Interactive Holy Communion Liturgy

Part 1 - Ministry of the Word

Purpose of this Page

The purpose of this page is to go through the 1928 Holy Communion liturgy as we use it for weekly worship gatherings at All Saints Church Pensacola. The aim is to help those who worship with us to understand the shape, flow, and purpose of the elements of the liturgy, define difficult terms, and explain why we do what we do (especially when we diverge from the rubrics (instructions) found within the 1928 order of service itself. Actual text from the service will be in bold and in green. Any words underlined will be a link to an external site, often for the Scriptures. This page is still under construction, so keep checking back as more is added to it!

 

Worship Order Overview

As we gather to worship, we commune with the Living God, who we believe is with us by His Spirit. We are active in gathered corporate worship through our songs, prayers, and gifts to God. The Anglican Holy Communion worship liturgy may be roughly broken into two complementary parts: the Ministry of the Word and the Ministry of the Sacrament. We receive from Him through His Word read and preached first and then through our reception of His Word adorned in the Eucharist (note – this Sacrament may be called “The Lord’s Supper” (as our Lord instituted this remembrance), or “The Eucharist” (meaning Thanksgiving), or “Holy Communion” (as through partaking we commune with Christ our Lord by the working of His Spirit and attest to the communion we share with one another through Christ)). This page will focus upon the Ministry of the Word aspect of the service, with the Ministry of the Sacrament found here (coming October 2020!).

Ministry of the Word

 

Since we often bring many distractions with us, it is good for the soul and helpful for communing with God to spend time before the service in prayer, asking God to prepare our hearts and minds to worship Him. If you do not know how to do this, the opening Collect for Purity (found below) is a good place to start.

Opening Sentences/Call to Worship

 

The Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth be silent before him.
– Habakkuk 2:20

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
-John 4:23

 

The worship of God begins with God. We use verses from Scripture, such as these, to remind us to worship God and focus our thoughts upon Him. This helps us to rightly center our thoughts, which are often scattered, distracted, and focused upon our selves, our wants, and anxieties, and to remember that we are gathered as a body to worship the God who created us, loves us, sent His Son to redeem us, and sustains us moment-to-moment.

 

These Opening Sentences are also seasonally specific, as at different times throughout the Liturgical Calendar (full explanation forthcoming!) there are certain themes or portions of the life and work of Jesus that are emphasized. Thus, in Advent, as we anticipate both Christ's birth and Incarnation, as well as His return, the opening sentences will draw our thoughts upon the coming of Christ. Whereas at Easter time, as we celebrate His resurrection, they will draw us to rejoice in the new life He offers us. These sentences thus serve the dual role of calling us to worship and reminding us of where we are within the church year.

 

As far as the translation of these opening sentences, at All Saints we are using the English Standard Version of the Scriptures. Part of the heart of Anglicanism is that worship - and especially the reading of Holy Scripture - should be done in the language of the people. Since we do not speak English in the same way as was done two hundred years ago, it is most appropriate for us to hear the Scriptures read in modern English.
 

Processional Hymn

 

In general, this opening hymn should continue the flow of focus upon God begun in the Opening Sentences. Unless it is a seasonally specific hymn, the Opening Hymn generally leads us in worshipping God.

 

Collect for Purity                                              

 

ALMIGHTY God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by

the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and

worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The Collect for Purity adds the necessary corollary to the worship of God: the recognition that while God is holy, we are not. The more we worship God for who He is, the more clearly it is revealed to us that we are not holy. God is good, we are not. God acts uprightly, we act wickedly. God is love, we are not, etc. Thus begins the through-line for all the upcoming material until the Collect of the Day, that our hearts must be remade. We have begun in worship, but we cannot even do that rightly. Our thoughts must be reshaped (Romans 12:1-2), our desires reformed (Romans 3:9-18) and our worship redirected to God (Romans 1:21).

Decalogue and the Summary of the Law            

 

Minister: GOD spake these words, and said: I am the LORD thy God; Thou shalt have none other gods but me.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them;

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Honour thy father and thy mother;

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt do no murder.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not steal.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

 

Minister: Thou shalt not covet.

People: Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee.

  

Minister: Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:

THOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy

soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Minister: Lord, have mercy upon us.

People: Christ, have mercy upon us.

Minister: Lord, have mercy upon us.

After praying that God would reshape our hearts, desires, and worship, we hear both the Decalogue (another name for the Ten Commandments, also simply called "the Ten") and Jesus' summary of the two Greatest Commandments (also called "the Two").  Notice how in response to hearing each of the Ten, the whole congregation prays for the Lord to have mercy on us, a tacit acknowledgment that we cannot keep even one of these commandments. This is especially true when viewed through the lens of Jesus' teaching on these commandments in Matthew 5:21ff that anyone who has hated his brother or looked lustfully at a woman is guilty of murder or adultery, respectively. And after acknowledging our inability to be righteous by keeping God's commands, we again and again pray that He will shape our hearts to be able to do His will. We conclude after the tenth by asking Him to write these laws not on stone tablets, but upon our hearts. In other words, that we will know them, understand them, and desire them.

