a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Invitation: we are not alone

In the broken and messy world in which we live in there are many things to worry about: debilitating illness, hate inspired violence, or the uncertainty of our future well being. It is easy to close ourselves off emotionally, physically, and spiritually to seal ourselves and our hearts away behind doors forged from fear. Yet despite our efforts, Jesus enters in unhindered and says, “Peace be with you.” He encourages us to engage the worries, doubts, and fears we face filled by the Holy Spirit, our advocate…we are not alone.

At this table, we remember the life, death, and resurrection of our savior who bids us to go out sharing Good News and practice acts of forgiveness with ourselves, our neighbors, and our enemies. This table is for those who feel certain and those who feel frightened. This table is for those who feel filled by the Spirit and those who are seeking to be filled. This table does not belong to the Presbyterian Church, it belongs to Jesus Christ—and it is he who invites all to share in the bread and cup of peace, love, and life everlasting.

Submitted by Rev. Andrew Black, Unity Presbyterian Church, Terre Haute, IN

communion: blow through this place

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
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.

We praise you, O Lord, and all the earth with us,
for your Holy Spirit calls all things into being.
The entire created order serves you joyfully,
and your gracious presence is the song of every heart.

We bear witness that you alone are God,
and we give thanks that you have claimed us as your people.
By water and the Word, you make us your own;
by fire and the Spirit, you call us into the world.
Wherever we go, the risen and ascended Christ is our good shepherd.

Therefore we join our voices with all your people
in every time, every place, and every language,
singing praises to your holy name:

Holy, holy, holy…

Holy One, we enter your gates with thanksgiving;
Blessed Christ, we rejoice in your holy presence.
By your gracious invitation,
we gather at this holy meal
where we give thanks and call upon your great name.

Send forth your Holy Spirit once again.
Blow through this place;
reveal yourself in this bread and this cup;
make your dwelling within this congregation.
Join us to one another
and transform us by your presence,
that we may be the sign of your life in this world
for all who are hurting, hungering, and searching.

Reveal your goodness through us, O Lord,
for your mercy is everlasting;
we pray with your faithful ones in every age,
joining our voices in the prayer you taught us, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

Communion: Turning

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
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.
Then let us sing!

Canticle of the Turning v. 1-3

Mighty God, we rejoice with all who hunger,
for your Son Jesus, whose coming we proclaim,
spreads a table of blessing before us
and feeds us with his very presence.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon this meal,
that we might be united with Jesus Christ,
and with all who magnify his name.
Sustain us with your presence
and keep us faithful to the end,
singing with joy and confidence:

Canticle of the Turning v. 4

We pray with the One whose life turns the world
and we say together:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

Communion–refuge

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
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.

We thank you and praise you, God of mercy,
for you offer us refuge in times of trouble.
Your Spirit swoops low over turmoil and chaos,
and creation emerges from the shadow of her wings.
O Most High, you call forth a people
to bear your promise,
and despite our wandering, your maintain your covenant.

Your Word descends from heaven for our salvation,
to confound the powers of sin that trample upon us,
and to lead us forth into the fullness of your faithful love.
You Holy One endured suffering
and descended into the very pit of death,
so that death itself may be defeated.

Therefore we exalt you above all things, O God,
and we join all the saints who sing to your glory:

Holy, holy, holy…

Holy are you, O Lord,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the Risen One,
on whom our hearts are forever fixed.

Through this meal, we join in the great melody of your praise.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon this bread and this cup,
so that this meal might awaken our hearts once more
and help us shine with the rising light of your kingdom.

Join us with Jesus Christ and all your faithful ones,
so we might confess you in all that we do
and sing praise to you in all circumstances.
We praise you for your loving-kindness that is greater than the heavens,
and your faithfulness that reaches beyond all our understanding.
Be exalted, O Most High God,
in the glorious name of Jesus Christ,
in whom we pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

communion: dwelling

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
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.

