The Peace marks the transition from Word to the sacrament. In relation to the Word, after the sermon, making peace with God, and then with men. Before the Sacrament, it provides an opportunity of being reconciled with one another before bringing our gifts to the altar-table (Matthew 5; 23,24). The peace is often ‘passed” through a smile, handshake or hug.
Next comes the Offertory Hymn which serves 3 purposes. It transmits the congregation from Word to the sacrament for which is also prepares them. There is a gathering of gifts (bread, wine, money) to be presented at the table. And the Table is being prepared and allows for preparatory reflection.
The server also prepares the gifts of the bread and wine, which is originally placed on the credence table before presenting it to the celebrant to be placed on the table, representing the action of the people presenting their gifts.
The Offertory Sentence is then said corporately. It can be used for both the offertory of our money or our lives with all the gifts we have. Thus, it can be said that even if the offertory is not collected. The Offertory Sentence contains the beautiful prayer of King David from 1 Chronicles 29:14, ” For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.”
The Celebrant will then lead in the Eucharistic prayers. They are rich in meaning and tradition and this article will not have the space to list out all of them.
The Eucharistic Prayer involves four actions of Jesus (Luke 24:30)
He took the bread and wine
He gave thanks over them (prayer of consecration)
He broke the bread
He gave them bread and wine to his friends
It begins with the Dialogue:
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 him thanks and praise
Three versicles and responses date back to the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (215AD). It focuses our attention on God who is the subject and object of our worship of thanks and praise
The Preface gives dutiful and joyful thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, for:
The creation of the world and our formation “in the image and likeness of God”
Our redemption through the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus
The sending of the Holy and “life-giving” Spirit through whom we are made a people for God’s own possession
The Proper Preface gives special thanks for God’s divine actions recalled during the various seasons of the Church calendar and from the lives and examples of the various Heroes of the Faith.
The Sanctus is taken from Isaiah 6:3b. The prayers of the Church on earth (Church Expectant) is joined with the prayers the Church in heaven (Church Triumphant). Historically, it dates back to 4th Century Rites in Antioch, Jerusalem, Egypt and Rome in the 6th Century
Benedictus qui venit: (Matt 21:9) (Ps 118:26)
In most Rites from this period, the Benedictus (Hosanna to the Son of David…) followed the Sanctus. As we gather around our Lord’s Table, his presence is with us and we welcome him just as the crowds welcomed him on the first Palm Sunday.
The Epiclesis is the Invocation of the Holy Spirit. God the Father is asked to grant that, by the power of his Holy Spirit, the gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of Christ
The Institution Narrative is an account of the Last Supper, including the words by which Jesus instituted this rite, commanding that it be done by the Church in memory of him. It serves two purposes:
It provides the authority for what we are doing – being obedient, as a Church, to his command
It brings to our attention and remembrance Christ’s redeeming work for which we make Eucharist (unite in thanksgiving)
The institution narrative is followed by the acclamation of our faith:
Christ has died – our salvation
Christ is risen – our new life in him
Christ will come again – our future hope
The Anamnesis (Remembrance): The word “anamnesis” is a unique word in that it means more than just a simple remembrance. As we remember the “once for all”, perfect offering of Jesus on the Cross the Holy Spirit makes this past event real for us now so that, as we remember it, our deliverance is not just a past event but a present reality. In our Anglican tradiiton, Jesus is NOT re-sacrificed in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not the offering of his sacrifice but a “making real for us now” what he did for us on the cross.
The etymology of oblation is “offering, sacrifice,” from Latin oblationem. As we celebrate with bread and wine the “once for all” perfect sacrifice of Christ and look forward to his coming in glory we respond by asking God to “accept our sacrifice of thanks and praise”
As the holy gifts are consumed in the presence of God’s divine majesty a prayer is made for him to:
renew us by his Spirit
inspire us with his love
unite us as Church
Next is the doxology, a hymn of worship praise (doxology) directed to the Father, through the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit. This hymn of praise unites us with the whole Church on earth and in heaven. It reiterates the theme of the Sanctus
The final “Amen” identifies the congregation with the presider and in this, all are united as the assembly in giving thanks to God for his saving acts in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Only confirmed members of the Cathedral and visitors who are communicants in their own churches can receive the communion. You can still come to the rails and ask for prayers by clasping your hands. The Cathedral practices intinction (see photo on the right): where the bread is dipped into the wine before it is consumed. For hygiene purpose, you should only let the bread touch the wine, not the tips of your fingers. If you like to sip from the Cup, you can make a special request to the one serving. Either way, you can always ask for prayers at the rails. Wheelchair-bound or disabled communicants can ask for the elements to be brought to them.