Significance of the Holy Qurbana
The Holy Qurbana incorporates the five essential requisites of worship namely, praise, thanksgiving, repentance, supplication and dedication.
The birth, baptism, public ministry, crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord are all visualised during the Holy Qurbana.
The priest entering the Madbaha (holy sanctuary) wearing black robes for thooyobo (the preparation ceremony in secret) is considered as the return of the prodigal son. When he kisses the corners of the alter, it is considered as the prodigal son embracing his father. When he washes his hands and wears the robes, it is like the prodigal son being bathed and dressed up in best clothes. The Holy Qurbana is the feast.
The vision of Isaiah is described in Isaiah 6: 1-8. In his vision he saw the glory of God and sinful condition of man. Our ancient fathers got their inspiration from this while giving shape to the Holy Qurbana. " I saw the Lord. He was sitting on his throne, high and exalted (altar) and his robe filled the whole temple. round him flaming creatures were standing .... He touched my lips with burning coal and said this has touched your lips, and now your guilt is gone and your sins are forgiven." All this can be seen in the Holy Qurbana.
While the Madhbaha may be considered to be a copy of the heaven, the priest represents the Lord, the deacons represent angels candles for saints. The fragrance of incense is the other important aspect of heavenly worship. In Rev. 8:3,4 we read "Another angel, who had a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. He was given a lot of incense to add to the prayers of all God's people and to offer it on the gold altar that stands before the throne. The smoke of the burning incense went up with the prayers of God's people from the hands of the angel standing before God." The custom of praying with incense in the church which is part of the tradition. Mother Mary is believed to have prayed at the tomb of our Lord Jesus by burning incense.
As the chief celebrant in the Holy Qurbana is Jesus Christ, he is offering the sacrifice on his own behalf. The reason why most of the prayers are addressed to the father is because it is the Son who is celebrating the sacrifice. As a representative of God, the priest gives benediction and remission of sins. He prays fro the people. While representing the people he prays by using the word 'we'. Although all have been given priesthood in the New Testament era, only a chosen few do the holy service. As the priest is the leader of the people, he starts all the prayers. He also prays for himself as an individual.
When we hear the priest praying aloud, the people are supposed to actively participate in the prayers and songs. Except when the priest is praying, it is not correct to stand silently. Though everyone knows the prayers and songs, for better concentration, the church insists in using the book.
During the Holy Qurbana, the heaven and the earth join in worship. The angels from heaven, the departed souls partake in the worship along with those living. Although we are unable to hear their voice of praise, it is a wonderful experience to believe it.
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