We begin by praising God through song and prayer, and then listen to readings from the Bible; usually one from the Old Testament, a Psalm, a reading from the New Testament, and (always) a reading from the Gospel. Next, a sermon interpreting the readings appointed for the day is preached. We then affirm our belief through the words of the Nicene Creed. Then we pray together – for the Church, the World, and those in need. We conclude with a prayer that gathers our petitions into a communal offering of intercession. In certain season of the Church year, we formally confess our sins before God and one another. This a corporate statement of what we have done and what we have left undone, followed by a pronouncement of absolution. In pronouncing absolution, the priest assures us that God is always ready to forgive our sins. We greet one another wish a sign of “peace”, professing our right relationship with one another.
Following a sentence offering our life and labors to God, the priest stands at the table, which has been set with a cup of wine and a plate of bread or wafers, raises his or her hands, and greets us again, saying “The Lord be With You.” Now beings the Eucharistic Prayer, in which the priest tells the story of our faith: the beginning of Creation, the choosing of Israel to be God’s people, our continual turning away from God, and God calling us to return. Finally, the priest tells the story of the coming of Jesus Christ and the night before his death, on which he instituted the Eucharistic meal (communion) as a continual remembrance of him. The priest asks the Holy Spirit to enter the bread and wine to make it holy. We recite the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, the priest breaks the bread and offers it to us as “the gifts of God for the people of God”. We then share the consecrated bread and wine, coming forward to the altar rail to receive. At the end of the Eucharist, we pray once more in thanks giving, and then are dismissed to continue the life of service to God and to the World.