Sunday, 19 May 2013

A teaching Eucharist for the Day of Pentecost

“... to preside in the very deed that so expands the life of creatures is a function of unquestionable beauty and dignity,” according to Robert Hovda

Patrick Comerford

Introduction


During our training, preparation and placements, many of us are filled with a natural human anxiety, worrying about the first time we stand before a congregation to celebrate or preside at the Eucharist or the Holy Communion. So much so, that we may be in danger of forgetting that we too are present among the congregation, to be enriched and fed spiritually as we meet Christ, present in word and sacrament.

We all know what it is to ask: “Will I get it all right when it comes to my turn?”

This morning, we have an opportunity, instead, to ask not about ourselves, but about the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper itself. This morning, we ask not “What am I doing?”

Rather, we ask: “What are we doing together?”

And: “What is Christ doing with me, with us?”

The Eucharist is the great thanksgiving –
eucharistia (εὐχαριστία) – for the great goodness of God. Whether we call this “The Eucharist,” “The Holy Communion,” “The Sacrament,” or “The Lord’s Supper,” this is the central act of Christian worship where Christ encounters and feeds his faithful ones.

As the first of the General Directions for Public Worship in
The Book of Common Prayer, and as Bishop Harold Miller says, “The Holy Communion is the central act of worship in the church.” Bishop Miller says it is the most normative and complete act of Sunday worship. He says: “The Holy Communion gives us a window into all that is most vital in our regular worship.”

As we have it, this service is not simply the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion, or the Eucharist. It is a combination of both a Liturgy of the Word, a Prayer Service, and a Liturgy of the Sacrament.

The President’s Role at the Eucharist is defined at six specific points:

1, The Opening Greeting;
2, The Collect of the Day;
3, The Absolution;
4, introducing the Peace;
5, praying the Eucharistic Prayer;
6, the Dismissal.

So let us watch for these six moments as we are gathered together this morning.

The candles are lit, and the altar or table has been prepared for our celebration of the Eucharist or Holy Communion. It is covered with a fair linen cloth. On this, in the centre we have placed the corporal, a square white cloth. On this stand the chalices and the paten, covered by a burse and veil in the liturgical colours. In addition, there are two purificators for the administration of the chalices. The pocket of the burse has the chalice corporal inside it, with the pocket facing where the presiding priest is going to stand for the Eucharistic Prayer. This chalice corporal is used to cover the communion vessels after we have all received.

The Greek work ἐκκλησία
ekklesía, which we translate as “Church,” refers to the gathering of the people, the calling out of the world and into the assembly.

Before the arrival of the priest, the congregation gathers. We are here first and foremost as the gathered or assembled church, believers. Others may be guests, and welcomed guests, but it is not a secular gathering, on the one hand; nor, on the other hand, is it a meeting for evangelism. The presumption first and foremost is that those present are baptised believers.

We meet in his name, and we do as he commanded us.

We meet not as a collection of neighbours, or as a collection of individual Christians, but as the One Body of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit. The liturgy is essentially what we do – it is truly our “Common Prayer.”


Red is the colour for the Day of Pentecost and often for ordinations (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Already, the candles are lit and the lectern has been dressed in the liturgical colours of the season: Red for the Day of Pentecost, for we are preparing for the outpouring of the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.

In the vestry or sacristy, the priest may be saying prayers such as the familiar third collect at Morning Prayer:


Go before us, Lord, in all our doings, with your most gracious favour,
and further us with your continual help;
that in all our works begun, continued and ended in you,
we may glorify your holy name,
and finally by your mercy attain everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The memory of the silent prayers said by the priest before presiding or celebrating is retained in Holy Communion 1 in The Book of Common Prayer, where it says “The priest stands at the Lord’s Table. The people knell.” And then he or she prays the Lord’s Prayer (without the doxology) alone.

We too should be silent as we gather our thoughts, our minds, ourselves as we prepare to celebrate.

In common language, we normally use the words “celebration,” “celebrating” and celebrant” for the person presiding at the Eucharist or the Holy Communion.

But we are all celebrating, celebrating together, we are all co-celebrants, and the person who presides is the one who seeks to bring it alive, to animate what is happening, to see that it truly is the liturgy, the work of the people, and not something we are present at as spectators.

The people have gathered, the many have come together to be one body.

