I’ve written a lot here about how I believe the priesthood of all believers is the unfunded mandate of the Reformation. To that end, I asked a friend and layperson, Caroline Sprinkel, to write a Eucharistic Prayer for Christmas Eve. Not often enough do pastors mine the wisdom and theological riches sitting in the pews. Here’s proof:
Most Holy of Holies, God of all creation, Author, Director, Producer and Center of all that ever was and ever shall be, the One who called His creation Good, the One who is Love, Righteousness, Justice, Beauty, Grace, Perfection, the Beginning and the End,
We, your creation, give You all our praise and all our thanksgiving, for You alone are worthy.
You, the Holiest of Holies, Glorious beyond all comprehension, the One who breathed life into humanity, who created every single one of us in Your image.
Before the beginning, before our need was ever established, You chose to enrobe yourself in our flesh, to limit your limitlessness and come to live as we live, in all our earthiness and frailty.
Gracious God, you came, instead, like the least of us, messily born from the poor, Jewish girl, our sister Mary, and you were adopted and discipled by a poor Jewish carpenter – our brother Joseph.
Indistinguishable from your own creation. Vulnerable – born on the run, in the straw and the dirt, in a stable, where the breath of barn animals warmed you. And yet, kings feared you, wise men knew of your coming and brought gifts for a King.
Meanwhile, Lord Jesus, you cried, you needed to be fed and changed, you loved to be held and the way your mother smelled. You learned to give kisses, and learned manners, and learned the Torah listening to your father. You played, laughed, made friends, skinned your knees. You were somebody’s neighbor. You were the carpenter’s kid. You grew up. You worked 18 years at a boring job. You were just like us. Known and knowable. Fully, 100% human. And, nothing like we could ever be, because even in your human condition, You are also fully 100% God, living a life just like ours, but without sin. Intersecting space, time and history as Emmanuel – God with Us.
At just the right time, on a spring evening, after countless meals with friends and strangers, you sat with your closest friends, your disciples and shared the Passover meal together. Only this time, you did something revolutionary; something that your thirty three human years and 3000(?) years of scripture and all eternity were leading You to: You took the bread that represents the Passover lamb and said, Eat this, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. After dinner, you took the Passover wine and said, Drink this – all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many. Drink this in remembrance of me.
At tables and alters around the world, Jesus – Emmanuel – the Word Made Flesh – invites us *all* to be satisfied, healed and freed from death through His human body and His human blood and His bodily resurrection. He invites us to His table: the divine feast of oneness with Him, satisfied in Him and by Him, now and forever.
Help us, O God, to believe Your beautiful, impossible reality. Give us a taste of our eternally Good future – with You in us and among us – now and forever.
Blessed God, with this union and communion
shed your grace brighter than starlight on us
that we may bear your glad tidings, your Good News to all
and renew our weary world in your name:
the name of Emmanuel – God – With – Us.
O come O come Emmanuel.