Saturday, November 23, 2019

Giving Thanks. . .

The thanksgiving prayers after communion were once more the variable of the liturgy than its ordinary.  Over time, at least for Lutherans, the prayers typically used have been reduced to just a few.  Three are printed in LSB.

We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


O God the Father, the fountain and source of all goodness, who in loving-kindness sent Your only-begotten Son into the flesh, we thank You that for His sake You have given us pardon and peace in this Sacrament, and we ask You not to forsake Your children but always to rule our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may be enabled constantly to serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Gracious God, our heavenly Father, You have given us a foretaste of the feast to come in the Holy Supper of Your Son's body and blood. Keep us firm in the true faith throughout our days of pilgrimage that, on the day of His coming, we may, together with all Your saints, celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

All of them are perfectly good prayers, fitting, and eloquent expressions of the gratitude of God's people having been fed upon the holy mystery of Christ's flesh in bread and His blood in wine.  Yet I find that it is also good to explore additional prayers -- both those within the treasury of collects within LSB and those which may have come to us from other traditions.  LSB offers some choices easily accessible in the front cover of the book itself. 

They include:

Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, You have given Yourself to us in this holy Sacrament. Keep us in Your faith and favor that we may live in You even as You live in us. May Your body and blood preserve us in the true faith to life everlasting. Hear us for the sake of Your name.


Almighty and everlasting God, we thank and praise You for feeding us the life-giving body and blood of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Send us Your Holy Spirit that, having with our mouths received the holy Sacrament, we may by faith obtain and eternally enjoy Your divine grace, the forgiveness of sins, unity with Christ, and life eternal, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Lutheran history offers many other choices.  But I have recently have recalled one that is from the Book of Common Prayer that is also a good choice.  A version of it appeared in the 1969 Worship Supplement but I like the original:

Almighty and everliving God,
we most heartily thank thee for that thou dost feed us,
in these holy mysteries,
with the spiritual food of
the most precious Body and Blood
of thy Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
and dost assure us thereby
of thy favor and goodness towards us;
and that we are very members incorporate
in the mystical body of thy Son,
the blessed company of all faithful people;
and are also heirs, through hope,
of thy everlasting kingdom,
by the merits of the most precious death and Passion
of thy dear Son.
And we humbly beseech thee, O Heavenly Father,
so to assist us with thy grace,
that we may continue in that holy fellowship,
and do all such good works
as thou hast prepared for us to walk in;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.


Anonymous said...

The final prayer that Pastor Peters quotes is straight from the American Missal, the worship form used by most Continuing Anglicans routinely. Every time I say Mass, this is exactly the post Communion prayer I use.

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest

William Tighe said...

I am pleased that this version includes the phrase "in these holy mysteries." It was in this prayer in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, but Cranmer omitted it the prayer as included in the 1552 Book, to reflect the increasingly "Swissward" turn, to the Zurich of Heinrich Bullinger, Zwingli's successor, in his eucharistic theology.