Big Macs and Prayer Books
Bishop Mark MacDonald like to remind the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska that if we have the Golden Arches on display out front, we had better be serving Big Macs inside. We all know that today’s McDonald’s serve much more than Big Macs. But the availability of that iconic sandwich is the popular definition of what it means to go to a McDonald’s restaurant.
The Episcopal / Anglican church subscribes to an ancient principle; Lex Orandi: Lex Credendi. Or in English, As we worship, So we believe. We take this so seriously that the Book of Common Prayer is canon for Episcopalians.
The worship forms in the Prayer Book provides the ship of the Church an anchor for what is taught and prayed in the Anglican Church worldwide. Like all good anchors this is not an inflexible tethering. Anchors are attached to a ship in such a way that allow the ship to swing around the anchor point depending on wind and tide. If this were not so, the ship would soon drag anchor and drift away.
The worship life in the Episcopal church includes many local adaptations of the Prayer Book. It also includes locally written and practiced services of blessing, worship, and praise. This allows us to respond to the unique needs of each community. These expanded worship opportunities greatly enrich the life of each congregation and the church as a whole. At the same time these local expressions of faithful worship swing around those contained in the Book of Common Prayer.
Our church takes its worship and subsequent teaching so seriously that any updates or revisions to the core worship document must go through an exhaustive public process. This process allows for the prayerful updating of language and imagery in our worship. As the process goes on in a continual review, the local congregation is asked to be faithful to The Book of Common Prayer as adopted in General Convention.
When someone enters the doors of an Episcopal Church, they deserve the opportunity of finding at least one Book of Common Prayer service each Sunday. If not, the arches out front have lost their meaning.