Pennington, M. Basil, OCSO. Praying the Holy Scriptures (Ancient Spiritual Disciplines). Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2012. 61 Pages. Paper. $4.95. http://www.paracletepress.com/ (L)
Ford-Grabowsky, Mary. Praying with Mary (Ancient Spiritual Disciplines). Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2012. 77 Pages. Paper. $4.95. http://www.paracletepress.com/ (L)
Mathewes-Green, Frederica. Praying the Jesus Prayer (Ancient Spiritual Disciplines). Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011. 61 Pages. Paper. $4.95. http://www.paracletepress.com/ (L)
Martin, Linette. Praying with Icons (Ancient Spiritual Disciplines). Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011. 63 Pages. Paper. $4.95. http://www.paracletepress.com/ (L)
McGuckin, John A., Translator and Editor. Prayer Book of the Early Christians. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011. 199 Pages. Cloth. $23.99. http://www.paracletepress.com/ (L)
Designed for any 21st-century Christian, this prayer book gathers prayers and rituals from the ancient Church (especially early Greek Christianity), representing them for the use of Christians at home, in small prayer groups, and house churches. Harkening back to worship of the early Christians, this prayer book offers structure of offices and blessing rituals for all times of day and year, and articulates many prayers for religious needs including bereavement, house blessing, praise, and thanksgiving.
- "Take, eat. This is my body." The consecrated host, both bread and the Body of Christ, is to be eaten, not reserved and prayed to (Scriptures, 11). Contemplative prayer (21) is problematic from a Lutheran who asserts with a great teacher, "Mysticism begins in the mist, centers on 'I,' and ends in schism."
- Dr. Luther had great respect for Mary. I fear that respect for her and recitation of Scripture about her let to inappropriate worship of her. She is neither mediatrix nor redemptrix. She is not the "one mediator between God and men" that Jesus IS. I will imitate her according to our common vocations, yet I reject what is said about and/or to her on the basis of what she sang: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior" (cf Luke 1:46-55, Mary). She needed a Savior just like I do.
- Mainline Lutherans have struggled with this "new approach to Paul" that sounds a lot like the theosis taught by Eastern Orthodoxy and alluded to here (Jesus Prayer, 25, et al). I am always in favor of repentance and for the forgiven believer to pray for mercy. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" may be faithfully and edifyingly used as long as we avoid the errors Jesus taught us to avoid in Matthew 6.
- I appreciate Icons as art. Lutherans who see an iconostasis may confuse its function with that of an altar rail. Our rail is meant for function, not as an obstructive barrier. I could imagine pushing the icon wall behind the altar so that the communicants would properly see the mysteries (since the curtain was torn in two) and be comfortingly surrounded by angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven. I learned something from the Icons booklet. The stylized "written" pictures portray more than a photorealistic world. They are intended to reveal a deeper spiritual reality.
Our churches teach that the remembrance of the saints is to be commended in order that we may imitate their faith and good works according to our calling.
Benedicat et custodiat nos
omnipotens et misericors Dominus,
Pater, et + Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
The almighty and merciful Lord,
the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless and preserve you.