Depending on your experience [and the particular congregation where you grew up] you may or may not be familiar with the extended Eucharistic Prayer and the broad sweep that it can include. What you will recognize are the words that are at the very center of the prayer – the words of institution. These are the words that remember the very words of Jesus at the Last Supper; “This is my body, this is my blood.” [Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26]
As far as we are able to discern, these are the oldest continuously used words in Christian worship. In that sense, these words and this action binds us together with Christians of every time and every place. These are also, in many ways, the central words of the Christian story. Here, we are reminded both of Jesus’s salvific work and his continued presence among his people – in all times and in all places. Contained in this moment is the very center of Christian faith and life.