Edited by Georges Lemopoulos. Geneva: WCC Publications.1996. 97 pp. $8.95. To order from the New York office: 212-70-3193; fax 212-870-2528. www.wcc-coe.org.
This book of prayers is like a rare jewel from the East. The theological treasures of the Orthodox traditions are on display in these worship materials. First, there is the cultural and historical breadth of the Eastern church, as these prayers come from many lands and tongues, from contemporary sources and from the first centuries’ cradle of Christianity. Second, many of the prayers speak plainly of the Eastern impulse to live every day not just for God, but in the presence of God.
Third, our sisters and brothers in the East most often pray corporately (always “we”) to a communal God, while we in the West tend to pray as individuals (“I”) to a singular God. The prayers here, spoken by a congregation and addressed either to the Trinity as a whole or to a particular, named member of the Trinity, provide a helpful counterbalance. Finally, as opposed to Western books of prayers that are full of . . . well, words—this book is filled not only with words, but also with music and illustrations to guide and enhance both corporate worship and private devotions.