Yesterday I sat with friends and colleagues and was asked to bring along an item that represented my life right now. I brought along a book (Really? I asked myself...you're going for a book? But yes, a book...) called Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
Common Prayer was compiled by Christians of the "New Monastic" movement. I chose it as my object for reflection because it combines the old and the new; prayers and scripture from the ancient church that I am familiar with from Episcopal worship, and prayers and quotes that are brand new for our present context. The prayers are quietly set off by small beautiful images.
I chose it because it evokes familiar, sound theology about Christian life, but with an urgency often left up to the more confidently Evangelical parts of the Church. It has helped me reengage some of the more astounding and transformative invitations of Christ.
I chose it because as I've prayed with it recently, its combination of often-divergent parts of Christianity has resonated with my own coming to a new community, new role, and new relationships, and my expectation of a new child and "new" family. All of these are an exercise in the related-divergent, sweeping me forward daily into new life.
Common Prayer is doing for me exactly what we Anglicans have always anticipated out of common prayer; its connecting me to a steady backbeat of holy Presence, shared across a community, so that I can step forward in relationship into that big, similarly-holy part of life that is still forming and unknown.
Today's prayers from this book are here, if you like. It's a joy to be praying with you, each and all.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shone you;
may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.
-from Morning Prayer in Common Prayer