Deacon: Beloved brothers and sisters, let us participate in this Holy Qurbana which is now offered to us, with commitment, reverence, humility, purity of heart, love, true faith and devotion. To God the Father, to whom all things belong, is offered this sacrifice of grace, peace and praise in the spirit of unity and concord. (Taken from the Order of Worship for Holy Qurbana)
Dearly beloved in Christ,
Last month we tried to explore the meaning and significance of ‘kiss of peace’ in Holy Qurbana based on biblical references. This month let us try to mediate on the meaning of the above liturgical prayer said by deacon. Based on the liturgical passage, I would like to bring forth the following points:
1. The mystery revealed In partaking in the Holy Qurbana, we partake in the divine mysteries. Holy Qurbana is, in one way, the unveiling the Divine holy mysteries. When Deacon says the above liturgical prayer, the celebrant lifts the white cloth (Sosappa), which was till then was covering the paten and chalice. Sosappa symbolizes the swaddling clothes in which Jesus Christ was wrapped. After the death of Jesus on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus, and wrapped the body of Jesus in linen with the spices (Jn 19:40ff). On the first day of the week when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb she found that the big stone was rolled away and the linen wrapping was laying aside (Mk.16:4-6; Jn19:40). Lifting up of ‘Sosappa’ therefore represents ‘Mystery unveiled or revealed.’ Sosappa also represents the bright cloud of transfiguration. (St. Matt 17:2-5, cf. Exo. 19:17-18).
Lifting/removal of the Sosappa is revealing of the sacrificial mystery. It signifies the revealing love of Christ for us. So ‘Sosappa’ represents the presence of resurrected Christ in our midst. It is re-actualization of the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross where he gave his body and blood for the redemption of humanity. Lifting of Sosappa represents the revelation of the mystery for all the members of the worshipping community. In the lifting of the Sosappa, the resurrected Jesus is made present and effective for the believing community. We therefore should stand in awe and fear with dedicated life in the presence of resurrected Jesus (St. Matt 28: 4-8).
2. Call to participate in Holy Qurbana in truth and in union The believing community is exhorted to participate in the Holy Qurbana with commitment, reverence, humility, purity of heart, love, true faith and devotion. St. Paul says, “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.” (1 Cor.11: 27, 28).
The word ‘Qurbana’ means offerings. Our worship, service and thanksgiving is acceptable only when, with true unity and harmony, we offer that to God. Everything comes from God and belongs to Him alone. The community is exhorted to remember that we stand in that glorious Holy presence. So with true spirit one should participate in Qurbana and offer thanksgiving to God. God unites us to himself and to each other through the Holy Spirit in sacrificing His only begotten Son for us all (1 Cor 6:17; Jn. 17:21; Eph 1:17, 2:13; Rom 3:24; 2 Cor 5:18).
Holy Qurbana is also communion with God in His holiness and communion with fellow human beings. The Holy Communion guarantees fellowship with Jesus Christ, who is the life and salvation. St. Paul reminds us that though we are many, yet in partaking in Christ’s body and blood, we are one in Him. (1 Cor. 10:16-22; cf: Jn. 15: 1-10). We are all the different parts of the Christ body (1Cor 12: 12-14).
Therefore dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when we celebrate the Eucharist, the Church remembers Christ, and recalls what He did and said. It is re-telling and re-actualization of the entire salvation history. Here we are not mere observers but are called to participate in the Jesus Christ’s Incarnation, earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension into heaven and His promise of coming again. Holy Qurbana is therefore remembering and participating in Christ’s entire life.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace.
Edavaka Mission meetings are heldevery Thursday at 7:30 PM at the church. Any venue changes of the meetings will be announced in 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.