Thursday, February 18, 2010

This our sacrifice of thanks and praise

The communicants are to receive (rather than offer) the consecrated bread and the wine “with thanksgiving”[1] (Eucharist) and it is after the Communion that they ask the Father “mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of thanks and praise.”[2] Again, as with Calvin, this is a non-propitiatory sacrifice. It might be debated whether or not the Supper itself or the elements in it are included. The statement could refer only to the prayer which now expresses praise or to the whole service, or to something in between. If, properly considered, all of life is a sacrifice of thanks and praise to God, it would be bizzaire to think that the Lord’s Supper alone is excluded. Whether or not it is in any sense a special sacrifice of thanks and praise is another question. Perhaps it might be seen as a focal point for offering all of life to God in grateful thanks for all that has been received from him. The believer would be giving back to God what God has given. The Prayer Book and Articles do not decisively adjudicate on such questions.

[1] BCP, Holy Communion, words of administration, p256.

[2] BCP, Holy Communion, p257.

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