We are social and sociable. We chat with one another.

But we are not collected individuals, and small groups of twos or threes.

We are about to be gathered together as one people.

The priest who is presiding is the last to enter, and we stand – in silence or singing a hymn – ready to be gathered together as one body.

The priest joins us before the altar or table.

Our worship does not open or begin with the processional hymn. It opens or begins when we are gathered together as one body when the presiding priest stands at the president’s chair and calls us together in the opening liturgical greeting.

The liturgical greeting is not the same as Good Morning. And it establishes who is presiding, the presidency, so it should not be left to a Reader or an assistant.

Normally the opening greeting is:

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

But this morning we use the greeting used from Easter Day until the Day of Pentecost:


Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

A sentence of scripture may be read, and the presiding minister may introduce the liturgy of the day …

And we know why we are celebrating this Eucharist together this morning: This is a teaching Eucharist as part of the Spirituality module. And, while we have our communal worship with a Service of the Word later this morning, this is still a true celebration of Pentecost.

Christ is present among us in so many ways: in word, in sacrament, and in the gathered Body of Christ. And so, in awe and reverence, we draw our hearts and minds together and prepare to enter fully into worship, praying the Collect for Purity.

This prayer comes to us as an inheritance of Sarum Use, and was so loved that it has survived in
The Book of Common Prayer ever since 1549.


Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden;
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Penitence as part of the gathering of the people has been an integral part of Anglican liturgy since 1556.

The Confession is introduced with appropriate words, such as:


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, to intercede for us in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.
Let us then confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments
and to live in love and peace:

Then there is silence to think about this.

We might then use the traditional words of confession, that begins with the words, “Almighty God, our heavenly Father …,” or, use Seasonal Penitential Kyries, sucg as those for the Day of Pentecost. The Kyrie responses are a Trinitarian acclamation and among the oldest prayers in the Church. In their Greek form they are the oldest surviving Greek prayers in the Western church:

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.


Great and wonderful are you deeds,
Lord God, the Almighty

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You are the King of glory, O Christ.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

We are then assured of God’s forgiveness as the priest pronounces the absolution:

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy on you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in eternal life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The canticle
Gloria in Excelsis may be omitted in Advent and Lent and on weekdays which are not holy days. In Holy Communion 1, the canticle Gloria comes after receiving Communion. Its present place restores the canticle to its place in 1549. We have been forgiven, now – like the angels and shepherds – we can give Glory to God who comes among us.

When we use
Gloria, we should use it joyfully, it is full of images that children love. Resonances of its words can be found in some form almost all Christmas carols, for example, and children delight in its images, its words and its pictures.

This morning we sing Gloria as Hymn 693:


Glory in the highest to the God of heaven!
Peace to all your people through the earth be given!
Mighty God and Father, thanks and praise we bring,
singing Alleluia to our heavenly King.

Jesus Christ is risen, God the Father’s Son!
With the Holy Spirit, you are Lord alone!
Lamb once killed for sinners, all our guilt to bear,
show us now your mercy, now receive our prayer.

Christ the world’s true Saviour, high and holy one,
Seated now and reigning from your Father’s throne:
Lord and God, we praise you! Highest heaven adores:
in the Father's glory, all the praise be yours!

Then comes the
Collect. Once the meaning of a collect has been explained, people rarely forget, because we all know what is to ask for our basic needs to be met. That is natural … I need, I need, I need, I feed, I feed, I feed … therefore I am? A collect is literally a collection of all the intentions and favours we seek, for the Church, for ourselves, for the world.

We are all asking for something … and we should give people time to think of what they need before praying the Collect of the Day:


Almighty God,
who on the day of Pentecost
sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles
with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame,
filling them with joy and boldness to preach the gospel:
By the power of the same Spirit
strengthen us to witness to your truth
and to draw everyone to the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In our worship, the Church of Ireland seeks a balance between Word and Sacrament. Both are important places for Christ being made present for us, for us presenting ourselves before Christ.

Colin Buchanan has summarised the Eucharist as “A Bible study, followed by a prayer meeting, followed by a meal.” And so, Proclaiming and Receiving the Word is not preliminary to, or preparation for the Eucharist. It is both proclaiming and receiving. It is an essential part, an indispensible element of every celebration.

