Jesus said “I am the gate, and you will come in and go out and find pasture.”
At this table, Christ opens the door for all people, calling us by name and inviting us to be nourished.
At this table, it does not matter if we have denied, betrayed, forgotten, or turned away—Christ bids us come.
At this table, we do not need to understand, we only need to be open to love.
At this table, we do not need to be Presbyterian, to all think or believe the same things—all we need is to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us to enter and be fed.
At this table, we are filled with the good gifts of God so that we can go out and feed others.
At this table, Christ is the host, and each one of us is a treasured guest.
So come, for you are invited to come in and go out and be fed.
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.
Let us pray together:
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise,
O Lord our God, Creator of the universe,
for you worked in darkness to bring all life into being,
and to bring new life through Christ your Son.
Out of that darkness you bring marvelous light, again and again.
When we shield our eyes, unwilling to see what you are doing, still you work.
When we shut the doors, afraid to step into your new world, still you work.
When we deny and betray, with words and with actions, still you work.
And so we give you thanks, O God,
that your love does not depend on our faithfulness,
that your saving grace does not depend on our worthiness.
You are the breath of life and the light of the world,
giver of every good gift.
As we come to your table of grace, filled with your bounty,
we cannot forget the emptiness that plagues so many bellies,
the hunger of our neighbors near and far.
We cannot forget the rawness of your earth,
exploited for our gain and groaning under our weight.
We cannot forget the world at war—in Syria, in the Congo, in the streets of Chicago.
We cannot forget the world preparing for war, and we beg for peace in North Korea and Ukraine.
We cannot forget those who suffer at the hands of those who should love them.
We cannot forget those who feel trapped in the tomb, with no hope of life ahead.
We pray that you would come quickly, Lord, with good news for this troubled world.
Come quickly, Lord, with your spirit of justice and peace.
As you rose in darkness to bring about a new thing,
rise again in our darkness, bringing light that dispels the shadows of despair.
As we come to your table of grace,
we hear again your call to be made one,
and to show the world your love in our every action and every word.
Send your Spirit again to this place,
that just as many grains become one bread and many grapes become one cup,
we who are many may become one with you and with your people in every time and place.
May this feast nourish us for your kingdom,
and may your kingdom come here and now.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ,
who is victorious over death and who calls us by name,
and who taught us to pray together, Our Father…
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL