Each week our communion service includes a section called the Thanksgiving, which comes immediately before the part where we remember the words Jesus spoke the night before he died, as he shared the bread and wine of the Passover Feast with his disciples.
In the thanksgiving we praise and thank God for his mighty deeds of creation, of sustaining and ruling his world, and of redeeming us through the death and resurrection of his Son. These thanksgiving prayers often highlight a particular aspect of the gospel which fits with the time in the church’s year: for example at Pentecost, we would especially give thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The tradition of the thanksgiving prayer before communion is very old (at least 1800 years old!). Indeed, one way of referring to the Lord’s Supper is “Eucharist”, which comes from eucharistia, the Greek word for thanksgiving. Originally these prayers would have been improvised by the bishop presiding at communion, but eventually some set forms were agreed on. There would be nothing wrong with improvising or varying these prayers today (indeed, we sometimes do this at evening service). The key is that we thanking and praising God for his great acts of goodness towards us in creation and redemption.
I hope that we are all engaged and actively making these prayers our own each Sunday. Everything we do in church is for building up God’s people. All of the words are rich in gospel goodness. Let’s make the most of them!
- This afternoon at 4 pm is the second of our Prayer and Information Afternoons for our new all-ages informal service which we are prayerfully hoping to start in August. Please pray that God would send us the people he chooses for the Launch Team. Talk to a staff member if you’d like more info.
- Good news on the COVID front! As of last Friday, we can have up to 250 people in the church, and masks are no longer mandatory. Unfortunately, group singing is still prohibited. Please refer to the COVID card on your pew for more info.
- Thanks to those who are helping with COVID duty. We have great teams going. More helpers will spread the load even more. So let me know if you can help.
- This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Communion is on at 7 pm, followed by our Ash Wednesday Seminar on Evangelism and Prayer for the Lost. This is the third such seminar we’ve run and they have always been encouraging. There will be a bookstall with some books to help us focus this Lent.
- We are also running three prayer meetings, with a particular emphasis on praying for the lost sheep around us, for whom Christ died. These are at 8.30 am on three Friday mornings, 26 Feb, 12 Mar and 26 Mar. I know this time doesn’t suit everyone, but please come if you can. They will be short but good (about half an hour). You can be well and truly gone by 9.15 am.