Lifting in Lent

With the title “Lifting in Lent,” you’re likely expecting a solid workout plan paired with the Lenten fast. Well here it is:

  • Five sets of lifting a box of Books of Common Prayer while repeating the Commandments in their entirety as God wrote them in the Good Book, none of this abbreviated nonsense (brah, do you even lift?);
  • Chanting the Lord’s Prayer continuously while doing 100 sit-ups;
  • Reciting the Apostles’ Creed during five sets of 20 push-ups

Let’s call it “Crafted by Catechesis”™ and the t-shirts and other gym wear are coming to a parish bookstore near you.

In all seriousness, we’ve entered into Lent. A time in which we remember we are dust and to dust shall we return. Tis the season in which we should be wrestling with a physical fast and abstinence in addition to taking upon ourselves spiritual disciplines. A couple of years ago I provided a discipline that laity and clergy could take upon themselves, but today I want to focus on our clergy and those in formation and discernment for holy orders by asking a simple question: How many have read the Anglican Church in North America’s Fundamental Declarations? How many have read the Jerusalem Declaration? Sure, they are found on the ACNA webpage and within the 2019 Book of Common Prayer (p. 766, 791), but are you regularly studying and meditating upon the works cited within those two declarations? Do you seek to deliver the teaching of the Church to your flock in your preaching and pastoring?

It is time to fan the embers—postulants, seminarians, and ministers—during this Ember Week. Let’s reflect upon the classic collects for this week:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who hast purchased to thyself a universal church by the precious blood of thy dear Son: Mercifully look upon the same, and at this time so guide and govern the minds of thy servants, the bishops and pastors of thy flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of thy church. And to those who shall be ordained to any holy function, give thy grace and heavenly benediction, that both by their life and doctrine they may set forth thy glory, and set forward the salvation of all men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition, p. 41.

The other collect speaks to me even more, with its acknowledgment that we all wear down and return to dust without the life-giving Spirit replenishing us with Himself:

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence has appointed divers orders in thy church: Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all those who are to be or who are this day called to any office and administration in the same, and so replenish them with the truth of thy doctrine, and endue them with innocency of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great name, and the benefit of thy holy church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition, p. 42.

Often we think of Lent as a time of deprivation, but truly it is an opportunity for replenishment. Let’s replenish, refocus, and refresh ourselves on our roots. 

The Jerusalem Declaration (affirmed in the Preamble of ACNA’s Constitution) and Fundamental Declarations (Article I of ACNA’s Constitution) have minor variances and emphases but overlap on the key sources of our doctrine. As faithful clergy in the Anglican Way, let us use Lent to reacquaint ourselves with the source of our “Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of Christ as this Church has received them” and as we pledged at our ordination (ACNA Canon Title III, Canon 3, Section 2 & Canon 4, Section 3). May we honor the Fundamental Declarations not merely with our lips but with our teaching and manner of living, being true “Fundamentalists,” teaching the flocks under our care the Gospel, holy living, and holy dying.

  1. Holy Scripture

Clergy have subscribed to “believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation.” Note, not our favorite parts are the Word of God, or the bits we read in the Sunday lectionary, but all of it is “the inspired Word of God” and it is “the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.” (ACNA Fundamental Declarations, 1). We receive the Holy Scriptures and are called to read, preach, teach, and obey them in their “plain and canonical sense, respectful of the church’s historic and consensual reading” (Jerusalem Declaration, 2).

Reading and preaching the Word of God through the lens of our personal feelings are out. Using the zeitgeist to reinterpret them will lead you and your flock astray. When we get to the hard work of reading the Scriptures we better be sitting at the feet of the Apostles’ teaching instead of pontificating from the pulpit of post-Modernism. 

Take up and read, clergy, and redeem the time by digging deeper into the final authority and rule of our life. Revive and begin the old practice required by Archbishop Whitgift and Convocation in 1586 to “every day read over one chapter of the Holy Scriptures, and note the principal contents of it briefly in his paper book.” (The Decades of Henry Bullinger, The Parker Society, Advertisement, available at: (Convocation also required reading one sermon from Bullinger’s Decade a week – not a bad practice to resurrect either.) Although this provision was for the unlearned clergy, truly our education is never complete in the Holy Scriptures, which we are called to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest, as we pray in the Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent.

