Worship nourishes us. Jesus said, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.’ These dramatic words find their place in the Prayer of Humble Access in our prayer book. It is an optional prayer, not always used as the words are confronting, sounding as they do of a spiritual cannibalism.
The Church of England has done a contemporary rephrasing of this prayer:
Most merciful Lord,
your love compels us to come in.
Our hands were unclean, our hearts were unprepared;
we were not fit even to eat the crumbs from under your table.
But you, Lord, are the God of our salvation, and share your bread with sinners.
So cleanse and feed us with the precious body and blood of your Son,
that he may live in us and we in him; and that we,
with the whole company of Christ, may sit and eat in your kingdom.
This reminds me of another prayer I like from the Iona Community which comes towards the end of the Eucharist Thanksgiving:
Hear us, O Christ,
and breathe your Spirit upon us
and upon this bread and wine.
May they become for us your body,
vibrant with your life,
healing, renewing and making us whole.
And as the bread and wine which we now eat and drink are changed into us,
may we be changed again into you,
bone of your bone,
flesh of your flesh,
loving and caring in the world.
(© The Iona Community from The Iona Abbey Worship Book, published by Wild Goose Publications, Iona Community, Glasgow, UK.)
Worship is more than a meet and greet with God. We are caught up into the very life of God, and more amazingly, God wants to be caught up into our lives. While the Christmas season in which we celebrate the incarnation of Christ into the world lies in the recent past, let us remember that God still sends his Son into our lives each and every day. He is Emmanuel, God with us, to the end of the ages.
Very soon after this publication, we will be making an announcement in regards to the Sunday service restructure that is aimed to start post Easter. Following the announcement, a written communication will be made available for clarification and communication to those who may not have been present.
While we digest, reflect and adjust to what the changes will be asking of us, let us remember that it is God who is our goal in worship and who will be found, as is testified by many, whether in an ornate cathedral or a prison cell.
God is with us, Emmanuel.