Material for the Holy Communion
By Nathan Jennings and Richelle Thompson
In this series, we offer prayers edited from the corpus of Jeremy Taylor as examples of alternative liturgical texts deriving from local liturgical communities in response to the sixth clause of Resolution A068. Part one considered material for use in the Liturgy of the Word.
[Insert Dropcap]Jeremy Taylor is important for our liturgical piety as his communion devotions remain, for example, one of the key reasons why the Anglican tradition retains a theology of eucharistic sacrifice. Taylor designed his own liturgy for use when living under the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The episcopacy and the prayer book were illegal during the Commonwealth. Taylor continued secretly to preside over the various services of the prayer book. The suspension of the prayer book afforded him a great deal of freedom of worship, although he remained decidedly liturgical. This is not unlike our current situation, where common practice and now an official resolution grant the Episcopal Church much latitude for liturgical experimentation.
In 1658 Taylor published his Collection of Offices, which included an alternative Communion Office. Taylor’s Collection of Offices led to his third imprisonment. Taylor’s offices were the culmination of his own knowledge and synthesis of the inherited prayer book tradition in England thus far, together with his study of the classics, the church Fathers, both Eastern and Roman liturgy, and, interestingly, the Spanish Mozarabic Rite. Taylor’s use of traditional prayer book material while reshaping it to match more ancient and Eastern rites form an interesting parallel to both our Scottish-American prayer book tradition and the Liturgical Movement. There are excellent ecumenical opportunities especially with Rome and the East by engaging these well planned and devotional liturgical options.
For the confession and absolution:
The Deacon or Celebrant says the following:
All ye who truly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a holy life in all godliness, and sobriety, and honesty, draw near and take these holy mysteries to your comfort; first make your humble confession of sins to God, and meekly beg his pardon for what is past, and his grace for the time to come.
Minister and People
Almighty God, we miserable sinners do humbly confess, and are truly sorrowful for our many and great, our innumerable and intolerable crimes, of which our consciences do accuse us by night and by day, and by which we have provoked thy severest wrath and indignation against us. We have broken all thy righteous laws and commandments, by word or by deed, by vain thoughts or sinful desires; we have sinned against thee in all our relations, in all places and at all times: we can neither reckon their number, nor bear their burden, nor suffer thine anger which we have deserved. But thou, O Lord God, art merciful and gracious: have mercy upon us: Pardon us for all the evils we have done. Judge us not for all the good we have omitted: Take not thy favour from us, but delight thou to sanctify us and save us, and work in us to will and to do of thy good pleasure all our duty; that being sanctified by thy Spirit, and delivered from our sins, we may serve thee in a religious and a holy conversation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Bishop when present, or the Priest, stands and says
Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus, the great Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, that Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, who promised Paradise to the repenting thief, and gave pardon to the woman taken in adultery, he pardon and forgive all your sins known and unknown. Amen. [/End Quote]
In place of the “Prayer of Humble Access.”
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but as thou didst vouchsafe to lie in a Manger with Beasts, and to enter into the house of Simon the leper, nor didst despise the repenting sinner when she kissed thy Feet; so vouchsafe to lodge in my Soul, though it be a place of beastly affections and unreasonable passions; throw them out and dwell there for ever; purify my Soul, accept the Sinner, cleanse the Leper, so shall I be worthy to partake of this Divine Banquet. Amen.
As a post-communion prayer:
GLORY be to thee, O God our Father, we most heartily thank thee, who hast vouchsafed to make us at this time partakers of the Body and Blood of thy holy Son : we offer unto thee, O God, ourselves, our Souls and Bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living Sacrifice unto thee: keep us under the shadow of thy Wings, and defend us from all evil, and conduct us by thy Holy Spirit of Grace into all good ; for thou who hast given thy holy Son unto us, how shalt not thou with him give us all things else? Blessed be the name of our God for ever and ever. Amen.
In the third and final part of this series, we will consider an alternative eucharistic prayer.
The Rev. Richelle Thompson, a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest (MDiv, 18′), is rector of Resurrection, Rainbow City, AL. Prior to ordination, she worked for arts organizations including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.