This is my twelfth month sharing a service of Holy Communion designed for communities of faith in which all or many are sharing worship in their own homes with a few others or alone.
I am grateful to LL Kroouze DuBreuill for the photograph from her at home February Communion, offering the insight that we make something of the Communion we share that will feed ourselves or others, even when it is called “foolishness” by those who claim wisdom. “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20b)
This month I do touch on the scriptures of the Revised Common Lectionary, lightly, and in ways that do not require their use by those who follow the Narrative Lectionary or another way of choosing Sunday morning texts.
This communion liturgy is shared freely with churches. Please use or adapt pieces of this service helpful to the worship you plan. You may abridge or add freely language, music, gestures, and practices familiar to your faith community.
Announcement … for Sunday, February 28, or Monday, March 1
Next Sunday, March 7, we will share Holy Communion in morning worship. Those who bless and receive the sacrament at home, please prepare food for yourself and those with you as traveling rations on the Lenten journey. It may be 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 Holy Communion, reflecting on the Ten Words of the Exodus (May be in one voice, responsive, or eight voices)
God brought us to this table, a place safe from human slaveries.
We shall not treat our traditions like gods, or make idols of a particular Bread and Cup.
We will not imply that a sacrament shared at a kitchen table is less real than any other, for that is to misuse God’s name.
We remember that this virtual experience is worship, and keep it holy. Just because we can turn off our video to retrieve laundry to fold, and then fold it, we don’t. Working twenty-four-seven is too like a parable of morning-after the bigger barn project, and there is no beatitude ‘Blessed are the multitaskers.’
This virtual time is a sabbath to God. This sacrament’s consecration is in the story that stretches back to beyond the light years of light years.
We honor the communion of saints and name the ones precious to each of us personally, and then acknowledge those we do not know who have passed into grace, especially those who do not look like us, speak our language, love as we love, worship as we do – for their heritage is our heritage and the future of their children is our future.
We set down this sacred offering, confessing our complicity in things that kill, that betray, that steal (even if it legal) and committing to a reconciliation as real as this Bread and Cup.
We will not bear false news of our neighbors, or share, re-post, re-tweet it, nor will we doom scroll God’s Spirit within us.
We will not covet last year’s service or next year’s service. We will not covet sung kyries and glorias or the simplicity of “Let Us Break Bread Together,” in a time when we do not sing. We will not covet another community’s sophisticated technical platform or the homeyness of a pastor’s dog barking. We will not covet any other experience of the Body of Christ or the Cup of Blessing than the one we are sharing now.
Words of Remembering
In Lent we come to remember
that there is a time not to eat the stones
even when it seems useful,
and there is a time for a meal scented
with the uneconomical joy
of a broken alabaster jar.
We remember that Jesus
suggested in Bethany that one bowl
with one selection is a good meal,
but served a hillside picnic
with so many leftovers,
their gathered abundance
could be shared with others.
We remember that Jesus
turned over tables in the Temple
and we confess that our church tables
practices, plans and programs,
should be overturned,
until our house be one of prayer
and our table serve compassion
to those most vulnerable.
And we remember that Jesus Christ
sitting among those
whose feet he had washed
at the Passover table
of precious and ancient tradition,
anticipated betrayal and desertion,
pain and even death,
but made a new Covenant
of blessed bread and poured wine
on a global table,
inviting us always to share
from our brokenness and grace.
Prayer of Consecration (from Psalm 19)
O God, the sky speaks your glory and deep space your creation. Daybreak announces hope and starlight sings rest in a language that needs no translation but joy. Nothing is hidden from you, and you make no barriers for human understanding. We are revived, enlivened, warned and comforted. Beyond even the bright and sweet parables of our lives, you free us from definitions of relationship based in dominion and being dominated and you lead us to words of reconciliation and grace. So reconciled, we pray –
Let the Bread of our mouths and the Cup upon which our hearts meditate, be acceptable to you, O God, at this ordinary table and in our lives of redeeming. Amen
(As is community’s tradition in silence or with music playing – break, touch or lift the bread,
pour, touch or lift the cup)
Sharing of the Elements
Leader: Let us at many tables receive the gift of God, the Bread of Heaven.
Unison: We come to Christ in the Bread we share.
Leader: Let us in many places receive the gift of God, the Cup of Blessing.
Unison: We come to Christ in the Cup we share.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Leader: In thanksgiving for this sustenance on our Lenten journey and the grace of holy dispersion in virtual worship, [and cautious re-gathering in familiar pews] we claim the story of Jesus Christ as our own, a path of healing and service, the cross and the ever-present truth of the resurrection. Let us pray ..
O Holy One, we come to you with our weariness and hope. We thank you for the rest and strength of this Communion so that we may re-turn our tables to service in the world and hear your words of guidance every day and every night through Christ who has taught us to pray, saying …
Prayer of Our Savior