Feb11MonThe second summit of the liturgy February 11, 2019 Pastor Sebastian
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- Pr. Sebastian
Welcome to the third service of a 4-part series entitled “Learning about Liturgy”, based on parishioners’ requests to understand more about what we do when we come for worship.
The idea is that each Sunday, we take one of the four parts of worship,
and reflect on each individual element in that section.
More information can be found in our Guides to Worship.
Today’s focus is on the third part of the service, the Meal section.
For our four-part series on” Learning about Liturgy”
we have been examining the liturgy of Holy Communion,
the primary service for Sundays in current Lutheran tradition.
In our usage, the term “Holy Communion” means the entire service:
not just the part where we eat bread and drink wine;
that part is called the Meal.
Now when we say “Holy” what do we mean?
Holy means: special, or set apart
and in this context, “set apart for the service of God”
So “we set apart this time together to serve God”,
that’s where the word service comes from: to serve.
When we gather for worship, we are working!
We are serving: each other, and God.
When we gather for worship,
“We encourage one another as we tell the story about God and God’s love”
Now for the word “Communion”.
Communion means sharing or “holding in common”
“God shares God’s saving gifts with us,
and we share them with one another.”
So Holy Communion, in one way of putting it,
is a special time of sharing with God and God’s family,
and we share not only words about God and words of God,
but also God’s very presence in the Meal.
Holy Communion is about holy community:
“we are formed into one body with him and so with each other”.
Now while in the red ELW we use the term “Holy Communion” to refer to the entire worship service,
and the term Meal is used to describe the third part of the service where we gather around the bread and the wine,
there are other terms that the church uses as well,
and each has a different point of view.
For example, the term: “the Lord’s Supper”.
When we talk about “the Lord’s Supper” we speak of the meal which the risen Lord holds with the church; we are focussing on the fact that it is Jesus who is the host as well as the food and drink at the same time.
Sometimes, we also refer to it as the “Lord’s Table”…there we are focussing more on the invitation, and the coming to receive,
rather on the fact that the body and blood of Christ are truly present.
Then there is the word “Eucharist”, which derives from the Greek word to give thanks. The term “Eucharist calls us to see that the whole meal is a great thanksgiving for creation and for creation’s redemption in Jesus Christ”. Although Eucharist is probably the best term to use,
it is a very complicated one that people don’t understand.
Meal is so much simpler and better, and gets at the heart of the Lutheran understanding of it.
So what are the origins of the Meal?
Jesus’ followers gathered “weekly to break bread”, as we read in Acts Chapter 20, by this we understand that they were gathering to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as he had instructed them to do.
In the early church, this Lord’s Supper was linked to the Agape meal: which was like a love feast or a banquet which was common in Hellenistic, Greek culture.
So when Paul writes to the Corinthians about inequalities and lack of sharing when they come together to share the meal,
he is referring to the Agape meal portion of the service, rather than the Lord’s Supper.
The division between the Agape meal and Holy Communion happened around 110 CE based on two factors:
a) firstly Emperor Trajan had suppressed the supper clubs (such as the Agape feasts) out of fear of sedition: that they might be places of revolution
b) and also (as we read of in the letter to the Corinthians) often the feast degenerated into gluttony, pride and selfishness, and thus became too problematic.
The general trend of Communion during the Middle Ages was to reserve it more and more as an action performed by the priests for the people.
In the 12th century priests stopped giving wine to the congregation for “fear of spilling the precious blood of Christ”.
More and more, the concern for the elements increased, and the pressure of performing it correctly increased, and it became divorced from its origins as a community meal of remembrance and Jesus’ presence:
and this was one of the reasons why most people received communion only once a year at the time of the Reformation.
Martin Luther put an emphasis on the Lord’s Supper as a meal and not a sacrifice, and he advocated that all people should receive both bread and wine and he urged communion to be taken weekly.
But in the 18th century “the Pietism movement’s focus on our unworthiness to accept the sacrament, and the Enlightenment’s favouring of spiritual notions over material expressions of faith, again led to people taking communion less often.”
At the turn of the 20th century, the average was a few times a year.
Why is the recommendation of the ELCIC since the early 1990s to have weekly communion?
Largely this recommendation is based on international scholarly work done in the 1970s and 80s.
These scholars remarked that Jesus’ followers gathered weekly to celebrate communion, and early Christian texts from the 1st and 2nd centuries refer to weekly communion as well.
In the Lutheran Confessions, the founding documents of the Lutheran church from the 16th century, it stated that the “Mass is celebrated every Lord’s day”.
So the norm of the church should still be weekly communion.
And in most churches, there has been a gradual increase in frequency over the past 50 years.
Why don’t we celebrate communion every week here at St. Matthews?
My feeling is that in this topic we should let grace prevail, and that it should not feel like a compulsion or an obligation.
Not having it weekly gives everyone, and especially the altar guild the and communion servers a bit of a break, enables an occasional shorter service and honours those who don’t like weekly communion.
However, it must be mentioned that, as far as I know, we are the only ELCIC church in KW that does not have weekly communion, and not knowing whether there is communion or not on a given Sunday can be slightly confusing, even for worship leaders.
Yet, on the other hand, we’re basically weekly, some months it’s 3 out of four or four out of five Sundays (with our practice of communion on the 2nd, 4th, 5th Sundays and feast days).
There are many different practices in different churches with regards to communion, and that’s OK.
There are very few hard and fast rules in the Lutheran church about communion, unlike for the Anglicans and Catholics.
Yet, it’s good to think about what these different practices mean
and reflect on good recommendations by scholars.
Our ELW, for example has ten different settings of Holy Communion, each reflecting a different context and style: showing that variety is good and there is no one right way.
