One of the hallmarks of our Anglican forms of worship is that we make use of our bodies in our liturgies. We stand as the procession enters and leaves the church, for the reading of the gospel, and while singing most hymns. We sit as we listen to the reading of scripture lessons other than the gospel. For confessing our sins, we kneel. For many of us growing up it was customary to bow as the processional cross passed our pew as a sign of reverence.
Beginning today, you will see the choir bow before the altar as they process in. The clergy will stop and make a more profound bow also in acknowledgement and reverence before Christ’s presence in the reserved sacrament; a practice in Anglican tradition since the earliest days. When Bishop Greg was here recently you may also have seen that he then turned and bowed to the congregation. At my home parish here in Seattle this is the regular practice as part of the procession into the church. Those leading the worship bow to the presence of Christ in the sacrament, then turn and bow to that same presence in the gathered community. As Jesus said, where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them.
I would like us to adopt this practice over the summer, and would love to hear how you experience it. The procession will enter the church as usual as we sing our opening hymn. During a musical interlude before the last verse the clergy will bow to the altar and then turn and bow to you. You are invited to bow back in acknowledgement. We will then sing the last verse of the hymn.