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Posts Tagged ‘go forth into the world’

Searching the web for a favourite quotation can sometimes be a struggle.   What you thought was a phrase that ‘everyone knows’ turns out to be difficult to locate; to be sure, it’s quoted everywhere but where is the original source?  Here’s a good example.

Everyone in the Anglican tradition knows this majestic benediction:

Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honour everyone;
love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.

This is listed in quite a few places in Anglican worship but it’s difficult to identify who originally wrote these wonderful words.  So I’m happy to yield the floor to a Presbyterian minister in Williamsburg VA who traces its history at least:

“This particular catena, “Go out into the world in peace,” has a remarkable history. It first appeared when the Episcopalians were revising their 1892 The Book of Common Prayer. In their 1928 proposed The Book of Common Prayer this charge concluded the service for confirming baptized members into the church. The Episcopalians evidently didn’t care for it, so it did not appear in the final version in 1928, but when we Presbyterians were revising our 1902 The Book of Common Worship we picked it up and in 1946 The Book of Common Worship provided it as the conclusion to the
Confirmation service. Some Presbyterian pastors thought so much of those words that we began to use them at the conclusion of worship, and when the Presbyterian Church again revised The Book of Common Worship in 1993 this catena was as an alternative ending for worship.”

http://www.williamsburgpresbyterianchurch.org/Sermons2011/20Feb2011.pdf

And here I was thinking that Cranmer wrote it!  But it’s still a wonderful benediction.

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