Chrism Eucharist : A time of renewal, blessing and reflection
On the morning of Maundy Thursday, the people of Truro might have noticed a rush of clergy carrying white robes walking purposefully through the streets on the way to the Cathedral. They were heading for the Chrism Eucharist, a service on Maundy Thursday that invites all the clergy across the diocese to renew their ordination vows and witness the blessing of the oils.
It is a moving and poignant service as the Bishop, priests and deacons gather together with a sizeable congregation of lay folk as well to share in their commitment to serve and renew their vows. All are reminded that there is no top or bottom, first or last, as Jesus says, “…The greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 24: 26-27
During the service, the Bishop blesses the special oils that are used throughout ministry across the parishes. There is the Oil of the Sick, the Oil of the Catechumens, used for those preparing for and committing to Baptism, and the Oil of Chrism, an oil of anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is a particularly special oil, from which the service takes its name, and everyone is invited to receive an anointing with it as a sign of God’s abundant grace.
It’s a service that is held dear in many hearts, not just because of the spectacle of seeing so many clergy gathering together to renew their vows, but because it comes just before Easter, echoing the Last Supper and all it meant for Jesus and His disciples.
It is a poignant time to focus and align thoughts to the very essence of the Christian faith – that Christ lived, he died and he rose again.
A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.