“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”. – John 12:3
Invitation to the Meal
Jesus was often found at the dinner table. Eating with friends, eating with sinners, eating with hypocrites and holy men, eating with disciples and traitors. And now he joins us here, at this table, to eat with us.
All are welcome at this table, because Jesus welcomes all.
The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving and 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.
Lord God, we look at the beauty around us,
the earth you formed and shaped and called good:
sun to nurture and rain to nourish,
oceans to rage and rivers to run,
flowers springing forth like laughter.
We remember the touch of your hand throughout history,
bringing forth new evolution, new possibilities,
new manifestations of your creativity and joy.
We remember the long story of our ancestors in faith;
how you did not neglect the poor, enslaved, and oppressed,
but brought the Hebrews out of Egypt’s scorn
and into a promised land full of milk and honey.
How you gave them law and guidance along the way,
calling them into a community following your commandments.
We remember also how faithfulness fell apart,
how we turned to idols and greed,
how we neglected to care for the orphan and immigrant,
cheated in the marketplace and lied in the courts.
Still, you gave us more of your beauty:
your word in the mouths of prophets,”
calling us to repent, to turn around, and to come home to you.
To wait for the Lord, and the new things that you will do.
In time you sent us your son, Jesus the Christ,
the most beautiful that was in you—you yourself—
present with us in human form.
Jesus spoke hard truths and gentle comfort,
healed the sick and welcomed the outcast,
lavished mercy and power among those the world thought unworthy,
and even when he knew the world would not abide him,
called us to abide in him still.
He was killed.
In a descent into the ugliest human behaviors,
he was mocked, tortured, killed.
Still there was beauty in God’s heart.
And on the third day, in the midst of a garden morning,
Jesus rose from the tomb,
to pronounce our salvation,
and life everlasting.
We praise the Spirit, who makes these stories our stories—
our repentance, our forgiveness, God present with us still.
Pour yourself out, we pray, over these gifts of bread and cup
that the bread we break and the cup we bless
may be for us the sign and sacrament of your extravagant love.
In this holy meal, unite, nourish, and strengthen us,
that we may continue to pour out the most beautiful in ourselves,
until you come again in glory.
Until that day, we lift the prayer you taught your disciples, 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
At a dinner table in Bethany, a woman took a jar, and she broke it, as a sign of her love for Christ.
At a dinner table in Jerusalem, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, as a sign of his love for us. He gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
At a dinner table in Bethany, a woman took perfume, and she poured it out, as a sign of her compassion for Christ.
At a dinner table in Jerusalem, Jesus took the cup, and he poured it out, as a sign of his compassion for us, 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.
God of our lives,
send us out into the world,
that you think so beautiful,
to give it the most beautiful that is in us,
whether that is as extravagant and costly as rare perfume,
or as simple as a meal of bread and juice.
You value it all.
You value us all.
And we are thankful.