Invitation to the Lord’s Table
Joseph no doubt worked his hands
to make a Table for Mary.
With visions of family gathered around,
fresh bread warm in children’s hands,
and simple table wine that brought out the spices of the meat,
Jesus and his siblings and neighbors and those
who weren’t allowed into other people’s homes
or had no table of their own
sat around this Table,
no doubt where Jesus was taught
by his parents who had taken great risks by giving him life
so that he could take risks himself to give us life
It was at Table Side that our Christ learned
the power of feeding one another.
It was at Table Side that our Christ witnessed
the telling of truth.
And so Christ invites us to Table Side;
the Table that has been passed down through the generations,
rubbed with oil,
refinished with care
from family to family
Grace is made visible.
Prayers of Consecration and Intercession
Life began around the Table.
Life Ends around the Table.
His life was threatened from the beginning,
held onto by a thread,
and holding this thread
between all of us,
connecting us to one another,
connecting us from the Christ child
to the disciples
and the apostles
and the saints
and the children that will be held together
by this same thread,
Jesus turned to his disciples
not too long after his birth,
and holding their hands together,
he looked them in the eyes
and gave thanks for them:
for the memories and the fights,
for the intentions and the mistakes,
for the learnings and the laughter.
He gave thanks for it all,
and he gave them a gift:
his own self for their future.
He broke the bread,
warm on their hands,
steam rising from center,
and gave them an image:
“This is my body broken for you.
Whenever you experience brokenness,
You have my body
in that broken place.
And then he took the table wine,
that in the past encouraged the
memories and fights,
intentions and mistakes,
learnings and laughter,
and he poured it,
and he told them:
“This is my life blood,
my life blood that will be shed.
This is the remembrance of the covenant,
These are the gifts of God for the People of God.”
Let us pray.
O God, the psalmist cries out:
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
There is much in our broken world to tear up over.
And our tears have flowed.
Sometimes we have thought that our very bread was our grief –
the loss that we have felt,
the expectations smashed,
the families held together by a thread.
We bring them all to you, O Christ.
We give thanks for the risks of Joseph and Mary.
We give thanks for the promise that we cannot feel grief without feeling deep joy.
We give thanks for the risks Christ took
so that we could begin our life around the Table.
We give thanks for the life that Christ took on,
a life of understanding,
from the very beginning of difference,
meeting in the cracks and crevices
with everyone who doesn’t feel like they fit.
We give thanks for the promises that you made to us so long ago and always, always keep,
despite our attempts to push you away.
We know there is much more to life than the bread of tears,
and we commit ourselves to the creation of that world –
where justice reigns
and each and every one us can see the magic and the mystery of your creation,
where jadedness is in the past
and hope is on the tips of our tongues,
where the doors of your world are thrown open
in wild celebration of our difference,
where we are all really and truly known and at peace
and in love with possibility.
And so we pray for your dear world now –
the world we take for granted far too frequently,
the world we ourselves take part in destroying as much as trying to mend,
the world we commit towards mending.
You give us yourself in the form of bread and wine.
And we give you back our prayers in the form of the prayer that you gave to us, saying, Our Father…
Sharing of the Meal
Prayer of after Communion
Holy God, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your sacrifice.
May it be strength to us until we meet again,
as we work towards the coming of your kingdom,
the time when justice will reign
and all of your creation will be equally valued.
There aren’t really words to thank you enough for this meal,
for all of the elements we need to serve you and your world.
Inspired by a sermon by Rev. Patricia Raube on Matthew 1:18-25. Submitted by Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Minister Director, Presbyterian Welcome, New York, NY.