Saturday, June 21, 2008

The shortest eucharistic prayer?

The main intention of formally composed eucharistic prayers, at least in the 'great liturgical tradition' of Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches, is to remember Jesus' death with thanksgiving. Eucharistic prayers typically accomplish this through 'The Institution Narrative', more or less reciting (one of the) the gospel account(s) of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper, and appropriate words of thanksgiving, normally incorporating an account of God's work as creator as well as redeemer.

Recently I participated in a eucharistic service in which the eucharistic prayer was one I was not familiar with, though the words used were familiar. In the course of the prayer one paragraph was this:

'And now, Father, we thank you
for these gifts of bread and wine,
and pray that we who receive them,
according to our Saviour's word,
may share his body and blood. Amen.'

It struck me that this one paragraph (which could be prayed as a stand alone prayer) is an excellent summary of all eucharistic prayers!

I have not yet tracked down where this particular prayer comes from ... not our NZ prayer book, nor the C of E's Common Worship, as far as I can tell ... can you?

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