…especially Barack, our president

I am an Episcopalian.  The Episcopal Church is a Christian denomination, and a branch of the larger Anglican Communion.  Episcopalians usually consider themselves to be somewhere between Catholic and Protestant.  We take communion each week, and we use wine during the Eucharist.  We believe in the Apostolic Succession.  We say the Nicene Creed during our services.

The Anglican Communion began with the Church of England, which has a long history, most famously, its break with Papal authority.  King Henry VII, with the help of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, broke away from the Roman Catholic Church for many reasons, some theological, and some political.  In 1534 the Act of Supremacy was passed, creating King Henry VIII as the supreme head on earth of the Church of England.  The first Book of Common Prayer was written in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer.  The services in The English Book of Common Prayer include prayers for the monarch and parliament.  After the United States declared independence from England,  laws were passed by several states, and the Congress, making it treason to pray for the British Crown or Parliament.

Samuel Seabury, elected Bishop of Connecticut in 1783, traveled to Scotland to be consecrated.  He was the first American Bishop of the Anglican Communion.  The first version of the Book of Common Prayer specifically for the US was written in 1790, and the current version of the BCP was published in 1979, although some parishes still use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  All of these version of the Prayer Book include prayers for the government of the United States of America.  The Rite I service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer says:

We beseech Thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear the authority of government in this and every land, [especially ___________], that they may be lead to wise decisions and right actions for the welfare and peace of the world.

For the last eight years we have said, “especially George, our president…”. Starting in November, when Barack Obama was elected, we prayed for both “George, our president, and “Barack Obama, president-elect”. I have now been to two services since Inauguration Day, and I get a particular thrill when praying the words, “…especially Barack, our president”. It may seem silly, but I really am getting a kick out of praying for a president that I voted for, and who I believe will be a good leader. Let me be clear, I never begrudged former President Bush, the younger, my prayers. I was always quite sincere when we came to that part of the service – I believe he needed our prayers (what president would not?). But there is something different about praying for President Obama. Call me crazy.

Now, I normally do not express my political views online. I have a healthy paranoia about the availability of my words to anyone who chooses to read them. I am not vain enough to think lots of people are desperately searching the web to find out how I voted in the presidential election.  However, I generally prefer to discuss politics and religion with my close friends, who know that while I may disagree with them, and we might have a great debate, I still love them and respect their opinions. This blog entry contains both politics and religion, and it is difficult to convey tone on a blog.

I am hoping that the rather lengthy history lesson, which is interesting to me, and probably two other people, will scare most people off.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  Dear reader, whoever you are, and whatever your political and religious ideas, please do not take offence at my idle ramblings; know that I am sincerely praying for more tolerance, understanding and acceptance in this world, and go in peace.

1 comment to …especially Barack, our president

  • Billy

    To love and serve the Lord. Alleluia, Alleluia.

    Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

    Sorry; force of habit.

    Am I one of the two?

    Lovely post. It is just a warm tingly feeling, isn’t it? I believe that’s what the not-so-cynical call hope. Feels pretty good.

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