Bishop's letter: Remember Jesus too

2nd May 2023

Writing about the celebration of Holy Communion almost eighty years ago, Gregory Dix posed the question ‘Was ever another command so obeyed?’ It’s well worth searching online for his whole answer. An edited quote of his response reads: 

‘For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei—the holy common people of God.’ 

The first of Dix’s scenarios will be played out before us at the coronation of King Charles III. At the heart of the ceremony, amidst all the pomp and circumstance, the oaths and declarations, the regalia and crowning, will be the celebration of Holy Communion. The words used will be just the same as those spoken in our parish churches Sunday by Sunday. From Communion, the King and Queen will be sent out from Westminster Abbey to live like us the prayer we say at the end of many of our services. They will offer ‘their souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice, sent out in the power of [God’s ] Spirit to live and work to [God’s] praise and glory.’  

The command that the King, Queen and all of us obey is Jesus’s direction to ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ So, as you watch the Coronation please remember Jesus too. For he is the one who comes to us as a servant; the king of Kings. 

Bishop Michael 


This letter was first featured in the May edition of the Manna mailing.



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