Invitation to the Meal
Friends, tonight we are celebrating a church that has answered God’s call:
God’s call to look to the future with hope,
and to serve God with grace and joy.
And, as at any celebration, there is food.
But not just any food—God’s food,
the joyful feast of the Lord,
God’s grace for our lives,
disguised as bread and cup.
Everyone is invited to this feast;
everyone is welcome.
The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving + The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
At the dawn of time a voice sang out,
the stars heard and began to shine.
From a burning bush a voice rang out
And called itself “I AM.”
In wilderness and temple a voice called out,
and a people learned your law and love.
Yet we listened to other voices:
voices of fear and greed,
voices of power and of other gods,
voices that called us to stray from you,
exploit our neighbors,
and worship idols.
And so you multiplied your voice,
through a chorus of prophets,
calling us to return to you,
and for your justice to roll down like waters,
and your righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
So in response we lift our voice to you,
praising your faithfulness to your promises
saying, Holy holy holy, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
In a time your people heard a new voice:
a voice that cried from beside the River Jordan,
“prepare the way of the Lord!”
And then another voice in response,
calling from beside the Galillean Sea,
“Leave your nets and follow me!”
This time your voice sounded like ours,
as you came among us as Jesus the Christ.
This voice said “blessed are the poor,”
and “let the little children come to me”
and “seek first the Kingdom of God”
and “abide in me, and I will abide in you.”
Some of us fell under this voice’s spell,
and some wanted to silence it.
And so we hung Christ on a cross,
and filled his mouth with vinegar,
and even so, with his dying breath,
he whispered, “Father, forgive them.”
But you will not be silenced,
and you rose up again,
to speak words of blessing and mission
to a world in need.
You call to us still,
to be not afraid,
to see that you are alive,
to feed your lambs,
and to go to all the world,
using our voices
to declare your good news.
The mystery of faith is great,
but we put it into words as best we can:
in dying, Christ destroyed our death;
in rising, he restored our life,
and that, as he promised, he will come again.
Holy Spirit, voice all around and within us,
pour yourself out upon these gifts of bread and cup,
that the bread we break and the cup we bless may,
by your mysterious grace,
be the communion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Unite us with Christ and all who love him,
that we may be one people,
responding to your call
to live as your children,
loved and loving.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
we praise you with our whole being,
as long as we draw breath,
and forevermore. Amen.
Let us now lift our voices in the prayer Jesus taught us, saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
The Words of Institution
On the night before Jesus was put to death, when he gathered his disciples around him,
to celebrate freedom from slavery and God’s faithfulness,
he told them about a new covenant, a new freedom, renewed faithfulness.
Then Jesus took the bread from the table,
and after giving thanks to the Lord,
broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat. This is my body, given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way Jesus took the cup, saying:
This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood,
shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.
Sharing of the Bread and Cup
We take communion by the ancient practice of intinction. You are welcome to come forward, receive a piece of the bread, dip it in the cup, and return to your seat.
The feast is ready.
Living Lord, as we leave this table of grace,
to go to other tables and other meals
may we always remember the mystery of your love
and share your grace with all we meet. Amen.