The Story of the wafer

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

— An adventure told by two voices —

…by wafer I don’t mean Raffaelo or stracciatella, though zuppa inglese would meet the case well, as I did get a bit in the soup, as we used to say in my English childhood 86 years’ ago.

I few weeks ago, I wrote an email to ask for a favour. At church we had run out of large eucharist wafers (you know, the large ones that make a nice little kracking noise when they get broken by the priest during the communion liturgy) and I thought that a certain lady from church might be able to get some as she lives right around the corner of the church supply shop.

I’d rushed off to Kirchenbedarf without asking exactly what size wafer ‘cos I was already a day late reading my eMails. A charming lady opened a packet a bit, gave me one and I chose this one to remind me of Pax Christi in our hearts (really alpha and omega on the wafer).

Soon after I received an enthusiastic email informing me that she had gotten 2000 small individual wafers. Oh no! We did need the bigger wafers and still had loads of small ones at church!

I went back to get the big priest’s Brothostien – a big angry man shouted inside the door at someone, let me in and started shouting at me, the state of the waferbag, the charming lady took the blame. Still shouting he tore up the old bill and receipt including my modest yellow reminder on the back with what I should be buying. I felt quite calm, told him to get it out of the bin (she did!) He: “Anglikaner? I know all about the Anglikaner.” Suddenly 10 euros were in my Hand.

The man must have remembered talking to me on the phone a few days earlier when enquiring about the wafers. Already then he had seemed a little bit stressed. This didn’t surprise me once he mentioned that he’s in the middle of stock-taking!

While I waited I saw the same little rosary  with Jesus on the background of a wooden cross ✝️ I had bought for the friend who does so much for all the lonely and handicapped ones who come to his little and felt protected, Jesus was there! The big shouting man said quietly, we speak English but your German is good. We spoke English, friendly, joking a bit, kind … and on the way out the rose tree with white blossoms, orange buds and red hips on one bush …

The following Sunday happened to be our Harvest Thanksgiving and the wafers were brought along to church as her harvest offering. We did not celebrate communion that day, but the eucharist was mentioned during our crowd-sourced homily. Sometimes God seems to weave a red thread through our lives… because in that week’s Midweek Meditation Rev Vinod Victor talked about Holy Communion too.

What our new priest writes about the Eucharist is absolutely right. It completely changes your life!

A day later, another email landed in my inbox. The lady who had bought the wafers had typed out the a communion liturgy from decades ago that still means a lot to her. It’s the Anglican Hospital Communion Service she still had from when her daughter was born on the 4th July 1964.

That I would never have thought of!  But I just woke up and couldn’t do anything else!
I loved doing it, it went so smoothly, not like things often do on iPad still for me.
I hadn’t realised either how still in 1964 the Anglican Church used the old English for the Hospital Service. I was used to it from childhood – it was just a special language used for God and Jesus. As a child you didn’t even ask why – it was just something belonging to going in your still clean clothes (!) with the others, two by two, to our beautiful Church in Ross-on-Wye – a tree grew in it then.

One good thing typing it up from my old hospital leaflet, you remember it better! It means even more somehow and I pray with it on the iPad now – much easier to read, better for the eyes. And I think of you all at Church a lot more, too because it belongs to the challenging time we have and are having with Corona, where you all have stepped in so splendidly. Your homilies and meditations, with the note at the bottom that it is not necessarily the official view of the Anglican Church, makes the Sunday Service ever so alive. We still have the traditional texts, as we should. 
If I feel suddenly tired and not wanting to get on with things that need doing, if I stop and just read the Service words and old Holy Communion Text the tiredness disappears.  Things go ever so easily and happily afterwards.

Hospital Communion

The Day before your Communion prepare yourself to receive the Blessed Sacrament

1. Repent. Say: “Help me, Holy Spirit, to know my sins, and to be truly sorry,” and then think over the things you have done wrong, or might have done better. Tell God about them quite simply in your own words, and be truly sorry for them, remembering that you have sinned against your Heavenly Father Who loves you, and Who sent His Son to die for you. Then think what you can do to try to make up for them.

