It’s Lent and I Don’t Like Rite I

This is a post mostly for Episcopalians.  Lent is a time when a great many parishes will use the liturgy of Rite I for all services.  It is also a time for confession, and so I will be bold to confess, I do not like Rite I.

I ‘m not at all fond of imitation Elizabethan English that pretends to be old, and, therefore, more traditional and possibly more holy.

I find the Eucharistic prayers have more in common with the “modern” theology of the Reformation than they do with the traditions of the early church.  Moreover, they display great uncertainty about which part of the Reformation they want to accommodate and so take a little of this and a little of that while paying modest homage to the form of the Medieval mass.  It gets a bit messy.

I believe the Prayer of Humble Access, so beloved by many, is a huge stumbling block to new Christians and Christians new to the Episcopal Church.

About the only thing Rite I has going for it in Lent is it’s use of 17th century Presbyterian thinking about our sinful unworthiness before God in words that I suspect are muttered without the slightest bit of reflection or understanding. 

Having said that, I’ve often celebrated using Rite I as a way of honoring those who grew up with it, for whom it seems to be the very language of God himself, and for whom the contemporary language of the much older prayers of Rite II feel strange to the tongue and foreign to the brain.

As Rachel Maddow might say, I’m willing to be talked down on this.

2 thoughts on “It’s Lent and I Don’t Like Rite I”

  1. I\’m not a big fan of Rite I either; but knowing that many of my older parishioners (my only kind at that point) probably had a fondness for it, I used it my first year (and possibly two) here. And then one Lent, one of them said, \”I really don\’t care for Rite I,\” and that was all it took.Because I\’m a tad OCD, I break up the Eucharistic prayers by season, and in Lent we use Prayer B . . . along with the contemporary version of the Lord\’s Prayer.THAT\’s probably making some Prayer Book Society member\’s head explode somewhere.

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