Bringing more BCP language into the UMC liturgy

After several years of membership in "non-liturgical", evangelical churches, it was at St. Alban's Episcopal Chapel at LSU that I began to get reconnected and reacquainted with the Great Tradition of the universal Church, especially our ancient liturgical and sacramental spirituality.  For this reason I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the liturgy and language of The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of 1979 (the liturgy used at St. Alban's), though it is much maligned by some conservative Anglicans for various reasons.  What follows is a Eucharistic liturgy that incorporates much of the language of the 1979 Eucharistic liturgy (Rite II, Prayer A - with slight alteration) into the highly flexible Service of Word and Table III from The United Methodist Hymnal (p. 15-16).

The United Methodist Service of Word and Table III is intended to be a "bare bones" framework, into which a variety of liturgical material (including extempore prayers) can be incorporated without running afoul of the rubrics (red-letter instructions).  With this flexible rite a United Methodist pastor could incorporate language from, say, the Lutheran Divine Liturgy (especially appropriate since we are in full-communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), or (as I have done here) the Book of Common Prayer, while still honoring his ordination vow to accept and uphold the doctrine and liturgy of The United Methodist Church (UMC).  

If you are familiar with the UMC liturgy and the BCP liturgy you will see that I actually maintained the Words of Institution and the Epiclesis from the UMC liturgy, though technically Word and Table III would allow me to use the slightly different versions found in the BCP.  It is just easier for me to use the familiar phrasing at those points when I am handling the elements and therefore least likely to be looking at the page.

So, here is the Great Thanksgiving Prayer incorporating language of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (in italics), for use with United Methodist Word and Table III:

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

For you are the source of light and life; you made us in your image, and called us to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

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 sins of the whole world.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; he gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

[Likewise] when the supper was over he took the cup; gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this all of you; this is my blood of the New Covenant, poured out for you, and for many, for the forgiveness of sins; do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

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

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine.  Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast [with all your saints] at his heavenly banquet.

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 forever.

Prayer after Communion:

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this Holy Mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.  Send us now into the world in peace and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

For a similar post, click HERE.

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