The way and means thereto is; First, to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God’s commandments and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others who have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God’s hand: for otherwise the receiving of the holy Communion doth nothing else but increase your condemnation. Therefore, if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or ill any other grievous crime; repent ye of your sins, or else come not to that holy Table.
And because it is requisite that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God’s mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore, if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other Minister of God’s Word, and open his grief; that he may receive such godly counsel and advice, as may tend to the quieting of his conscience, and the removing of all scruple and doubtfulness.
Christmas Eve 1838 Fr. Caleb Ives Exhorted his Republic of Texas mission flock in theses words.
Last Sunday we did the same. In honor of a meeting of the Texas Navy and the Sons of the Republic of Texas who gathered in Matagorda to honor the memory of Samuel Rhodes Fisher, Secretary of the Texas Navy and, after being killed in a duel - true story - the first person buried from the newly established mission of Christ Church.
In viewing the Holy Eucharist through a slightly different lens, the 1789 Liturgy, I was struck by the different points of view occupied by the worshiper, as embodied in the language, then and now.
Today we approach the Altar as beloved children. Often disappointing Our Father, but always confident we will be welcomed.
Our forbearers were enjoined not to take too much for granted, not to presume upon a grace that is a gift to be given, not a right to be claimed.
"What we obtain too cheaply, we value too lightly."
If the law of prayer is the law of belief, are we doing our children and disciples a disservice to present the Lord of Hosts as the eternal suitor, continually seeking to embrace us despite our distain and disobedience; rather than as the eternal example which we must strive our best to emulate, counting on mercy when we inevitably fall short?