Although the Anglican churches around the world tend to follow a similar pattern in their liturgy, new translations and developments in recent times mean that there are more differences nowadays.

For example, whereas many churches in Japan now use the Mikotoba no Reihai (Service of the Word) instead of Morning Prayer when a Communion service is not possible, thereby following all three readings from the Communion service, many churches in England now have only one or two readings in the Communion service instead of three, at least in some of their services.

Possible readings at the service I attended here in England yesterday were Isaiah 51: 1-6, Romans 12: 1-8, and Matthew 16: 13-20, but only Romans and Matthew were actually read. At Holy Communion services and Service of the Word in Japan, the reading from Romans was from chapter 11, verses 33-36, but the readings from Isaiah and Matthew were the same.

Biblical Verses

Since my grasp of Japanese is far from adequate, i often refer to my English bible (usually NIV) during the readings and the sermon, and quite often during the collective reading of a psalm. This can be awkward, however, when the versification of the Japanese text differs from the English.

In yesterday’s Holy Communion service, for example, we were reading Psalm 69, verses 1-17 (Japanese), with Rev. Yoshioka reading the odd-numbered verses and the congregation responding with even numbered ones.

As I was trying to respond quietly in English, I soon found myself out of sync with everyone else. When I checked the psalm in both languages after the service, i found that verses two and three in Japanese correspond to verse two alone in English. Thus, verses 1-17 in Japanese correspond to verses 1-16 in English. The second English verse is follows:

I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. (J2)
I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. (J3)

For anyone trying to follow the service using English, therefore, it would be necessary to say only the first part of verse two, allow the president to finish the verse, and thereafter read the odd-numbered verses, with the president finishing on verse 16 (17 in Japanese).

Readings Tomorrow

Although tomorrow is the 4th Sunday after Epiphany, February 2nd is also the date when our church commemorates the presentation of Christ in the temple. The readings for this occasion take precedence over the usual Sunday readings, so tomorrow’s readings for Holy Communion and Mikotoba no Reihai (Service of the Word) in all Anglican churches in Japan will be as follows:

Malachi 3: 1-4; Hebrews 2: 14-18; Luke 2: 22-40

Meeting in Miyazaki

The Anglican Church in Japan’s Committee on the Liturgy has been meeting in Holy Trinity Church, Miyazaki today.