Bishop Eric Menees
We are continuing our examination of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer’s (BCP) Holy Eucharist. Last week we looked at the “offertory” and this week we turn to the beginning of the Liturgy of the Table – The Sursum Corda. This Latin term – Sursum Corda – literally means “Lift up your heart” and is the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer also known as the Great Thanksgiving. The Holy Eucharist is our thanksgiving to God for His favor and goodness towards us as well as the heart of our worship on the Lord’s Day. However it can also be, for those fortunate enough, a daily practice as well.
Holy Eucharist is a communal act of worship, and in the Anglican tradition it cannot be celebrated by the priest alone. However, a priest is required in order to celebrate Holy Eucharist and he does so not on his own behalf but on behalf of the community gathered.
And so Holy Eucharist begins with the invitation to the community to “Lift up your hearts” as a way of making ourselves open and vulnerable to the Lord God Almighty.
Lifting up our hearts to God is at the heart, no pun intended, of worship.
Why do we lift up our hearts? To give thanks and praise to God!
The Sursum Corda
The People remain standing. The Celebrant faces them and sings or says
The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Celebrant: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Celebrant: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
This coming Sunday I invite you to ponder the importance of this invitation to lift your heart to the Lord and to give God your thanks and praise!