SIGNIFICANCE AND MEANING OF THE FOURTH BLESSINGS IN THE HOLY QURBANA SERVICE
Dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, this month will be our 33rd and final study of the Liturgy of the Holy Qurbana. No study of liturgy is complete in true sense as Liturgy is mystical in nature, and there are lot be explored and understood. A humble attempt was made to understand these Liturgical prayers one after another by looking into the biblical references and also understanding the meaning of liturgical actions. Only in understanding the meaning of these prayers one can whole heartedly participate in the Holy Qurbana. As worshipping God is our love towards His faithfulness and mercy, one ought to remember that God has asked us to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind (Mt.22:37; Lk.10:27; Mk.12:30).
This month we will be looking into the prayers which come under the Fourth Blessing. The Celebrant turns towards the worshipping community and blesses them by making the sign of the cross. The community is expected to receive the blessing by making the sign of cross. These prayers have to be seen as benediction or final blessing of the service. These prayers are significant as with these prayers the Holy Communion concludes. Let us look into each prayer separately.
P: My beloved brothers and sisters, I commend you to the grace and blessings of the Holy and Glorious Trinity. Go now in peace and serve the Lord with the gifts and blessings that you have received from the atoning sacrifice of the Lord. C: Amen
In the final blessing, emphasis is given to the Trinity as Holy Qurbana is Trinitarian in nature. The Celebrant says, “I commend you to the grace and blessings of the Holy and glorious Trinity...” Here the word “commend” means “to entrust”, “to put in-charge.” Here Lordship of the Triune God is emphasized in the life of the believers. Resurrected Jesus commissions his disciples by saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.(Mt.28:19,20).
The word “Go” is a command. “Go” is the command not by the celebrant but Jesus. Whenever God calls anyone He asks him to ‘go’ to the world. The Holy Qurbana being the remembrance and celebration of God’s love towards the world, the redeemed community is reminded to dedicate themselves to be Christ’s missionaries. A close study of post-resurrection events that we see in the gospels, we read Jesus commanding his disciples to be His missionaries in the world. Therefore Church is not just a ‘called out’ community but also ‘a send out’ (commissioned) community to bear Christ and witness Him in this world. Jesus says, “Peace be with you, as the Father has sent Me, I also send you (Jn.20:21). As the worship concludes, the Celebrants reminds us that we are the commissioned community to ‘go’ into the world as we have received God’s grace and peace in and through Jesus Christ (Mk.16:15).
P: You both near and far, who are saved by the victorious cross of the Lord and sealed with the seal of holy baptism, this Holy Trinity will forgive you, your sins and comfort your souls. C: Amen
The community of faith is sealed with the seal of Holy Baptism (Eph.1:13) and is saved by the victorious cross of the Lord (1 Cor.1:18). God not only created us in His own image and likeness (Gen.1:27; Lk.20:24; Mk.12:6) but has also redeemed the fallen humanity by allowing His son to die as a ransom for many (Mt.20:28; Mk.10:45; 1Tim.2:6). God is righteous and repays everyone according to his/her deeds (Rom.2:6). St. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.6:23). As all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:21), without God’s grace one cannot experience redemption from sin. St. Paul says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph.2:8).” Grace is God’s unmerited favor shown to those who do not deserve it. Jesus is God’s grace and peace towards His world. This grace and peace come from God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, in and through the Christ event. In the book of Numbers we read that when Israelite community spoke against God and Moses, they experienced God’s punishment. God sent fiery serpents among the people and many died. But when they repented, God commanded Moses to raise a bronze serpent and set it on the standard so that anyone who gets snake bite may look towards the bronze serpent and live (Numbers 21:4-9). Similarly God has raised his own Son Jesus Christ on the Cross (Jn.12:32; Gal.3:3); so that the sinful community/people may look upto him and be saved. We experience God’s grace and peace through Jesus Christ death on the cross.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace.
Weekly Bible Study classes will be held every Thursday at 7:30 PM at the Church
Edavaka Mission Activities
Thoma Voluntary Evangelist's Association was found by our late
Metropolitan Most Rev. Abraham Mar Thoma out of his strong conviction
that each Mar Thomite is an Evangelist. Evangelism
is the utmost mission of this Organization. The Parish level unit is
known as the Edavaka Mission and at the Long Island Mar Thoma Church,
New York, we give stress to the seven fold activities such as
Intercessory Prayer, Bible Study, Sharing of Experience, House Visit,
Visiting the Sick, Group Activities etc
Edavaka Mission regular
meetings are conducted every Thursday at 7.30 PM at the Church as well
as Members' houses with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Fasting Prayer meetings are conducted once every month at the members' houses either the last Saturdays or Thursdays depending upon members and Achen's
convenience with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Edavaka Mission also support various Mission projects such as sponsorship of students at St. Thomas School,
Visakhapatanam, India. Sponsoraship of an Evangelist in India. Medical
and financial aid to different individuals and families based on
requests received by Achen time to time. Edavaka Mission welcomes
donations from members for the above mentioned activities and
sponsorship. For details, please contact our Achen Rev. A. B. Binu, Mr.
Mammen Samuel or Achamma Jacob.