And as they were eating,
he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it,
and gave to them, and said,
Take ye: this is my body.
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them:
and they all drank of it.
And he said unto them,
This is my blood of the covenant,
which is shed for many.
Mark 14:22-24 RV
I have been thinking plenty about the Eucharist in the past few weeks, in particular:
- The Epiklesis
- The Gloria
- when the bells are to be rung
I am unsure why the term "epiklesis" has been roaming my mind. It is the moment when the Holy Spirit is called down upon the elements of bread and wine so that they may, become for us the Body and Blood of Christ. Pretty heady and mystical stuff.
I have recently read that here in Sydney, the Anglican Church would like to make the Eucharist less "special."
I was stunned by some aspects of the national church. For example, the extent to which the eucharist, administered by priests, has been elevated to an almost mystic, transcendental experience in some quarters was a shock.What's wrong with "mystic and transcendental"? I don't get it. The whole thing is so unusual and out of the ordinary that to try and make it normal would go against what is actually happening.
The Gloria within the Anglican liturgy has had two places: at the beginning, or at the end. I am still unsure why it was changed from it's traditional place (at the beginning, after the Kyrie) to the end, just before the concluding Blessing. I have to admit, I like this later placing. After receiving the Sacraments, it makes sense to me to give this final and joyous thanks.
The bells I am referring to are altar bells. They are rung by the server during the Eucharist. I like these bells, but there are a variations as to the exact times they are to be rung. They are rung three times - once before the Words of Institution, and once at each elevation of the Host and of the Chalice, and after the Priest has recieved the Sacraments, when the congregation can come forward. It is the timing that has me confused. It seems there are many ways, and the way I used to ring them at my old church, and the way they are to be rung at my present church are somewhat different.
How wonderful and interesting.