Timothy WillardComment

Timothy WillardComment
Despite the quality of language that strikes us nowadays as majestic, grandly alienated, perhaps what it most notable about the words of the Prayer Book are their simplicity and directness. C. S. Lewis called this “pithiness”; I would add “coziness” or “comfortability.” The Prayer Book was a handbook of worship for a people, not for a priesthood, and its job was to replace and improve, without entirely abolishing, those ancient collective rites of worship that bound people together in the English Catholic Church. The marriage service, for instance, was a medieval liturgy that long predated the final form it found in the Book of Common Prayer. For centuries people had been plighting their troth in words not dissimilar to Cranmer’s. It availed Cranmer nothing to invent a liturgy that threw out that history and erected, by force of rhetorical grandeur, a verbal screen of altar between the priest and his congregation. Though there is a theological sternness to Cranmer’s prayers, there is also an approachability about them; ordinary phrases and familiar biblical similes are used.
— James Wood, from his introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of the BCP (via bookofcommonprayer)

Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.