A Weekly Reflection from our Rector
16 January 2019
Anglican and Catholic
“Welcome to the Church of the Atonement, an Episcopal church in the Anglo-Catholic Tradition.”
This sentence is the first thing a person reads on the home page of our website. Right from the beginning, we at Atonement claim our place within the long Anglo-Catholic tradition in the Church, while also affirming our identity as a parish of The Episcopal Church. Both of these markers are important; both reflect who we are, how we worship and serve, and how we connect to the larger Church and the world.
One place that our Anglo-Catholic identity is on glorious display is in the service of Choral Evensong & Benediction. The pairing of these liturgies – Evensong, which is at the core of our Anglican tradition, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which is one of the most “catholic” things that we do – is intentional. In this worship, we claim our place as inheritors of the fullness of our tradition as Episcopal Anglo-Catholics.
In Choral Evensong, we pray the centuries-old pattern of the office as crafted by the incomparable Thomas Cramner, a pattern that connects us to the prayer of a vast multitude of faithful Anglicans. We devote ourselves to praying the psalms, listening to scripture, and singing the two traditional evening canticles – the Magnificat (the Song of Mary) and the Nunc Dimittis (the Song of Simeon). It is a liturgy of contemplation that steeps us in the texts that shape who we are as recipients of the word as found in scripture. Benediction, too, is a liturgy of contemplation, but here we turn our focus to the Word made flesh, the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst in the form of the Blessed Sacrament. In Benediction, we fall on our knees before Christ in humble adoration – we give thanks and offer him our hearts, and we allow ourselves to be shaped by the one who “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
This weekend, I hope that you will join us for Choral Evensong & Benediction at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The worship, which lasts approximately one hour, includes some of the most beautiful prayers of the Church, and some of the most beautiful music of our Anglican tradition, that you will ever hear. You are warmly welcomed to come and pray with us for this one hour (and then to join us for a fun and friendly chili cookoff in Montgomery Hall!).
Come, let us adore him.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev’d Erika L. Takacs, Rector