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For the next three Sundays – April 21 and 28, and May 5 – Church of the Holy Cross will worship using the service of Ante-Communion.


Also called “The Liturgy of the Word,” Ante-Communion is basically everything in the service of Holy Eucharist up to and including the Passing of the Peace. It includes the regular readings from scripture, a sermon, prayers for the church and the world – all the things we’re used to in a Sunday service. The only thing that is not included is the blessing and sharing of bread and wine.


Sometimes when people hear “Ante-Communion” they think they’ve heard “Anti-Communion,” as if this service were against Communion or the opposite of Communion in some way.


But the word ante, with an “e,” comes from the Latin preposition meaning “before.” We still use the word in phrases like “ante-meridian,” meaning before noon, or “antebellum,” meaning before the war – or even in playing poker, where you have to “ante up,” meaning to put your money down before you can bet.


So the service of Ante-Communion means everything that comes before the Great Thanksgiving of Communion. It is a way for a congregation to share the main part of the Holy Eucharist liturgy when there is no priest to bless the bread and wine for Communion. It is the Liturgy of the Word that comes before the Liturgy of the Table.


Even though Ante-Communion does not include the sacrament of bread and wine, it still has sacramental moments, moments when we are joined to Jesus for ministry and mission. Without the bread and wine, the Passing of the Peace becomes a principal moment when the presence of Jesus is among us, as we become like Jesus for each other, greeting each other in Peace as the Risen Jesus greeted his disciples.


So join us for Ante-Communion at Church of the Holy Cross these next three Sundays, and share the presence of Jesus in the Peace!

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