(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. )

Invitation

Leader1:    Christ invites to this table all who are hungry and thirsty for justice,
Leader2:    for compassion,
Leader3:    for sharing, and community,
Leader4:    and for the Holy Spirit.
Leader1:    Christ invites all who long for living water,
Leader2:    all those who have lain too long in the desert of deprivation,
Leader3:    or the prison of privilege,
Leader4:    any whose chains of self-hatred or exclusion are more than they can bear.

Leader1:    This table is spread for you,
Leader2:    and for all whom Jesus,
Leader3:    companion to sinners and outcasts,
Leader4:    champion of both friends and foreigners, would welcome.

 

Communion Prayer

Leader4:    As we enter into prayer, please respond each time you hear the words, “we give you thanks, O God,” by saying “For your steadfast love endures forever.”  Will you try saying that with me? “We give you thanks, O God.”

Leader1:

Let us pray…Blessed are you, Mighty God, Strong Liberator,
Defender of all who are oppressed.
For the beauty and blessedness
of everything that you have made,
and for all that you have accomplished,
across the great expanse of time, we give you thanks, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader2:

For the strong hands that forced up the mountains,
drew back the oceans,
and scattered the seeds of life across the continents,
we give thanks to you, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader3:

For the midwives Shiprah and Puah,
and all those who have struggled to bring forth life
amid cultures of annihilation,
we give thanks to you, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader4:

For Moses, Aaron, Miriam,
and all your people who dared to walk out into the desert,
risking everything to cross over from slavery into freedom,
guided by your hand, we give thanks to you, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader1:

For Queen Esther, who did not simply stand by,
did not hide behind her privilege,
but was willing to risk her own life to stop injustice and save others,
we give thanks to you, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader2:

For the prophets of old,
who called their people back, time and again,
to stand with the widow, the orphan,
and the immigrant in the land, we give you thanks, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader3:

For Jesus, the great liberator,
who healed, and taught the poor, and spoke truth to power,
and who could not be silenced,
could not be shamed,
could not be erased by the instruments of terror,
who fed the hungry, the guilty, the outcast, and the self-righteous,
we give you thanks, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader4:

For that same Jesus, who looked into the face of execution,
and continued to share meals,
taking bread (take bread) and cup (others take cups),
and giving thanks to you,
promising that, whatever happened,
he would eat and drink among the people again
in your beloved kin-dom, we give you thanks, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever. (set cups and bread down)

Leader1:

For your church,
for generations of saints, named and unnamed,
who have preached and protested, fed and healed,
and have placed their bodies in harm’s way
to help your beloved community come near,
where rich and poor, slave and free, female and male,
immigrant and native, young and old, gay and straight,
and all of the glorious possibilities beyond these
can eat and live in the unity of Christ,
we give thanks to you, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

Leader2:

For the gift of the Holy Spirit,
who inspires us still to join you in weaving
the golden thread of grace into the fabric of history,
and who we humbly ask to bless this meal, and all of us here,
we give you thanks, O God.

All:    For your steadfast love endures forever.

 

Leader3:

Therefore!
with people of faith in every land,
with all of creation and and with all the saints of light,
we praise your glorious name, singing:

 Leader1:  Place your right hand on the shoulder of the person next to you, and here we go!

(All who desire join in a circle dance as they sing.)

(singing) Holy, holy, holy,
God of love and justice
the universe is overflowing with your glory!
Blessed is the one who comes here in your name!
Hosanna in the highest!  Halleluia!  (twice)

Leader4:

Blessing and honor, glory and power,
be unto you, now and forever!
And let all those who stand with us say Amen!

All:    AMEN!

 

The servers come forward and the meal is prepared.
Two presiders the bread, two help the cup servers.
When the meal is ready:

Leader2:    The gifts of God for the people of God.
Leader3:    Come, for all things are ready.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

After the meal, the congregation is invited to move in close to the table again.  The leader says, “Please join me in prayer, simply echoing back what you hear.” Echo prayers work best if the leader keeps the pace up, moving to the next line just as the congregation finishes the previous one. 

Leader4:

Blessed one!
World maker!
Bread baker!
See all of the joy
that you have made here.
We give you thanks
that you have blessed us at this table.
and that your kin-dom
is always coming near.
Send us out
with courage
and rejoicing
that we may be salt
and light
and leaven.
We pray in the holy name
of Jesus.
Amen!
Amen!
AMEN!

Passing of the Peace

Leader1:

Let us be signs of Christ’s peace in the flesh by sharing a handshake, or a hug, or a bow, and saying, “The peace of Christ be with you!”  “And also with you!”

As the congregation passes the peace the song “Peace Be With You” begins.  As the peace passing subsides, all are invited to sing together. 

 

 

©2013 Christopher Grundy

Photo: Fernando Palacios on Flickr.  Creative Commons license.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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