Regular readers of this blog will have heard me wax lyrical about one of my heroes, Thomas Cranmer on numerous occasions. His 1549 and then 1552 revision of the Prayer Book would have changed English social history for ever had Edward VI only lived a few more years. As it was, Edward's untimely death meant the end of a reformed Prayer book, and soon after, an end for Cranmer, burned alive at the stake under Queen Mary.
We reformed modernists have turned our back on the old church calender with it's connection to the land, the seasons and the peoples of another age. However, the nuances of Cranmer's measured language, and his systematic teaching of theology to those who knew nothing of the gospel or the grand narrative of God's dealings with men, has yet to be surpassed in any generation. Quite simply, Cranmer discipled the entire English tribe with his simple daily prayers and scripture readings. His biblical ideas gradually becoming established and embedded in a nation that lay under the darkness of catholicism.
Here are his words for today, All Saints Day, which have been spoken and prayed in this way for over 450 years.
O Almighty God, who has knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so as to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cranmer's Epistle reading is taken from Rev 7.2-12. The great multitude that no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds and peoples and tongues.
His Gospel reading is from Matt 5.1-12. Jesus on the mountain with the multitudes, teaching the Beatitudes.