2. Believe. Remember God’s readiness to receive us and to pardon us. Say, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”

3. Be thankful. The Service is the Service of Thanksgiving, and you should approach it with a thankful remembrance of His Death. Say thankfully, “The Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

4. Be loving. Drive out any unkind or hard thoughts about others – be in “charity with all men”.

O LORD Jesus Christ, my Saviour, Who dost give me Thy Body and Blood in this Holy Sacrament:  Come to me that Thou mayest cleanse me, come to me that Thou mayest strengthen me, come to me that Thou mayest make me love Thee more and more, and serve Thee faithfully until I come to Thine everlasting kingdom. Amen.

Most merciful Father, I humbly come before Thee now to join Thy people in offering to Thee this Holy Service in obedience to Thy command. Receive It, we pray Thee, in union with the one All-Sufficient Sacrifice which Christ our Saviour offered for us on the Cross, and now ever pleads for us in Heaven. Grant to me and all Thy people a great blessing this day. Lord, give me greater faith;  keep away from me all idle and bad thoughts;  help Thou my prayers and praises, and join them to those of Thy whole Church, for Jesus Christ’s sake.   Amen.

On the Day of your Communion

Immediately after the Celebration in the Chapel, the Priest brings the Blessed Sacrament to the Wards;  so that although there is a very short service at your bedside, you can feel that you are really joining all the other faithful people in different  parts of the Hospital in offering the one service to God.  

If by chance the Priest is a long time reaching your Ward, the nurses will keep your breakfast hot for you until after you have made your Communion. There is no need to break your rule of fasting.  

While you are waiting, occupy your mind with prayers for other people:  your fellow patients, particularly those in great distress;  the doctors;  the nurses;  your friends;  your family. Give thanks to God for all the good that is being done in Hospitals. Remember that He is coming to you:  “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof:  but speak the word only and Thy servant shall be healed.”

When the Priest reaches your bedside, he will begin the service straightway:  join in saying all the words in thick type.   

                                                 THE  SERVICE

Let us humbly confess our sins to Almighty God.

ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men:  We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we from time to time most grievously have committed, By thought, word and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;  The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

                                          THE  ABSOLUTION

This is God’s answer to those who are sorry for their faults.

ALMIGHTY God, our Heavenly Father, Who of His great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto Him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

( I add:  Almighty GOD, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

                                THE PRAYER OF HUMBLE ACCESS

We do not presume to come to this Thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy Table. But Thou art the same Lord, Whose nature is always to have mercy:  Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us.  Amen.

The Priest will then give you the Blessed Sacrament    

(I use the text from Holy Communion as there is no priest here.)

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, O merciful Father, we most humbly beseech Thee;  and grant that we receiving these Thy creatures of bread and wine, according to a 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 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 often as he shall drink it, in remembrance of me. Amen.

(The wafer and wine followed by The LORD’S PRAYER)

                                              THE BLESSING

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord:  and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.  

(Afterwards we should say a Psalm as Thanksgiving :  my favourite at the moment is:

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!

Serve the LORD with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the LORD is GOD!

     It is he that made us, and we are his;

     We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

     and his courts with praise!

     Give thanks to him, bless his name!

For the LORD is good;

     his steadfast love endures for ever,

     and his faithfulness to all generations.

Glory be  to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

I THANK Thee, O my Heavenly Father, for having been pleased to feed me with the precious Body and Blood of Thy dear Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. I pray Thee to increase my faith and to strengthen my good purposes. Help me to fight against the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil;  to be kind and loving to all round about me; to lead an unselfish life:  and bring me at the last to that Heavenly Feast, where Thou, O Father, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, art to Thy Saints true Light, full and everlasting Joy, and perfect happiness; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Say often during the day:-

                                        Jesus my Lord, I Thee adore:

                                         O make me love Thee more and more.

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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