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Today we celebrate Holy Communion. In our Methodist and Anglican traditions the spirit of repentance has always been at the heart and center in observing this holy sacrament. Traditionally since the publication of the first BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER in 1549 and John Wesley’s 1784 work THE SUNDAY SERVICE OF METHODISTS IN NORTH AMERICA WITH OTHER OCCASIONAL SERVICES, we have prepared our hearts to receive the elements of the bread and wine by praying together “The Prayer of Humble Access.”

I am using contemporary English in this version of that prayer, but you will remember it goes like this:

We do not presume to come to this Your table, O merciful Lord,

trusting in our own righteousness, but in Your manifold

and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to

gather up the crumbs under your table. But You are

the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.

Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to partake of this

sacrament of Your Son Jesus Christ, that we may walk

in newness of life, may grow into His likeness, and may

evermore dwell in Him, and He in us. Amen.

Since Vatican II not only the Roman Catholic Church but most Protestant Churches have revised their liturgies, especially the ones for Holy Communion. Communion has taken on the spirit of a joyous celebration of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ which it should always be, but usually “The Prayer of Humble Access” is omitted. This is regrettable.

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