Holy Communion Liturgy for January 3, 2021

This is Holy Communion for a Journey Sunday. It is the Second Sunday after Christmas, the Sunday three days after New Year, and three days before Epiphany, and in the old song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” it is the ninth day – the day when the gift is nine people dancing.

This communion liturgy is shared freely to churches that offer virtual worship or a hybrid sanctuary with both home tables and some people practicing distancing and caution in an outdoor setting. This is my tenth month of offering Communion liturgy to celebrate how Sacrament transcends circumstance. Feel free to use any pieces of this service helpful to you, abridge, add freely language, music, gestures and practices.  

Announcement for Sunday, December 27 or the week following

Next Sunday, January, we will share Holy Communion in morning worship. Those who bless and receive the sacrament at home, please prepare a slice or roll of bread, a corn tortilla, Naan, or rice cake and a cup of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol. For those who will be receiving the sacrament in a physically distanced gathering, the elements will be prepared for you / or please bring the elements you have prepared for yourselves from home.

Celebration of Holy Communion

Invitation to Communion

This is Holy Communion for a Journey Sunday. It is the Second Sunday after Christmas, the Sunday three days after New Year, and three days before Epiphany, and, in the old song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” it is the ninth day – the day when the “gift” is nine people dancing.

So come to this table of … one star for following,
bread and cup for sharing,
three days of New Year
at least four still-traveling camels,
and many, many hopes for the world.

Come to this table, even if you want
to be laying everything down
because you are so weary of being fearful,
isolated or essential to everyone but you.

Come to this table if you are swimming
in Zoom, virtual education,
financial risk, or grief.

Come to this table if you milked
all the joy from Christmas –
enough to carry you into 2021 …
or not nearly enough.

Come to this table,
if you have stopped dancing,
even though
you are carrying many gifts,
or you need to be healed
by watching for the dance
in snowflake or pohutukawa*
in friend or stranger,
in the old story
of another path home,
and the warm bread and sweet cup
shared right now.

Words of Remembering

We remember in this New Year
with the fearfulness of the pandemic
and hope that it will be ended —
not only the journey of the magi
guided by a star,
but all the oases where they rested
and the people they met,
who lived in those places,
and shared their food.

We remember a Child born to change everything
and the endangerment of many children,
and we remember that the baby
named Jesus,
grew up to help people
in their hurting and loss,
traveled as many roads as we do,
and taught us with simple words
we can understand,
and stories we come to many times
to find new meaning.

At Passover he blessed unleavened bread.
and poured wine and love freely.
At Emmaus, he prayed and broke the bread,
but sent us to find the cup in the world.

Prayer of Consecration

Emmanuel, God you are with us,
in our lonely nights,
following so-distant stars
We are carrying our old years
and opening our new ones,
always hoping,
for an oasis for each of us
and a blessing on earth,
in the form of bread in our hands,
and the cup we lift.

(in silence or with music playing –
breaking, touching or lifting the bread,
pouring, touching or lifting the cup)

May this bread and cup be so sacred
we never lose the Star’s shine,
ignore a New Year embedded in every day,
or forget the Christ of the Dance,
and the invitation to joy.

Prayer of our Savior … Amen

Sharing of the Elements

Leader:            Let us share the bread.
Unison:           It is the gift that reminds us of our gifts.   
Leader:            Let us drink deeply.
Unison:           So that we may always travel on.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (based on Howard Thurman’s ‘The Work of Christmas”)

God, we thank you that when the star in the sky is gone, the kings and princes are home, the shepherds are back with their flocks, and we are tempted to pack the story away, this very Bread and Cup gives us the hope and courage to begin the true work of Christmas. Help us to find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry, release the prisoner, rebuild the nations, bring peace among all, and make a heart-music so that everyone can dance. Amen

* Te Reo Māori: pōhutukawa, known as Aotearoa / New Zealand Christmas tree, is a coastal evergreen which blooms with bright red clusters of flowers in December and January.

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6 Responses to Holy Communion Liturgy for January 3, 2021

  1. Pingback: Pandemic Prayers for Epiphany – Cooking with Elsa

  2. Robbie Hamilton says:

    Many thanks for this liturgy which I will adapt for use on New Years Day. Blessings!

  3. Leslie Moughty says:

    Maren, I just want to thank you so much for your continued posting of communion liturgies for virtual worship. They have been such a gift to me as a pastor and worship leader. Blessings for the New Year!

  4. Pingback: Holy Communion Liturgy for January 3, 2021 — Gifts in Open Hands (Reblog) – The Elloe Recorder

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