W O R S H I P
"I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."
[1 Corinthians 11:23-26]
Liturgy is the public worship of God conducted by clergy with and on behalf of the people of God. Our life of worship in the Episcopal Church follows a pattern of daily prayer, using the Daily Office, with the Holy Eucharist being our principal act of worship on the Lord’s Day (Sundays) and Major Feasts (special holy days in the life of the Church). Both the Daily Office and the Holy Eucharist are steeped in scripture. In a service of the Daily Office, you will hear two readings from scripture in addition to praying from a selection from the Psalms. Many of the other prayers and responses included in these daily prayers come from scripture as well. Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist generally include a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm response, a reading from one of the Epistles, Acts, or Revelation, and a Gospel reading.
Our Eucharistic liturgy begins with a processional hymn, followed by some opening prayers and a song of praise. After praying a prayer to be used throughout the entire week (called the Collect of the Day), we sit to listen to the readings which will later be expounded upon in the sermon. Don’t be surprised when we stand to sing before the Gospel is read. That is part of how we set the Gospel apart from other readings, and it is proclaimed from the center of the congregation by either a deacon or a priest. After the sermon, we recite together the Nicene Creed, an ancient and authoritative declaration of our faith. Then we pray for the Church and for the world, confess our sins and receive absolution, make peace with one another, and prepare the altar for Holy Communion. The priest leads us in our worship of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, consecrating the bread and wine which we receive as the Body and Blood of Christ. We receive Communion, sing hymns, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Communion, and having been blessed by the priest and dismissed, we go in peace to love and serve the Lord singing one final hymn.
"Following His Ascension, the Lord sits with his Heavenly Father in the heavens and at the same time, He is present with the faithful Christians in the Divine Liturgy… His Presence fills the earth… and the heavens! Thus, together with Christ, the Christian who is in the Church and communes is at the same time on earth and in heaven. "
[St. John Chrysostom]
"We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in
this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death,
resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.
Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the
Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new
and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully
receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy,
and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints
into the joy of your eternal kingdom"
[Book of Common Prayer, Eucharistic Prayer A]