Friday, June 04, 2010

Corpus Christi

yesterday...and, as every Thursday, the day began with a 1662 Communion service at Church on the Hill. It seemed quite strange to be using this liturgy as we thanked God for the gift that is Holy Communion.
It's not hard to imagine what Cranmer would have made of the more exuberant celebrations of catholic devotion to the sacrament, the processions with rose petals, the High Mass with Benediction...

In the evening we celebrated again, down in the valley - but though the congregation here is usually willing to indulge their vicar in pretty much any kind of liturgical experiment (though I had promised that I wouldn't smoke them out two years running) we were a tiny congregation and I'd planned the service to be as straightforward as possible, as after it the Herring and I were going to walk through the liturgy in preparation for his imminent First Mass.

It was Eucharist, so of course it was special, but I did feel rather wistful for a moment as I imagined all the liturgical wonders going on in other places...I hankered for incense and the Byrd Ave Verum until I reached the homily and heard myself say

"Here God trusts us with God's self, in a fragment of bread and a sip of wine".
Then, once again, the wonder of the sacrament all but silenced me.

Lord Jesus Christ We thank you that in this wonderful sacramentYou have given us the memorial of your passion:grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and bloodthat we may know within ourselves
and show forth in our lives

the fruits of your redemption;

for you are alive and reign with the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Paul said...

I ws in two minds whether to go ahead because I feared no one would come. Nevertheless we had a lovely Eucharist, sung but with a simple setting, and no sung preface, because I couldn't work out how to point the one in "Times and Seasons". I used words of St. Francis: "... the Lord of the universe so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides himself under the little form of bread!"

Ruth said...

It is all about context really, isn't it? We can't force it, but maybe time and trust is all it takes.

Minnie said...

Beautiful, Kathryn - like you, I'm a devotee of the sonorous glories of the BCP (+ incense, even unto the clouds of smoke described in the linked post! And I'd like to second Rachel's comment).
Thank you, too, for the Byrd Ave Verum; hadn't heard it since the days when a friend's son was chorister @ Lincoln (naturally, Byrd had to be on the menu ...).
Bon weekend to you and all on the hill and down in the valley. And the chooks, of course!

Loukas said...

Here is an interesting entry on Corpus Christi, its history and spiritual meaning offering a broad perspective on various traditions and forms of piety. Certainly worth checking out:

Still Breathing said...

Being a Baptist we don't celebrate Corpus Christi but I'm beginning to think we should. The wonderful mystery of the sacrament should be at the heart of our worship because "Here God trusts us with God's self, in a fragment of bread and a sip of wine".
Thank you for the Byrd – wonderful, timeless music so full of beauty.

Songbird said...

That's such a beautiful line.
This is Youth Sunday for us, and the children have been studying Heifer Project. We're going to break a loaf, but when the trays go out (we're Congregational, as you know), they will hold animal crackers. I can"t think Jesus would mind. ;-)