After seeing the products of attempts to translate parts of the 1662 BCP and the U.S. 1928 BCP into modern English with varying degrees of success, I was about to give up, as have so many, the idea that liturgy could be written in modern English without sounding either pedestrian or trendy – or horrible. (Imagine if you will, beginning every prayer with “We just want to praise you, Father God….”) So I thought I might give it a try myself.
Now, I’m no Shakespeare or Eliot. The last poetry I wrote resides in my wife’s dresser, written when I was courting her and was less critical. Thank goodness it isn’t shown to anyone. After all, being critical, not creative, is my strong suit. But as I contemplated the attempts out there, a little voice whispered “heck, even I could do better than that!” So here it is.
Here is the Eucharist from the U.S. 1928 BCP, translated into current modern English, following the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam, and using the most up to date ICEL texts, which will be in sync with the next Roman Missal to be issued in English, probably 2010 or so. It is set up to work with either the 3 year Ordo Lectionum Missae and the Daily Lectionary or the older lectionaries in the various BCPs. I think the former the better choice, of course.
Because Anglicanism is an international body these days, I have edited the base text in three ways,
By incorporating some features of other national Anglican BCPs (Canada 1962, Scotland 1970, South Africa 1954, West Indies 1959),
By eliminating some of the vague areas that have been patient of heresy, and
By streamlining the whole to make it possible to have a short weekday service for working folk.
I have prepared this text for discussion purposes only, and it has not been authorized for public use by anyone, anywhere. I haven’t even tried it out by myself.
I would be glad of any comments.