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.