Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our Bounden Duty and Service

According to the Anglican tradition, it is principally during the service of Holy Communion that the people of God offer their collective “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” to God.  After the Sursum Corda, the Presbyter says to the people, “Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.”  The people respond, “It is meet and right so to do.”  The Presbyter then turns to the Lord’s Table and says, “It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.”  Then, the Presbyter declares an intention to join with the host of Heaven in praise and leads the congregation in recitation of the Sanctus.

Therefore, as Divine worship ascends to the very throne of Heaven, we affirm that it is obligatory, fitting, and proper to render worship in a reverent way, performed to the best of our ability and, where appropriate, to employ fine craftsmanship, artistic excellence, and beautiful music to enhance its expression. We reject any insinuation that Divine worship per se takes food out of the mouth of the poor, serves only to puff up the pride of the Pharisaical, distracts from genuine spiritual worship, or serves as a means to some other end.

Later,on behalf of the congregation, in the Prayer of Oblation the Presbyter says, “we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee...” imploring the Lord to accept “this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  This corporate offering is offered to the Father only in and through the mediatorial intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s great High Priest.

Therefore, we affirm that in the service of Holy Communion the People of God, as a corporate body, offer their lives in service to the Lord through the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus.  We affirm that true personal faith is absolutely necessary in order to receive any subjective benefit accruing from this sacred action.  Nevertheless,the objective efficacy of the sacred action is not in any way dependent upon the personal faith, or diminished by the personal sins, of the Presbyter or members of the congregation.

2 comments:

charles said...

This reads like the marriage vow where Honor also means Worship, and we make sacrifice to our spouse, saying, "I take thee to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to cherish and obey, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth." This must be a sacrifice offered to the husband?

If so, then the eucharist is also a wedding vow? They seem to convey the same ideas.

A. M. said...

I'm not sure. If a connection could be made between the "marriage supper of the lamb" and the lamb, maybe.

Perhaps Christian Baptism is the closest analogy to the marriage vow (since it is the original unitive rite)?

In the Eucharist, we are made one body and one blood with Christ. This is a sanctifying experience that forms the unity and "shape" of the people of God, and, appears to be part of an ongoing process (because repeatable) that renews us after Christ's image more and more unto the perfect day of our glorification.

What do you think?