Communion

photo by Ben Ulrich

 

What words do we use when we share this special meal together?

What metaphors bring meaning?  Which bring confusion?

Which traditional words draw us closer to one another and to the source of our faith?

Which create chasms or hurdles?

What words express the mystery and wonder of this event central to Christian life?

 

Newest ‘communion’ posts . . . (images link to posts)

 

Alphabetical archive of all ‘Communion’ resources . . .

Welcome & Invitation
Here is the table set for our special meal.
The bread, the juice, prepared and presented.
Ready to be served and shared.

We remember Jesus sharing a meal like this with his disciples, his friends.
He included everyone, those he could trust and those he could not trust.

Today we are his disciples, his friends.
Each one of us is welcome. How amazing it is to be loved and wanted even when we have not been perfect. How wonderful it is to be included as we are.

Words of Remembrance: the communion story
When Jesus shared the bread with his friends, he explained that he is the Bread of Life. Like bread, Jesus nourishes and strengthens us so that we can know right and wrong and not be confused. When we eat the bread together, we are strengthened as a community to remember Jesus and do the things Jesus would do in our world.

Jesus also used a cup of the fruit of grapes to teach his disciples. He compared the red juice to blood, to help us remember the suffering in the world. Drinking the juice together helps us remember that we are all part of a special agreement, a covenant, with God. God loves us so much that when we make mistakes, or when we make bad choices, God has agreed to forgive us and give us a second chance, every time.

This is ordinary bread and ordinary juice. But when we eat the bread together and drink the juice together, something extraordinary happens which brings us closer to Jesus and to one another. We become the ‘Body of Christ.’ Which means that our eyes and ears see and hear what Jesus would see in our world. And our arms and hands do Jesus’s work to help others.

Sharing the bread and juice
When you take a piece of bread, please hold it until everyone has a piece. Then we will all eat together.
When everyone has bread:
The Bread of Life shared with you.
Be strengthened to do what is right.

When you take a cup of juice, please hold it until everyone has been served. Then we will all eat together.

When everyone has a cup:
The Cup of Forgiveness shared with you.
Remember God’s agreement to give each of us another chance to be better people.

OR
If people come forward in small groups to be served:

Please come forward to receive the Bread of Life.
May it strengthen you to do what is right.

Please come forward to receive the Cup of Forgiveness.
Remember God’s agreement to give each of us another chance to be better people.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of love, [for a special day: Thank you for this Easter/Lenten/ celebration!] Thank you for strengthening us with the Bread of Life. Thank you for forgiving us and giving us another chance to do what is right. We promise to be the living Body of Christ, nourished by this special meal. We promise to use our arms, hands, feet, eyes and ears to follow Jesus and make the world a better place for everyone. Amen.

Tune: Assurance 9.10.9.9.

 

Come voice your struggles, come shed your tears,
Come calm your anger, come lose your fears.
Here we encounter the Living Lord
Through bread that’s broken, in wine that’s poured

.
Refrain:
Come to the table, join in the song,
This is the place where all shall belong.
Voices in chorus, seeking Christ’s ways,
To become God’s living stones of praise.

Come voice your laughter, come show your joy,
We’ll be a temple the world won’t destroy.
Founded on caring, compassion and love,
Strength of lion, peace of the dove.
Refrain

Come voice your outrage, come right what’s wrong,
Working for justice, together we’re strong.
More than the sum of each separate part,
Seeking and sharing the way of the heart.
Refrain

 

Stephen Best 2014

IMG_8829As you drink of it, remember the shed blood of those who hurt, and the common blood that binds us all.

Heard in 2008 at a worship service at University Church, United Church of Christ, Seattle, Washington USA

img_9157You bring alive what once seemed dead

Your word becomes as real as bread

Your love we taste in sips of wine

Your meal reveals the life divine

 At the end of each section, pause to allow participants time to reflect and fill in the names of places and people as appropriate, silently or aloud, as appropriate for the group.

I cannot take bread
and forget those who are hungry….

I cannot take wine
and forget those who thirst for justice….

I cannot look at the cross
and forget those who feel abandoned by God….

I cannot hear words of peace
and forget those people and places ravaged by war….

I cannot receive words of forgiveness
and forget those against whom I hold a grudge….

I cannot celebrate the Feast of God’s Family
and forget our divisions….

I cannot look at the cross
and forget that Jesus calls me to follow….

Amen.

IMG_9267Friends, come in peace for all things are now ready.

After or as the bread is distributed…
The bread of life shared with you.

After or as the juice is distributed…
The power of God shared with you.

We give thanks to you, Source of all life, that you have refreshed and renewed us with this memorial of sacrificial love. May this shared act strengthen our faith in you and increase our love toward one another.

IMG_8897Sharing of the Bread and the Cup
This is an open table: you do not have to have been baptized or be a member of this or any church to take part in this meal. We invite you to receive these gifts of life and blessing givven freely by a compassionate God.

1080Call to Communion
Face the music. Jesus calls us to follow him, not just to another party of praise, but to the hard work of bringing God’s love and justice into this world of violence and fear. Let us prepare ourselves by confessing our sin.

Prayer of Confession
One: Source of all Life, we gather as your people, broken and regretful.
All: Eternal One, hear our prayer of confession.
One: We like the path of life to be easy, comfortable, untroubled.
We get angry and impatient when problems arise and hardships persist.
All: Please, forgive us.
One: We like the way to be fun and happy. We do not want the hard way that Jesus takes.
All: Please, forgive us.
One: We like power on our side and miracles for our benefit.
We do not like to confront the powers that be nor to face the drudgery of everyday living.
All: Please, forgive us.
One: We want to live free of fear, confrontation and risk. We do not like to face the music.
All: Please, forgive us.
One: Merciful One, forgive us our sins and strengthen us to be truly faithful.
All: Help us follow Jesus and face the music. Amen.

