I have been sharing Communion liturgy since April of 2020 (myself or someone who has donated a service to me). This 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.
,The focus had been on shaping liturgy for a virtual congregation worshiping online. For many congregations that is not or soon will not be true. Some have limited indoor attendance with a virtual additional congregation, others are outdoors which returns to streaming when it rains. Most have restrictions about the form of the Communion elements or the way that it is served. Some like my friend Barbara Messner, Associate Priest in the Anglican Parish of Stirling, South Australia, have been abruptly shut down for two weeks. She writes this as the last stanza of a poem.
Now what have I to share to meet this need
that few acknowledge even in this hour
when illness spreads abroad with frightening speed
despite all these restrictions? Luck can sour
as swiftly as new strains of virus flower.
She admits in her post “Feeding those who do not Gather,” on her wonderful blog “Barb, Poet, Priest,” there are always, always, always many missing from our church tables, and, if they can be quietly present to share the meal because they hear the words, we must never shut our doors on those who do not share our comfy physical space.
Celebration of Holy Communion (For those in person and those online)
Photo: Larry and George’s table. Please pray for them … and may your table, at church or at home, shine through this photograph for you, however small or large it is and remind you you are held in prayer as well.
Invitation to Communion
We invite you, though this meal
is far more than any of us can understand.
We welcome you, whether you are a six-foot away
“pod” of one or more God-lovers,
or wireless as the Holy Spirit.
We want to offer you this good news,
whether you long for church
or have been damaged
by some church-experience in the past.
This is Communion. We don’t deserve it;
we don’t define it; we don’t own it;
but it is the greatest gift we have to give
and we want to share it with you.
Prayer of Remembrance and Consecration
Christ, at our table we remember.
We remember your “tabling”
at Martha’s kitchen and the beach fish-fry
at homes of the self-righteous,
or the disrespected.
We remember a wedding made more festive
and we pray for every human relationship.
We remember loaves and fish
and pray for places where there is no food.
We remember Passover, when you washed feet,
shared gravy with a betrayer, and sang a hymn,
and we pray for all who need to learn
how to serve or be served,
how to turn away from temptation
or open up to a song
not only vocalized but heart music.
We remember all tables,
from cathedrals to campgrounds —
where your children have gathered
to eat bread or tortilla, rice cake or cassava,
and we lift into your love
and down-on-their luck holy-diners.
We communion the remembrance of saints
in all times and places,
and lift before you
those we have loved from the past,
our saints who need healing, comfort for loss,
guidance in decisions, peace in living,
and many others in whom the yeast has not yet risen,
though they may feel punched down.
Christ, yours is the wheat and yours the grape,
yours is the leaven and the love.
rest your Spirit on this place
of prayer and party, in-person and online,
shine your blessing on every face,
now and whenever food is offered.
This is the feast your heart rehearsed,
eating this bread we break each curse,
drinking this cup, we do not thirst. Amen
Sharing of the Elements
(as is the tradition in silence or with music playing – breaking, touching or lifting the bread, pouring, touching or lifting the cup)
Leader: The Bread on our tables is blessed and broken.
Unison: Sharing love, we will never be hungry.
Leader: The Cup on our tables is blessed and shared
like the overflowing of tears and joy.
Unison: Even a sip is drinking deeply.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
We give you thanks, O Christ, for gathering us at all our tables for word of life and sacred banquet. As we part from one another with the leftovers of your love, turn our being fed and blessed into holy takeout, as share all we have received, slowly, sweetly and surely with all of your children. Amen.