Monday 24th February
This service is called the “Eucharist”. This is a Greek word and means “thanksgiving”. We gather to give thanks to God, the Source of life and love, and to pray that our lives may be refreshed and deepened by his truth. At the beginning of the service we acknowledge our failures and excesses, our selfishness and pride, and ask God to forgive us and strengthen us for the future. We then listen to readings from the Bible, learning more about the nature of God and the spiritual experiences of our ancestors in faith. The sermon tries to apply critical reflection to what we have heard and to see how we might apply it to our 21st century lives.
Prayers are offered and then peace is shared amongst all who have gathered here. The priest then leads the people in the main thanksgiving, recalling the gracious acts of God through time and especially the night in which Jesus took bread and wine and shared it amongst his disciples. We are then invited to share in this bread and wine, to receive his body and blood into ours, so that we can then live in friendship and as his body, his visible presence in the world. As we remember him so we re-member him as his body on earth. The last words we hear are “go in the peace of Christ” – we are sent out in Christ’s name. Those who have shared in this Christian service are invited to live lives of Christian service.
Throughout the service music enriches our offering and expresses the soul in ways that words often fail. Incense, an ancient symbol of prayer rising to the heavens, invokes the mystery and holiness of God. It asks God to prepare and sanctify the centres of liturgical action in our Eucharistic Service, the places where we meet God: the altar; the proclamation of the Gospel; and then all that comes together to make up the offering of our Eucharist - bread, wine, water, and priest and people.
PRAYERS OF PREPARATION FOR THE SERVICE
O supreme and unapproachable Light! O entire and blessed Truth! How far off art Thou from me, who am so near to Thee! How far removed art Thou from my sight, who am wholly present to Thine? Thou art everywhere wholly present, yet I see Thee not. In Thee I move, in Thee I have my being; yet can I not approach unto Thee. Thou art within me and about me, yet I perceive Thee not. Anselm of Canterbury, 1033- 1109.
Whether I kneel or stand or sit in prayer I am not caught in time nor held in space, But, thrust beyond this posture, I am where Time and eternity are face to face; Infinity and space meet in this place Where crossbar and upright hold the One In agony and in all Love’s embrace. The power in helplessness which was begun When all the brilliance of the flaming sun Contained itself in the small confines of a child Now comes to me in this strange action done In mystery. Break time, break space, O wild and lovely power. Break me: thus I am dead, Am resurrected now in wine and bread. Madeline L’Engle.