…and so it begins…
The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy Spirit.
P. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up unto the Lord.
P. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
R. It is meet and right so to do.
P. It is meet and right, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God….
This is the “anaphora” – the eucharistic prayer of “offering up” ourselves, our lives and all things to God at the one place on earth where heaven comes down to us, and where pilgrims like us rise up to meet Christ and His Church in the heavens. My desire for this little “real estate” in the vast world of cyberspace is for it to become a place of “anaphora” – a lifting up – an offering up of thoughts, words, ideas, conversation and dreams for the joy in our journey, and for the Glory of God.
In the ancient church a new day didn’t begin with the sun rising, but in fact the new day began with the sun setting. This blog represents a new day – a new beginning if you will – and it is good to begin with an image showing God’s glory in His creation, but also showing God’s grace each day, the new birth of a new day. I’ve called this blog “anaphora” – not to be intellectually cute, but simply to be honest, for the offering up of my life as a sacrifice is what I, and any of God’s creation longs to do. Anaphora literally means “offering up” in Greek. The Anaphora is the central prayer of the Eucharistic meal in the Divine Liturgy, but before the prayer of the supper can begin, we speak solemn expressions of love and of faith. An offering up of our lives and selves to God, and to one another. It is this unity in love and faith that is needed for our self-offering and communion with God to be true, and so we hear the words: “Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.”
Where in this world can we find love? Identity? Hope? Healing? A taste of the banquet to come? I can only say, “anaphora”, lift up your heart and your eyes and see the One who sets the table for you. He calls us to the feast that has no end, to His table where His family and loved ones can come, and He serves us a meal of mercy and a promise of a marriage supper with Him that is never ending. Anaphora – the offering of my life for Him – for His Church, for my wife, our children, for all people, and for this entire world.
Here is the actual text from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom where thanksgiving is prayed to God the Father for all that he has done in Christ and the Spirit. We remember all things and are grateful to God. Our remembrance and our thanksgiving take us into the very presence of the Kingdom to the Throne of the Father to sing the Thrice-Holy Hymnn with the angelic choirs. (Isaiah 6: 1-5)
“…It is meet and right to sing to Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks unto Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion: for Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing and eternally the same, Thou and thine Only-begotten Son and thy Holy Spirit. Thou it was who didst bring us from non-existence into being, and when we had fallen away didst raise us up again, and didst not cease to do all things until Thou hadst brought us back to heaven, and hadst endowed us with Thy kingdom which is to come. For all these things we give thanks unto Thee, and to Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know, and of which we know not, and for all the benefits bestowed upon us, both manifest and unseen and we thank Thee for this liturgy which Thou hast found worthy to accept at our hands, though there stand by Thee thousands of archangels and hosts of angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many eyed, who soar aloft, borne on their pinions, singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming and saying: Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! “