Following on from the recent discussion surrounding my post on this subject I’m going to have a go at laying out the structure of Cranmer’s Prayer of Consecration in the 1662 BCP. This involves a bit of custom CSS so the first few readers might not quite get it right!!
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father,
- who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption;
- who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;
- and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death, until his coming again;
Hear us, 0 merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee; and grant that we
- (receiving these thy creatures of bread and wine,
- according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution,
- in remembrance of his death and passion,)
may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood:
- who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took Bread; and, when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body which is given for you: Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise after supper he took the Cup; and, when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins: Do this, as oft as ye shalldrink it, in remembrance of me. Amen.
The structure is best seen as follows:
A Prayer to God who…
- Is the one who gave Jesus to die for our redemption
- That sacrifice was a completed work there is nothing to add
- Is the one that instituted the Communion as a remembrance of the completed work of Christ
We ask that
- As we receive the created (i.e. not divine) bread and wine
- Which was instituted by Jesus (compare to God instituting above)
- Is in remembrance of the death of Jesus (i.e. the completed work of Christ)
We would partake of the body and blood of Christ (i.e. of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as distinct from the created elements).
- Another reminder that Christ instituted this as a remembrance.
The 2 key themes are clear to see.
1. The cross is a completed action.
2. The communion is a remembrance of that completed action.