Reflection on sharing around a table
People of faith understand just how sacred the act of gathering around a table for can be. It was around a shared table that Jesus taught some of his most important lessons, while in the process revealing the depths of both his divinity and his humanity. He performed his first miracle not at the Temple, but at a wedding feast in Cana where he transformed water into wine (John 2: 1-12). He subversively shared meals with sinners and tax collectors (Luke 5: 27-32). With his blessing over two fish and five loaves of bread, five thousand people were fed (Matthew 13-21).
Just as tables today can be the source of tension and fierce debate, the tables where Jesus ate were not devoid of conflict. In one of the more controversial moments of his ministry, Jesus shuns a Syrophoenician woman who seeks his help in healing her daughter. Despite his initial rejection, she nevertheless persisted until Jesus agreed to set her daughter free from her affliction. Their encounter has much to teach us about the risk of engaging across lines of difference. The possibility of being cast aside and ignored is always there, but so is the chance for true transformation when we see the “other” as part of our common story and collective life.
(source: Rev Jennifer Bailey, published on Patheos)
Craig Mitchell’s communion liturgy (between Palm Sunday and Passover) using ‘questions’ reminiscent of the Passover meal structure.
There are times when the story of our lives takes an unexpected turn
A new chapter that throws us off-balance a turn of events that leaves us stumbling, bewildered, frightened, and speechless
a shocking, unexpected loss
a close relationship shattered
a bitter reality revealed
an undeserved fall from grace
A time when all our beliefs are called into question
when friendships turn fickle
when every choice feels like a dead-end
when truth itself is played like a chess piece
There are times when the story of our lives pauses at a blank page
and there seems nothing to write, nowhere to go next,
no-one to tell, and no-one who cares
We all know times like these
we all carry their memory in our hearts
Today we gather in order to remember such a story of a week in which promise and betrayal, wild expectation and deep despair, firm friendship and fierce denial, go hand in hand.
In this time between Palm Sunday and the Passion
amidst cries of welcome and calls for execution
we place ourselves alongside the disciples of Jesus
who knew him well, who chose to flee
Today we remind ourselves of the unpredictable journey of those days
Let us step into the twilight of this story
trusting that light will be shed on the shadows of our own lives
hoping that things left buried might stir from their graves
and stumble toward a new dawn
What longings and yearnings to you bring to this Easter journey?
What temptations and betrayals might test your heart?
We invite you to glimpse and listen and touch and taste,
to allow your senses to be windows to a story
waiting to be written on your heart, mind and soul.
(note: the link gives information about the ‘stations’ people explored)
Let us accompany one another into this place
where promises will be broken
where truth will be compromised
where tears will flow
where a kiss means death
May we not look for an easy way out of this eventide
but learn to wait, to watch, to listen
to hope that that the night might reveal what the daytime conceals.
Why have we gathered here?
We come because we have been called to live out a story
What story shall we live?
The story of saving love
Where did this story begin?
It was whispered before time began,
it was sung in the melody of Creation.
Whose story is this?
This story is God’s alone to tell
It hums in the rivers and the trees
It whispers in the skies and the seas
It calls to the people of all places
It speaks in our hearts, in our lives
Why then should we speak of this story?
This story calls our name in Creation
This story claims our lives through the Cross
This story shapes our future through the Spirit
We are its telling in this time and this place
So tell me the story of this night, of this table
The Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed
took bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it (taking and breaking bread)
Tell me what he said and did
This is my body which is broken for you
Do this and remember me
Tell me what he said and did (taking and pouring cup)
In the same way, he took the cup and said
This is a new covenant in my blood
Drink it and remember me
This is our common story
our deep memory, our true destiny
So let it also be our story-telling, our testimony
Let’s celebrate the way that grace has shaped our lives
I invite you to say aloud a prayer of thanks (pause)
Hear the storytellers of all ages whisper with us
Holy. holy, holy Lord
God of power and might
heaven and earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the highest
Blessed in the one who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest
What is our prayer on this day?
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us
So this everyday meal becomes an eternal feast
So that our eating and drinking today
unites us with Christ,
whose body and blood are given for us.
So we know that you live in us
and that we live in you
So that we live in your world
knowing it is indeed yours.
Living God, this is our prayer. Amen.
A communion used at the Uniting Women’s Conference in Adelaide in 2016 and freely available to download on the CMLA website.
Words for Invitation
In the name of the One who said, ‘I am the bread of life’,
I invite you to come and eat.
In the name of the One who said, ‘I am the true vine’,
I invite you to come and drink.
In the name of the One who said, “Love one another, as I have loved you”,
I invite you to the table of Jesus Christ.
Prayer of Approach
Be present, risen Lord Jesus, as you were with your disciples,
and make yourself known to us in the breaking of the bread;
for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer of consecration
We thank you that your Spirit is poured out on all people. Send your Spirit now on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that we may know Christ’s presence, real and true, and be his faithful followers showing your love for the world.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory are yours forever. Amen.
