An Epiclesis

In our parish, we will be bringing the Altar Bells back to the liturgy in a few weeks.  There are many different feelings and theological pros and cons for this, but we wish to help the congregation be more attentive at these key moments.

 (For a Video of Server Instructions see here.) 

This week, when I was training the altar servers, I was trying to explain the first place you ring, which is during the epiclesis; that is the calling down of the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  This can be complex for the kids to learn so you teach them to “Watch Father’s hands…”   when he puts them in an out stretched position,  he calls down the Spirit.

Anyways,  in the process, I was reminded of a poem I wrote a few years ago and thought it was appropriate to bring it round again on Pentecost!


An epiclesis

An epiclesis . . .
Holy Spirit coming down,
making her way here.

See how we call you forth
through groans and pray’rs and silence
that you might complete

our unfinished thoughts-
actions begun in earnest-
gently left aside.

O see us wanting
that which we cannot fathom-
that which saves us,

or perhaps raging,
as agony becomes us
and we cannot grasp

your presence within,
among, around, all through us
O sweet, healing balm.

Yours is the comfort,
seeking life, creating it
refreshing Spirit,

renewing the face
of the earth, of our being
as we wait in hope.

O great breath of God,
the source of all compassion
fill us with your love.

An epiclesis . . .
taking the ordinary,
creating anew.