Properly, the full Word of God should be proclaimed … Old Testament, Psalm or Biblical Canticle, New Testament and Gospel. Otherwise, we have to ask, are we saying the Old Testament has lost its validity or – even worse – suggesting the God of the Old Testament is not quite the same as the God of the New Testament?

However, the
Revised Common Lectionary provisions for the Day of Pentecost, provide the Pentecost reading [Acts 2: 1-21] for this morning, suggest it should be used in the place of the Old Testament reading [Genesis 11: 1-2, 11-18], and insist it must not be omitted. They also provide for a portion of a psalm [Psalm 104: 26-36, 37b], an Epistle reading [Romans 8: 14-17], and a Gospel reading [John 14: 8-17].


A reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2, beginning at verse 1:

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs – in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13 But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 “In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

This morning’s psalm is Psalm 104, verses 26-36, and 37b.

26 O Lord, how manifold are your works! •
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
27 There is the sea, spread far and wide, •
and there move creatures beyond number, both small and great.
28 There go the ships, and there is that Leviathan •
which you have made to play in the deep.
29 All of these look to you •
to give them their food in due season.
30 When you give it them, they gather it; •
you open your hand and they are filled with good.
31 When you hide your face they are troubled; •
when you take away their breath,
they die and return again to the dust.
32 When you send forth your spirit, they are created, •
and you renew the face of the earth.
33 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; •
may the Lord rejoice in his works;
34 He looks on the earth and it trembles; •
he touches the mountains and they smoke.
35 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; •
I will make music to my God while I have my being.
36 So shall my song please him •
while I rejoice in the Lord.
37b Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Alleluia.

The doxology, ‘Glory to the Father ...’ may be omitted, for the Psalms are valid Biblical prayers without having to be ‘Christianised,’ and we have given our glory to God in singing Gloria. It it is traditional to omit to doxology at the end of the Psalms during Lent and Advent.

A reading from the Letter to the Romans, chapter 8, beginning at verse 17:

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

We often sing a canticle, psalm, hymn, anthem or acclamation as a gradual before proclaiming and receiving the Gospel. And that leaves us standing to receive the Word of God, facing the Gospel, which is best proclaimed and received, not from the table or the altar but among the people.

If the Gospel reader marks three Crosses on the forehead, lips, and heart, all that is being said is simply: “Please help me to love your word with my mind, keep it on my lips, and hold it in my heart.”


The Gospel Reading


Hear the Gospel of our Saviour Christ, according to Saint John, chapter 14, beginning at verse 8.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

8 Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

15 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The word is not just proclaimed but is received, and we ought to take it for granted that at every celebration of the Eucharist there is an exposition of the World, so people can receive it, so we can own it, so we can integrate it into our faith.

And the Liturgy of the Word then naturally reaches its climax when we share in the common confession of the faith of the universal Church, the Nicene Creed. We may use other creeds in other forms of worship, but
The Book of Common Prayer insists on the Nicene Creed in the Eucharist, and on Sundays and Principal Holy Days.

We believe in one God,
the Father the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
was incarnate by the Holy Spirit
of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.


The Prayers of the People

The intercessions normally include: prayers for: the universal Church; the nations of the world; the local community; those in need; and remembrance of, and thanksgiving for, the faithful departed.

But each petition should be brief, and we should avoid making intercessions appear like a series of collects. They should be addressed directly to God, and not to the people – this is not the place for another sermon.

But bear in mind firstly that these are the prayers of the people, not of the priest, and secondly, that you do not need to pray for all things at all services. Brevity and simplicity are important, corporate silence is important, and we should not hijack the prayers of others, the piety of others, and we should not displace the importance of the Great Thanksgiving, for the Eucharist itself is the Thanksgiving par excellence, and this should never be obscured by the content of the intercessions.


Lord, in your mercy:
hear our prayer.

The Peace

We have been gathered together, we have heard God’s word together, we have found we share the same faith, we have prayed together. To draw on Colin Buchanan’s imagery, we have had our Bible study and our prayer meeting. Now, before we share the meal … are we at peace with one another?

The Peace is still objected to in some parishes. How it is introduced will shape whether it is acceptable and whether it is liturgical. In the Communion we are being reconciled with God and with one another, so this should not be any old peace.


