A Book of Common Prayer "The Scripture Moveth Us In Sundry Places"

Joan Didion

"The Scripture Moveth Us In Sundry Places"

Context: The Order for Daily Morning Prayer, the first service in The Book of Common Prayer, derives directly from the system of daily services sung during the Middle Ages and known then as the Canonical Hours. The Order, as it is now set forth, begins with a series of opening sentences setting the theme and the mood of the service to follow. Since all of the sentences dwell on repentence or forgiveness and suggest the "sundry places" in which "the Scripture moveth us" to confession and reconciliation, they lead quite naturally into the Exhortation which comes after them. The Exhortation reminds the worshiper that no converse with God can be profitable, much less fitting, until he has laid bare his sin and asked God's forgiveness for his transgressions. It then outlines the elements that go to make up any complete act of corporate worship: 1. Penitence, 2. Praise and Thanksgiving, 3. Instruction in God's Holy Word, and 4. Prayer, for what is desired and what is needful, both for the body and for the soul.

Dearly beloved brethren, the Scripture moveth us, in sundry places, to acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloak them before the face of Almighty God our heavenly Father; but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart; to the end that we may obtain forgiveness of the same, by his infinite goodness and mercy. And although we ought, at all times, humbly to acknowledge our sins before God; yet ought we chiefly so to do, when we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul. . . .