The “Prayer of Humble Access” (in our prayer book) is offered before we receive the Holy Communion. “Although I am not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs from under thy table, thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy …”
Some people struggle because it speaks of “unworthiness”, a difficult image. For me it doesn’t fit my understanding of being “marvellously and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139)
Two things help me …
1) Remembering the scripture story—a woman, not from the house of Israel, comes to Jesus seeking healing for her child. Despite being rebuffed, even by Jesus, the woman kneels before the Healer. She knows she does not “deserve” God’s mercy and healing, but is utterly dependent on it.
2) Remembering the words of a long-time parishioner—she was grateful when this prayer was “restored to the people”—because it “should be said by everyone, not just the priest.” It reminded her of both her smallness and greatness in God’s eyes and heart.
Susan Wilson, Erin.