I grabbed this awhile back: The Book of Common Worship (Louisville: WJK, 1993). I had a very old Book of Common Prayer, but after using it at a few funerals and for a few other pastoral duties, I was sick of translating “on the fly” the archaic language of the old BCP. Also, I wanted something with more prayers, liturgical helps, funeral outlines, and wedding details. I saw The Book of Common Worship for a good price; now I use it for certain pastoral duties.
Reading through it I found some stuff I didn’t like at all (I stress at all). For example, I’m not comfortable praying to “Eternal Light,” nor am I comfortable with paschal candles or the sign of the cross marked on foreheads while kneeling. Some parts of The Book of Common Worship I’ll for sure skip!
To be sure, there are parts of it I really like. I’m glad it is in modern language. Some of the prayers and hymns are solid. Here is one example. This is a prayer for a funeral or burial service.
“Eternal God, we acknowledge the uncertainty of our life on earth. We are given a mere handful of days, and our span of life seems nothing in your sight. All flesh is as grass; and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but your word will stand forever. In this is our hope, for you are our God. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, you are with us. O Lord, let us know our end and the number of our days, that we may learn how fleeting life is. Turn your ear to our cry, and hear our prayer. Do not be silent at our tears, for we live as strangers before you, wandering pilgrims as all our ancestors were. But you are the same and your years shall have no end. Amen!”
The bottom line is this: I’m glad I have this liturgical resource, and I’ll use it quite a bit. However, I have some big theological problems with large parts of it, so I can’t give it two thumbs up.
One more thing – I’m certainly not a Book of Common Prayer/Worship expert, so feel free to comment if you have better suggestions.