Some of you heard my sermon a few weeks ago where I talked about the Threefold Rule of Prayer in our Anglican/Episcopal tradition: Weekly Eucharist, Daily Office, and Personal Devotions. All are important, and each part nourishes us in different ways. Weekly Eucharist is no problem – we understand that attending the Eucharist weekly is central to our living out our Christianity, and most of us hold this as a goal. Daily Office, though, has not been consistently taught in most parishes. The Daily Office is made up of several services: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. Some of you do one or more of these on your own, and some of you may be unfamiliar with them. The Daily Office is meant to be just that – a daily practice.
The real significance of the Divine Office is that in its recitation the individual or group enters the ancient cycle of prayer, by which day by day and hour by hour the church in the name of all creation adores and implores the eternal God.
—Evelyn Underhill in Paths in Spirituality, MacQuarrie
The value of the Office is its objectivity. It is a means by which we pray with the whole church, uniting our prayer with that of millions of other Christians living and dead. This is true whether one is alone or in a group, for the Office is essentially a corporate act. It is objective too in that it does not depend on our feelings, but gives our prayer life a regularity and a disciplined framework.
—Kenneth Leech. True Prayer
We are going to start a form of the Daily Office at Good Shepherd in the near future. It will be either Morning Prayer at 9:00 a.m. or Evening Prayer at 5:00 p.m. in our Mary Chapel. These are short, contemplative versions of the services that should last no longer than about 25 minutes. These services can be led by lay people – and so here comes the invitation: those of you who are interested in exploring the daily office, and may be willing to commit to being on a team of lay people who regularly lead the office on a particular day of the week, please speak to me or contact the church office. When we see how many are available for training and to commit to some kind of a regular schedule (one day Monday through Thursday of either morning or evening prayer), we will decide which (Morning Payer or Evening Prayer) we will start as a parish. I will train the people who are interested and decide who is ready to be in the role of officiant.