Liturgy Lesson: The Prayer of Humble Access through the Gloria in Excelsis
We approach the Holy Table—after hearing the Word proclaimed, asking for mercy in the Kyrie, declaring our Faith in the Creed and even confessing/being absolved—with the Prayer of Humble Access, our admission of unworthiness of the privilege God affords us by His Sacrament—where we partake of His lifegiving nature in the Real Presence. Since it prepares us to receive that infusion of life He promised us in it, our prayerbook very appropriately makes this the last thing we do before actually receiving the Lord’s Presence in the consecrated elements. It calls us to examen—asking God the Holy Ghost to show us the places in our lives where we need His help to change, in order to avoid eating or drinking unworthily at the Lord’s Table. This is an important concept, because Scripture teaches if we have unresolved sin (or its attendant attitudes, such as bitterness or unforgiveness) in our hearts, we are more liable to incur God’s judgment from Communion than His blessings—not a pleasant prospect. After this last spiritual “attitude check” then, we rightly approach by reverently and humbly kneeling (making ourselves small before God), taking the bread in palms open and lifted high to His ministry and grace, and not manipulated with closed fingers. Likewise, we take the cup firmly, with both hands, embracing Christ’s nature to replace our own, praying silently the devotion St. John Baptist gave us, “More of Him…Less of me.” No wonder we usually follow with the ancient Gloria in Excelsis (High Gloria)—we've received our magnificent Lord entirely by His Grace and not by our own merits—joining in the ancient angelic praise—“Glory be to God on high”— recharged by the Holy Ghost via the Sacrament!
Collect for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity
O GOD, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man's understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Posted on July 13, 2015
by Fr. Chip Harper filed under