“We’re Not Worthy”

Those of us of a certain age will remember the delightfully crazy movie “Wayne’s World” with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey playing loony Garth and Wayne. It was a goofy spoof, but there was at least one word of truth in it. When Garth and Wayne ran into one of their rock star heroes, they immediately dropped to their knees crying, “We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy.”

And the truth is, we’re not.

Some religious traditions which seem to think we can be. In one article I read about the sacraments, the author actually described what we need to do to “make ourselves worthy” before we come to the table. Some traditions require you to be a member of their church in order to receive the bread and the wine. I’ve been in worship services where clear instructions were given about who could and could not commune and it was clear the invitation didn’t include me.

In the spirit of Christian charity, I want to respect their desire to make sure the sacrament is valued and that we come to the table with true faith, but when it comes to the Lord’s Supper, Wayne and Garth are right. None of us, no matter how hard we try, none of us are worthy of God’s amazing grace.

We don’t use the old prayer from the old communion liturgy very often, but for Ash Wednesday, maybe we should:

“We do not presume to come to this thy table, O Merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercy. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table, but thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to partake of this Sacrament of thy Son Jesus Christ, that we may walk in newness of life, may grow into his likeness and may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.”

Garth and Wayne had it right. We’re not worthy, but in boundless love and amazing mercy, God welcomes us anyway.

2 thoughts on ““We’re Not Worthy”

  1. Sarah Parker

    Jack, I didn’t realize how much I missed that prayer! Thank you for the reminder of a deep, deep need to confess.


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