Class 3: Anglican Spirituality, Evangelical and Catholic
Anglican spiritual life is Evangelical and Catholic, corporate and personal, and involves:
- The Bible
- The Sacraments
- The Holy Spirit
Some speak of three streams within Anglicanism: Evangelical, Catholic, and Charismatic.
Anglican spirituality is first of all grounded in the reality, the truth, of the Biblical story of our creation by God, our fall from His grace, and God’s action to bring about our redemption, that is, our restoration to a right relationship to Him, breaking our bondage to sin and enabling us to live the new life of love of God and neighbor for which we are made. This new life, eternal life, begins now and continues with God after we die. That restoration, salvation, began in God’s calling of the people of Israel, culminated in the sending of Jesus, the Word made flesh, and continued with the sending of the Holy Spirit to empower Jesus’ followers to bring the good news of God’s salvation to all people and to make disciples of all nations.
The following are from the Holy Eucharist, Rite I, Book of Common Prayer, p. 332 (these “comfortable words” are also in the new 2019 Book of Common Prayer):
- God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
- This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)
- If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the perfect offering for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)
Anglican spirituality embraces this story told in the Bible. The truth in the story is deeper than literal, and that truth is ultimately grounded in the reality and character of the triune God: the Father, creator, the Son, redeemer, and the Holy Spirit, giver of life. Jesus himself is the truth:
- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Anglican spirituality is incarnational, that is, has a strong sense of the Word made flesh, God with us. Jesus is God himself:
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3,14)
God’s presence with us, His people, His Body, His Church, continues as Jesus continues to be present in us through his Holy Spirit as we are fed by His Word and Sacraments.
- I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Gal. 2:20)
- Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:4-6)
- I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48-51)
- Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
We remain (abide) in Jesus as we follow him as Lord, as we surrender our lives to Him, and allow Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. This empowers us to live lives of love of God and neighbor and to serve Him in His call to mission, whether to our families, our neighbors, our workplace, or to the ends of the earth. As Anglicans, we do this corporately through our common prayer, our Eucharistic worship, and in daily personal prayer and study of Scripture.
The Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer is an excellent resource for structuring and bringing discipline to your daily devotions. Morning or evening prayer can be used in family settings, led by a family member. The Daily Office Lectionary (pp. 934-995, Book of Common Prayer) provides readings from the Psalms, Old Testament, the Epistles, and Gospels for each day throughout the year.
- There are several web sites for getting the daily reading from the Book of Common Prayer:
- The Mission St. Clare site includes a complete Morning or Evening Prayer service (1979), with music and the daily readings from Scripture.
- A similar site with daily services from the ACNA Book of Common Prayer (2019) with Scripture readings included. Click on “Now” or “Calendar” for access to current service or to a calendar with dates.
- An online Book of Common Prayer (1979).
- A pdf download of the ACNA Book of Common Prayer (2019). A bookmarked version for easier use is at this link.
- A full account of various sources and their history from Anglican Compass.
- Table of Contents of the Book of Common Prayer (1979).
If you don’t do so already, you are strongly encouraged to make a time each day for personal prayer and Scripture study, and to become a part of a small group or Truro home church group dedicated to Christian discipleship.