This is my body given for you

He who eats of this bread shall live forever

A Guided Tour through a Sunday Eucharist

Since the majority of people coming to St. Aidan's are not from a liturgical background, we have found it helpful each year to take the congregation through an instructed Eucharist.

Such a time aims to shed light on the historical, symbolic and sacramental highlights of an Anglican Eucharistic Celebration.

Fr. D.O. Smart, a co-founding priest, now in the presence of the Lord, in a text below walks us through, explaining aspects of the liturgy leading to the Eucharist, the celebration of Holy Communion.

Icon by Ivanka Demchuk,
Ukrainian Iconographer/modern artist.

An Instructed Eucharist

by Fr. D.O. Smart 

This morning we’re going to do something a little different from our usual Sunday service.  To help us all better understand just how the various pieces of our service fit together, instead of a sermon, we are going to do what’s called an Instructed Eucharist.

The way this works is that we will pause in between various parts of the service to explain what is about to happen and, more importantly, why.  Hopefully, this will help everyone – and especially those who may not have grown up in liturgical churches – to not only better appreciate this kind of worship, but to become more engaged and participative.  And even more important, to help each of us experience the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit as we come to worship.

First instruction, following any opening remarks of the celebrant (priest) and just before the service begins:

Typically, when Anglicans gather for public worship on a Sunday, we have a Communion service, also known as the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Eucharist is the Greek word for “Thanksgiving.”  In other traditions this is service is called the Divine Liturgy or Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper or the Mass.

We come to the Eucharist because this is the way Christians have worshiped since the earliest days of the Church. Similar to the Passover that interprets the central event of the Old Testament, the Eucharist interprets the central event of the New Testament – that is, Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Thus the Eucharist becomes the church’s central act of Thanksgiving.

When Jesus instituted the first Eucharist at the Last Supper, he commanded all of his followers to continue the practice.  So in the Eucharist we obediently seek to encounter the living presence of our Risen Lord through Word and Sacrament.

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