Prayer of Humble Access   3 comments

High Altar, Christus Rex, and Organ Pipes at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, Diocese of Georgia

This church (pre-organ pipes) was the site of my confirmation on December 22, 1991.  I remained a member until the autumn of 1993, when I transferred to Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, and became a member of Christ Episcopal Church, Valdosta.  St. Anne’s, Tifton, occupies a soft and pleasant place in my heart.

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From the Book of Common Prayer (1979), of The Episcopal Church:

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.  But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to show mercy.  Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.  Amen.


I grew up United Methodist in the time before the 1989 Hymnal.  As a youth I developed a great affection for the 1965 Methodist Hymnal/Book of Hymns and its liturgies, based on the English Prayer Book tradition.  So, to this day, I recall quickly and easily turning to #832 in the back of the 1965 Hymnal and working through the short form of the ritual for Holy Communion, complete with the above prayer.

The reworked Eucharistic liturgies from the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal and 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship do not impress me.  These rites are bland.  Rather, I prefer more poetic language, preferably modern more often than not, such as in Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Eucharistic Prayer C, from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  And, from time to time, I find myself dipping into Holy Eucharist, Rite I, privately and saying the Prayer of Humble Access.  Some texts stand the tests of time.


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