For many years the OMF Mission Home in Toronto was flanked by St. James-Bond Church on the right and St. Margaret’s Anglican Church a few doors down on the left. The James Bond connection struck us immediately. But it was St. Margaret’s that fascinated me – they had Matins and Vespers.
OMF Mission Home at 1058 Avenue Road (in 2003)
St. James Bond Church was torn down several yeas ago to make room for a large seniors complex and they’ve just torn down St. Margaret’s. I never did make to either the Matins or Vespers there.
But this month I finally got my chance. I’ve attended Morning and Evening Prayers in the Wycliffe Chapel nearly every day since I arrived.
The services are short – not even half an hour - but so RICH. Usually both an Old Testament reading, and a New Testament reading, always a Psalm or two. Sometimes a hymn and/or a short message. The prayers range far and wide - across subjects I know I should pray for and never do and then there are pauses for us to add our own concerns.
I really love the liturgy. I know that unthinking habit can be deadening, but I’m not generally an unthinking person. And to be truthful, I find thoughtful habits are so freeing. Form is freeing… in art, in dance,…and in prayer!
For instance, I usually repent when my sins bring everything down around my ears, but that daily housecleaning is more likely to happen with a little help.
The officiate says: “Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.” (Or a similar word.) And then a silence is kept for us to briefly reflect before we pray together:
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent,
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
I love this prayer. It covers all the bases that I tend to skid past without touching them as I should.
This month the Anglican liturgy has enriched my life so much that when I get back to Ajigasawa I may just pull out that little Book of Common Prayer that has sat on my shelf for so long and start using it. (But I shall miss the corporate experience!)