what an excellent, well written book. Explains the liturgy so clearly and simply. Everyone in my opinion who is contemplating Confirmation should read this book. It answers so many questions my vicar did not or could not.It took me right to the heart of the Eucharist .
I tend not to read anything by Gooder because she is flavour of the month among evangelicals. However, my prejudice sometimes gets challenged because her view of scripture is far more nuanced than many of her ilk. And I certainly rate Perham.
Cranmer’s liturgies were shot through with scripture. Part of his legacy continues in prayer book revisions –there is hardly a sentence in our current liturgy that does not echo the Scriptures.
The theological formation of many Christians takes place during their weekly celebration of the Eucharist. The language of the Eucharist has a deep impact on the way that people think about God and about themselves. The problem today is that fewer and fewer Christians have any idea about the content and significance of many of the allusions that can be found in the liturgical texts.
I’ve never heard the following prefaces which they mention: And now we give you thanks because you are the source of light and life; you made us in your image and called us to new life in him. And now we give you thanks because on the first day of the week he overcame death and the grave and opened to us the way of everlasting life. And now we give you thanks because by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us in him a new people to show forth your glory.
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, holy Father, almighty and eternal God. From sunrise to sunset this day is holy, for Christ has risen from the tomb and scattered the darkness of death with light that will not fade. This day the risen Lord walks with your gathered people, unfolds for us your word, and makes himself known in the breaking of bread. And though the night will overtake this day you summon us to live in endless light, the never-ceasing sabbath of the Lord.
About the rather twee, middle class Eucharistic prayer D, they note’ the most interesting fact is that the newer versions move us further away from the biblical text. The Gospels have 'Passover meal, rather than 'supper, and 'the twelve' or 'the apostles, rather than 'his friends'….. If contem¬porary Eucharistic Prayers have a broad theological sweep from mention of Creation through to the gathering up of all thing, in Christ in the life of heaven, Eucharistic Prayer C keeps the focus on one world-changing event on a hill outside Jerusalem. If contemporary Eucharistic Prayers use words such a 'celebrate:, `meal, 'new creation' and 'friends', Eucharistic Prayer C is mow interested in sacrifice and redemption. This is a prayer to a God who not so much looks with favour on his people as pardons their offences.’
Nor have I ever heard this post-communion: You have opened to us the Scriptures, O Christ, and you have made yourself known in the breaking of the bread. Abide with us, we pray, that, blessed by your royal presence, we may walk with you all the days of our life, and at its end behold you in the glory of the eternal Trinity, one God for ever and ever.
I’m dubious about their claim that the fatherhood of God was taken a step further by Jesus than it was in the Old Testament. This notion was invented by German scholar Jeremias out of ignorance or anti-Semitism.
They say that, about the offertory prayers ‘The significant change is from the language of offering to that of bread and wine that we 'set before' God.’ This is because evangelicals don’t believe in Eucharistic sacrifice. However there is no different – προσφέρω means both ‘set before’ and ‘offer’.
Nowhere do they explain the possible antiquity or innovation of Eucharistic Prayer H.
This book explores the Biblical origins of the words of the Eucharistic prayers available through common worship in the Church of England. It looks at the journey those prayers have gone though and their links to other Christian denominations where appropriate. This may sound a bit 'dry' but the book is accessible, especially to those who are familiar with the words, through hearing them week after week in church. I would recommend reading the chapters on the 8 variations in small 'bites', preferably with the whole text accessible. I found it very interesting, and was amused by the authors evident desire to re-write a few bits of liturgy themselves!