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Learning Communion

This morning at Grace we had an Instructed Eucharist.  Four different times during the 9am service, the Rector interrupted the service for some teaching and informal Q&A with the congregation.  The outline provided in the service bulletin touched on the various commentaries during the liturgy:

     o  Community At Prayer (following the opening hymn; about The Ministry of the Word)
     o  Offering (after the Nicene Creed; Prayers, Confession and the Peace)
     o  Blessing And Breaking (after the Anthem and Offering of Gifts; about the Eucharistic celebration) 
     o  Sharing (before the Blessing and Dismissal; carrying the Word out into the World)

There were good questions asked and even better points offered by our priest about what we do, the origins, and why we do it.  I've always thought our Rector is a gifted preacher, but times like today remind me of his gifts as a teacher.  

It was pretty cool that we had a J2A (Journey to Adulthood) group visiting from Church of the Redeemer near Richmond, VA.  They were a huge group of kids (20+ with some missing).  Being at Grace was part of their Urban Adventure team building exercise in the Nation's Capital.  Afterward, I checked back with the group to see what they thought of the Instructed Eucharist.  The consensus was it was pretty cool, and that our acolytes move around a lot during the service.  Ah, Litugical Choreography!  

In Sunday School, our Rite-13 class used pictures they snapped last week of different things representing the Eucharist to them to create a collage poster, "One Bread, One Body".  I remembered the pics they took in the sacristy because I was the Altar Guild crew Leader on duty.  Watching them work as a team to determine how to use the images creatively was very exciting and wholly satisfying.

Later in the afternoon, it was time for "It's Liturgical".  This was the revival of the acolyte quiz show format that was popular at Grace in the 1990s.  Three different teams of young people, and one group of three adults competed against one another, answering questions about acolytes roles and responsibilities during the course of a worship service, and the various physical things used (vestments, holy vessels, etc.)  Some of the answers were silly, and several times I looked at the youngsters to say I'd take them into remedial training to learn the correct names of holy vessels.  I think the adults would have been crushed if not for a former Altar Guild President in their midst (Heart Of My Heart).  It was great fun, and the cookies afterward were scrumptious.

Finally, the day ended with a wonderful organ, chorus and orchestra concert in the Nave.  The Grace Church Choral Society (a short-term commitment opportunity for regular choir members and others who want to offer their talents) sang two choral works by G.F. Handel,  Besides the chorus and orchestra, the new continuo (chamber organ) was featured for the first time.  The music was glorious, and it was another instance where the "stones began to sing" at Grace.

I was pretty much a spectator the entire day.  But I benefited greatly from the talents of others.  And I experienced again what it means to be part of the larger 'Communion of Faith'' in different and wonderful ways.  Thank you, God.  Your blessings abound and your mercy is great. 


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Hi, I am from the J2A group that visited you! I Happen to come across this, and wanted to let you know that i liked the service-Lauren
May. 7th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
Re: hello
Lauren, thanks for stopping by to say hi on my blog. What destination did y'all decide on for your pilgrimage? We hope you'll come to Grace again. Peace & Cheers.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )