David Bergquist, a Methodist and now an Episcopalian, has recently become a full-time member of St. Mary’s. Passionate for Christ, he has learned how the Church’s liturgy guides and shapes us in worship and discipleship. He offers these Insights to help us enter into worship more deeply and so be built up in the Body of Christ.
The Prayer of Consecration
We, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, are the beneficiaries of the enduring grace of God’s gifts of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. These Insights will explore the nature of these liturgies – what are they, how we do them, and what do they mean. We will also explore the variations provided for in the Liturgical Calendar, the Seasons of the Church Year and Holy Days. Throughout there will be a current, a stream flowing from the rich Benedictine heritage of Anglicanism. The purpose of these Insights will be to grow in our faith and to glorify God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Fittingly, then, we will begin with insights into the Prayer of Consecration, the most sacred moment of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This part of the Eucharist recalls the action of Jesus Christ on the eve of his death. In the course of the Last Supper with his disciples he took simple bead and wine, blessed, and gave them to his disciples as His Body and Blood. In our Eucharistic celebration, through the words of the celebrant and the action of the Holy Spirit, the simple bread and wine we offer become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
As part of this action, the celebrant elevates both the Host and the chalice in their turn, giving us, the congregation, the opportunity to worship and adore our Lord Jesus Christ present with us and for us.
There is a Latin phrase Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi which is usually translated as “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” In other words, the way we worship and what we pray reflects what we believe. In the Prayer of Consecration, the very words Jesus Christ used himself are mystically fulfilled. Our Lord Jesus Christ is present. The Liturgy of the Eucharist and the power of the Holy Spirit have answered our prayer! And we are both assured of and actually experience the Real Presence of Christ week after week at each Eucharist. How great is that!