The Bible is very important for us Episcopalians. We read it every Sunday – generally three readings and a Psalm every week! Our prayer book is also infused with Biblical references. We enjoy taking our time to read the Bible thoroughly, including the difficult parts. Our readings take us through the Bible over the course of our three year Sunday cycle. In addition, we have Bible studies and book reads throughout the year.
While we take the Bible seriously, we do not take it literally. The Bible is full of different kinds of stories and poems. When Jesus told parables, the characters in those parables didn’t have to literally exist in order for the parable to be truthful! Difficult poems, such as the Psalms, convey our emotions in ways that help us bring our whole selves to God. The Bible points to God, and the different texts of the Bible should be read in conversation with one another. The Bible didn’t drop down from heaven in the King James Version, after all!
We generally use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible in our worship because it is scholarly and faithfully communicates the sense of the Bible.
If you want to look up any particular passage of the Bible, check out https://bible.oremus.org/ which includes the NRSV.
If you want to look up the readings for Sunday or a holy day, you can check out the lectionary (calendar of readings) at http://lectionarypage.net/
Prayer is also very important for us. We pray both as a community when we gather for worship, and we pray individually to God. Prayer is sitting with God – with words, with song, with silence.
The basics of our prayer and worship life together is the Book of Common Prayer. It outlines our worship services and offers ways to pray at home and in community. You can look at the whole book online at https://bcponline.org/
If you’re beginning a personal life of prayer, here’s some advice:
- Start slow. Add a little more time as you go along to build up a habit. It’s like going to the gym or learning a musical instrument!
- Be consistent. Try for the same time each day. Is there a time of day when you’re more likely to have some time to be alone with God? Are you the first one up in the house as you make coffee? That’s a great time!
- Keep trying. Did you forget to pray today? Say a little prayer when you remember. God is always waiting and eager to be with you.
A fantastic resource for prayer and spiritual wisdom is Forward Movement, an agency of the Episcopal Church. Check out their Forward Day by Day app, and you can read it from desktop or mobile here: https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/home