This is where Jesus' summary of the Law and Prophets comes in. For following God is not a matter of obedience to a set of commands, but above all it is offering our hearts and lives to God. So we must hear the Ten Commandments in the context of the call to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we cannot do these two things, the rest of the law and its ordinances does us no good.

And of course, we cannot do these two things at all! This is why we must follow Jesus' teachings with another acknowledgment that we are unable to love rightly. This three-fold prayer for Christ's mercy is called the Kyrie (Latin for Lord). We pray it because after hearing the Ten and Jesus' teaching, our hearts are struck by our inability to live rightly. Thus we seek the Lord for mercy before we continue to worship Him.

Minister: O ALMIGHTY Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee,

to direct, sanctify, and govern, both our hearts and bodies, in the ways

of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that, through thy

most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in

body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

First things first, let's deal with "vouchsafe." To vouchsafe something is, in this context, to grant something in a gracious manner. So here we pray that God will take charge of our whole being - hearts and bodies - by leading us, making us more like him (the idea behind "sanctify"). And we pray this acknowledging that we do not deserve to have God do this, but He does it as an act of undeserved favor toward us.

This prayer acts as a final seal on our needed heart change, summing up our previous prayers in response to the Ten and the Two; it is a prayer for God’s protection and guidance both now and for eternity to come. We have prepared ourselves to hear the words of Holy Scripture through the repeated request that God will direct our hearts.

Minister:  The Lord be with you.

People:     And with thy spirit.

Minister:  Let us pray.

 

The Collect of the Day

Each week of the year features a different Collect, or "a form of petition that collects the people’s prayers." To read more about Collects, check out these resources from one of our ACNA canons: Anglican Compass on Collects or Collect Examples.

The Old Testament Reading

Reader:    The Word of the Lord.

People:     Thanks be to God.

 

The Old Testament (OT) is the portion of the Bible which was written before Jesus. These texts were the Scriptures of Jesus and the early church. The OT teaches about God and His character and ways, reveals promises about God’s coming redemption in the Messiah, and lays a foundation for understanding who God has created us to be. For all these reasons, the OT readings are an important part of our gathering together. If that was not enough, when some of Jesus' followers wrote about these Scriptures, the OT was described as "able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus... breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." They are described elsewhere in the New Testament (NT) as being written when "men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (See 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:21).

 

We acknowledge the Bible to be the written Word of God given to us. As such, we end our OT and NT Readings by thanking God for giving us His Word.

 

The Psalm (read responsively by whole verse)

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

World without end. Amen.

 

The Psalms were the prayer book and hymnal of Israel and of Jesus and his disciples. The Psalms teach us how to pray, praise, lament, confess, and wait upon God. As parts of the Old Testament, everything said above about the Old Testament Scriptures is also true of the Psalms. They are a vital part of our worship together.

 

After we read the Psalm appointed for each Sunday we say the Gloria ("Glory be..."). We do this to offer all glory and praise to God, who we confess to be Three Persons with One Being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is always worthy of this worship, so we declare it has always been so, is currently, and will be for all eternity to come.

 

The New Testament Reading  

 

Reader:    The Word of the Lord.

People:     Thanks be to God.

 

We technically have two NT readings each Sunday, with the second one coming from one of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. The NT Reading may also be called an Epistle reading (Epistle meaning “letter”, as most of the NT books outside of the Gospels were originally letters from one of Jesus’ followers to specific churches).

 

These readings are a vital part of understanding how Jesus' character and actions (also known as the person and work of Christ) come to bear upon our lives. They teach us what we believe about Jesus and how these beliefs should shape our own thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We learn about God’s plans for the church, the work of the Spirit, the New Creation, and how to live with one another and with our neighbors in light of the Good News (the Gospel) of Jesus’ death for our sins and His resurrection to give us new life.

 

As we responded to the OT readings thanking God for giving us His Word, we do the same for the NT readings, as we believe that the same Spirit who spoke through Israel’s prophets before Christ continued to speak in the same way through Jesus’ followers after His ascension into Heaven.

 

Gradual Hymn                   

 

Reader:       The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to St. Matthew.

People:       Glory be to thee, O Lord.

 

The Gospel                             

Reader:      The Gospel of the Lord.

People:       Praise be to thee, O Christ.

 

Nicene Creed

 

I BELIEVE in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

 

Sermon                                                                 

Explanations coming soon for the Gradual Hymn, Gospel Reading, Nicene Creed, and Sermon.

© 2020  By All Saints Church Pensacola Florida