Is there a definition of what is the officially “traditional” form of the Lord’s Prayer? One of our local clergy starts up with “Let us pray as our Saviour taught us, in the traditional words,” but they are those of the Alternative Service Book 1980, not the 1662 Prayer Book, which I grew up with (I am 65).
A simplification is to refer to the Prayer Book version as “the traditional version”, the version found in ASB Rite B as “the modified traditional version”, and the modern- language version in Common Worship as “the contemporary-language version”. ASB Rite A uses the contemporary-language version. Some people, particularly the younger, who were not brought up on the Prayer Book, do not seem to be aware of the difference between the traditional and modified traditional versions.
The modified traditional version predates the ASB. It appeared (without the doxology, “for thine is the kingdom . . .”) in 1966 in a report of the Liturgical Commission containing a suggested order for Holy Communion. When the Series 1 form was approved in 1966, it was with the BCP words. In 1967, the Series 2 communion service contained the modified traditional wording.
There were ecumenical attempts to find a common contemporary-language version. One proposal was to replace “Lead us not into temptation” with “Do not bring us to the time of trial.” This is to be found in the Series 3 communion service. This did not prove to be popular. When the ASB was published, the contemporary-language version was used, with the proviso that the traditional form (not defined) might be used.
The main volume of Common Worship provides both the modified traditional and contemporary-language versions in Holy Communion Order 1, but provides that the BCP version and an ecumenical form (which uses “Save us from the time of trial,” and can be found on page 106) may be used on appropriate occasions (Note 19, page 333). We should also bear in mind that a version, commonly used in Scotland, says, following Matthew rather than Luke: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
The Revd John Chamberlin
North Shields, Tyne and Wear
In the prayer of absolution and the blessing at the end of Morning Prayer, the clergy use the word “you”, but lay ministers replace this with “us”. Is this because the clergy are perfect and do not need forgiveness or benediction?
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