I know this is all a bunch of adiaphora, and that the following discussion is a bit contrary to some other statements I’ve made in the past about liturgy. Nonetheless . . .
I’m in a bit of a bind about a book.
I’ve been trying to pray every day using an amended version of The Suffrages (otherwise known as Responsive Prayer), a simple order of prayer from my tradition based on Luther’s advice for prayer (for information about this order of prayer and my changes, click here). I composed the liturgy in a Microsoft Publisher document and formated it to fold a few times and fit inside my Bible. I also print out the list of daily reading, prayers, and commemorations each week, and tuck those inside my Bible, too. I try to pray it at least once daily.
One Bible, two small pieces of paper tucked inside the front cover. It makes daily prayer very easy, particularly when I was doing this devotion on the train every day.
But now I usually do my devotion at the office or at home, where I have the luxury of holding in my hands the worship book of my Lutheran church. However, the version of this order of prayer that appears in our worship book – Evangelical Lutheran Worship – doesn’t include my changes, of course. But I like my changes. I think they make good theological and liturgical sense.
So, do I pray as the church in its collective wisdom has outlined in our shared worship book, or do I pray in the way I’ve devised? I admit that this is partly an ego thing, partly a piety thing, partly an ecclesiology thing, partly an anal thing. And of course, it is all an adiaphora thing.
For now I’ll keep my amended order of prayer tucked inside the front cover of my Bible, and use it as I pray apart from the worship book of my church. But when I’m at the office or at home, I might find myself reaching for Evangelical Lutheran Worship along with my bible for my devotion, to hold in my hand a book – that with its predecessor books – connects me with a church whose traditions and teachings transcend my ego, inform my piety, and offer me a rich font of wisdom and strength for a life of faith.
Let us pray.