Second Chances (Communion Liturgy for Easter 3C)

Invitation to the Table
See what God has done:
what we thought would be the Last Supper
God has turned into the Everlasting Supper
always another broken loaf
always another poured cup
always another chance for us to lift our hearts
and open our eyes
and see God is always with us.

No matter how many chances you have been given,
here is another: grace free for all.
You are welcome at this table.

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.

O Lord our God, we remember the beginning
how you shaped chaos into creation,
spoke oceans and stars and continents into life
and two people to love and praise you.
But they disobeyed, and lied, and hid.
Still, you gave them a second chance out in the wide world.

We remember their descendants,
trapped in slavery in Egypt.
You changed their story, led them to freedom
gave them law and manna in the desert,
gave them a place to call home, to call theirs,
as long as they stayed faithful to you.

But they strayed, worshipping idols,
exploiting the poor, expelling strangers.
Yet you gave them another chance,
and in the voice of the prophets
called them to see that you alone are God,
merciful and just, and longing for them.

We remember also the second beginning
when you came to us wrapped in skin,
as a baby in a stable,
a preacher on the mountain
a guest at the table,
a healer in the crowd,
a convict in the courtroom,
an example on a cross.
We thought that was the end.
No more second chances.
Death is too final.

And yet.

You rose again.
You rose again to prove
that in you no story is finished
until it is glossed by redemption
until is rests in your salvation.

We praise the Spirit,
who makes each moment capable
of being our new beginning.
Pour yourself out, we pray
into these gifts of bread and cup,
and into our hungry hearts,
and over our scaly eyes.
Help us to see that the bread we break
and the cup we bless
are more than a meal
but a sign of your grace,
power and love.

In this meal, give us another chance
to be your people one more time,
united and strengthened, bold in witness
proclaiming your love to all we know,
until you come again in glory,
one more time
one more chance
for us to know you.

Until that day, we pray with the words you taught us:

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 died, when he knew he would not be with his disciples much longer, he gave them a sign to remember him by. First he took the bread from the table, the Lord and after giving thanks to you, he 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.

Closing Prayer
God of grace,
send us out into the world,
to preach the risen Christ
in word and deed
with courage and compassion,
now and all our days. Amen.

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