The Bible in Anglican WorshipAs Christians in the Anglican tradition, we are called to live out our faith on a daily basis, whether we are at home, school, work or recreation. Centred on Christ, our faith is supported by scripture, as interpreted by tradition and understood through reason. A Quick Overview:
- The 39 books of the Hebrew Testament contain the story of God’s love, from Creation up to the birth of his son, Jesus Christ. They contain God’s “laws” as they were understood by the Hebrew people, and the Hebrew peoples’ interpretation and response.
- The New Testament contains Christ’s teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers, and the beginning of his church. It is expressed in the 27 books.
- These books have faced all the hazards of transcription and translation for two thousand years, and continue to be the subject of scholarly analysis and interpretation as new evidence and insights emerge.
- The translation used by the Anglican Church of Canada is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
- In Anglican worship the scriptures are read from the following:
- THE HEBREW TESTAMENT – 39 books that contain the story of God’s love from Creation up to the birth of Jesus, including God’s “laws” as they were understood by the Hebrew people, and the Hebrew peoples’ interpretation and response.
- THE NEW TESTAMENT – 27 books that contain Christ’s teachings, the accounts of his life as told by his followers, and the beginning of his church
- THE GOSPELS – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – accounts of the life of Jesus as told by his followers (first 4 books of the New Testament)
- THE PSALMS – songs from the Old Testament
- There is a three-year cycle for the scripture readings, which often form the basis of the sermon.
- Additionally, about two-thirds of our guides to worship are found in the Anglican Church’s “Book of Alternate Service” and “Book of Common Prayer”. They come directly from the Old and New Testaments.
Seasons of the Church Year
Every period of Christ’s life with us on earth has significance. But it is easy to dwell too much on one aspect or the other — for example, his birth or his death — and to neglect the rest. To avoid this, the Church developed the concept of the Seasons of the Christian Year. Each season emphasizes God’s revelation as shown through one aspect or another of Jesus’ life. The Anglican Communion and the other historic churches shape their pattern of worship around this sequence of observances. During each, the scriptures and prayers examine the associated events and words, and look for “what the spirit is saying,” celebrating that in liturgy and song. This, when combined with observances of local tradition and integrated with the Common Lectionary, serves to make worship time a constantly moving panorama of the riches of our faith.
A related custom followed by many Anglican churches, including St. Michael’s, is to use colours to emphasize these seasons and special days. This will be seen in the fabrics on the cover on the altar, reading desk and pulpit, and in the garments worn by the clergy and assistants. These and other signposts along the way serve to structure our spiritual practices throughout the year, and to focus our attention on God’s living presence in Christ at all times.
WHAT THE COLOURS SYMBOLIZE:
- Blue: the colour of the sky and symbolic of truth – Advent
- White: purity, innocence and holiness – Christmas and Easter, as well as weddings and funerals
- Purple: the colour of mourning and penitence, and also of royalty – Lent
- Red: courage and sacrifice – Passion/Palm Sunday, and the Feast of Pentecost, feasts of saints and martyrs
- Green: growth and the triumph of life over death – Epiphany, Trinity, Ordinary Time
DETAILS OF THE SEASONS:
Advent (Blue – Some churches use purple)
- Moveable: the four Sundays leading up to Christmas – November/December
- a time of preparation for the coming Nativity of Our Lord, and for exploring Christ’s entry into our lives
- December 25
- The celebration of Christ’s birth or what is called the Incarnation
Epiphany – (Green)
- starting January 6 – lasts anywhere from 43 to 60 days, depending where Easter falls
- the celebration of Christ’s baptism, and the recognition of Jesus’ role
Lent – (Purple)
- Movable: 40 Days – February/March/April
- a time of preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection; used as a time for the examination of our own lives
Holy Week to Easter (Purple to Red to White)
- Movable: starting with Palm/Passion Sunday to the Great Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday (includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) – March/April
- The celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the triumph of life over death
- lasts 50 days – Easter Day is generally in April
- Movable – May/June
- the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit; and
After Pentecost or Trinity or Ordinary Time (Green)
- June to October/November
- the working out of God’s love in our lives
Within each of these there are particular festivals and days of penance that serve to point out aspects of God’s love and unfolding purpose, or our own need for repentance and renewal of faith. Among others, we observe Trinity Sunday, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, and All Saints and All Souls Days.
What is a Cathedral?
A Cathedral gets its name from the chair (a cathedra) in which a bishop is installed. In former times we would talk about the Bishop’s throne, but that suggests the bishop as a ruler rather than a servant of God. These days a bishop is the chief pastor of a diocese. In Canada, there are 30 dioceses and St. Michael and all Angels is the cathedral for the diocese of Kootenay, which covers a triangular area in the south eastern part of BC.
As a cathedral, St. Michael’s enjoys three arenas of ministry.
- The first arena is that it is a fairly large parish church. Those who enjoy the splendor and majesty of the Cathedral style of worship, come to St. Michael’s. We try to offer a wide variety of worship experience for those who call the Cathedral their parish home. A lot of our parish resources are devoted to maintaining a standard of excellence in traditional and contemporary liturgy and music. There is a high expectation on the quality of preaching and on breadth of expression in music.
- The second major arena of ministry is as the mother church of our diocese. Often, major events happen at St. Michael’s as people gather from around the diocese. Synods, ordinations and major celebrations often take place at the Cathedral so that a primary ministry is one of hospitality. The chief pastor or incumbent at the Cathedral is also the Dean of Kootenay and as such is the second ecclesiastical officer, next to the Bishop. The Dean participates significantly in the offices of the diocese.
- The third arena in which the Cathedral exercises ministry is to all of the people in the city in which it is located. In England, before a town can become a city they must have a cathedral and thus a bishop and a dean. In Canada, cities often have a number of cathedrals. For example Winnipeg has 23 cathedrals of various denominations. St. Michael’s enjoys the distinction of being Kelowna’s only cathedral. Thus, we very much want to live up to being Kelowna’s Cathedral. As such, we try to provide people with a window to God whatever their religious tradition and experience. We have no desire to entice people away from the loyalties they may have to their own congregation. What we try to do is mark special events and lift up various contributions of people and occupations in our community. We strive to be a patron to the performing arts in the community and to go out of our way to support any initiatives that address human need.
Juggling these three arenas of ministry is indeed challenging and enriching and we find ourselves blessed in our adventure of being a cathedral. We attempt to undertake that adventure with a commitment to excellence in ministry.