Creation and communion liturgy
A Liturgy of Creation and Communion – John Van De Laar
A simple communion by John van de Laar
A communion focussed on children’s understanding and participation:
Kids Sunday Communion
Post communion prayer
God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“The one who is nourished on the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before the one who, even in our day, is deprived of daily bread.”
(Source: Caritas Australia website)
An After Communion Prayer
God of Communion,
Help us to connect with you and with each other.
May the example that Jesus set, in terms of self-giving love,
inspire us towards love in our relationships with all in our lives.
As we have shared of this symbolic meal,
may we also remember those who go hungry in our world.
Help us to seek ways to be less self-focused and to work for justice in the world.
As we remember the suffering of Jesus,
may we also remember those who cry in suffering,
those who are beaten and battered, and who pray for mercy and justice.
Help us to seek ways to be less self-centred and to work for healing in the world.
As our focus is drawn towards broken bread and poured out wine,
may we remember that at times our relationships are broken and the love is spilt rather than shared.
Help us to seek ways to be less self-oriented and to work for reconciliation in this world,
Particularly between those we may be estranged from in situations and relationships.
God of Communion and Community,
Bind us together as a people.
May our differences enrich, not divide us.
May we share our brokenness with patience, grace and forgiveness, that we may be a community that brings healing and wholeness.
This is asked in unity with Christ.
(Source: Jon Humphries)
Rex AE Hunt Communion liturgies
New 2014 communion liturgy
Summer communion liturgyAutumn communion liturgy
Autumn-Lent communion liturgy
Winter communion liturgy
Spring communion liturgy
Advent communion liturgy
Christmas Eve communion liturgy
Flowers communion liturgy
The Lord of light is with you/And also with you
Open your hearts to where the light shines.
We open our hearts, we offer our minds
Watch and wait/ hope and prepare
Dare to see the divine spark
that makes our darkness safe
that makes our futures possible.
Seize, nurture and share the flame,
the source of all our thanks and praise
A communion liturgy by Kurt Struckmeyer
The eucharistic prayer:
For the power of love in human life and history,
we give thanks and praise.
Long ago our ancestors knew love’s power
and they became the tellers of love’s tale.
Love bound them in covenant,
teaching them to live in community
with compassion and concern
for the poorest among them.
Yet centuries of domination and violence
shaped a different kind of community
based on selfishness and inequality.
In the struggle against oppression,
Jesus became the face of love,
showing us the way to abundant life.
In word and deed, he announced
love’s new reign of justice, reconciliation, and peace.
Filled with the courage and passion of love’s spirit,
he gave his life to challenge the unjust systems of this world.
On the night of his betrayal and arrest,
as he shared a meal with his friends,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his followers, saying:
“Share this bread among you; this is my body which will be broken for justice.
Do this to remember me.”
When supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it to his disciples, saying:
“Share this wine among you; this is my blood which will be shed for liberation.
Do this to remember me.”
God of love, spirit of compassion,
bless us and this bread and wine.
May this meal be food and drink for our journey—
renewing, sustaining, and making us whole.
When we eat this bread and drink from this cup
we experience again the presence of Jesus in our midst.
The table is ready. All are welcome. Come, for the feast is spread.
As the bread and wine are shared, these words are said:
The bread of life for all who hunger.
The cup of compassion for a broken world.
The blessing after the meal:
May this meal nourish us and refresh us,
may it strengthen us and renew us, may it unite us and keep us in God’s gracious love,
now and forever. Amen
Prayer after communion:
Let us pray.
God of love, we give you thanks for satisfying our hungry hearts with this meal.
Send us from here to reveal your love in the world.
Inspire in us the resolve and the courage, the compassion and the passion,
to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you. Amen
Prayer after communion
We have been guests of Jesus Christ.
We have received God’s good gifts.
Now we go to our homes,
to our neighbours, to our work
equipped to put Jesus’ words and being into action, to be the salt of the world,
to seek justice,
to make peace,
to preserve the creation, to gain life. Amen.
(Source: 2nd European Ecumenical Assembly, Graz, Europe, 1997)
Go forth in service: to fight, work, and pray for the unjust suffering of the innocent in our world*.
(* Martin Luther, “The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods,” 1519, published in Luther’s Works, Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1960)
Music for communion
Many and varied, of course.
O Bread of Life
This is a meditative song by Kathy Douglass. O Bread of Life is inspired by words by Henri Nouwen – taken, blessed, broken given. Kathy suggests it could be used for the season of Lent. It could be played using the Soundcloud file during communion (could be on a loop if longer is needed).
O Bread of Life, feed our hungry souls
Come satisfy the emptiness we know
Take and bless us,
Break and give away
This Bread of Life
This Bread of Life