The ritual of a liturgy is the sacred text whereby we offer prayer and praise to Almighty God.
At Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, as in all Anglican churches, the ritual is contained in the Book of Common Prayer, the great treasure of Anglicanism. Wherever one goes throughout the world, if you go to an Anglican Church you will find the prayer book; and, no matter the language, you will have some sense of the order and structure of the service.
Here at Christ the Redeemer, at the main liturgies on Sunday, we use Rite I at the 8:00 AM Eucharist (see the Book of Common Prayer 1979, pgs. 323-349). This ritual is essentially a version of the first prayer book rites written by Archbishop Cranmer during the English Reformation in the 16th century. It connects us very deeply with our English and Reformation heritage and manifests the extraordinary flourishing of the English language of the era, which gives us not only the prayer book but also the King James Bible and Shakespeare!
At the 10:30 AM service we use Rite II (see BCP 1979, pgs. 351-382). These are Eucharistic texts that have developed out of the significant liturgical renewal of the last 50 years, which has affected almost every church, including the Roman Catholic.
The texts of Rite II (designated A, B, C, D) vary but, in fact, most of them are reworkings of very ancient rites, much older than Cranmer. We use these differing prayers at different times during the liturgical year:
- Eucharist Prayer A is our most commonly used text and is a more contemporary rendition of many Cranmerian themes.
- Eucharistic Prayer B is actually a version of the oldest extant rite in the Christian Church; it was written by Hippolytus in the 3rd century.
- Eucharistic Prayer C is the most original; some affectionately call it the Star Trek Liturgy.
- The ancient roots of Eucharistic Prayer D (p. 372-374) can be traced back to the liturgy of the Church at Antioch. However, the earliest manuscript of this prayer that we have is dated from the 4th century and was written by Basil, the Bishop of Cappadocia. Because this prayer is used in both Eastern and Western churches, it has become the most widely used Eucharistic prayer throughout the Christian world. The form of this prayer, in our prayer book, is one that is also authorized for use in both the Lutheran and Methodist churches. In the Eastern churches, the Prayer of Basil is used on feasts of special solemnity; it is a prayer of rejoicing. For that reason it is an especially appropriate prayer for Eastertide.