Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Challenge


That's sixteen minutes and forty seconds, not 4:40 PM for those of you who use the 24-hour clock.

That's how long it took me to do the Daily Office this morning. Confession of Sin, Invitatory and Psalter, The Lessons with assigned Canticles, Apostle's Creed, The Prayers, The Collects, The Great Thanksgiving, and The Great Buh-bye (that's not what it's called, but that's what I call it).

Now, this is not an Olympic time trial or anything like that. But I decided to time the speed at which I could do the Office, without rushing, because we (my EfM class) are planning to introduce its usage to our congregation at St. John's as one of the offerings during Lent.

The Rector began to explain the Office to me during a meeting yesterday. Knowing that he doesn't read my blog and is therefore unfamiliar with how many times I've written out my thoughts from the passages assigned to the day, I politely informed him that I do the morning office and it doesn't take me long to do it. Precisely how long? Well, I estimated that I might take 25 minutes if I stop to ponder the readings of the morning. If we're doing the Office, he would like for it not to be longer than 20 minutes, and he suggested maybe we could cut the Apostle's Creed. I told him my 25 includes not only the Apostle's Creed, but that I have a tendency to do all the available collects. We, my EfM mentor and I, pointed out that the liturgy we developed out of the BCP only makes use of one Psalm, two readings, two collects, and the shorter of the two suffrages. In short, we'd see his 20 minutes... and probably be able to come in at or under the time!

We're talking about introducing a spiritual practice that allows people to begin their day centered in prayer... and thinking on God and, one hopes, perhaps creating an opening for God to become the center of our lives as opposed to our desires, our greed, our pride, etc. etc. Our liturgy has spaces for quiet reflection so we can allow the prayers and the Scripture to roll around in our head and our heart and give us something to "chew on" for the day. If that takes 20 minutes or 25 minutes, so be it. We're starting at a time designed to get state workers to their jobs, so this shouldn't be an issue.

And it may only take 16:40.


Anonymous said...

I don't do all the collects, prayers, etc., so I only do the assigned readings, the Psalms, the 2nd old Testament reading(which is usually very scary) and the New Testament stuff, and some introductory prayers.

So, I guess my Daily Office is quick, maybe 10 minutes. Is that wrong? I still get centered for the day.

Hey I am doin something.


SCG said...

Ha! I think it's wonderful that you're doing the readings, Peggins. And as I always say, I think God's just pleased we care enough to do anything at all!

frdougal said...

Hang on though: it is always quicker to do the DO solo than aloud as apublic service. You have to slow up to say things audibly and allow others to respond. Plus silence for prayer and meditation. 20 mins is about right and I'd clip the creed and the confession (as permitted)in ordinary time. But I'm a fan of godly silence rather than interminable words.

Phoebe said...

I recognize what fedougal points out.. doing the office out loud with responses etc may take a little longer.. and to rush through it is better than not doing it.. but I do like a little silence to take in the messages of the day.. I'm for 20-25 min.. 20 min for those in a rush. letting others sit quietly until they are ready to leave.

SCG said...

Thanks all!
We do have "silence" built into the liturgy. I'm more for quiet than filling space with words. We'll practice with two of us and see how long it takes... but I'm pretty sure we can keep it at a length of time that will allow people to get their coffee and be chained to their desks by
8AM. :)