Every Table Where We Wait: A Pandemic Prayer of Hunger and Hope for Communion

Every Table Where We Wait: A Pandemic Prayer of Hunger and Hope for Communion

Because the physical sharing of food and table are such an important aspect of the way the sacred is experienced in Holy Communion, we chose not to try to approximate the sacrament in our online services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Instead, we opted to share in prayer and song that speaks honestly about our separation, but still gives thanks for all that God has done, still remembers the ministry and mystery of Jesus Christ, and still celebrates the deeper, wider communion we share with God and each other. It is a prayer of longing, but also hope, a prayer of hunger and expectation,  trusting that we will meet at Christ’s table again.

 

Gracious and Everlasting One,
it is right and good, always and everywhere
to give thanks to you —
you who are present in every place where we are scattered right now.

We give you thanks
for calling forth creation by your Word
and the way that you have woven together
the dust of the earth and your breath
in the emergence of life.

We bless you
for the covenants you have made with your people
down through the centuries,
for our ancestors in the faith,
and the ways that you call us into beloved community
with an ever-widening circle.

We praise you, for the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
and for the way of compassion, justice, healing, and communion
that became a lived reality in the movement he led–
a movement that persisted
in spite of dehumanizing violence.

Therefore, with mystics, martyrs, prophets, priests,
and all the company of saints within and beyond time,
We glorify your name singing:

Holy, holy, holy, God of love and justice,
the universe is overflowing with your glory!
Blessed is the one who come here in your name!
Hosanna in the highest, hallelujah!

We remember, Blessed One,
that when the risk of arrest and execution became clear,
Jesus asked his disciples to prepare a borrowed room
where they could eat together, and give thanks,
and prepare themselves for whatever lay ahead.

When the hour came,
he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him.
He said to them, “I have eagerly desired
to eat this Passover with you; for I tell you,
I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kin-dom of God.”

Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said,
“Take this and divide it among yourselves;
for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine
until the kin-dom of God comes.”

(Hands raised )
Until we can gather our weary bodies in this place again,
until we can share among us the same food and drink,
until we can breathe the same air,
and look into each other’s eyes for a glimpse of you,
Until we can pass the peace of your Son Jesus
among these bodies you have created as good,
straining to sense your beloved kin-dom coming near,
may your Holy Spirit hover,
and brood like a mother hen,
over each and every table, every meal where we wait.

May that tender Spirit reach into all the quiet corners
of loneliness and worry,
reminding us of the deeper, wider communion
in which all things dwell with you.

May that Spirit keep us hungry for your beloved community,
for the just and compassionate world you seek.
may it keep us awake and expectant,
looking always for your kin-dom coming near.

We pray for your church,
that it may rise up in the face of this crisis
and embody the ministry of Jesus once again,
bringing healing, bringing justice,
reaching out to those who are alone.

We pray for other faith communities as well,
for the ways that they are responding to this season of pandemic
with compassion and care,
and we pray for those of no faith,
who are also loved dearly by you.

Blessing and honor, glory and power, be unto you.
Amen, and let all the people say “Amen.”

 

 

Photo Marco Verch on Flickr.  Creative Commons License.

That We May Help to Give Birth: An Advent Communion Prayer

That We May Help to Give Birth: An Advent Communion Prayer

This is a prayer for Holy Communion to be used during the Advent season.  It includes a sung refrain for the congregation, and assumes that participants know the first verse of “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” by heart. It also uses alternative (but still biblical) words of institution.  We’ve used this in the Eden chapel several times over the past few years, and it has gone well.

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He Turned His Face Toward Jerusalem: Stations of the Pilgrimage of Risk

He Turned His Face Toward Jerusalem:  Stations of the Pilgrimage of Risk

This is a service of five stations, meant to help us think and pray about the journey to Jerusalem that Jesus and his disciples chose to make.  It’s about risk, and courage, and following in the way of Jesus. In our worship life here at Eden Seminary, we shared this service on the Monday of Holy Week, which put it out of sync with the entrance into Jerusalem of Palm Sunday.  It might be useful for the Sunday before Lent, or a service during the week before Palm Sunday. 

In our version, we began inside, stopped at a few stations outside, and ended in the chapel.  No one had printed materials except the readers, until we distributed music for the closing song.

Continue reading “He Turned His Face Toward Jerusalem: Stations of the Pilgrimage of Risk”

This Blessed Darkness: An Ash Wednesday Service

This Blessed Darkness: An Ash Wednesday Service

The following are excerpts from an Ash Wednesday service held in the Eden Theological Seminary Chapel on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  The worship service focused on reversing our associations of darkness with sin and whiteness with purity.  Worship included an opening gathering with scripture and a brief sermon, then a period in which participants could choose from among a number of prayer stations, followed by re-gathering for Holy Communion. 

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Sermon: Give to the Ruler Your Justice

Sermon: Give to the Ruler Your Justice

I don’t often post sermons on the internet, believing that the sermonic project is highly contextual.  I decided to make an exception. 

Give to the Ruler Your Justice

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Delivered at Eden Theological Seminary, Wednesday, November 30 2016


“Give to the ruler, your justice, O God.”

The text says “king,” “give to the king your justice,” but “ruler” leaves us with a little more breathing room. Give to the ruler, the leader, the head of state…your justice.

The text is thousands of years old, and comes from a culture that was so different from ours. But if we all work together here I think we might be able to make a few connections, and hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, for today.

Ya think?

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Emancipation: A Service of Holy Communion

Emancipation: A Service of Holy Communion

(A presider invites all the people to come forward and gather around the table.  The four presiders circle the table, facing different directions.  The presiders should represent the rich variety of the gathered body.  This prayer assumes Leader 4 is clergy. One leader explains the format, with lots of encouragement, and teaches the dance step for the day. Explain that they will remain around the table after they have shared the elements. )

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