By Bill Gliddon, St. George’s Church organist and choirmaster
Do you know the origins of the word ‘mass’, as in the service celebrating the Eucharist, or Holy Communion?
The mass is the central worship service of mainline Christianity, and the word used in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, and quite often in the Anglican and Lutheran churches.
It derives from the very early days of Christian worship, when the priest ended the service by declaring, in Latin, “Ite, missa, est”, which, when translated into English, basically means: “Go, you are sent out”. So in a real sense, ‘mass’ means ‘mission’.
At the conclusion of a worship service in which we pray, hear God’s word, sing praises and receive the ‘life-giving sacrament’ ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper, we are sent back out into the everyday world to be ‘missionaries’!