Some churches will be sharing Holy Communion through a virtual platform on Easter Sunday. Some host a hybrid sanctuary with some people in person and others online and hope that that those members of the congregation will not feel secondary. Other churches may celebrate Communion on Holy or Maundy Thursday but not on Easter, and still others will delay monthly Communion until the following week.
For those of you who may like to use this service (my thirteenth since the pandemic began) I am keeping it short to fit in a busy service or a chilly outdoor one. It is more “Emmaus celebratory” than a return to the Last Supper and I am not lifting up the particularity of Year B Easter Day scriptures. I hope that it is helpful for some of you.
This communion liturgy is shared freely to churches. Please use any pieces of this service helpful to you, and abridge, adapt, or add language, music, gestures, and practices familiar to your congregation or clarifying to strangers, as you may anticipate guests.
Announcement … for Sunday, March 28, or Monday, March 1 or later.
Easter/Next Sunday, ___________, we will share Holy Communion in morning worship. Those who bless and receive the sacrament at home, please prepare food for yourself, in celebration of the Risen Christ and remembering that our oldest telling of this story is in a letter of Paul to the Corinthian church. Those letters were our faith’s early “distance learning.” The unusual-to-us services of this past year are firmly a part of our tradition. You may 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
(Pause to invite those who did not prepare elements to do so.)
Invitation to Communion
For Holy Communion this morning,
I invite you to lend Christ your table,
as the woman with the Upper Room,
lent him the Passover table,
and two friends from Emmaus
welcomed to their table
one they thought was a stranger.
Lend Christ your table, your bread, your cup
and your open-to-strangers heart.
Words of Remembering
We come from heart-felt “Hosannas,”
and a long season
of feeling like withered fig trees.
We come from an alabaster jar
abundance of love and hard questions.
We recognize experiences
of betrayal, denial,
and the feeling that everyone we love
has fallen asleep and left us alone,
so we recognize this holy story.
We remember Jesus washed feet
and offered a covenant
of himself broken and poured out
for a small group of followers long ago
and for us in our time,
and was risen on Easter
though, even in the joy of resurrection,
he kept blessing and teaching,
and giving us hope to eat.
Prayer of Consecration
(as is the tradition in silence or with music playing – breaking, touching or lifting the bread,
pouring, touching or lifting the cup)
Host of our salvation and Visitor to our lives, send your transforming power upon this Bread and your freely given love upon this Cup. Risen Christ, live in us that we may live in you. Amen
Sharing of the Elements
Leader: The Bread on your table is blessed and broken, a meal of grace.
Unison: Sharing love, we will never be hungry.
Leader: The Cup on your table is blessed and shared,
like the overflowing of tears and joy.
Unison: Drinking deeply, we will never thirst.
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 found on every table. Let us pray …
O Holy One, we come to you with lilies and tears, with personal Alleluias we whisper that soar like the greatest choir. We claim the resurrection for those we love who are tenderly sheltered in your arms and name the resurrection as your invitation to all the weary, all those who need hope. May our lives become your table in all the world. Hear us as we pray as Jesus of Nazareth, our Risen Christ, taught his disciples …
Prayer of our Savior … Amen.