks ago at Depth (see last post) we had an interesting brief discussion about saying the Grace together, some keep their eyes closed while others look around, but also those from the higher church make the sign of the cross as they say it, but what is the significance in the making the sign of the cross, why do those from a higher church background do it and why do we from a more evangelical background not? Is it outdated symbolism or is it a spiritual discipline that helps focus? I suppose this has also come up as I have been talking with my mentor, the other day he was talking about saying the ‘Daily Office’ a regular prayer pattern that exists in many branches of the church, there are several versions and each often has a Morning, Noon & Evening form. Many of these come from the more traditional denominations, and they are often used in monastic type communities. I have been trying to use the daily office and looking at few different forms online, I have  been using a version from the Northumbria community (along with one from common worship online) which starts with a time of silence followed by the words “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen” and it suggests making the sign of the cross as you do it. I have only used it a few times so far and have made the sign as I say it (although despite being in an office all by myself I have found myself doing it quite shyly and discretely) and there is something about it, it fits, it feels like it belongs. So why do some do it and others not? Are there other symbolisms like this that we don’t do? Is there room to explore some of these traditions within the evangelical church? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and feedback.

2 thoughts on “Do we miss out?

  • March 19, 2008 at 1:16 pm
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    “Come higher friend!”

    Michael and I have been using the Northumbria Community Night Prayer throughout lent. He’s a member of the community and stayed up there for a while many yearsa ago.

    I think the emerging church has discovered all kinds of ancient traditions which have become valuable.

    As for, crossing yourself., I’m glad it felt right. It does for me. I started to do it, particularly when I was singing n a choir and I wanted to be sure I was focussed on God not on music. It was a physical way of being sure.

    Physical actions shouldn’t be underestimated. The significance of kneeling in humility, sitting to listen, standing to praise, raising our arms up to reach for heaven, sitting with palms upwards to receive etc can had such depth for some. It doesn’t work for all but it can be a total handing over of oneself to the action and the worship.

    I’ll be interested to hear how it goes.

    God bless

    Sarah

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  • March 21, 2008 at 4:00 pm
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    I’m interested in this too. When I went to university, the chaplaincy was high anglican, and I learnt that they way to accept their ‘high’ ways was to understand them. I’m not sure I did that to a great level as a student, but I think there may be things we can learn. I’ve been reading a bit about monastic life and their disciplines, and have learnt lots. I don’t draw on it all the time, but have found it helpful. My spiritual director is a fan of ignation techniques, and so she’s introduced me to the prayer of examen.
    I’d love to know if you stick at praying the daily office, and if you do, why.

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