How does the service of Holy Communion begin? Many churches have a processional hymn or an opening song to start things off. The 2019 Prayer Book notes this option with a rubric on pages 105 and 123. But after that comes the Acclamation, the textual beginning of the worship service in the modern liturgy. It says:
The people standing, the Celebrant says this or a seasonal greeting (pages 145-146)
When you turn to page 145 you find eight different Acclamations for different seasons and holy days of the year. But they are introduced with this rubric:
The opening Acclamation may be replaced by a greeting appropriate to the season or the occasion, such as the following
This means that you can create your own acclamation! That means you could do something like this:
Celebrant Hey there, fam!
People ‘Sup, preacher!
This assumes, of course, that the celebrant deems this “appropriate to the season or the occasion“. One would hope that the priest has better taste than this, haha, but it’s technically possible.
Yes, it’s Weird Rubric Wednesday, this is my chance to be silly.
Anything helpful to suggest?
Okay, yes. First of all, it should be noted that this openness links smoothly with the Additional Directions on page 139 that authorize the assembly of a Penitential Order at the beginning of the liturgy. It may be that an appropriate greeting be an immediate call to confession of sin, or the proclamation of the gospel of repentance, as the Daily Offices do. In times of grave trouble, this might actually be a good idea. The use of the Great Litany as the preface to the Communion liturgy is also appropriate to this scenario, and is provided for in the rubric on page 96, and certain dates of the year to do this are urged on page 99.
It may be that a particular situation or occasion may invite the use of a canticle for the celebrant and congregation to say at the start of the liturgy. This is, in effect, what the Burial Service does.
It may be that a particular situation or occasion may benefit from a special address by the celebrant to the congregation, as the Marriage liturgy begins.
Most of us are currently in a closed-church situation where few-to-none of us can attend worship in person. The first Sunday back may call for a special address, a call to celebrate and rejoice, and a reminder of why we do gather together and what worship is all about. Priests and pastors across the country will be thinking about what to say and how to handle our eventual reunions, and this rubric for the Acclamation gives us leeway – not simply to mess with the liturgy for our own purposes, but to hand us the freedom to give thoughtful consideration to how we might usher the flock into a time of worship, given the particular occasion or circumstance.