“Priest: Let us lift up our hearts. (Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας. Горé имеим сердца.)People/Choir: We have them (lifted up) to the Lord. (Ἔχομεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον. Имамы ко Господу.)“ (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
The Eucharistic Prayer is not only a text, read (mostly) by our priest. It is also an action and an event, “done“ by the entire Church, all of us, as we gather by invitation of the Host of this event, our Lord Jesus Christ. And the “place“ where we get to meet our Host, if we suit up and show up to this event, is “above,“ in the Presence of God. This is an “above“ that becomes accessible to us, in our (down) here and now, as we “let ourselves“ be lifted up into communion with the God-Man Jesus Christ. It is He Who has elevated our humanity to the very Throne of God, having been seated at His Father’s right hand, – and yet remains in our midst, – by the grace of His ever-generous, ever-descending into our world, Holy Spirit.
So for us, the entire Eucharist is an ascent, into the Oneness of God, and away from the fragmentation of merely-human being, with its oft-contradictory cares, wants, opinions, fears, and other God-less things that drag us down and cripple our growth. For God, it is a descent, to meet us in our here and now, in the sacramental “above“ brought “down“ into our world by His Son, and repeatedly made accessible to us by the generous Self-Giving of His Holy Spirit. So let me suit up and show up for Liturgy this Sunday, letting my heart be “lifted up“ and liberated, as I’m invited to, from the limiting and lonely realm of the merely-human.