Posted by: celticanglican | September 14, 2014

Going Forth Into the World

A hymn is often sung during communion, especially one with a focus on the Eucharist. If the priest or deacon commissions lay people to take communion to the shut-in and sick, this is usually done just after communion.

A prayer of thanksgiving is said. After all, we celebrate Jesus giving us the greatest gift ever given to mankind.

The priest gives a blessing. It’s customary to make the sign of the Cross while he or she does this, but you don’t need to.

Usually, the clergy, acolytes and Eucharistic Ministers process out during the final hymn. Depending on where the choir is seated, they might process out with the rest of the altar party.

If there is a deacon, they give the dismissal that encourages us to go out and joyfully serve God. The response from the congregation is “Thanks be to God!” The dismissal is typically the very last part of the service, but might be used just after the blessing (as seen in the video above).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about the hows and whys of the Eucharist.

Posted by: celticanglican | September 1, 2014

The Gifts of God for the People of God

Receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine is personal, yet also corporate. The priest breaks a single large piece (known as a priest’s host) before distributing the bread to the congregation. This might be accompanied by an anthem, known as a fraction anthem, that is said or sung.

The priest also extends an invitation immediately before communion is distributed. This serves as a reminder that the sacrament doesn’t belong to one congregation or one denominational body. It’s freely available to all baptized Christians.

The congregation comes forward to the front of the church, where communion is distributed by the priest(s), deacon(s) (if any are present), and Eucharistic Ministers. You may stand or kneel. If you choose not to drink from the common cup, you may dip the bread. Declining the cup is okay, too, just make sure you cross your arms over your chest when the chalice bearer comes around.

If you can’t come forward, tell an usher and one of the clergy or Eucharistic Ministers can bring communion to you. If you’re not baptized or your own denomination doesn’t let you receive in other churches, you can come forward for a blessing. Make an X over your chest with your arms and the priest will bless you.

The choir typically sings appropriate hymns during communion.

Posted by: celticanglican | August 26, 2014

Eucharistic Prayer: The Work of the People

The priest begins with an ancient (going back to the 2nd century) responsive prayer called the Sursum Corda. He or she then prays a prayer known as a preface, which recounts God’s acts in a way that relates to the season or occasion being celebrated. The congregation joins in singing the Sanctus, which is drawn from Isaiah 6:3 and Matthew 21:9 9the video below uses traditional language).

The prayer continues with a telling of man’s creation and fall into sin, along with God’s act of redemption in the person of Jesus. This prayer also recounts Jesus’ words of institution when he gave us in Mark 14:22-26. It’s the participation of both the priest and the people assembled that makes it a sacrament.

 

Next fellows The Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Jesus (Matthew 6:9-13)

Posted by: celticanglican | August 19, 2014

Of Thine Own Have We Given Thee….

This is the point in the service where the collection is taken.  However, the emphasis here is on the bread and wine, rather than the money. The bread and wine used in communion are typically purchased ahead of time, rather than furnished out of homemade bread and wine, as was commonplace in ancient times.

However, they are still presented by members of the congregation. We offer them to God and God gives them back to us in the form of Christ’s Body and Blood.

The priest prepares the table and this may be done by a deacon if there is one. There is often a special choir anthem sing during this time. A presentation hymn is sung at the end of the offertory and this is typically the well-beloved Doxology.

Posted by: celticanglican | August 10, 2014

…and Also with You!

The Kiss of Peace, similar to today's passing the Peace

The Kiss of Peace, similar to today’s passing the Peace

The Peace. It can be one of the nicest parts of the service for newcomers. Depending on the size of the church, this can consist of a few friendly handshakes with those closest to you or it can involve lots of hugs. Though the Peace can be exchanged right before communion, it’s more common to have it just before the Offertory.

This practice takes its inspiration from the Kiss of Peace that was exchanged during early Church services (see 1 Thessalonians 5:26). This was a common greeting during the time of Jesus. In keeping with more current customs, the greeting is more customarily a handshake, or possibly a hug if between family members or good friends.

When we “pass the peace”,  it’s more than a way of saying hi. It’s a way of demonstrating being at peace and harmony with each other before receiving Christ’s Body and Blood.

Posted by: celticanglican | August 3, 2014

A Clean Conscience


Even though private confession is an option in the Episcopal Church (see the video above), most people prefer the general confession that usually takes place before exchanging the peace. (It can also take place at the very beginning of the service). When we say the confession together, we acknowledge our need for God’s forgiveness in our lives and our willingness to accept that gift. We need to be aware of God’s forgiveness in our lives (1 John 1:9)

The priest pronounces absolution, this helps serve as reassurance that our sins are no longer held against us. The Christian walk should never be about waiting to see if there’s even one slip-up.  A healthy view of confession and absolution helps us keep sin and forgiveness in a proper perspective.

One of the advantages of a general confession, especially when said just before exchanging the peace, is that it also gives us the opportunity to examine ourselves and make sure that we are at peace with those we will break bread with.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 27, 2014

Let Us Pray for the Church and the World

No worship service is complete without praying for the needs of others. This is also the ideal time to bring our own prayer needs before our fellow parishioners. When we offer our intercessory prayers, known as the prayers of the people, we remember the needs of:

  • The Church
  • The World
  • Local Concerns
  • The Sick
  • The Departed

These prayers are often read aloud by a deacon or Eucharistic Minister. Many congregations opt to have a parishioner read the prayers from the midst of the congregation. Time is always given for the people to add their own prayer requests if they like.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 20, 2014

Believe…..

 

It’s often said that the Episcopal Church is a creedal church, not a confessional one.  This means that the basis of belief is in the form of creeds, or statements of faith generally accepted by Christians of many backgrounds. In this case, it is typically in the form of the Nicene Creed, which originated at the Council of Nicea in 325.

By using a creed that has its basis in the ancient, undivided Church, we are acknowledging our larger place as a part of Christ’s one Body. This stresses Christian unity in a way that many confessions can’t, having been based on interpretations specific to one group. There have, of course been a couple of variations worth considering:

  • The Rite I (traditional language) version of the Nicene Creed begins with I believe, instead of We believe, reflecting an emphasis on the Nicene Creed also being a form of personal affirmation of belief.
  • In Eastern Orthodox churches, the clause about the Holy Spirit mentions proceeding from the Father, instead of the Father and the Son. Episcopalians have often speculated about adopting the Orthodox usage.

During some choral Eucharistic services, you might even hear this creed sung!

Posted by: celticanglican | July 13, 2014

The Sermon: Practical Life Tips

Sermons have been preached in Christian communities from the earliest days when the New Testament epistles and Gospels were still being written. To this day, preaching still plays a role in the life of the Church. normally, a sermon is preached by a bishop (if present), priest or deacon.

Some smaller congregations without weekly access to clergy may train lay worship leaders to preach sermons as well. Giving a member the authority to preach a sermon isn’t a matter taken lightly. This is why only designated people preach sermons.

Most of the time, the designated preacher* for the day preaches a sermon or homily (shorter sermon) about one or more of the lectionary readings. Some might try to preach a sermon based on all 3 lessons for the day, while others might focus most of the sermon on a single reading. Occasionally, you might hear a sermon about some aspect of our worship or a current social concern.  The sermon might be preached from the pulpit, or from the center aisle of the church in the midst of the congregation.

*Preacher designates a certain job that clergy fulfill as part of their profession, however, in the Episcopal Church tradition, a clergy member is not generally referred to as “a preacher”, nor is the term used as a title.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 4, 2014

Independence Day

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the
torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our
liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)

We’ll return next week – happy 4th!

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