Monday, February 09, 2009

Bucer on Ash Wednesday

The historical evidence leans the Reformed Church in the direction away from a commemoration of Ash Wednesday and Lent. While reformers like Luther and Bucer sought to retain catholic practices that were not inherently unscriptural or wound up with too much superstition, there is really very little evidence explaining why the practice died out in at least those reformed catholic communities. There are probably other references, but the one explicit comment from Bucer I've found comes in his commentary on the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer. There he commends Cranmer’s Ash Wednesday service, and his only suggestion is that the English Church ought to consider having such a service three or four times a year.

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