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Eucharistic Prayer A

Holy Communion

Representatives of the congregation bring the people’s offerings of bread and wine, and money or other gifts, to the deacon or celebrant. The people stand while the offerings are presented and placed on the Altar.

Great Thanksgiving

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth…. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet did not sin. By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again…. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all. He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

The Celebrant says: The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

Communion Hymns

After Communion, the Celebrant says: Let us pray.

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Blessing

The priest blesses the people, saying

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen.

Postcommunion Hymn

Dismissal

Celebrant Let us go forth in the name of Christ.
People Thanks be to God.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER A

Eucharistic Prayer A was composed specifically for this service and was first published in 1969.

Its structure is similar to that of the Creeds, with references to creation, to the redeeming acts of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament and in the Church, and then our final hope of eternal life.

This specific arrangement has been associated with the anaphoras, or Eucharistic Prayers, of the Eastern Orthodox Churches since the early centuries. It is first documented in the liturgy of The Apostolic Tradition, a work attributed to St. Hippolytus of Rome in the early part of the third century.

This same arrangement has been characteristic of American Episcopal liturgies since the time of Bishop Samuel Seabury in the late 18th century. The actual wording of this particular prayer derives in large measures from the Eucharistic Prayer of The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, 1967, which was, in turn, a shorter version of the one in the 1928 edition of the American Book of Common Prayer.

This prayer is typically Anglican in its emphasis on the crucifixion. It will be noted that the fixed portions of this prayer are rather brief in their references to creation, the incarnation, and the communion of saints. These topics are treated more fully in the Proper Prefaces which the priest inserts into the first part of the prayer.

The regular use of the appointed Proper Preface is an integral feature of this prayer; one is never to be omitted on Sundays or feasts. These different Prefaces amplify the meaning of the prayer in a varied and beautiful manner.

In the middle of the prayer, the acclamation “Christ has died …” reflects the effort made in many recently revised liturgies to incorporate the congregation more directly in Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of me.” This type of acclamation has long been characteristic of the Syriac liturgies of the Middle East.

The insertion of such an acclamation into an Anglican liturgy was first proposed by Bishop Jeremy Taylor in the seventeenth century.

From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.

Did you know?

Dr. H.B. Porter was an influential member of the Standing Liturgical Commission, the panel of church experts who worked from 1960 to 1976 to revise the wording of the holy communion service into plain, common, modern English.

He became a principal architect of the revision, writing most of Eucharistic Prayer A and part of Prayer B, alternative versions of a major part of the ritual of consecrating bread and wine.

At his death in 1999, Dr. Porter was senior editor of The Living Church, a weekly magazine, to which he contributed articles. He was the magazine’s editor and general manager in Milwaukee from 1977 until 1990.

(–from his obituary in the NY Times)