In Common Worship, why is it that the words spoken over the bread and the wine in the Eucharistic Prayer are taken solely from St Matthew’s Gospel and not from Mark, Luke, or John? [Answers, 2 September, 23 September]
The questioner has asked a supplementary question, why no words are taken from Mark and Luke. I cannot speak for the members of the Liturgical Commission who drafted the Common Worship Eucharistic Prayers. The words used, however, have a venerable tradition, dating back to the First Prayer Book of Edward VI (1549), and were selected by Cranmer, who chose to simplify the words of the Roman Canon (which probably dates from at least the sixth century).
They have had a wide acceptance across the Anglican Communion. They also have been used in the liturgies of the Nonjurors in the 18th century, and in some of the suggested liturgies of the same period (e.g. that of Jeremy Taylor).
A further question was asked concerning the words from Matthew, “. . . for the forgiveness of sins”: certainly, these do raise questions of the atonement. Essentially there are two groups of ideas of the atonement: the objective (where Christ’s actions achieve the atonement) and the subjective (where Christ gives us the example to follow).
The objective ideas use the concept of our redemption through The Most Precious Blood of our Lord. They are expressed in, for example, the words in the Te Deum, “Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood.” We are redeemed by Christ’s work, not by our own.
The subjective ideas, which may have originated with Peter Abelard in the 12th century, and became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, place Christ in the role of the one who gives us an example of love which, by following, provides us with the route to heaven because the Father now regards us in a new way: it is of man reaching up to God. (Is this mildly Pelagian?)
(The Revd) John Chamberlin
North Shields, Tyne and Wear
When reading a book that gives frequent Bible references, it would be very convenient if one could keep a computer handy and use an app to display the Bible verse or passage on the screen. Does such an app exist?
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