All Saints Anglican  All Saints’ Church
Greenville, SC REC Reformed Episcopal ACNA Anglican Church in North America Parish 1928 BCP 1928 Book of Common Prayer Divine Hours Daily Offices Breviary terce sext compline prime vespers

Week 20

Liturgical Note: remember, the entire Eucharist service is a single unified whole, with each part of the service contributing some necessary aspect to the whole. As we come to the last major section of the service (known as Post-Communion), notice the general overall flow of the liturgy:

·       In the Ministry of the Word you are instructed and prepared

·       In the Ministry of the Sacrament you are nourished and equipped

·       In the Post-Communion Ministry you are reassured and sent out into the world.

 

Liturgical Location: the meal is over. However, before we depart our Lord’s Table and exit His house, we turn to thank our host earnestly and to express to Him our deepest love and joy. Notice then, the final portion of the service is filled with thanksgiving and song

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving:

Notice at once, the sincerity and depth of our gratitude is reflected by the specific nature of our thanksgiving. We do not just jump up and say, “thanks” as we rush out the door. Instead, we stop and reflect and give name to all that has been most precious to us. As we do so, the Prayer of Thanksgiving offers a beautiful summery of the meaning of the Eucharist. Therefore, as we go over the prayer, notice what it indicates that we have received at the Table. Not only that, notice the way that the Post-Communion themes of assurance and sending inform every aspect of the prayer.

 

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ;

First, the Prayer of Thanksgiving reminds us that we have just been nourished by the grace of Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice and refreshed by His spiritual presence (notice what we are fed and who it is at the Table feeding us). Thus, in the very midst of life, we are assured that Christ’s grace applies to the very particulars we face and that His presence goes with us through all we encounter. At the same time, we are reminded that the sacrament is a meal given to strengthen us for the service to which we are being sent.

 

and [thou]dost assure us thereby of thy favor and goodness towards us;

Next, the Prayer reminds us that the Lord’s Table is given to assure us that God’s disposition towards us is one of favor and goodness (not animosity, vindictiveness, or indifference). Notice then, as we are sent out into the world, we are assured that God goes with us and is for us.

 

and [thou dost assure us thereby] that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom,

Next, we are reminded that salvation means we have been included in God’s people and their certain future (we are members and heirs). As such, we share in every blessing that God had promised His people as well as in the mission He has given them. Notice then, as we are sent out, we go together as a people (we process). Not only that, we go as heirs. Thus, we go to seek God’s Kingdom (not the world’s) with the assurance that God will accomplish His full purpose for His people and through His people.

 

by the merits of his most precious death and passion.

Next, we are assured that our membership in God’s people and the certain outcome of our future rest on Christ’s merits and not our own. Importance: as we are sent out, we are reminded that the focus of the Table and the focus of our daily life/walk/service are exactly the same (in each case we look to Christ for the whole of salvation).

 

And we most humbly beseech 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; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

Finally, notice that just as the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to ask God for the very things that God assures us are ours (forgiveness, His coming Kingdom, and etc…) so too the prayer of Thanksgiving ends by reminding us of our responsibility to seek from God the very grace that He has promised is ours and to serve God with the new life He has given. In other words, we are not to neglect or compromise our walk with God, our fellowship with God’s people, or our share in the ministry of God’s Kingdom. Rather, we are diligently to pursue the health of each. As such, the prayer concludes by making the themes of grace and duty explicit. The grace we receive at the Table is a grace that really changes us. Therefore, we are constantly to seek that grace and then diligently live in light of it.

 

The Gloria:

GLORY be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

Notice at once that the thanksgiving of the preceding prayer is echoed and given joyful expression by this ancient hymn of the Church. Our sins are forgiven, our sinfulness is being cured, and God is with us. Halleluiah! Notice then:

·       In the first stanza of the song we praise and thank God, worshiping Him for His great glory and for the salvation He has given us.

·       In the second stanza we renew our dependence on God’s mercy and grace

·       In the third stanza we affirm our faith in the deity of Christ and the Triune God

 

Furthermore, notice the Trinitarian structure of the song:

The focus of the first stanza is the Father

The focus of the second stanza is the Son

The third stanza professes the deity of the Holy Spirit

Importance: the Gloria reminds us that salvation is the work of the entire Trinity. Therefore, as we are sent out, we have the great assurance that our wellbeing and the whole of our new life rests in the hands of not just one member of the Trinity but of the whole Godhead.

 

Finally, notice the way that the Post-Communion section of the service brings the notion of an active liturgy to completion. As we are sent out into the world, we are reminded that liturgy (the work of God’s people), is never merely a style of worship. Rather, it is the whole life, renewed by God’s grace, and given in service to Him. Such then is the work of God’s people and the full meaning of worship.

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