BCP: Prayer of Humble Access

We do not presume
Speaking generally, we should come to worship without presumptions, as we cannot know what God has in store for us.
to come to this thy Table
The table is both the table at which to eat, and the table at which to meet.
O merciful Lord,
Were God not to be merciful, there would be nothing we could do about it. [If you, O Lord, should note what we do wrong...]
trusting in our own righteousness
(after all, if we had enough righteousness to trust in it, why would there be a Eucharist with a place for us?)
but in the manifold and great mercies.
``Manifold and great'' only begins to describe God's mercies -- perhaps the important thing is that God's mercy is always at least as much as is needed
We are not worthy so much
but this isn't what matters, because this is ``not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences'' (as one of the prayers at the end of the service puts it) ... the entire existence of the Eucharist seems to imply that God is saying ``I don't know why you keep on about these sins of yours, once repentance and forgiveness and a new heart[Ezekiel 36:25-29] (and note that new heart is a gift, and not our own doing!) are in the formula, sins are out of it'' (except it's not a formula, but fairness; but not just fairness but kindness; no ordinary kindness but true love)
as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.
whereas in fact we get not just the crumbs, but the real food, and the host too
But thou are the same Lord,
Yesterday, today and forever the same, in whom there is no shadow of changefulness
whose property is always to have mercy;
which is just as well for us, for ``If you, Lord, should mark what we do wrong, who then, O Lord, could stand?''
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
And this is purely a grant, something done by his choice, not something for which we have negotiated
so to eat the flesh
and so to build up our substance from his
of thy dear Son Jesus Christ
who the Father gave because we, too, are dear to him
and to drink his blood
after giving us that strict prohibition not to eat the blood of the sacrifice (because it has the life in it), God himself becomes the sacrifice... and says that we may, we should, drink his blood
that our sinful bodies may be made clean
not just ``on the outside'', like the Pharasaical washing, but through a deep change of heart
by his body
for which the incarnation was necessary
and our souls washed
which they could not do themselves
through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him
and he in us.
[John's Christianity page]
John C. G. Sturdy

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