We continue our examination of Anglican vocabulary. My plan is to examine a word or two to help you learn some of our “Anglican-isms”. I believe they will help enrich your experience of following Christ as an Anglican Christian. This week we move to the “H”s.

Host (Eucharistic)

The consecrated bread of the eucharist. The term is from the Latin hostia, “victim.” Use of the term reflects an understanding of the eucharist in sacrificial terms relative to Christ’s death on the cross. The term is also extended to mean the bread or wafers to be consecrated at the eucharist. The individual wafers of the eucharist may be referred to as “hosts.” Many parishes use a large host that is broken by the celebrant at the fraction. This “Priest’s Host” may be decorated with Christian symbols that are pressed into the large wafer. It is typically placed on the paten prior to the service when the chalice is vested.

The smaller “hosts” that will be distributed to the people are placed in a ciborium and placed on the paten with the “Priest’s Host” when the altar is prepared before the Great Thanksgiving at the eucharist.

Humble Access, Prayer of

A prayer for worthy reception of communion that begins with the statement, “We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness”. It may be said by the celebrant and people after the fraction (and fraction anthem), before the invitation to communion. This prayer first appeared in the 1548 Order of Holy Communion. Its name is from the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637, where it was known as the “Collect of Humble Access to the Holy Communion.” It has a strong penitential emphasis, stating that “We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.”

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