(Revised Common Lectionary readings include Genesis 24 — the story of Rebekah’s generosity and Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 (the un-pleasable generation and the invitation to an easy yoke.)
This service is written for churches that offer virtual worship, but also this month is inclusive of some churches with a hybrid sanctuary, that want both those at home tables and those practicing distancing and caution in a church building to acknowledge equal partnership in the community of faith and communion of the table. (Folks at home are not “watching” communion, they are fully partaking.) This is my fourth Communion liturgy to celebrate how Sacrament transcends circumstance. Feel free to use any pieces of this service helpful to you and add freely language, music, gestures and practices. Holy Communion is global, if not fully ecumenical, so I avoid imagery of Canada Day or US Independence Day.
Thanks to Kathy Smith Clark who sent this photograph of the June 7 communion from the Federated Church of Arlington, Vermont.
Bulletin / Newsletter Announcement … for June 28
Next Sunday, July 5, we will share Holy Communion in morning worship. Those who are blessing and receiving the sacrament at home, please prepare a slice or small loaf of bread, corn tortilla, or rice cake to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol.
For those with hybrid sanctuaries. (Notice the choice given here — some congregations prefer people bringing their own elements to the church building rather than passing commonly prepared ones): For those who will be receiving the sacrament in church, the elements will be prepared for you /or please bring the elements you have prepared for yourselves.
We look forward to seeing you at the table.
Celebration of Holy Communion
Invitation (single voice or responsive)
Come to a table not defined by wood or stone
but by what rests upon it —
which is the “me” of Christ.
Come unto me because any burden is heavy
to the one who is under it.
Come unto me with the burden
of a crowded life or a lonely one.
Come unto me, with a child’s burden
of frustration or hunger,
of abuse or embarrassment.
Come unto me with a burden
of grief —
for the death of a beloved person
or a companion animal,
for an ability you have no longer,
or a relationship
Come unto me with the burden
of a disappointment,
that doesn’t seem significant enough,
or a fear deeper than words.
Come unto the “me” of Christ
with any burden —
for here is rest for the weary,
lightening of suffering,
and guidelines for becoming gentle.
Here is a yoke of responsibility
that can be lifted
because of a small piece of bread
and a sip of the cup of hope.
Prayer of Consecration
Leader: Jesus noticed that often people ignore both the celebration of those who are dancing with joy, and the sorrow of those who are weeping in pain or loss when those feelings are not their own. We come to this table rejoicing with those who laugh and sharing the tears of the grieving. We are God’s children in wonder and loss, dispersed and gathered at the same time.
In your many kitchens, and living rooms, rest your hands lightly upon these elements which we set aside today to be a sacrament. We ask God’s blessing on them and on us and on all those who are in our prayers this morning.
God of the open hand and the gentle yoke, we await your gift and your service. Send your Spirit of life and love, of power and blessing upon your children in every “house of worship,” so that this Bread may be broken and gathered in love and this Cup poured out to give hope to all. Risen Christ, live in us, that we may live in you. Breathe in us, that we may breathe in you. Amen.
Words of Remembering
Leader: We remember the Creator blessed
all creatures and all human beings
with plants of the ground and fruit of the trees.
We remember that Rebekah’s hospitality was proven
because she remembered to give water
not just to people but to camels,
and that her compassion shone
when she gave more than was asked or expected.
Communion is always more than expected,
so we remember
leftover baskets of bread and fish,
so many parables everyone finds a heart-touching story,
an invitation to children, tax collectors, and even thieves,
hand-washed feet rather than a DIY basin,
a holy pentecost translation-app,
never the insistence we use special words.
We remember the Passover in Jerusalem
when Jesus expanded the menu to include himself,
a half-Communion at Emmaus of Bread broken,
so we still seek the Cup in the world,
a miracle breakfast on the beach
with fish that could feed a village,
and tables in houses that became church
when unconditional love was on the table.
Remembering is good but not enough.
Communion is most Holy not in the past,
but today and tomorrow. Jesus said,
“Do this now. Don’t talk. Eat and Drink.
Be blessed. Go forth.”
Sharing of the Elements
Leader: Let us at many tables receive the gift of God, the Bread of Heaven.
Unison: We come unto Christ in the Bread we share.
Leader: Let us in many places receive the gift of God, the Cup of Blessing.
Unison: We come unto Christ in the Cup we share.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Leader: In thanksgiving for this meal of grace and in the holy dispersion of virtual worship, (and the holy cautious re-gathering in familiar pews) we claim the risen Christ’s love and gentle yoke are found in all houses of worship. Let us pray …
O Holy One, we have come unto you with our weariness and we have let go of all in our lives that is heavy. We thank you for the rest and strength of this communion so now we can lift up all that is light and gentle, humble and easy, and learn from you how to change the world. Amen