2012 will be a year that I imagine will stay in our collective
consciousness for a long time. We are celebrating the Queen's
Jubilee, the Olympics, and significant anniversaries that relate
not only to our history but to the very language we speak and
how that has shaped our culture and identity over hundreds of
So we have the Shakespeare Festival - which Pattingham marked
just last month. But also anniversaries that relate to the King
James Bible (OK, so that was last year, but it still feels quite
current) and the Book of Common Prayer.
And Pattingham and Patshull have a good record of having maintained
traditional worship using the BCP. I do not see that changing
any time soon - although the familiarity of its cadences and
rhythms is diminishing with time. While I can appreciate some
of the poetry and the sonorous quality of the prose, the BCP
was not something that formed me particularly as I grew up -
not overtly anyway - any more than did the words of Shakespeare.
Although both I came to learn and study in time, and I recognise
the legacy of both in our common language today.
If worship is to both reflect the needs of the community and
be worthy of the God who is the 'very ground of our being', it
cannot stand still. And recent years have seen the developments
of first Series One, Two and Three, then the ASB (Alternative
Service Book) and now Common Worship. Added to which is a vast
resource of liturgical riches that practitioners - whether lay
or ordained, can 'mine' to find worship that we hope speaks to
people today and helps them to express their praise, their need
and their love for God.
So our worship changes and evolves gradually over time. New ways
of praying together, singing together are tried and experienced.
Some may be retained, some may fall by the wayside, but as long
as our focus is kept firmly on God and all that is worthy to
offer him, we won't go far wrong.
It has been said that the success of the monarchy has been its
ability to change with time, and yet to maintain a timeless continuity.
As we celebrate with Elizabeth II the 60th anniversary of her
reign, may we also as a Church and worshipping community show
ourselves both resilient and flexible as we face the challenges
of the future.
God save the Queen!