THE SUNDAY SERVICE OF THE METHODISTS IN NORTH AMERICA, With Other Occasional Services. First Edition. London, 1784.
This is my soft copy of the liturgy edited and published by The Reverend John Wesley (1703-1791), for his congregation in America, based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer still used by the Church of England to this day. This edit has fallen out of use in Methodist and Pentecostal churches since, but remains preserved in authentic documents from that time.
I find it increasingly important to preserve the ancient tradition of organised corporate prayer, and this lineage of English Reformed Evangelical Liturgy traces its roots through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the Sarum Rite of Salisbury, the Celtic-Anglo-Saxon Rite, the Roman Rite of Saint Gregory the Great to the Roman Mass of Saint Justin Martyr in the age of the Apostolic Fathers. While the Liturgy presented here has undergone many changes since the time of Christ, it is our most recent historical iteration of traditional Christian Worship in the Methodist and Pentecostal denominational lineages of today, and is, to me, the greatest anchor of our modern worship in the wisdom that forged such an intricate symbolic catechesis of the faith, equally enjoyed by the scholar and the common man alike.
With the new advent of more contemporary (with influence from English Dissenters) and more liturgical (with influence from Roman Catholicism) styles of worship, which developed out of the same denominational lineage, we have the increasing problem of balancing our traditional use with both these modern contemporary and modern liturgical styles respectively. The key, I believe, is to prioritise and word our liturgical worship overlay with the foundation of these traditional ‘Common Prayer’ sets, so as to preserve the Evangelical nature of our Dominical worship, and to supplement that with our contemporary worship, not replacing it. With such a rich choice of styles to dramatise the Gospel with, we ought not to leave any out unreasonably.
Practically, these sets can be used in a number of spiritually beneficial ways. The use of this Holy Communion Service in church can help focus the congregation towards its roots, if even occasionally and is, to me, really worth a try. The beauty of daily corporate prayer among friends and family is also a huge benefit. I recommend the use these Morning and Evening prayer sets daily, or to just maintain a daily discipline of the Lord’s Prayer, Nicene Creed, Glory Be and Doxology (Old 100th) together. These prayers are very close to my heart and help me rehearse the faith I have been given, from Christ, to the early Church, to the Latin Rite of the West, to the Reformed Evangelicals of England; and now from me to you. The translations of the prayers below are sourced from The Roman Missal, Third English Edition (2011):
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.
The Glory Be
Our Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The liturgy presented in “The Sunday Service (Wesley)” is a subset within English Reformed Christianity, that is suited to Methodist and Pentecostal needs. For those of you in other Singaporean denominations, within the Reformed Protestant Branch of Christianity, I’ll list some general resources that you can refer to if you want to study the roots of your faith:
- Plymouth Brethren
- Restoration Movement
- Mar Thoma Syrian