+L’s Little Liturgical Lesson: The Invitation

The invitation now comes! It is an invitation to see and it’s an invitation to receive, to eat and drink

  • The words of invitation, like so much of our liturgy come from the Bible. The celebrant uses words based on those of John the Baptist to his own disciples, which leads of course to some of those disciples leaving him for Jesus

 

  • ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world’ The celebrant says this as the consecrated ‘HOST’ and the chalice of wine containing, since the Prayer of Consecration, what is now trusted to be the ‘Precious Blood’ (remember the words of Jesus about the wine at the Last Supper : “This my blood….”) are held up and shown to the congregation.
  • Diverse views in the Church exist about the mystery of the presence of Christ in the ‘elements’ of bread and wine. Of course the experience of ‘presence’ is a mysterious even in daily life!
  • So, I say, “It’s Lindsay here…” when speaking on the phone to someone in England. We say  we can sense of the presence of a person with us in our hearts even after they have died. And things can be ‘filled’ with the love of a person. Are any two wedding rings the same even if to the naked eye they look so? And what of the things that belong to a person we love who has died? Even an old cardigan can be like a sort of ‘relic’ of the person. Why buy Marilyn Munroe’s old dresses on the internet for thousands?! Though photos of people are essentially just the same as any old bit of card, to tear the photo up would be more significant. Anyone who has gone through the photo albums of a friend after their death knows that it somehow doesn’t feel right to just destroy them….
  • How much more can the Lord, if he wishes fill bread and wine with his loving presence? a love strong enough to take away the sins of the world!
  • So, rather than over define the presence of Christ in the Bread and Wine, trust to his promise.
  • The congregation respond to the invitation of the celebrant, with words based on the humble response of the Centurion whose beloved servant was ill  (see Matthew 8) “Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word….”
  • We began our worship with penitence, and now again we express our unworthiness to receive the blessing of the Lord’s presence in our lives. A Christian must be willing to acknowledge his or her unworthiness. It is our willingness not our worthiness that is needful!

+L

 

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