I have been thinking for a while that I would like to learn to speak to God with a voice that speaks in harmony with millions of other praying voices around the world, and I think that probably one of the most effective ways in which I might seek to do this is through the BCP.
At first I felt quite resistant to this until I was first struck by the exquisite beauty with which Compline is penned. This reverence for the words here stayed with me for a while and I regret having not kept this up and would like to return to it.
I felt resistant about the BCP because I suppose I associated it with bygone days in the Church of England but it is very much alive and when I think about it now I see it being sung and acknowledged by various tribes, creeds and colours around the globe, in my imagination. I am really captured by this sense of the corporate: this huge outpouring to God by his people, sharing a common language.
I think by entering into a relationship with God through the Book of Common Prayer, it also helps me to fathom exactly what my grandfather must have been doing for all those years when I was a child: Why does Grandpa wake so early in the morning, I used to wonder, to be told that it was in the still small hours that he spoke with God! This blew me away. Most probably, he was performing the daily office.
I had been resistant to the BCP because I was wondering how I could take a brain, body and spirit from Daily Office to Sainsbury's or on the school run or to chat with a friend over coffee. Would the contrast of the beauty with perhaps what can sometimes feel like the mundane be too much. But God wants me to start with him so that I can then take him with me to all of these places, allowing his will to shape my day in its every activity and conversation.
God spoke very deliberately and amusingly, hinting that this is what I should do, when I was rushing in my first week at theological college between studies in Nottingham, church activities in Allestree and work in a local secondary school in Duffield and all that between school runs in Darley Abbey – a van drove past me and from it glared the initials BCP, almost as if it had drawn past me at that particular time, on that particular road for no other reason than to communicate to me that it is there for me, waiting for me to catch hold of it. I gasped and then laughed as I watched it sail off into the distance. The BCP is being sung and practised down many a road in many a nation and I would like to add my voice to its refrains.
...And so begins my adventure with the BCP. A dream I once had revealed my insecurity over this undertaking, but I read the comforting presence as God's; he is encouraging me to get to know him a little better with the assurance that the only thing that I will get from this is great joy and transformation...
If anyone has any advice for me I'm very open to learning - or if there are any resources that would help me make use of this special book, please share...