Anglicans have been accused of doing the same thing every week in our worship service. The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has always been Eucharistic-centered. The Eucharist (Breaking of Bread) is the only form of worship that Jesus left behind and commanded His church to keep on doing until He comes again. Any church which seeks to be faithful to the commands of Jesus, will surely give the Eucharist (Holy Communion) a regular and central place in their worship. In non-liturgical churches the order of worship also follows a familiar pattern. Opening song, Opening prayer, Songs of praise and worship, Scripture reading, Testimonial time, Song for the offering, Selection by group or individual, Sermon, Altar call, Final song, then the Dismissal. Whether we want to admit it or not, every service has a set pattern. People are creatures of habit. It can easily be seen in the way they worship. That is true whether or not the order of service is written down.
For Anglicans, the theme and the emphasis change every Sunday in accordance with the church’s calendar. The Collects set the theme for any given Sunday. Unlike the non- liturgical churches, there are at least three readings from Holy Scriptures. Every part of the Eucharist service is made up of scripture and prayer. We go back to the root word for wor- ship that means ‘to labour’. The focus of our worship (labour) is not ourselves or our emo- tions, but God. Unlike some other denominations, we are obedient to Christ’s command (1 Cor.11:26), and avoid any practice that treats the Lord’s Supper as a “memorial snack time”. The Eucharist has great meaning and benefits for those who receive it in faith.
In the Eucharist, the Church celebrates with gratitude and humility the memorial of our redemption, achieved through the eternal sacrifice of Jesus for us and our salvation. The service is essentially a ‘thank you’ to God for all that He has done for us in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we anticipate the Heavenly Banquet at the end of time. The Prayer of Intention at the beginning of our Prayer Book (pg 101) makes the same point: “Blessed Lord and Father, we have assembled in your Name and in fellowship with one another. Enable us by your grace to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; to pro- claim and respond to our Holy Word. Teach us to pray for your world and your Church. Grant that we, confessing our sins, may worthily offer to you our souls and bodies as a liv- ing sacrifice and eat and drink of your spiritual food in this Holy Sacrament. Amen” What do Anglicans receive every week at the Eucharist? We receive Christ who is spiritually present in His Body and Blood represented by the Bread and Wine (Jn.6:48-59). We are assured of eternal life in receiving the sacrament by faith (6:55-58). We are given a tangible pledge of the New Covenant (Matt.26:27). We are given a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet (Rev.19:9). We are assured of the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28). God calls us to a new life in harmony with other Christians (1Cor.10:17-22). We give thanks for all the benefits of God’s salvation made known to us in Christ.