One Eucharistic Prayer that is currently used by a Lutheran parish recently came to my attention. I personally find no theological problem with this prayer. However, it seems that a plethora of Lutheran pastors find the prayer to be highly problematic. One of the primary objections seems to be that it uses sacrificial terminology. However, the Eucharistic Prayer of the Eastern Rite is lauded by our Confessions, particularly where it speaks in sacrificial terms:
The Greek canon says also many things concerning the offering, but it shows plainly that it is not speaking properly of the body and blood of the Lord, but of the whole service, of prayers and thanksgivings. For it says thus: ((greek)). When this is rightly understood, it gives no offense. For it prays that we be made worthy to offer prayers and supplications and bloodless sacrifices for the people. For he calls even prayers bloodless sacrifices. Just as also a little afterward: [((greek)), We offer, he says, this reasonable and bloodless service. For they explain this inaptly who would rather interpret this of a reasonable sacrifice, and transfer it to the very body of Christ, although the canon speaks of the entire worship, and in opposition to the opus operatum Paul has spoken of logike latreia (Rom 12:1) [reasonable service], namely, of the worship of the mind, of fear, of faith, of prayer, of thanksgiving, etc.The Lutheran Church has never rejected the notion that the Mass is a eucharistic sacrifice; that is, one of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Rather, she rejects the papal teaching that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, or one that merits forgiveness or reconciliation on account of our offerings or actions. The Lutheran Church confesses that Christ's one-time sacrifice on Calvary made complete satisfaction for all sins and that the benefits of this satisfaction are communicated to us in the Divine Service. The Lutheran parish's Eucharistic Prayer in question only references "our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" as a sacrifice that comes from man; in contrast, the propitiatory sacrifice it references is denoted as the following: "Almighty God, our heavenly Father, from Your tender mercy You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption. By the one oblation of Himself, once offered, He made there a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." That hardly seems to be the papist error to me.
As such, I want to reproduce here the full Eucharistic Prayer in question to solicit further commentary. I am not looking for opinions concerning whether or not Eucharistic Prayers are a wise practice or appropriate for the Lutheran tradition (though such comments are certainly welcome); rather, I would like to know if this prayer is theologically orthodox. I contend that it is:
THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
P: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, from Your tender mercy You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption. By the one oblation of Himself, once offered, He made there a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. And in His Holy Gospel, He instituted and commanded us to celebrate a perpetual remembrance of His precious death until He comes again.
The Pastor then chants:For our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” The Pastor genuflects, then elevates the Host, after which he genuflects a second time.In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The Pastor genuflects, then elevates the Cup, after which he genuflects a second time.Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of Your dearly beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, we Your humble servants celebrate and make here, before Your divine majesty, with these Your holy gifts, the commemoration Your Son has willed us to make. Remembering His blessed Passion, mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension, we give You most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits which He has procured for us.And of Your almighty goodness we most humbly beseech You, O merciful Father, to hear us. And send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and upon Your gifts of bread and wine, and bless them and hallow them; and show that this bread is the precious Body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ; and this cup is the precious Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, which was shed for the life of the world.Earnestly desiring Your fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: we most humbly beseech You to grant that, by the merits and death of Your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His Blood, we and Your whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His Passion.And here we offer and present to You, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto You. We humbly beseech You that all who partake of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, and be filled with Your grace and heavenly benediction, and being made one body with Him, may dwell in Him, even as He dwells in them.And although we are unworthy, because of our many sins, to offer You any sacrifice; yet we beseech You to accept this our bounden duty and service. And command that our prayers and supplications, by the ministry of Your holy angels, may be brought to Your holy tabernacle before the sight of Your divine majesty, not weighing our merits but pardoning our offenses through Christ our Lord. Amen.