The Riches of the Anaphora
We have seen, then, how this highest moment of the Liturgy, the Anaphora, opens up to us staggering truths about what and who is lifted up, and why we do this. We are taken back to creation and remember all that God has done in our human history, while also thinking soberly concerning the complications of the fall for us and for the whole of creation. We focus upon the sacrificial gift of God the Son—his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return in glory, wondering at a miracle of atonement (at-onement) so great that we need many different ways of looking at it. In awe, we add our own thanksgiving to his sacrifice, knowing that God asks us, too, to give ourselves to him for the sake of others. We contemplate and see how the Holy Spirit works at this great moment, sanctifying the Holy Mysteries for our healing, and also transforming the whole of our lives, as a foretaste of the blessedness we shall experience eternally. Finally, we remember the Theotokos, the blessed saints, and those in our midst who are in special need, showing in these intercessions our nature as the Church, in which each member of the body is connected to the others.
As Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (of blessed memory) sums all this up, he reminds us that in the Anaphora we offer bread and wine, the whole creation, ourselves, and Christ. But of course, he reminds us, it is only the hands of the priest and the voices of the worshippers whom Christ Himself, the true celebrant, uses, as He lifts everything up to the Father.1 This time of “lifting up” takes us to a new vantage point in which we can see the whole drama of God, from the dawn of creation to the new creation, and are assured of our place together in it. But it is not simply a matter of understanding or seeing: we are lifted into his mysterious presence, and are quickened in mind, in soul, in spirit, in heart. We share together in God’s gift, One given to all and for all.
Kallistos Ware, “The Eucharistic Sacrifice—Who Offers What to Whom? (opens in a new tab)” ↩