The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.
If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

Celebrating at the Lord’s Table

But we have more to offer. Most people think of the offertory as the collection. But it’s not, at all. It’s about offering God back what God has offered us … food and drink to nourish us, transformed by our labour, the fruits of our labour, our sweat and toil.

And we offer that as we prepare to eat together.

Now is the time to eat together, and so before the meal we prepare the table.

In families, children love preparing the family table, love the idea of gifts being given and received. There’s not much chance of that happening at this point in a parish church if they have been sent out to Sunday school beforehand.

If the priest washes his or her hands at
Lavabo, it is good table manners. But over and over again, the Church uses water as a sign of purity and purification.

If children are preparing the table, they would love to hear these appropriate words:


Wise and gracious God,
you spread a table before us;
nourish your people with the word of life,
and the bread of heaven. Amen.

Or when the gifts are brought forward – and the most important gifts are not money but food and drink that sustain us – we might also include gifts made by the children who have come in from the Sunday School. More likely we are going to hear traditional words such as: ‘Lord, yours is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty; for all things come from you and of your own we give you.’

The Eucharist is not just words. It comes alive in action. And so there are four identifiable movements or actions we should watch out: taking, blessing, breaking and giving.

First we have the Taking of the Bread and Wine
.

The bread and wine are the gifts of God and the work of our hands has turned wheat and grapes and water into bread and wine ... we offer to God what God has offered to us

We sometimes get this so wrong. How often do we find the bread and wine are already on the table or altar, or on a credence table at the side where no-one can see them? If the bread is little bits of sliced pan already cut into tiny squares, how are we going to break the bread together?

And the person presiding should show they are taking this bread and wine – and this is not about elevation. Only the bishop or priest then may say: “Christ our Passover …” This is one of the roles of the president, and cannot be delegated.

Like the opening greeting, this too states clearly what we are about to do. This is no longer bread and wine for secular use. What God has given to us for our sustenance we now offer to God.


The Eucharist ... the word simply means thanksgiving

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us
therefore let us celebrate the feast.

The word Eucharist simply means thanksgiving. In a sense we are all lifting that Bread and Wine and saying thanks you for God’s gifts of life and what sustains life.

The Great Thanksgiving

There are three Great Thanksgiving Prayers in
The Book of Common Prayer. We are using Prayer 3 this morning because it looks back to the past, looks to the present, and looks to the future, because it is remembrance and anticipation – because on the Day of Pentecost – there is a true epiclesis or calling down of the Holy Spirit on us and on our gifts – because it is fully Trinitarian, and because its responses and refrains reminds us that Liturgy is the Work of the People, we are all celebrating together.

The spirit of each of these three prayers is thanksgiving. It is not supposed to be quiet, or penitential, or singular. The appropriate posture is that we are all standing, for all are celebrating. But how many people when they are leading the liturgy change this by asking people to kneel, or by asking them to kneel for the
Sanctus. The only rubric for posture in Holy Communion is Stand, and, as Bishop Harold Miller says, the normal place for presiding is behind the altar/table, with hands out-stretched throughout the prayer.

The whole prayer, and not merely the Biblical words recalling the Last Supper, is the Eucharistic Prayer. If after those words the bread and wine are raised up, it is in giving thanks. But it is the whole prayer that is what we may call the ‘consecration,’ it is all the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion.


Sieger Koder: “The breaking of the bread”

David and Peter are standing beside Patrick, not to assist him, but to symbolise that we are all gathered around together. It is not that they are assisting Patrick, but that Patrick is assisting us to celebrate. He is the servant at the Table. This is Christ’s meal … and, as the Body of Christ, it is our meal. Notice the plural language that Patrick now uses:

The Lord is here.
His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Father, Lord of all creation,
we praise you for your goodness and your love.
When we turned away you did not reject us.
You came to meet us in your Son,
welcomed us as your children
and prepared a table where we might feast with you.

In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.
He opened wide his arms upon the cross and,
with love stronger than death,
he made the perfect sacrifice for sin.


Lord Jesus Christ, our redeemer,
on the night before you died
you came to table with your friends.
Taking bread, you gave thanks, broke it
and gave it to them saying,
Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
Lord Jesus, we bless you:
you are the bread of life.


At the end of supper
you took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said,
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.
Lord Jesus, we bless you:
you are the true vine.


Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ:
dying, you destroyed our death,
rising, you restored our life;
Lord Jesus, come in glory.


