Have you ever been to a mass where the priest, instead of being vested in the color of the liturgical season (green in this case), wore a chasuble that was solid yellow? Have you ever been to a mass where the priest, during the Eucharistic Prayer, did not stand at the altar, but instead was in the middle of the center aisle? Have you ever been to a mass where the priest paraphrased the gospel instead of reading it from a book? Have you ever been to a mass where you could feel the presence of God and the working of the Holy Spirit despite the service being very unorthodox? Well last night, I did.
I'm not sure I should post this here - I might end up offending someone, and that is not my intention at all. I had gone to church with a friend and both of us know a thing or two about liturgy, so we were both quite surprised by much of what happened. Was it valid though? Of course it was. There are many ways of worshipping God and we all may have our own personal preferences, but is one better than another? I have to admit that I did think about it a bit, and my friend and I discussed it also. The important thing though I think is that it was all done reverently and with faith.
Now I'm not used to nobody at all being at the altar when the Prayer of Consecration is said. That just seems odd. Sometimes an implicit epiclesis follows the words of institution but most often the epiclesis is explicit. Tonight we heard "Oh great Spirit, come down on us and fill us." I felt like I was out in the Old West and hearing a Native American prayer.
Wrong though? Invalid? No. And do you know why? Because by grace everyone believed in what was happening. The form was not the important thing, it was the complete action. I have no doubt that last night those thirty men and women gather together celebrated a mass and received the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, even though it was slightly irregular.