Does Episcopal Worship Have "vain and empty" ritual?

 I had been cautioned about it by other well-meaning members of other denominations: why do you never see Episcopalians carrying their Bibles to church? (well, in many Episcopal churches the Bible is in the pew, along with Book of Common Prayer) . The Book of Common Prayer (BOCP) defies sola scriptura (BOCP is more like the order of the service. And if you’ve never been to an Episcopal church, a LOT of scriptures are read, and a large bulk of those are found in the BOCP.)

* Sidebar-- I hope that as a newly confirmed Episcopalian, I'm not offending anyone by abbreviating BOCP. It's carpel tunnel. The spirit is willing, but... **

Some told me they thought the service, saying the Lord's Prayer every week, was the vain and empty repetition Jesus warned about.

While I can only speak for my personal experience, I think the key word here is not repetition, but “vain” and “empty.”

I think we can clearly say that services of all denominations can be "vain" and "empty" if they do not focus and concentrate on the worship of our one True God. We can also see how for some, this routine may become tiresome, while for others, spontaneity of other services may be distracting.

Like most artists, I can tend to be a bit on the ADHD side. I can vouch that, at least for writers, it seems that ideas and thoughts are like moths gathering around a summer porch light, each one popping up at unexpected times and fighting for attention. For me, the formality of the Episcopal service and the BOCP  and  seems to keep my mind from wandering.

Sometimes I don’t say the prayers out of the book at all, but silently pray while letting the words wash over me.

 I like the fact that the book reminds us to pray at regular intervals for our president,our city mayor, our governor and even folks like policemen and firemen,the imprisoned, convenience store clerks and health care workers. Not that I don’t pray for those men and women---I do---but in a society where we try to cram as many morsels of information as possible into our minds, I find even the most well-intended can be unintentionally forgetful.
It just seems that my overactive mind needs a bit of guidance, like holding a child’s hand in a grocery store. I don't feel limited, but I feel grounded.  As strange as it may sound, the repetition and structure gives me freedom.

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