“Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting anything out of church,” said one of young church members. His mother corrected him, “We don’t go to church to get but to give, to give God all we have and all we are.” These days the meaning of worship seems to have morphed into a me-centered worship, rather than a God-centered worship.
Worshipping the Lord in the beauty of Holiness is heaven on earth. The Book of Common Prayer serves as a guideline for the Anglican method of worship. Kudos to the Reformation that it placed the Scriptures in the hands of the Commoner. And so was the praying of the Breviary, once a privilege of the Clergy passed on to all. Thus was born the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. Did you know that most of it is from Scripture including the prayers adapted from the Scripture? Here are the opening sentences from the Morning Prayer: THE LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. Hab. ii. 20.
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth stand in awe of him. Psalm xcvi. 9.
Worship is God Centered – Not Choir centered nor the Preacher or Pastor Centered: The role of the priest is to lead the people in worshipping the Lord and he does not become the center of attention nor attraction and hence the ‘ad orientum’ facing the east during the Mass. In the Anglican Worship, the Choir has its place in the Choir loft away from the Sanctuary, the Clergy have their place in as much as enabling worship, the faithful stand to praise, sit to listen and kneel to pray. There is order in the prayers of the Mass. The Mass is celebrated with Angels and Archangels and in the company of saints chanting the praises of God: “Holy Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts…” This is the prayer that we will pray eternally forever once we cross over into eternal life.
As every worship should be there is moment of penitence and hence seeking Divine forgiveness, there is a moment of praise and adoration, there is a moment of intercession or asking and a moment of thanksgiving to the Lord. Anglo-Catholicism has continued the worship every Sunday in the Church with the community of believers. Upon my visit to the Canterbury Cathedral a phrase caught my attention: God has been worshipped here for fourteen centuries.”
There is beauty, there is grandeur there is diginity and decorum,and it done “Decently and in Order”, lifting up the souls in the presence of the Lord. There is reverance in the language used to the eternal God as thou and thee. The service is orderly in order to focus on God and avoid distraction.
There is incense offered to the Lord signifying the raising of our prayers up to the Lord: Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight as the incense; and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice. Psalm cxli. 2.
The Preaching of the Gospel or the Sermon is modelled after this prayer: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm xix. 14, 15.
While asking God to forgive us miserable offenders we pray:ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable off enders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is Absolution (releasing the sinner and offering God’s pardon): ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
There is the prayer of humble access, which very beautifully explains the theology behind the Holy Eucharist as it prepares the faithful to receive the Lord: “we do not presume to come this thy table O merciful Lord WE do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body, and our souls washed through his most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
The faithful are fed with the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ given for you: preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life; Take and eat in remembrance that Christ died for thee and feed on him in thy heart by faith and thanksgiving. The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ shed for thee preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life..
Its a coporate worship reminding us of the words of St. John Chrysostom : ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.
It is prayer of thanksgiving: ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of his most precious death and passion. And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Try one of our services All worship to the greater Glory of God. This is how for centuries the church has worshipped the Lord in the beauty of holiness: O come let us adore him!