Thought for the Month - Holy Trinity, Prestwood

DH-1 A thought for the month by our Rector, Deiniol.

Once a year I used to receive a letter from the Bishop. “Oh dear, what have I done?” I thought. In fact, he was asking us to pass to him for authorisation a list of people who can administer the chalice during the Eucharist. Nowadays the Bishop trusts us to make this decision for ourselves, and the PCC just has to let him to know who is undertaking this ministry of the church.
What this ministry means in practice is that, as you see each Sunday, someone comes up from the congregation during the Agnus Dei to assist with the chalice at communion. This is, I believe, a powerful statement that expresses our joint participation in the sacrament of communion. In our tradition, a priest cannot say communion on his or her own. If no one else turns up, it can’t happen! The Eucharist is, more than anything else, something that happens in a community. It is embedded in a community; it takes its life from the participation of that community in the life of God.
I have always placed a great emphasis on making clear the place of the Eucharist at the heart of our community life. I also place great emphasis on making clear the place of our community at the heart of our Eucharistic life. We share in the body and blood of Christ—without that we, and it, are nothing. In the Eucharist we encounter our transformation as God’s people together. And we are inclusive in this, so we are developing our Family Eucharists because it is so important that everyone in our community (in this case young and old) encounters that transformation.
The ministers and acolytes in the sanctuary all have their roles. We wear vestments partly because we are inhabiting roles, rather than being just individuals. In this way we recognise the supreme importance of what we are engaged in, without getting in the way of what we are sharing together.
But the Eucharist is never something that is done to us by the priest in the sanctuary—a little dose of heaven to each individual worshipper; it is rather something that we all share in. The responsibility to preside at the celebration of the Eucharist is one that is devolved to the ordained priest by the whole people of God, the body of Christ, the priesthood of all believers of which we are all a part. Incidentally, that is why the term President is used these days instead of Celebrant. The priest may preside, but we all celebrate.
So as we sing the praise of the Lamb of God who in dying for the world bridged the gap between heaven and earth, that bridge is actually made afresh by one of us coming forward to share in this ministry of communion. As the invitation to communion is made that physical connection between us and God is renewed by the very physical act of a member of our congregation stepping forward to bring God into our midst. What could better remind us that we step into God’s presence as we arenot dressed up, disguised or hidden but openly, honestly and safely assured of that love that binds us together.
As Nigel prepares for his ordination to the priesthood and his own first celebration of the Eucharist we are seeing that transition embodied in Nigel’s own transition from ordinand to deacon and priest.
We are a community of sinners—all of us. Communion is not the preserve of the Holy Joes but the gate of heaven. We are all bidden to enter. As the body of Christ we all have a duty and a joy to hold that gate wide open—welcoming each other not just to the sanctuary of our church, but the sanctuary of God, which is his very presence in us.

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The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Holy Trinity, Prestwood is a registered charity, no. 1129233.

Holy Trinity, Prestwood is an Inclusive Church. We are part of the Church of England.
We are in the Oxford diocese and the Wendover Deanery.

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