Holy Spirit, giver of life,
come upon us now;
may this bread and wine be to us
the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us, who know our need of grace,
one in Christ, our risen Lord.


Earlier, we had the taking of the gifts of bread and wine. Now in the thanksgiving, in the invocation of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we have the blessing. And we repeat that blessing:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Blessed Trinity:
with your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of thanks and praise
and lift our voice to join the song of heaven,
for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,
God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!


Thanks be to you, our God, for your gift beyond words.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Taking, blessing … now we are about to notice the breaking and the giving. And we prepare for this in the words of The Lord’s Prayer.

As our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:

Our Father, who art in heaven:
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
for ever and ever. Amen.


And now we have The Breaking of the Bread, what is also called the Fraction.

The bread which we break
is a sharing in the body of Christ.
We being many are one body,
for we all share in the one bread.


We break, we share. There is no point in a meal where the food is not served. And so the fourth essential movement, after taking, blessing and breaking, is the giving … the giving and receiving. And at The Communion there is an invitation to each and every one of us, collectively and individually:

Draw near with faith.
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which he gave for you,
and his blood which he shed for you.
Remember that he died for you,
and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Only when the invitation has been given, should the altar party receive Communion. It would be wrong for them to receive first and then invite others; this is work of the whole Church, and there are not two categories or classes of baptised and communicant members. The rubric states specifically: the presiding minister and people receive communion, and states this after the invitation.

And if you were at a meal, how appropriate it would be for us all to serve one another, to look after each other’s needs.


The body of Christ given for you.
The blood of Christ shed for you.

Amen.

Our ‘Amen’ is our Amen to Christ present to us and among us in so many ways this morning … in Word, in Sacrament, and in us collectively as the Body of Christ.

The Great Silence

When all have received Communion, all keep silence, not for some imposed act of piety, but for reflection on this awe-filled meeting with God. As the Bible reminds us constantly, the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all Wisdom.

The Blessing and Dismissal

Now we have been gathered, had our Bible study, our prayer meeting, and our meal together, we are ready for Going out as God’s People. We are ready for a Blessing to send us out into the world in mission.

Firstly, we are prepared for that with an appropriate Post Communion Prayer for the Day of Pentecost:


Faithful God,
who fulfilled the promises of Easter
by sending us your Holy Spirit
and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal:
Open our lips by your Spirit,
that every tongue may tell of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.

We think on what has happened in the past hour, and look forward to the coming week:

Almighty God,
we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food
of the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies
to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out in the power of your Spirit
to live and work to your praise and glory. Amen.


To do that we expect God’s blessing:

The Spirit of Truth lead you into all truth,
give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
and to proclaim the words and works of God:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

And that’s it, Let’s go!

Go in the peace of the Risen Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

And we go

Some reading:

Rosalind Brown, Christopher Cocksworth, On Being a Priest Today (Cambridge MA: Cowley, 2002).
Stephen Burns, Liturgy (London: SCM Press, 2006).
Mark Earey, Liturgical Worship: a fresh look, how it works, why it matters (London: Church House Publishing, 2002).
Howard E. Galley, The Ceremonies of the Eucharist, A Guide to Celebration (Cambridge MA: Cowley Publications, 1989).
Richard Giles, Creating Uncommon Worship: transforming the liturgy of the Eucharist (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2004).
Robert Hovda, Strong, Loving and Wise: Presiding in Liturgy (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1976).
Harold Miller: The Desire of our Soul: a user’s guide to the Book of Common Prayer (Dublin: Columba, 2004).
Benjamin Gordon-Taylor and Simon Jones, Celebrating the Eucharist, A Practical Guide (London: SPCK, 2011 edition, Alcuin Liturgy Guides 3).
Benjamin Gordon-Taylor and Simon Jones, Celebrating Christ’s Victory, Ash Wednesday to Trinity (London: SPCK, 2009, Alcuin Liturgy Guides 6).

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor, the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin). This ‘Teaching Eucharist’ was celebrated in the institute chapel on the Day of Pentecost, 19 May 2013, as part of module Spirituality on the Pastoral Formation course.

The words in red italics were read by a student-narrator.

Material in this service from The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ireland (2004) © RCB 2004

The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), © 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

Hymn 693, words © Christopher Idle/Jubilate Hymns.

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