BOOK REVIEW: The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition
I have been excited about International Edition of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer from InterVarsity Press. The churches in which I was involved growing up did not observe a liturgical calendar of any sort, so I recently began discovering the beauty of the rhythm of observing the year through the lens of historical Christian events and celebrations. Before discussing the updates contained in this version of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, I will give a little background as to its place in history for those, like myself, who may not have been raised in a church that values Christian tradition.
Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Protestant Reformation in England. Switzerland and Germany were in the midst of their Protestant Reformation and exploring their newfound freedom of theological exploration through each one’s distinctive views. Thomas Cranmer intentionally chose to establish the Anglican Church as a moderate or “middle way” between liberalism and conservatism. He played a large part in developing the Book of Common Prayer that, after various religious revolutions in England, became the accepted text by which to govern worship, scripture readings, and even invocation during governmental and social events. Every mainline denomination around the world (Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran) has made use of the text in some way while forming their own books of prayer and worship.
IVP’s newly released International Edition of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer seeks to update spelling, language, and phrases that no longer hold the same meaning as they did four centuries ago. Samuel L. Bray and Drew N. Keane have updated the language to make it more accessible for use by priests, pastors, lay leaders, and readers around the world in utilizing this edition. This hardcover edition is tastefully designed and easy to read. It contains a single red ribbon bookmarker. It also offers suggestions of how to incorporate various elements in red letters, contrasting the black text for the elements read in a service.
As a Worship Leader in a modern context, I often find myself seeking out creeds, prayers, and other historically accepted forms of Christian worship to incorporate into my service planning. Drawing from the rich history of Christianity and merging it with a contemporary form of worship proves to be very meaningful for those taking part in the service. It gives a deeper sense that we are not alone, but are continuing in a faith that celebrates a rich heritage that extends both before and after us.
I would recommend IVP’s The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition especially to pastors and worship leaders who plan services, but also to those seeking to incorporate a rhythm to their devotional life.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press for the purpose of this review.