On 21 August, Helene Milena preached the following sermon in the Anglican Cathedral on Epiphany Island in Second Life. The readings were Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, Hebrews 12:18-end, Luke 13:10-17.
One of the wonderful aspects of Anglican worship is our connection with the Jewish people by using their forms of liturgy, particularly the Psalms.
Robert Benson, in his book ‘In Constant Prayer’ tells of our connection going back around 6000 years. In Psalm 119 there is reference to praying seven times a day. Apparently, written versions of daily fixed-hour prayer come from around four thousand years before Christ. The Hebrews prayed at daybreak, before work, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, before bed and at midnight. The prayers were much the same in format to those we say at noon and midnight here on Epiphany each day, including readings from the scriptures and the use of the Psalms as prayers and hymns of praise.
Then as now, the daily offices were said in homes and in places of worship. They were part of the worship in the Temple and the synagogue at the time of Jesus’ life on earth. Sometimes in the gospels there are references to the hour of prayer in the Temple. Jesus would have grown up with this rhythm of prayer and praise, as would those who attended the synagogue referred to in today’s gospel, among them a woman who for eighteen years had been unable to stand up because of some spinal problem. Continue reading