The ancient bidding prayer gives a living snapshot of the Elizabethan Church settlement — “the holy Catholic Church, particularly that pure and reformed part of it established in this kingdom.” It doesn't rubbish others like the puritans, but it implicitly denies that Rome is the franchise holder for all Christianity. By “pure” it doesn’t mean “excluding impure people” but “stripped of recent accretions.” The word “Anglican” is nowhere to be seen — but of course it wouldn’t be, since it was invented in its present meaning by Gladstone in 1838, I believe.
The Old Testament reading was about Jacob wrestling with a stranger — Shallow people think that pain, contradiction and struggle in the Church is, in itself, wrong. Before his encounter at Peniel, Jacob sought blessing by deception, manipulation, hard work, diplomacy, even brute force. He received the blessing he sought, not in the way he had planned it, but by being broken. Pain, struggle and uncertainty, far from being some dreadful failure to manage things smoothly, is the normal condition of an emergent community experiencing the blessing described in Genesis 32:
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the Light gets in.Leonard Cohen Anthem.