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The Bishop’s Note – The Invitation

Greetings and peace to you all! I pray that your Holy and Easter Weeks were filled with awe, wonder, and grace as you gathered to worship our Lord, often in and through the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This week we continue our examination of the 2019 BCP Service of Holy Eucharist – Anglican Standard Text - with “The Invitation.”
 
Having experienced in sight and sound The Fraction, said the Prayer of Humble Access, and said or sung the Agnus Dei, the priest holds up for all to see the consecrated elements and declares:

THE MINISTRATION OF COMMUNION

Facing the People, the Celebrant may say the following invitation

The Gifts of God for the People of God. (Take them in memory that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with Thanksgiving.)
 
Or this
 
“Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  (JOHN 1:29T, REVELATION 19:9)

These two invitations reflect slightly differing views of Holy Communion – the first being a more “protestant” view and the second being a more “catholic” view.
 
In the first the emphasis is on “the Gifts of God for the People of God.” We as believers, have been adopted as children of God (John 1:12) thus making us “the People of God.” The sacraments are received “in faith” as a remembrance of what Jesus did through his sacrifice on the cross and defeat of sin and death in his resurrection. In a strict reading of this tradition the sacrament is efficacious in the believer’s faith as he receives the body and blood of Christ with Thanksgiving!
 
In the second the invitation refers to the words of John the Baptist upon seeing Jesus and declaring, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” In this, a more “catholic” view, the bread and wine, become body and blood, it IS Jesus. The elements are blessed by virtue of the people and priest together saying the words of consecration and the pronouncement of the Epiclesis (see Bishop’s Note on the Prayer of Consecration 3/7/19). The body and blood of Christ are not made efficacious by the faith of the individual alone but through the faith of the Body of Christ gathered (the church) and the Priest’s calling down of the Holy Spirit upon the elements. It is in the reception of the sacrament that we have a foretaste of the heavenly wedding feast that awaits us.
 
Let me be clear, in both cases, the understanding is that Christ IS present in the elements of bread and wine. These two invitations reflect slightly different emphases on how he is present and received. Ultimately it is a mystery. One of the things I love about being Anglican is that we can live in the slight tension of the protestant & catholic views as we reflect the wholeness of Christian life and tradition.
 
As you worship this Lord’s Day listen to The Invitation offered from the Altar of God and go forward to receive the sacrament, ponder on how Christ is present and how you receive him.
 
I pray you all a blessed Sabbath and Lord’s Day.
 
Bishop Menees

Calendar

May 5
Bishop @ Saint John Petaluma

May 11
Jesus the Good Shepherd Henderson's 10th Anniversary

May 12
Bishop @ Jesus the Good Shepherd

May 19
Bishop @ Saint Mary the Virgin

May 26
Bishop @ Saint Augustine

May 27
Memorial Day
(Diocesan Office closed)

May 30
Feast of the Ascension
San Joaquin Anglican
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