Renowned scholar and author the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll’s Marriage According to the Book of Common Prayer is marrow for the soul, because no one is left untouched by marriage — whether those celebrating their golden anniversary, newlyweds on honeymoon, the divorced and abused, children (from the womb through adulthood), widows and orphans, and those single by choice or by chance.
The main theme here is marriage and also the single life as particular vocations of following Jesus. In a day and age where the institution of marriage, and what it means to be single as a follower of Christ, have been challenged in every conceivable manner we believe this presentation to be refreshing and strengthening.
Dr. Noll draws deeply from Scripture and insights from both the classic book of Common Prayer 1662 and the new service of Holy Matrimony in the Anglican Church in North America Book of Common Prayer 2019 which follows closely the 1662 but with some revisions of language and thought.
Paramount is this book’s richness in drawing the reader closer to Christ. Originally presented by GAFCON as a series of online meditations, Dr. Noll’s grasp and voicing of what it means to be married or a single Christian compelled its preservation in book form.
Here is a treasure for any Christian who desires to be married, to remain married, and to finish married. It is equally a treasure for those who are not married. It is also a challenge. It challenges the reader to see marriage as God sees it, as Holy Matrimony. It challenges the reader to consider whether lasting happiness can only be had by doing things God’s way, rather than our own. It speaks to those called to the single life, similarly challenging them to the high road of following Jesus Christ in their call.
In this series of brief essays or meditations on marriage Dr. Noll quotes twentieth century authors as diverse as engaged to be married martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer and novelist William Faulkner. Each section ends with a prayer or word from Holy Writ — all the way from Jewish prayer to prayers of the Christian East and West.
Stephen Noll is one of the great Anglican scholars and teachers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. He is also a seasoned Christian pastor writing in a manner accessible to any and to all, and as a man married more than fifty years who has proved himself a faithful husband, father, grandfather and friend. There is lots of beauty and poetry in this work, and plenty of invitation to rise above the confusion of the present age.
Marriage According to the Book of Common Prayer will make a great gift to those considering marriage, those newly married, those wanting to renew their marriage, and to those believing themselves called to the single life. It is a book that is not just for Anglican Christians, but for all of Christ followers.