There’s a priest in our diocese who once told me a story. For anonymity’s sake, we will call this priest Ren Bobertson. Ren was a newly ordained priest who was celebrating the eucharist for the first time. Prayer C was the Eucharistic Prayer that day. In Prayer C, there is a phrase that says “From the primal elements you brought forth the human race …” However, in a slip of the tongue and a challenge to Darwin, Ren said, “From the primal elephants you brought forth the human race …” Quite a way to start off the priesthood!
It has somewhat become a Chapel tradition to venture into the cosmos after Labor Day by switching to Prayer C. Known as the Star Wars eucharistic prayer, a bishop in the Episcopal Church recently called it “The leisure suit of liturgy.” Whatever you want to call it, Prayer C belongs in a category by itself with different origins and structure than the other eucharistic prayers in our glorious prayer book.
Though different than the other prayers, it still highlights that God lovingly and intentionally created us. Though he created “the vast expanse of interstellar space” God’s greatest creation and what he deemed good was us, you and me. Though we fall short, again and again God calls us to return. God’s call does not soften, but can be heard even louder. Because, like the father of the prodigal son, he just wants to wrap his arms around us.
Another characteristic of Prayer C is the need to actually pull out the prayer book during the eucharistic prayer. Most of us know by heart the responses in Prayers A and B. But, there are a lot more responses in Prayer C that are not known by heart so following along in the prayer book is necessary. So this Sunday, come prepared, because Prayer C is like hopping on the Magic School Bus with Ms. Frizzle. Maybe we’ll even get to the see Ren’s primal elephants!