by Amanda Watson
Several weeks ago Heavenly Rest began streaming Morning Prayer each week day at 8:30 a.m., therefore becoming an anchor to our day during a time when we were separated from our community. Morning Prayer has become a welcome constant in our lives, a time of coming together in communion with Anglicans throughout the world and especially with our friends and neighbors through the warm familiarity of the Book of Common Prayer. The Daily Office has become an anchor.
An anchor establishes a place to be. Morning Prayer establishes the place to be - in prayer with the body of Christ. Morning Prayer anchors us in time - God’s time. Each day Morning Prayer begins with an opening sentence of scripture reflecting the liturgical season. So our day is no longer a time to be filled with motions but a time to rest in God’s time. To be anchored is to trust in the promise of God.
We have awakened to the beauty and power of the Daily Office. The word office comes from the Latin officium meaning literally service or duty. In modern usage, an office is simply another word for a scripted set of prayers . In the Anglican tradition, these sets of prayers are called the Daily Office because these are the offices that we are meant to do on a daily basis, which sets them apart from rites like Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist, offices that we use weekly or occasionally.
Each day as I hear the beep of our invitation to Morning Prayer, I am grateful for those who come each day to lead us in prayers. Each reader reads the scriptures and the prayers differently, each with their own cadence and each with their unique voice; each uniquely opening up the wideness of God’s words, each sharing with all of us a moment in God’s presence.
Morning Prayer not only anchors our days but creates a space in which our hearts and minds can gather. Through the voices of the leaders, each reading carefully with intentionality, we hear not just words but the revealing rhythms of the Psalms and canticles (poems, hymns, or songs of praise taken directly from the Bible), the opening up of the huge expanse and continuing story of God’s love for his people and the offering in community of our common prayers of forgiveness, intercession and thanksgiving. I am truly grateful for those voices that lead us in prayer creating a space in which our hearts can find our common place of prayer.
Morning Prayer anchors our day in the limitlessness of God’s presence in each moment of our day. Thanks be to God.