We give you thanks, O Lord of hosts,
for you have gathered us into your presence
and made our hearts and souls rejoice in your dwelling place!
You created a place for even the lowliest creature,
and you revealed the beauty of your holiness
in the lightness of birdsong and the thunder of the ocean.

In your faithful love, you made your dwelling in our homes
by taking on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.
He declared your name and shared your strength.
He journeyed all along the way,
pouring out blessings on all
and tirelessly doing the work of the kingdom.
For the sake of the One who died, rose again, and ascended on high,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy…

Holy are you, Lord God of hosts,
for you hear the prayers of your people.
You pour out your Holy Spirit on your church
and you send forth your care for all who are in need.
Through the gift of this meal,
you gather our spirits into your dwelling place,
and you seat us at your eternal table.
Your grace and your glory are eternal, O Lord,
and we joyfully receive your blessings.
We pray in Jesus’ name, who taught us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

Invitation: let them come

Just after the scripture reading we focused on today,
Jesus offers an invitation we all need to hear:
“Let the little children come to me…”
Let the humble, the meek, the ignored come.
Let the noisy, the misbehaving, the boisterous come.
Let the ones who ask the hard questions come.
Let the ones who trust in ways we cannot understand come.
Let all come to the table,
“…and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
It is to us, my friends, that the kingdom of God belongs.
All are welcome at this table.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

communion: feasting on the word

The Lord be with you!
And also with you!
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 both thanks and praise!

all sing verse 1:
Come, thou Fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of God’s unchanging love!

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your grace overflows in your world,
creating and redeeming and sustaining all things.
Your streams of mercy flow from your glory
bringing living water into every place,
nourishing creation, making it bear fruit that will last,
filling our cup until it runs over, spilling out abundant life.
We give you thanks for your generous providing,
and for your call to be your people.
We have wandered in the desert, we have turned our backs,
we have followed the path, we have walked on ahead,
and still your Spirit calls us, tugging us back to your way,
shining your light and singing your grace
so we might follow in faith.

all sing verse 2:
Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.

It is with gratitude, praise, and hearts lifted high that we come to your table,
calling to mind your Son who walked among us,
who ate with sinners and tax collectors and women
the same as he ate with Pharisees and disciples and neighbors.
As he reached out to touch the sick, may we reach out with healing hands.
As he went to the bad neighborhoods and visited the homes of the poor,
may we go out to where your people long for good news.
As he spread health and holiness with every step, every word, every breath,
may we live as if grace is contagious,
sharing your love with people near and far,
those we meet and those we would rather avoid.

As we meet at the feast of your family, O God,
we carry with us those who hunger and thirst,
who cannot imagine the abundance of this table,
who feel excluded or forgotten,
who live with fear and violence,
who wait for justice, who long for peace,
who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
While we celebrate this day, some in your family see no cause for celebration.
While we have feasted on your word,
some still see reading as an impossible luxury.
While we have learned and spoken and prayed together,
some have been silenced and held aside.
When we break bread together, break our hearts too,
and then by your Spirit bind us together with all your people
to seek your purpose and work your will.
Give us a glimpse of your kingdom, where the whole human family eats together,
and strengthen us with the courage to build your kingdom here on earth.

all sing verse 3:
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.

We offer our hearts and lives to you, O God,
praying that you would use grain and grape
to write your covenant of love within us.
until grace overflows.
We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, host at this and every table, who taught us to pray together… the Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

communion: loyalty

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
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.

We give you thanks, O Lord, with all our heart;
in the face of all that would claim our loyalty,
we choose to sing praise to only you.
We praise your love and faithfulness,
which are revealed in all that you called into being;
from the farthest wonders of space,
to the deepest mysteries of our hearts.
You made a promise by your name
that you would be faithful to your people forever,
and you have always upheld your covenant.

We celebrate especially the gift of your own Son, Jesus Christ,
whom we confess as the Lord of life,
who offers forgiveness and grace to all,
who has called us once and always to return to you.
For the sake of Christ,
we join with all your faithful ones,
who forever sing praise and glory to your name:

Holy, holy, holy…

Holy and blessed are you, O Lord,
for you have come to care for those who are lowly
and set right the broken ways of our world.
By your Holy Spirit,
you give us the gift of your presence
through this meal that seals your promise within us.

