Invitation to the Meal
We come to this meal today, as Lent begins. We will return to it as Lent concludes. Between now and then we will wander far, and find ourselves at many tables. But no matter where we go, or whom we meet, we remember that we are always welcome here. Whether we are full of faith or running on empty, whether we are come with eager footsteps or more tentatively, we are always welcome to feast on God’s grace.
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.
Today we remember the story of your spirit,
who soared over the waters at creation,
and filled the lungs of Adam and Eve
when they were formed from clay.
We remember how your spirit rested on the Israelites in the desert
as it guided them from slavery to freedom.
We remember how your spirit spoke through prophets,
calling your children to turn away from power and privilege
and turn back to you.
We remember how your spirit rested on a carpenter from Nazareth
soaring like a dove from the heavens
when you claimed him as your Son, the Beloved
our God-made-flesh, Jesus Christ.
We remember how that same spirit led him to the desert,
and sustained him there,
so that he would learn not to turn stones into bread
but to become for us our living bread himself.
We remember how your spirit rested upon him
as he proclaimed good news to the poor,
binded up the brokenhearted,
healed the sick,
and set the captive free.
We remember how, even when faced with his own death,
he promised not to leave us orphans,
but to send the Spirit once again
as our Advocate and guide.
Trusting you to the end,
Christ died on a cross,
and three days later,
turning death’s power upside down,
and freeing us from fear.
We remember how the spirit burst once again onto the scene
in another act of creation,
baptizing a new church with tongues of flame
and inspiring passion and power in the disciples
that they might continue the work of faith
and flood the world with your grace.
Remembering the power of your spirit,
we take this bread and this wine
from the gifts you have given us,
and give deep gratitude f
or the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ.
Accept our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our daily lives may proclaim
the One crucified and risen.
Christ is the bread of life:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ,
and with all who are baptized in his name,
that we may be one in ministry in every place.
As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.
Let us lift our voices now in the prayer our Lord 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. Come.
Jesus Christ, bread of life, as you have met us at this table, send us out into the world to meet you in our neighbors, that we might share your grace and spread your love. Surprise us with your presence, and fill us with your courage, that we might resist what is destructive and learn to follow you alone. All this we pray. Amen.