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Sentences (Opening) 

Sentences of scripture that may be used at the beginning of Morning and Evening Prayer. These sentences may relate the office to the season, day, or time of worship. The opening sentences may also recall a general theme of Christian worship, and draw the congregation together for prayer as the office begins. The BCP service of Morning Prayer provides opening sentences for the seasons of the church year; for Trinity Sunday and All Saints and other Major Saints' Days; for occasions of thanksgiving; and general sentences for use at any time (pp. 75-78). The opening sentences for Evening Prayer may be used at any time. Several of these sentences relate faith to the context of darkness or night. One of the opening sentences for Evening Prayer, based on Ps 139:10-11, includes the statement, "darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as the day" (BCP, p. 116). Use of the opening sentences is optional.

There were no opening sentences in the 1549 Prayer Book. Opening sentences preceded the confession of sin at Morning and Evening Prayer in the 1552 BCP. These sentences were penitential. Subsequent revisions of the Prayer Book came to include general sentences, and sentences appropriate for particular seasons, days, or occasions. 


Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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