Making the sign of the Cross, bowing and genuflecting
When we make the sign of the Cross, we are constantly reminded of what Christ
did for us all and indeed for us personally. It is used at particularly significant
points in worship and prayer.
Bowing and genuflecting are other physical forms of worship, signs of respect
and honour. It is customary to bow to the altar, the place where the Eucharist is
celebrated, when entering or leaving the church. Genuflecting, literally a bending of the knee, is the deeper sign of reverence used in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the consecrated bread and, sometimes, wine, reserved in the aumbry (cupboard) .
Processional candles and incense
Candles represent the light of Christ and are found on the altars of most Anglican
churches. Those carried in procession are a way of honouring both the processional cross which they accompany and also the priest representing the person of Christ.
Incense, like that offered to the infant Jesus by the Wise Men, is a sign of our belief
in the Real Presence of Christ. It is a symbol of our prayers and a token of the
best we have to offer.
Water, to which a small quantity of salt, denoting integrity, is added, is blessed by a priest and used for blessings, dedications and exorcisms. A bowl of holy water is often placed at the entrance of the church for those who wish to bless themselves as they enter, a reminder of the need for purity when approaching the altar of the Lord.
Anointing with Oil
It is common practice today for the bishop of each diocese to bless the oils on
Maundy Thursday. The oil of the sick is frequently used with prayer for those
who are sick. The oil of chrism is used with prayer as a dedication or rededication to some particular service or responsibility. Oil is one of the channels by which God’s power is made manifest and through which he blesses us.
Exposition with Benediction
This is a service during which the Blessed Sacrament is placed prominently on the altar for adoration and prayer. During the service incense is used and at its end the congregation is blessed with the Sacrament before It is returned to the tabernacle.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Previously known as Confession, those who wish may speak privately with a
priest concerning things in their lives which are troubling them, seek God’s forgiveness for their failings and receive a formal absolution. This sacrament has always been available in the Anglican Church and is clearly offered in the Book of Common Prayer. Use of it helps to clear away things which may be impeding the full flow of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.