Jacobs is not a disinterested observer. He is part of a branch of the Anglican tradition – an American branch that has separated itself from the larger Episcopal Church (USA) and aligned itself with a Bolivian bishop. Despite this separation, Jacobs offers a very fair and thoughtful accounting of the development and influence of this liturgical and theological treasure. Being himself an evangelical, he shows great appreciation for the Anglo-Catholic vision of the liturgy. As a student of the Nonjuring movement, which developed its own liturgical resources during the eighteenth century I would have liked to see him comment on their work since it influenced Scottish developments, and therefore American developments, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
This is a well-written, readable, and thoughtful. Jacobs brings to life what many would consider an inanimate object, indeed one that is now hopelessly obsolete. Jacobs helps us realize that while the modern heirs of Cranmer’s Prayer Book diverge from his vision of one book for one nation, even in their diversity of expression, these modern editions provide worshipers, even non-Anglican ones, words to share in praise of God. It is, therefore, more than simply a good read. There is spiritual nourishment to be found Alan Jacobs’s biography, as well as the Book of Common Prayer itself.
Bob Cornwall is pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Troy, Michigan, and author of Ultimate Allegiance: The Subversive Nature of the Lord’s Prayer. He blogs at Ponderings on a Faith Journey.