The Zoom link for Morning Prayer is sent out to the Parish email list.
The words, which change with the day, are on the screen – they are taken from Universalis. Some general information on the prayer of the Church is on the Universalis site here
Psalms and Canticles are usually said split alternately with half those present taking each half. Here we use just two ‘voices’, so these are unmute, everyone else is mute.
On the screen, text in bold or red isn't read aloud. On the screen, text in bold is for information; text in red is either instructions or is to direct the prayer, pointing to historical Christian senses given to the psalm or canticle, either from the New Testament or early Christian writers.
If you are not a ‘voice’ you just speak along during the hymn/psalms/canticles/Our Father in the silence of your room.
First few tips in how to say the psalms in a way that hopefully makes it both prayerful and easier for people to join in.
· The psalm has to be spoken with a 'steady beat' as if one was chanting it rather than saying it alone. Changes of pace saying some lines slow and some fast make it hard for people to join in. A heartbeat rhythm with a slight pause at the end of each line helps to add a sense of this being a breathing exercise as in a meditation - which is calming and helps one to pray the psalms as well as say them.
· A reasonably constant volume is similarly a good idea - avoiding saying individual words at different volumes or with excessive emphasis.
· When reading poetry out loud as an individual it is common to run one line into the next when there is no punctuation at the end of the line. When reading the psalms as a group there should be a very slight pause at he end of each line ( even if there is no punctuation at the end of the line) in the same way as there would be if the psalms were being sung to a psalm tone- otherwise the rhythm is lost. ( Slightly tricky to tell where the end of the line is when reading it on screen if one is not familiar with the psalms - so there might need some sort of marker).
· Choose the middle ground in terms of pace avoiding both a dirge at one extreme and a gabble at the other.
· We are all still learning how to do this - it takes a life time's practice! The rewards in terms of finding the Office a prayerful experience are worth the effort!
2. First voice ('leader')
Starting of ‘O God come to our aid’,
the antiphon at the start of the psalm/canticle
alternate hymn/psalm/canticle verses, always starting with the first verse,
verses for short responsory
responses to the prayer and intercessions before the Our Father
starting the Our Father
final prayer and closing...
3. Second voice:
alternate hymn/psalm/canticle verses, always starting with the second verse,
the antiphon at the end of the psalm/canticle
response to short responsory (first voice says verses)
prayer intentions and intercessions before the Our Father (first voice makes the response)
4. For the hymn/psalms/canticles, if there are two of you together at the computer, both can speak; 'voice' doesn't have to mean 'just one voice', you just need to know who is starting things. There are a couple of bits for voice one alone (i.e not joined by anyone else in the room): the opening words (O God come to our aid, the short responsory, the closing prayer and closing.
5. We start with everyone mute, so the two voices need to unmute before they start.
6. First voice –
Starting the Our Father:
we mute everyone and bring the Our Father back onto the screen. Then the first voice unmutes to introduce and say the Our Father.
Watch to see when you are muted and the screen shifts to the Our Father.
7. Second voice, unmute self during final prayer to supply the Amens.
8. Also we finish with:
Leader: Let us praise the Lord
Second voice: Thanks be to God
which isn't on the screen.
9. Glory be is split between voices; Hymn voiced by negotiation if sung