The Communion Liturgy at New Life Downtown
Every once awhile, I am asked what our liturgy is at New Life Downtown. Our service flow (in general) can be found HERE. But the most ‘liturgical’ part of the service– i.e. the part that uses the ancient prayers, practices and sequence– is when we come to the Lord’s Table.
While I am an ordained Anglican priest, I serve as a pastor at New Life Church, a non-denominational, charismatic church, where I have been on staff for over 14 years. Fortunately, a trademark of Anglican worship is its adaptability to different contexts.
Almost all these words are from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The only tweak I’ve made is in the way I announce forgiveness in the ‘absolution’ section. We have the band on stage during all of the below, providing a soft, worshipful bed of music. Once the invitation is given (the last section of the communion liturgy), the worship leader begins the song she has chosen for that week. From Easter to Advent, this is the longer section of musical worship, where we sing 4 songs.
Below, the bold are the ‘movements’ or sections of the Eucharist liturgy; the italics are an abbreviated version of the instructions I give.
CONFESSION (All): Take a moment and let the Holy Spirit nudge you about ways that you can surrender, ways that you can turn away from self-reliance and toward a dependence on God. Now, let us pray this prayer together:
Most merciful God, We confess that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved You with our whole heart; We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name.
[UPDATE] WORDS OF ABSOLUTION/FORGIVENESS (Me): May the Father of all mercies cleanse you from your sins and restore you in His image to the praise and glory of His name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[UPDATE] THE PEACE: The peace of the Lord be with you! Now turn to one another, and pass on the Lord’s peace, speak His life and His love to one another.
EUCHARIST PRAYER: Me: The Lord is here All: His Spirit is with us.
Me: Lift up your hearts. All: We lift them to the Lord.
Me: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. All: It is right to give Him thanks and praise
WORDS OF INSTITUTION (Me): On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
MEMORIAL ACCLAMATION (All): Christ Has Died, Christ Is Risen, Christ Will Come Again.
THE EPICLESIS– ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ (Me) Stretch your hands forwards as a Kingdom of priests: “We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant.”
Lift your hands up in surrender: “Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.”
THE INVITATION (Me): “The gifts of God, given for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.”