         2. The Catholic & Orthodox Faith

So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” 

Acts 8:30‒31 (ESV)

We are tasked with maintaining the ancient landmarks of our forefathers in Christ by the Fundamental Declarations and Jerusalem Declaration. They state plainly that “We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church” (Jerusalem Declaration, 3) “and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures” (Fundamental Declarations, 5).

Memorize the Creeds and be an example to your flock. Mine the riches of the Councils – not what is written about them – and read the Councils of the Church. Dive deep into the wisdom of the Church and drink from the well of Christian saints who have trodden the ancient Way. Set aside the “hot takes” on your Twitter account and listen to words of those who fought the good fight, finished the race, and have preached the text to other flocks centuries before we were born. Then go and feed your flock with the narrow way of the orthodox faith so that they too may serve the One who has redeemed them as His body, the Church.

       3. Reformed Catholics, Orthodox Anglicans

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

Acts 8:34‒35

Through the lens of history and time we have received our theology, and for this reason “We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today” (Jerusalem Declaration, 4). We read the Articles “in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief” (Fundamental Declarations, 7). It is through the Articles that we root our faith firmly in the Holy Scriptures and their plain reading. It is precisely through the Articles that we lay claim to our catholicity and orthodoxy by basing ourselves upon the Trinity, the Creeds, and Holy Scripture as the final arbiter instead of an ambiguous appeal to tradition or the bishop of Rome. 

May we boast not in Anglicanism but be guided and directed by her Articles to point the flock to Christ Jesus. Allow the Articles to guide you as you tread before your flock, ready to engage and fight off the wolves. Let us brush off the dust gathered upon the Homilies, authorized in Article XXXV, and refresh ourselves this Lent with these treatises containing “a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times” and “an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals” (as the revised Article in the American Church states). The Homilies are often forgotten, but send us back to the fathers throughout their works. Indeed, the Homilies forcefully break through our modern sensibilities by calling us to address the sin in our life and cast it out. What better time of the year than Lent to revisit (or visit!) these works?

       4. Disciples of Christ, Formed by the Prayer Book

Let us consider the sacraments of priestly prayers, which having been handed down by the apostles are celebrated uniformly throughout the whole world and in every Catholic Church so that the law of praying might establish the law of believing.

St. Prosper of Aquitaine, Indiculus Gratia Dei, 8.

Lex orandi, lex credendi. Or “you are what you pray” as one parishioner once summarized it to another. Perhaps a better summary is we become what we pray. If we are to love our enemies, then we must be of the business to pray for them. If we are to worship the Living God, then we should pray to Him, constantly, and as St. Paul beckons, without ceasing.

“We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship” (Fundamental Declarations, 6) and “we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer” (Jerusalem Declaration, 6).

How do we observe a holy Lent based on these declarations? When I was was discerning Anglicanism, a wise priest handed me a 1928 prayer book and told me to read it cover to cover and come back. When I returned, he told me to do it two more times. 

We all should read and re-read our prayer books and go to the source of our standard for worship – the 1662. A soldier knows his weapon as though it is an extension of him. He can take it apart blindfolded and reassemble it. It becomes so attached to him that he never parts from it. May it be so for those with the white collar of Christ’s yoke around our necks, lest we mislead a little one and merit a millstone around it.

Be deep in the prayers of our Church – especially the ones you may use the least. Baptisms, burials, and marriages are not as common as Holy Communion, but preaching the Gospel is centered on our entrance into the Church, our marriage to the Bridegroom, and our deaths which look towards the resurrection. The more we know our prayers, the more we can speak the words of the Church, which point to Christ and His written Word to those in need of good news during trials and tribulations.

Let us take up the ancient discipline from the 1662 (and earlier) prayer book “to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly” and be formed by the constant reading of Scripture in the daily office lectionary (1662 Book of Common Prayer, Concerning the Service of the Church; see also 2019 Book of Common Prayer, Concerning the Divine Service of the Church, p. 6, “The Prayer Book tradition has historically expected clergy to pray the Daily Office morning and evening each day.”) 

