By Robin G. Jordan
I have put together a selection of five Eucharistic Prayers that I believe are compatible with the theology of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Three prayers come from An Australian Prayer Book (1978), one from Our Modern Services (2002, 2003), and one from Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel-Shaped Gatherings (2012). They show what is possible where there is a genuine commitment to use the theology of the 1662 Prayer Book as a guide.
Due to copyright restrictions I am unable to post the texts of the first three Eucharistic Prayers on Anglicans Ablaze. However, I am providing a link to An Australian Prayer Book (1978) online and the page on which each prayer may be found.
The first Eucharistic Prayer comes from The Holy Communion, First Order in An Australian Prayer Book (1978), and is a contemporary language adaptation of the 1662 Eucharistic Prayer. The prayer begins on page 123.
The Prayer of Humble Access, which follows the Sanctus as in the 1662 Eucharistic Prayer, has been shortened. All may join in saying the prayer. The rubric preceding the Memorial of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper directs that the priest must take and break the bread in the full view of the people and likewise take the cup. This rubric mandates that priest either stand at the north side of the communion table or stand in the western position, facing the congregation across the table. Both positions are consistent with the theology of the 1662 Prayer Book.
The Memorial of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper begins with the exordium, “All glory to you, our heavenly Father….” As I noted in my previous article, this addition is not inconsistent with the 1662 Prayer Book’s theology. The priest performs the Manual Acts during the Words of Institution as in the 1662 prayer. The distribution of the communion elements immediately follows their consecration as in the 1662 Communion Service.
The second Eucharistic Prayer comes from The Holy Communion, Second Order in An Australian Prayer Book (1978) and begins on page 145. This prayer contains an anamnesis but no oblation. A memorial acclamation in which all join follows the Words of Institution and precedes the anamnesis. The prayer contains three references to the Holy Spirit but no petition for the descent of the Holy Spirit on the bread and wine. It does, however, contain a petition that God renew the communicants by the Holy Spirit. It concludes with a doxology in which all join.
The third Eucharistic Prayer comes from the Alternative Forms for the Prayer of Thanksgiving and Consecration for The Holy Communion, Second Order in An Australian Prayer Book (1978). It is substantially the second Eucharistic Prayer with seasonal additions. It begins on page 167. This prayer is also Prayer 2 - one of the Eucharistic Prayers in Holy Communion Two in the Church of Ireland’s The Book of Common Prayer (2004). In the Irish version of the prayer the memorial acclamation has been moved to a position after the anamnesis. Otherwise, the two prayers are identical.
The fourth Eucharistic Prayer comes from the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Our Modern Services (2002, 2003). The prayer was originally drafted in 1987 and approved by the Provincial Synod for revision and publication in 1989. The prayer and the Service of Holy Communion in which it is used is an outgrowth of “recent developments in African Christian Theology and liturgical research.” The entire rite is online. According to its preface, the rite “is both thoroughly Biblical and authentically African, both faithful to Anglican tradition and refreshingly creative.”
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
The People remain standing.
Minister We remain standing for thanksgiving and remembrance. Is the Father with us?
People He is.
Minister Is Christ among us?
People He is.
Minister Is the Spirit here?
People He is.
Minister This is our God.
People Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Minister We are his people.
People We are redeemed.
Minister Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Minister Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Minister It is right and our delight to give you thanks and praise, great Father, living God, supreme over the world. Creator, Provider, Saviour and Giver. From a wandering nomad you created your family; for a burdened people you raised up a leader; for a confused nation you chose a king, for a rebellious crowd you sent your prophets. In these last days you have sent us your Son, your perfect image, bringing your kingdom, revealing your will, dying, rising, reigning, remaking your people for yourself. Through him you have poured out your Holy Spirit, filling us with light and life.
Special Thanksgivings shall be said at this point when appropriate.
Therefore with angels, archangels, faithful ancestors and all in heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, forever praising you and saying.
People Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
The presiding minister performs the traditional actions of taking the bread and breaking it etc., either during the words of institution or immediately prior to distributing the bread and wine.
The people remain standing.
Minister Almighty God, Owner of all things, We thank you for giving up your only son to die on the cross for us who owe you everything. Pour your refreshing Spirit on us as we remember him in the way he commanded, through these gifts of your creation. On the same night that he was betrayed he took bread and gave you thanks: he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."
People Amen. His body was broken for us.
Minister In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave thanks: he gave it to them, saying, "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. Do this as often as you drink it, in the remembrance of me."
People Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Minister We are brothers and sisters through his blood
People We have died together, We will rise together, We will live together.
Minister Therefore, heavenly Father, hear us as we celebrate this covenant with joy, and await the coming of our Brother, Jesus Christ. He died in our place, making a full atonement for the sins of the whole world, the perfect sacrifice, once and for all. You accepted his offering by raising him from death, and granting him great honour at your right hand on high.
People Amen. Jesus is Lord.
Minister This is the feast of victory
People The lamb who was slain has begun his reign. Hallelujah
Note the call-and-response litany form of the prayer. This is characteristically African. Note also that while the prayer contains a petition for the descent of the Holy Spirit, it is not for descent of the Spirit upon bread and wine but upon the gathered church. This is consistent with what the Scriptures teach.
The fifth Eucharistic Prayer comes from The Lord’s Supper, Form 1 in Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel-Shaped Gatherings. Form 1 is a contemporary version of the 1662 Communion Service.
15. The minister leads the people in praise and thanksgiving.
Lift up your hearts,
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
He is worthy of all praise.
Always and everywhere, it is right for us to praise you, Lord, holy Father, mighty Creator and eternal God.
On certain days a special preface (see below) is said here.
Therefore, with all those gathered around your throne in heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, in words of never-ending praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory to you, Lord most high.
After each of these prefaces the minister and people continue with the words “Therefore, with all those gathered etc.”
16. This prayer of preparation (or the version found on page 51) may be said by the minister alone or by all together.
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your boundless goodness and mercy . We are not even worthy to eat the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord, always rich in mercy. Enable us by faith to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may be cleansed from sin and forever dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
17. Standing at the table, the minister continues to give thanks. As Jesus’ words of institution are said, the minister breaks the bread and takes hold of the cup before all the people.
We thank you, our Father, that in your love and mercy you gave your only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our salvation.
By this offering of himself once and for all time Jesus made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world and commanded us to continue a remembrance of his precious death until his coming again.
Hear us, merciful Father, and grant that we who receive these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine, according to our Saviour’s command, in remembrance of his suffering and death, may be partakers of his body and blood.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and, when he had given thanks, he broke it, then gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’
In the same way after the meal, Jesus took the cup and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
I have omitted the special thanksgivings printed in the rite. I have substituted the alternative version of the prayer of preparation for the one printed in the rite. The latter is the same prayer as the Prayer of Humble Access in the first Eucharist Prayer in The Holy Communion, First Order in An Australian Prayer Book (1978), with one alteration: “many” has been substituted for “manifold.” The pagination of the PDF version of Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel-Shaped Gatherings is different from that of the print version. Note that the “Amen” at the conclusion of the Memorial of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper has been omitted as in the 1552 Communion Service. The rubrics of the Lord’s Supper, Form 1, also permit the use of the 1552 Words of Distribution as an alternative to the 1559 Words of Distribution. The entire rite begins on page 26 of the PDF version of Common Prayer: Resources for Gospel-Shaped Gatherings.
These five Eucharistic Prayers are just a small sample of the material that is compatible with the 1662 Prayer Book’s theology and is available to the Anglican Church in North America’s Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force.
One may conclude from what the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force has produced to date and the College of Bishops has endorsed, that a genuine commitment to the 1662 Prayer Book’s theology is negligible in these two bodies. While individual members of the two bodies may have such a commitment, they have little if any influence upon the thinking of these bodies.
What the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force has displayed so far is an obsession with the pre-Reformation Medieval Catholic service book, the partially-reformed 1549 Prayer Book, and various manuals known collectively as the “Anglican Missal,” which are used to transform the Anglican Communion Service into the Roman Catholic Mass.
It has also shown a reluctance to break free from the Prayer Book tradition of the Episcopal Church in the USA from which the larger part of the Anglican Church in North America broke away. One might have expected the task force to display solidarity with the GAFCON provinces and dioceses and to recognize their contribution to contemporary Anglican worship through the close adherence to the doctrine and principles of the Anglican formularies and the use of material from their service books. This, however, has not been the case.
The rites that the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force has produced so far reflect narrow partisan interests. They show a lack of sensitivity to the theological diversity in the Anglican Church in North America and particularly to Evangelical concerns. The College of Bishops’ endorsement of these rites points to those who have the most influence in that body having similar leanings.
How to Test and Measure the ACNA Eucharistic Rites against the 1662 Prayer Book Standard
Taking the Wrong Steps Toward a New Prayer Book
Surprises in Store? College of Bishops Consider Liturgy Revisions at June Meeting