When I first wake up, I immediately give thanks for at least one thing I am grateful for. Some days it is for health and reduced pain in my hip, others it is for wisdom that I gained the previous day. On other days, I am thankful to be alive.
After my morning coffee, I attend morning worship service which includes Eucharist. After Scripture reading and a short homily, we settle in for ‘The Great Thanksgiving':
The Great Thanksgiving (BCP page 361)
Eucharistic Prayer A
The people remain standing. The Celebrant, whether bishop or priest,
faces them and sings or says
The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and every-
where to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth.
This interchange, known as the Sursum Corda is a dialogue between the priest and the people that ends in thanksgiving over the bread and wine as they are consecrated.
The Sursum Corda (Latin for “Lift up your hearts” or “Hearts lifted”), dates back to the third century and is recorded in the earliest liturgies of the Christian Church.
The structure of the dialogue is threefold:
1. an exchange of formal greeting between priest and people
2. an invitation to lift up the heart to God with people responding in agreement
3. an invitation to give thanks, with the people acknowledging it is proper to do so.
The third exchange indicates the people’s assent to the priest continuing to offer the remainder of the Eucharistic so that everyone may join in giving “thanks”.
A monk who was a member of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge, MA reminded us of this simple act of acknowledging our gratitude:
“Respond to the invitation of the Eucharistic Great Thanksgiving to lift up one’s heart and let love and gratitude inform each moment of the day. By doing so our whole life becomes love and we are ever drawn more deeply into the mystery of the divine presence, near to the heart of God.”
– Br. Eldridge Pendleton (SSJE, 4/2013)
As I go throughout my day, no matter the situation or the person I encounter, I am reminded that my whole life has become one of love as I draw even more deeply into the mystery of the divine presence.
I pray that you start your day with the same thanksgiving and peacefulness that I have found in Christ.
Blessings, my friend,