Thursday, December 15, 2011

An (Episcopal) Evangelical Eucharistic Prayer?

Phillip Wainwright at the Barnabas Project has revealed a "loophole" in the 1979 BCP which might allow for a more Evangelical Eucharistic Prayer to be used in the Sunday Liturgy.  Essentially, the Evangelical complaint with the main Eucharistic prayers is their wording which implies a notion of Eucharistic Sacrifice.  While I am not opposed to a mild commemorative sacrifice in the Eucharist, I know that Evangelicals are opposed to this.  Phillip offers advice on how to write your own Eucharistic prayers.  I wanted to work the 1662 liturgy into this structure in the 1979 BCP, albeit a bit of a stretch of the rubrics.

Phillip describes his interpretation the rubrics:

"For those willing to be thoughtful in their encounter with the rubrics, here’s something I’ve done pretty consistently over the last fifteen years or so: use the eucharistic prayer on p 402 of the Prayer Book. This prayer is designed for use when using the Order for Communion on p 400, but there’s no rubric that prohibits its use in a regular service. The rubric concerning the eucharistic prayer in Rite II says ‘Alternative forms will be found on page 367 and following’ and this prayer follows p 367, even if at a distance."

First, let me quote Phillip, who offers a rationale for using this prayer:

"First, it uses the word ‘bring’ instead of ‘offer’ when indicating the elements. To say that the elements are brought can hardly mislead anyone. It’s true that they are described as ‘gifts’, but since the prayer immediately preceding these words is left to the discretion of the celebrant, they can easily be referred to in that prayer as God’s gifts, which will remove any ambiguity... Second, it refers to I Corinthians 11.26 in saying that in doing this ‘we show forth the sacrifice of His death’. Third, the language of sacrifice is firmly linked to our offering of ourselves rather than our observing the rite: ‘Make us a living sacrifice of praise’."

As I mentioned earlier in the post, after reading Phillip's post, I got the idea to see if the rubrics would permit substitution from other texts.  While they don't specifically permit this, they always say something to the effect of, "using these or similar words," thus allowing the celebrant some freedom in the choice of language. The text does perscribe that the Sursum Corda and Sanctus be used in their 1979 forms thus obligating the use of the Benedictus qui venit.  Likewise, the rubrics provide (and do not allow alternative wording) the forms for the Words of Institution and some material after it.  

A note on the format, everything in brackets is taken from Common Worship Order Two, the contemporary language edition of the 1662 BCP.  It doesn't work perfectly but it's a start, maybe someone else can improve on it.

In making Eucharist, the Celebrant uses one of the Eucharistic Prayers from Rite One or Rite Two, or one of the following forms

Celebrant    The Lord be with you.
People        And also with you.
Celebrant    Lift up your hearts.
People        We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People        It is right to give him thanks and praise.

[It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy, at all times and in all places to give you thanks and praise, holy Father, heavenly King, almighty and eternal God]

The Celebrant gives thanks to God the Father for his work in creation and his revelation of himself to his people;

Recalls before God, when appropriate, the particular occasion being celebrated;

Incorporates or adapts the Proper Preface of the Day, if desired.

If the Sanctus is to be included, it is introduced with these or similar words

And so we join the saints and angels in proclaiming your glory, as we sing (say),

[Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you, and saying/singing:]

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The Celebrant now praises God for the salvation of the world through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who, in your tender mercy, gave your only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world; he instituted, and in his holy gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of his precious death until he comes again.]

And so, Father, we bring you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

On the night he was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper, he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Father, we now celebrate the memorial of your Son. By means of this holy bread and cup, we show forth the sacrifice of his death, and proclaims his resurrection, until he comes again.

Gather us by this Holy Communion into one body in your Son Jesus Christ. Make us a living sacrifice of praise.

By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever.


1 comment:

Fr. Chris Larimer said...

If you read the rubric for that prayer, it is not to be the "main course" for the people.