After Communion…then what?
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What is the result of worship? What happens when a worshipper approaches God with faith in Christ and receives from him in Word and Sacrament? Anglicans believe that the experience of worshiping has a transformative affect on the worshipper. The people of God are changed as they spend time in the presence of God together.
THE POSTCOMMUNION PRAYER
The post-communion prayer takes everything we have received and, after thanking God, asks him to “send us now into the world and grant us strength and courage to love and serve…” The food he gives us nourishes our souls, so that we can go out in his strength, serving him.This prayer reminds us, and commits us to the fact that worship is not selfish. The Word that fills our imaginations and heals our souls, and the sacrament which is given to our whole selves is a cup which runs over. We leave as “faithful witnesses” of his majesty, of “living members” of his Body, of a people with the assurance that he loves us and that he always goes before us. We do not simply receive, we are sent to give.
The blessing is an ancient custom in which the bishop or priest pronounces to the people that the comfort, protection, and presence of God is upon and remains with his people. The blessing is a sacramental moment in that with raised hands and in a clear and strong voice (usually the same voice that bid the people to confess their sins and promised God’s forgiveness), the words are said over and to the people. The blessing is a short but important portion of the liturgy in that as fallen creatures, we do need constant reassurance that God is with us. We need to bow our heads and turn our hands up to receive this truth and to receive the assuring gift of his smile. And truly, the blessing is in its own way a liturgical moment which imparts the grand extravagance of the grace of God to his beloved people.
The end of the service is the beginning, as the Post-communion Prayer and Blessing imply. So the dismissal does not end with an “Amen.” It sends with “Go in Peace…” Worship has no end – we continue to worship as we go where we are called to go in the name of the Christ we love.
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