Jesus knew that it would be harder to follow him than to simply understand, so he gathered his friends around a table to hear the story—and then to be filled with the courage it will take to live as part of that story. He still gathers his friends at the table to be strengthened for the journey—not to fill our minds with the right answers, but to fill our bodies with the same love he carried in his body, that we might love with our whole strength, our whole being, our whole mind, our whole heart. In other words—since faith without works is dead, he calls us to the table and sends us out filled so that we might live.
This table is for those who know a lot and those who know nothing, those who love fully and those who want to love more, those who come regularly and those who still seek. This table does not belong to the Presbyterian Church, it belongs to the Lord—and it is he who invites all to share in the feast of love and life.
Let us pray. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, for blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.
You have created something out of nothing.
You have called a people to inhabit your kingdom.
You have filled the earth with good things.
You have offered us your very life that we might live with you.
And so we give you thanks, for your blessedness spills over and blesses us.
We give you thanks for the gift of freedom and for the many people who have laid down their lives for their friends.
We give you thanks for the freedom to worship, to speak as you call, to live and to love in peace.
And we pray for your blessings to cover us again this day.
Bless this, your church, with passion for your good news and a longing for grace.
Bless this city with compassion that we might serve the least of these among us, and so encounter you.
Bless this nation with freedom and justice for all, that every person may share abundantly in its promise.
Bless your world with eyes to see and ears to hear, so that no part of creation goes unloved or uncared for.
Bless us with faith, O God, to help build the kingdom you are creating in our midst.
As we come to this table, celebrating again the feast of your victory over death, remind us that suffering does not have the last word. Where there is pain or illness, may your healing presence abound. Where there is despair or hatred, may your love be visible. Where there is violence or distrust, may your life be a beacon of hope. Bring peace to your world, O God.
Here there is bread and wine, simple gifts offered for a simple cause. Fill us with your bread of life, Lord, that we may be strengthened for this journey. Give us courage to live lives worthy of our calling. Nourished by your very being, make us again into your body loving, serving, and caring for the world.
We pray these and all things in the name of Christ who lived, who died, who rose, and who reigns in power, hosting this and every feast, and we pray as he taught us: Our Father…
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL