This is a post I failed to make last week, but interestingly now it links to cathedral_life
's recent post
It struck me last week praying the offices in Peterhouse Chapel where the BCP collects are still used that the quote I knew from the Collect for Advent II:read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
is only a partial quote. The full collect is:Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou has given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ Amen.
It struck me that we have lost the emphasis on hearing
scripture as well as reading it and that the quote as I learnt it was indicative of this.
Hearing is a communal activity far more than reading.* And thus it is the community of the hearers which is formed by the hearing. Not just the individual reader. I also think it is important to keep scripture and worship together. We meet God through both and the worship forms us to hear scripture and scripture forms us to worship. This is one reason I like the offices. We get chunks of scripture in the context of worship. It was pointed out to me that this combination was largely a product of Cramner's changes as prior to that it was only the office of readings which had large portions of scripture in it. But it's one of Cramner's changes which I like!
*It should be remembered however that silent reading to oneself is a modern innovation. Until fairly late, people always read aloud -- think of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts whom Philip overhears reading. I half remember a quote about from one Church father who was criticising another one for reading silently because it was important that the word be spoken aloud to have its full impact.