Trusting in your promise,
we lift up before you those who struggle or suffer,
those who battle enemies of body, mind, or spirit.
Make good your purpose for all your people,
as we entrust ourselves to your enduring love,
in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

communion: do not be afraid

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
for your promise is true, you are with us always, even to the end of the age.
We give you thanks
for in the beginning you created with a word
and the whole world reflects your glory.
We give you thanks,
for with a word you called for yourself a people
gave us your breath, your name, your blessing.
We give you thanks,
for your prophets through the ages
who shared your vision, spoke your truth,
called us to your way even when we turned our backs on you,
our eyes set on our own design.
When we would not listen,
your persistent promise sought us,
your word became flesh
you walked among us and offered your very body, your life and love,
to bring us home in relationship to you.
Even when we acted out of fear,
uncertain what a life based on love could accomplish,
you reached out to save us.
Even when we speak out of fear,
blaming and accusing, shouting without listening,
you whisper your still small voice,
do not be afraid, I am with you.
Gratitude and praise fill our hearts, O God,
and lift us up to your heavenly banquet,
where we join our voices with your people throughout the ages
proclaiming your goodness,
praying for courage to live from your grace.
Open our eyes to see your glory at this table,
and to see that your guest list extends far beyond our own.
Give us courage to enact your kingdom feast at our own tables.
In a world where some thrive on fear,
where profit is often more important than people,
and where violence seems the order of the day,
fill us again with your Spirit of peace.
Let your whisper be heard above the roar
of bombs and bullets
of shouts and jeers
of advertising and posturing.
We carry these burdens to your table, Lord Jesus,
and pray that you would carry the load of your world’s suffering—
hear the cries of those who thirst for clean water and for justice,
of those who speak truth and long for someone to believe them,
of those who look at the week ahead and feel only despair.
Give us hope in the midst of grief, and illness, and political campaigns.
Give us courage to live as if your promise is true.
Give us a sure sense of your abiding presence,
in bread and wine,
in the fellowship of friends and the meeting of strangers,
in the work of your kingdom.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear your Spirit among us and within us.
Feed us at your table,
fill us with your grace,
and then send us out to be your people,
your body on earth,
overflowing with your hope in the world.
We pray these and all things in the name of Christ, host at this and every table, who taught us to pray together…

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

communion: life blooms

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
for you have provided for your people.
You have turned manna in the wilderness into the bread of life,
You have turned water from a rock into a spring of everlasting life,
You have turned law into love.
You have called us to this table, to know you in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup.
Here is grace, here is promise, here is love, here we see you face to face.

You, Lord, are the one who makes life bloom in the desert.
We give you thanks for your creating spirit, creating still,
and for the hope of your promise.
Where people still wait for fulfillment of your promise, give a glimpse of your glory.
Where people have lost hope, breathe your peace.
Where we have turned our eyes away,
choosing instead only to see what we think we already know
call us once again back to your way and your truth.
May your justice spring up in the desert like a river,
your love grow as tall as the trees,
until your whole creation thrives in your kingdom.

We come today bearing the hurts of the world,
seeking your forgiveness,
seeking your healing,
seeking to know your presence with us as we walk this journey.
Walk with us, Lord, and speak.
Walk with us, and show us your transforming grace at work in places we have left behind,
in people we have dismissed, in action and word together.
Walk with us, and then sit down at table
and open our eyes in the breaking of bread.

We pray now, O God,
that you would pour out your spirit again on us
and on these gifts of bread and wine,
that they might be for us the rich feast of life
and that we might be transformed once again into your people,
joined with your body all around the world,
fed with the bread of grace
and the wine of your everlasting love.
As we are fed and nourished,
send us forth as people of grace–
people who answer the call to build
your kingdom on this earth.

We pray all these things in the name of Christ, who taught us to pray together…

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL