This particular Great Thanksgiving Prayer (NZPB2020 page A20) is called an “Alternative Great Thanksgiving”, but there is no indication what it is alternative to. The Alternative Great Thanksgiving on page 436 is explicitly “alternative to The Great Thanksgiving on page 420.” This page A20 one is not alternative to any particular Eucharistic Prayer, certainly there is no “Great Thanksgiving for use with children” that this is alternative to. This is simply a Great Thanksgiving Prayer “for use with children”.
There is a very important discussion in producing a “Great Thanksgiving for use with children”: do we kidify the Gospel, do we kidify our services to be something we grow out of, or do we have the Gospel, do we have our services that people grow into and that can nourish us for a lifetime?
Let me press this further: surely we should – at least in our formally agreed rites, at least aspirationally (which our agreed texts, surely, should be!) – we should understand that different ages, different abilities, different stages all be present gathered around God’s table. We should be taken aback that our Church formally produces an agreed text “for use with children”. How would we react if our Church had a formally agreed text, “Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with men”? “Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with old people”?
This NZ Alternative Great Thanksgiving For Use With Children A doesn’t use any of the regular peoples’ responses and acclamations. Instead, it follows the principle that everything must be changed for children. This means that the children have to learn new responses not used in regular services. Furthermore, once learnt, these responses cannot be used in an “ordinary” Eucharist where traditional (or other) responses are used.
There is a regular refrain (“Amen. We are alive in Jesus.“), but no consistent cue for it – so there has to be another mechanism for the children to join the refrain. The assumption appears to be that the children are reading, that the children are literate. The language of this Great Thanksgiving is simple, at a child’s level. But the concepts continue to be complex.
I produced a Eucharistic Prayer (that is allowed by NZ Anglicans) – it is suitable for when there are a lot of children, but it uses the conventional responses (which a child quickly learns by heart), and, if a refrain is used, there is a consistent cue to each response. Finally, if you put my Eucharistic Prayer into a tool that checks the age appropriateness of my Eucharistic Prayer with the Alternative Great Thanksgiving For Use With Children A, we find that both are at a simple, young age appropriateness.
New Zealand Anglicans do not have a consistent set of introductory responses to the Eucharistic Prayer – this means that there is a presumption that people have eyes in a book or on a screen. For example:
The Lord is here.
Kei konei te Ariki.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Kei a mātou te Wairua o te Atua.
Lift up your hearts.
Kia ara ō koutou ngākau.
We lift them to the Lord.
Ka ara nei ki te Ariki.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Kia whakapai tātou ki tō tātou Ariki ki te Atua.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.New Zealand Prayer Book page 420
He mea tika ki te whakapai ki a ia.
The Spirit of God be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to heaven
where Christ in glory reigns.
Let us give thanks to God.New Zealand Prayer Book page 467
It is right to offer thanks and praise.
Another set is at New Zealand Prayer Book page 485
Or, in the case of the Alternative Great Thanksgiving For Use With Children A
Priest: God is here.New Zealand Prayer Book 2020 page A20
People: We praise God together.
Priest: Let us say thank you to God
People: who has done so much for us.
That Alternative Great Thanksgiving For Use With Children A has a refrain:
You sent Jesus to show us how to liveNew Zealand Prayer Book 2020 page A20
and to bring us back to you again.
People: Amen. We are alive in Jesus.
Priest: He died for us on the cross
so that through your Spirit
we can all be your people.
And so with thanks we praise you.
People: Amen. We are alive in Jesus.
in every time and every land
we worship you and say:
People: We praise you.
We thank you.
We bless you.
In many ways, this post is a concrete example of yesterday’s discussion, “Let us play“.
Today’s post follows my reflection on
- the Eucharistic Prayer starting page 420 in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (NZPB/HKMA)
- the Eucharistic Prayer starting page 436
- the Eucharistic Prayer starting page 467
- the Eucharistic Prayer starting page 485
and their revisions.
- the Eucharistic Prayer starting page 512 (a framework for producing your own)
- Alternative Great Thanksgiving E
- An Alternative Form for Ordering the Eucharist
- A Service of Holy Communion page 732
In reflecting on the quality of a Eucharistic Prayer (a Great Thanksgiving), here are some of the things I’m looking out for:
- Clearly a prayer of thanksgiving – consecrating by the community giving thanks (led by the gathered community’s presider) for the great acts of God
- following the Jewish Berakah structure (Praise – Proclaim – Petition – Praise)
- Easily-remembered, consistent responses and acclamations (so preferably poetic and singable) for the gathered community so that they are not focusing on a book (or a projector screen)
- Inclusive and expansive language
- A prayer that flows well, keeps to a consistent tone, and has a broad enough theology to cover acceptable interpretations
- Improving Great Thanksgiving Prayers 6
- Improving Great Thanksgiving Prayers 8
- Improving Great Thanksgiving Prayers 7
- Eight new Eucharistic Prayers
- Improving Great Thanksgiving Prayers 4