The season of Lent is under way. Our worship shifts to the Penitential Order during which we begin by recalling God’s mercy, saying or singing the Ten Commandments [Decalogue], and confessing our sins together. Lent is a time of self-examination when we look at ourselves in the entirety of our emotions and actions, even the parts we prefer not to acknowledge.
For the first three weeks of Lent we shall use Eucharistic Prayer 1, a Rite 1 option for Holy Communion. Rite 1 does more than include “thee’s” and “thy’s” and “eths,” as in “Bless the Lord who forgiveth all our sins.” It is more than comforting language for those who grew up with it, though admittedly that may be a key reason the Worship Team loves Rite 1. The music is great, too. Rite 1 provides a perspective on our lives with God.
For the next three Sundays if participating in a Rite 1 service, I invite us all to listen for a few sentences in the Eucharistic Prayer itself.
— “And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee;”
At Holy Communion we bring our entire selves and offer our entire selves to God. The path to Life is giving our lives to God, letting go, releasing any bit we may want to hold on to. This offering brings perfect freedom and peace as worry for self vanishes. Rarely does this happen all at once, but coming forward with the intention of this offering week-to-week, we draw closer to Christ.
— “And we humbly beseech [ask earnestly] thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in;”
What a beautiful prayer after Holy Communion. We have offered up our selves, we have been nourished and strengthened by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and now we return to the world to undertake what God has in mind for each of us unique beings. We each have good works God has prepared for us to walk in. Walking on the journey toward fullest Life, God provides opportunities for service, offerings we give to one another and to creation.
— “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Finally, there is the blessing which reinforces the peace of God we find when our hearts and minds know God’s love and walk in God’s ways. Having offered our entire selves, asked for grace to do the service God has prepared for us, we are blessed by the peace that passeth all understanding.
May it be so.