In the last LLL I wrote about your experience of ‘epiclesis’ every time you come to the Eucharist.
- It takes place during the great Eucharistic Prayer which rehearses the institution of Holy Communion by Jesus at the Last Supper.
- Never forget that when you receive Holy Communion you are doing something Jesus asks you to do and wants you to do! It’s an act of obedience trusting that it is for our good.
- Bread and wine remains in visible form what it is, but is transformed by the EPICLESIS when we ask the Father to send his Spirit upon them so that ‘we who eat and drink them may be partakers of Christ’s body and blood’.
- This transformation is a bit similar to what happens when a person is baptised. Their outward form stays the same but they are transformed by the Holy Spirit which is given to them in baptism. Or if it helps, imagine a person who gets married. They look the same the day after the wedding, but they are changed. It no longer makes sense to describe them as unmarried. They are!
- In the similar way it makes no sense to say the bread and wine is just what it was before the epiclesis and the Words of Institution which are also central to the prayer. It becomes something more.
- After the Words of Institution, the celebrant invites the congregation to ‘proclaim the Mystery of Faith’. There are a number of options for this but we generally use ; CHRIST HAS DIED. CHRIST IS RISEN. CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN. This was the heart of the message preached from the earliest days, and it is our message.
- Remember that in this prayer we are not just recalling the death of the Lord, but also his resurrection and ascension. What we receive is the presence of the Risen Lord, not the dead Jesus. That risen life is the fruit of the sacrifice we are remembering.
More on this next week…..