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Until his coming again: praying the Kingdom

by
16 October 2015

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From Canon Paul Richardson

Sir, — I am not sure which liturgy of the Church of England the Revd Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard is using (Comment, 2 October). In my copy of Common Worship, I note that in Eucharistic Prayer E, after the anamnesis, we pray: “Lord of all life, help us to work for that day when your kingdom comes and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.”

Surely this is a direct reference to Jesus’s words about the fulfilment of his kingdom. In Prayer F, the prayer is made that God will “in your mercy hear the cry of our hearts.Bless the earth, heal the sick, let the oppressed go free.” This is a strong echo of Jesus’s words in the synagogue at Nazareth about the fulfilment of “the Day of the Lord”. And even in the widely used Prayer A we pray that “we look for the coming of your kingdom.”

It would seem to me that the Church of England through its liturgy does expect those who receive holy communion to work in Christ’s strength in creating the Kingdom.


PAUL RICHARDSON
The Rectory, Brandon House
Potterne Road, Devizes
Wiltshire SN10 5DD

 

From the Revd Paul Hutchinson

Sir, — Dr Rayment-Pickard is exercising a strange amnesia in relation to our eucharistic rites. At every Church of England eucharist, the Lord’s Prayer — with its petition for the Kingdom to come and its ascription of the Kingdom to the Father — is said either within the total prayer of the eucharist (in Cranmer’s dispensation) or immediately after the Eucharistic Prayer (in the modern rites).

The recognition that the eucharist points to the Kingdom is therefore absolutely central, and further reinforced in Cranmer’s rite with the priest’s shorter Lord’s Prayer at the beginning. There is no need to recite Jesus’s words of future abstinence from the cup, just as there is no need to open our eucharist with the question “Where do you want us to make the preparations?”

As for the absence of a technical term for the study of the Kingdom (might it be “basiliology”?): need we lament this? Don’t all our -ologies point towards it?


PAUL HUTCHINSON
The Rectory, Stokesley
North Yorkshire TS9 5AP

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