Words of Assurance
God hears the confession of our hearts and lips.
Through faith we are forgiven and in hope are empowered for new life.

Words of Institution
As we hear once again the words of Paul describing the Last Supper Jesus had with his friends before his arrest, trial and death, let us each feel a new commitment to journey with Jesus to face the music, to face hardships, disappointments, and even suffering and harm for what is right.

Hear the words Paul shared with the people of Corinth, explaining this mysterious and powerful gathering:
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when we has betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Break Bread: When we share the bread, we share in the bread of life.

Lift up Cup: When we drink from the cup, we share the cup of suffering.

Come for all things are ready.

Sharing the bread and the cup:

Bread: The bread of life!

Cup: The cup of suffering! The cup of salvation!

Prayer of Thanksgiving
On this first day of the week that is called “Holy Week,” we thank you for Jesus’s courage to do your will. Strengthen us through this meal to stand by him, to truly be the courageous body and blood of the faithful, and to accept risk and confrontation as elements of faithfulness. As this week passes, speak to us through its events, reminding us of your constant love, surprising grace, and caring power. Amen.

This service was shared in 2007 at Boronia Church of Christ, Boronia, Victoria, Australia

IMG_1644Introduction
Many names and images are used in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures to describe ‘God’.

We gather today to worship and celebrate That which is beyond any of those names and images;
That which is always More Than we can think or put into words or experience,

yet that same ‘God’ is present here, about us and within us.

Let us be aware that we gather on Sacred Ground.

A time of silence — for personal reflection and for centring within that which we call ‘God’.
Let us now, without pretence or barriers, approach the Timeless Mystery, made known to Christians in Jesus of Nazareth, our Gateway into the Divine.

In the presence of the Sacred, let us be still and at peace with ourselves, with one another and with that which we call ‘God’.     Silence
And so, in thankfulness, let us commit ourselves once again to the new ways of life shown to us by Jesus.

May the Wisdom that is ‘God’ teach us afresh that sacrificial love is an encounter with all that is Sacred: that it is giving of ourselves in service to our families, friends and neighbours that we are transformed so that we
may become more like Jesus. Amen.

There will be further times of silence after each bidding.
And now we gather around this table of remembrance celebrating the presence of the Continuous Creator of all that is within and beyond each one of us.    Silence
We are here in the presence of the Sacred Spirit of Acceptance and Understanding, calling and rejoicing in each one of us just as we are.   Silence

The Peace
In that same Sacred Spirit of Loving Acceptance and Unconditional Forgiveness we share God’s peace and our peace together.

The Peace of the Lord be always with you…
… And also with you.      We share the peace.

Thanksgiving
Let us accept the invitation of the Indwelling Spirit to come to this Table of Remembrance and Celebration with thanksgiving in our hearts.  United in the Spirit of Peace and Reconciliation we celebrate the presence of the same Sacred Spirit that engulfed Jesus.

Let us be thankful that we are not ‘just human’ but are gloriously made in the image of the Sacred! We are wonderful Creations of the always “More Than God” encouraging us to be even more Sacred in our lives.

Let us rejoice because we are part of the Creation that is filled, as Temples are filled, with the presence of the Sacred Spirit! Let ours be shouts of Holy exclamation – “we are gloriously human – filled with the Sacred Spirit that we may live as Jesus lived!”

Let us fling wide our arms; let us smile the biggest smile; let us leap as high as we can; let our shout be the loudest shout of praise we can offer because we are filled with the same Sacred Spirit that was in Jesus!
Of course we fail to live up to the Sacred call upon and within our lives but with Jesus as our model and the encouraging of the Sacred Spirit within there are no limits to what we are capable of becoming as Spirit filled human beings! Even Jesus said that we are capable of doing all that he was doing – and even more!

Let us recall times from our past and give thanks for the friendship and support of the Divine Spirit within us and within others as we have journeyed upon our pilgrimage of faith, encouraging us to become the people that we are now.

Let us not be afraid of the future but, instead, be aware of the presence of the Indwelling Spirit inviting us to be at ease about what is come as we joyfully step into the unknown.

The Re-enactment

And so, as we share this bread and wine together we symbolise our unity in Jesus the Special One.

At this sacred moment we re-enact the events on the night before Jesus died, when, sitting with his friends at the table, he took the bread, gave thanks, blessed it and broke it.  Jesus then shared it with them.

By sharing this bread and wine with one another, we remember Jesus and what he was, and what he is, and what he always will be, our Gateway into the awareness of the Divine Presence.

We now do as Jesus did: we break the Bread of Life for one another as the symbol of his broken body.

When ready, break the bread and offer to a neighbour: “The Bread of Life”

We now do as Jesus did: we take the cup of wine and share it with one another as the symbol of the blessing of his life given freely away.
When ready, collect a cup and offer to a neighbour: “The Cup of Blessing”

Prayer

Let us say together: Indwelling Spirit, we have shared bread and wine, the symbols of sacrifice, service and unity.  Encourage us in our work together, that we may grow in love as we serve one another [and members of PCN-Britain]  [The name of the gathered community may be inserted here.]. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer [version by Sam Alexander]
Those things that are good and right and true:
I acknowledge them with honour and love;
These things are come,
These things are done,
This Earth is a living Heaven.
I am provided for with abundance,
I am wealthy and free,
Generous and forgiving.
My thoughts are wholesome and uplifting,
As are my deeds and the world around me:
For that way lies happiness,
And power, and glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve….

This communion service, prepared by John Churcher, was used at the Progressive Christian Network Britain Residential gathering held January 2010. Churcher based the service on various sources, including the Methodist Worship Book and the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong and Marcus Borg.  The full service is published on the PCN website.