Fra Angelica. The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs. ca 1423-1424.
To Be a Christian, An
The Anglican Way
Worship is a donation of the self in love to God. True worship, our Lord reminds us is "in spirit and in truth," requiring a total gift of the self. The purpose of Christian worship is not to inform the mind or to come away spiritually full. Though those things may happen, but the chief end of Christian worship is God himself, who alone is to be enjoyed for His goodness. Anything else constitutes idolatry. And it is precisely this true worship which does every other glorious thing worship. Worship forms Christians of character through the repetition of our particular story. Worship trains us for glory and stands as a counter-cultural act.
To worship is to be reminded that we are living beings of body and soul, occupying a universe which is at once visible and invisible. The materialist scoffs at this, of course. But, so do those who have bought into the idea that Christianity is about niceness, or morality, or self-improvement. No. It is about God, who has given the gift of himself in Jesus Christ, and who asks us to give ourselves to Him in return. Do we gain from this? Certainly, but it is not in hope of it that we worship.
This is summed up in that wonderful prayer, the Prayer of Humble Access, deeply resonant in Anglican liturgy:
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 property 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.
Our Hope for You
It is our hope that you will find the worship at Christ Church to be focused on the worship of the Lord, that you will find it to be glorious and transcendent. It is also our hope that the Lord will form us to be worshipers in the best sense of the word, denying ourselves and bringing our whole selves to His table.