God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and so is His Way, the Truth, the Life. Theology does not need to be reinvented nor worship remade. Instead, we are called to be reinvented and remade, for the old man has died and we are made alive by Christ Jesus through His Spirit. Let us learn from the saints of old and commit to celebrating the Holy Days we are required to celebrate in the prayer book. (Red-Letter days, which are not optional, are found in the 2019 BCP at p. 688). And may we discipline ourselves by fasting and be an example to our flocks to follow suit for those days we are under authority to fast (2019 BCP, p. 689).

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer is a source of comfort when we have questions about our worship and our teaching. Not only the prayers, but even the rubrics illuminate the theology of our faith and the breadth of our practice. For example, note the “Black rubric” at the end of the 1662 Holy Communion office, which further explains our understanding of this Holy Sacrament. Or the rubric concluding the Public Baptism of Infants: “It is certain by God’s Word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved” – truly comforting for parents. Fascinatingly, the preferred method of baptism is to “dip” the infant unless the parents “certify that the Child is weak,” and adult baptisms also may be performed in the same manner to preserve the death and rebirth imagery and ancient practice. 

Finally, it would do each of us good to reread the Examinations by which the bishop required assent during our ordination to both the diaconate and to the priesthood, for those who are presbyters. Recount each charge and remember, fellow sinners, the high standards we have agreed to follow with God’s help. Reflect upon a charge a day during Lent and meditate how you are upholding or in need of God’s grace to fulfill the commitments we made before God and man and shall have to give an account for at the last day. You may be surprised by what you read, perhaps for the first time since your ordination. Then compare it to our faithful standard and formulary, the Ordinal attached to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and note the straightforward and powerful expectations for Anglican clergy. Let us begin by meditating on the classic Ordinal’s examination for candidates to the priesthood:

Do you think in your heart, that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Order and Ministry of Priesthood?
     Answer. I think it.

Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain all Doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined, out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge; and to teach nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the Scripture?
     Answer. I am so persuaded, and have so determined, by God’s grace.

Will you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church hath received the same, according to the Commandments of God; so that you may teach the people committed to your Cure and Charge with all diligence to keep and observe the same?

    Answer. I will so do, by the help of the Lord.

Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given?

    Answer. I will, the Lord being my helper.

Will you be diligent in Prayers, and in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh?

    Answer. I will endeavour so to do, the Lord being my helper.

Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to the Doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?

    Answer. I will apply myself thereto, the Lord being my helper.

Will you maintain and set forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge?

    Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

Will you reverently obey your Ordinary, and other chief Ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments?

    Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

    Then, shall the Bishop, standing up, say,

Almighty God, who hath given you this will to do all these things; Grant also unto you strength and power to perform the same, that he may accomplish his work which he hath begun in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We have a worthy and noble inheritance. Let us not deviate from it nor cast it aside. Instead, may we humble ourselves to make this inheritance our own. Lord God, give grace that your ministers desert not the ancient doctrine, discipline, and worship we have professed to uphold. As men under authority, exercise spiritual discipline and prepare to preach the Word in season and out of season. May we be faithful in the fundamentals, fruitful to our flock, and steadfast in our faith, so help us God.

Rev. Andrew Brashier

Rev. Andrew Brashier serves as the Rector of Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, Alabama. and is an Archdeacon overseeing the Parish and Missions Deanery in the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy. He writes regularly about ministry, family worship, daily prayer, book reviews, family oratories and the impact they can have in reigniting Anglicanism, and the occasional poem at He recently republished Bishop John Jewel's Treatises on the Holy Scriptures and Sacraments ( The second edition of his first book, A Faith for Generations, is now available at Amazon ( and focuses on family devotions and private prayer in the Anglican tradition.

'Lifting in Lent' has 1 comment

  1. March 11, 2022 @ 3:16 pm Lawrence+

    I review the Ordinal, especially the exhortation from the Bishop to the Presbyter, at the anniversary of my ordination each year. We should always renew ourselves by keeping in muind the charge before us. Thanks for the article.


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