Luther himself recommended three different orders of Communion (ways of ordering the service) and historically there has been much variation regionally in how communion is celebrated: for example the national churches in Norway are different from Germany and Sweden.
At St. Matthews, for example we now have two altars.
There’s the original high altar.
At the New Year’s Eve service I celebrated communion facing the back wall at the high altar and pointed out that it shows that the Presiding minister is “on the same team as the assembly” or acting on behalf of the people. However, with my back turned to the assembly, it all seems to be more of a secret, with an aura of holy hiddenness.
It also reeks more of the Medieval concept of priestly sacrifice which is so anti-Lutheran.
People tell me the high altar was always off the back wall,
due to the drawers on the back side.
However, it functioned like an East-facing altar, with the pastor always on the assembly side of it, back facing the assembly. This probably changed in the 1980s, when the long, low podium at the back was removed so that the pastor could go around to the far side and face the assembly. This podium was returned after the chancel expansion in 2016.
With a free-standing altar the presiding minister faces the assembly
and invites them to join as one body around a table.
Communion is then more like a welcoming meal.
Currently our high altar functions as a credence table: a place to put the elements before they are used (and a place for poinsettias at Christmas).
When the chancel expansion happened in 2016, a small movable altar from the Sunday School was taken and added to the chancel, to lessen the feeling of distance between presider and people.
The fact that it’s on wheels makes it very functional and flexible.
However it is a little small and low for an altar.
The freestanding altar is the oldest form of Christian altar, and the altar at the far wall was a later, Medieval tradition.
Churches were often built facing East, and so having the altar at the Easternmost point of the church highlighted the link between communion and the dawn of the resurrection.
Lutherans are conservative, so they maintained the Medieval traditions of the altar at the far Eastern wall, although Luther himself argued for a freestanding table.
Which brings me to the distinction between a table and an altar.
In some low-church traditions, such as United or Baptist, (or newer churches like Christ Lutheran Waterloo) you’ll see them actually use a table for the Lord’s Supper.
With older churches, like St. Matthews, the high altar actually looks like an altar: it is massive, and you could not possibly put your feet under it like at a table.
However, of course in Christian tradition, the altar or table is only an altar metaphorically, or symbolically: we don’t actual sacrifice anything or anyone on it.
Now to the bread used at the Meal.
Ideally, a single loaf of bread signifies the unity of the church, and this is the recommended practice.
One cup, one loaf, one church.
Leavened bread (with yeast) is the oldest tradition of the church.
Unleavened bread (without yeast) by contrast reflects more the themes of Passover, as well as the Old Testament themes of sacrifice.
The use of unleavened hosts began in the 9th century (and these were generally made in the convents).
These wafers are very convenient and don’t make crumbs and they don’t spoil: they can last many years.
However, communion wafers are hard to recognize as bread at all;
most people would recognize wafers as cardboard.
They don’t even look like Passover bread, like Matzos.
They are supposed to remind us of Manna, the white seed-like food send from God to feed the Israelites in their wilderness journey — but this is a far stretch too.
German Lutherans used white wine, the most common type in Germany. And this had an additional benefit:
so that the people would not think the wine is like blood,
but to remember that the cup is! Christ’s blood.
“Lutherans used white wine so that all would see that this shared cup really is wine, not pretend blood”.
So the emphasis is on the wine being Christ’s blood by Christ’s word and promise, rather than because of the colour red.
In addition, altar guilds naturally prefer white wine as the linen stains are much easier to remove.
So theoretically, communion wine can be red or white.
At St. Matthews, we use red Port wine: it is pungent, and sweet in small quantities: it has a good mouth feel when you just take a small sip.
Higher percentage alcohol makes it taste more quote unquote holy;
also it is slightly better from a disease-control perspective.
On the other hand, dry, lower percentage wine tastes more chalky and insignificant, and less pleasant in small sips,
and “Jewish wine” like Mogen David can taste like cough syrup.
However, as in many things liturgical, a lot of it has to do with local traditions and customs and preferences.
If our current wine contract runs out, we can always organize a communion wine taste testing.
That might be quite popular!
In any case, Christ is truly present also in only one element:
so we don’t need to drink the wine; that’s also why we have options for grape juice as well as gluten-free wafers.
Another tradition here at St. Matthews are the individual cups that remind people of shot glasses.
Their origin is in the idea that we shouldn’t be sharing drinking vessels. However, research suggests that the common cup (especially if it is of silver or gold) might be safer.
It’s known that our hands have the most germs of our bodies, and small cups are potentially handled more than the large ones.
The worst form, in terms of disease, is intinction (the dipping of bread).
It’s also most problematic as there is no Biblical or traditional justification for it: nowhere is it stated: eat, drink, or dunk in memory of me.
Another peculiarity at St. Matthews are the alcohol-based hand gel stations as you come to the front.
While all those serving communion use them, some people use them too, so that sometimes the prevailing smell at the front during distribution is not of freshly baked bread or pungent, savoury wine,
but of chemically-smelling grain alcohol.
Probably, a better usage of these hand sanitizers would be before and after the sharing of the peace.
So to summarize,
though we as the assembly are collectively the body of Christ, at the Meal, we receive the body of Christ.
“In receiving the meal of Holy Communion, we receive Jesus’ presence, into our very bodies. In the physical means of bread and wine, the body of Christ is given for us. Luther spoke about this reality as Christ’s Real Presence”: the promise that Jesus Christ is present in the bread and wine we receive each Sunday in Communion.
The wine remains wine, the bread remains bread.
Even so, Jesus Christ is truly present in this meal”
“By the mercy of God, [we turn] to eat and drink the very promise [we] have been hearing in the scriptures” and assures ourselves that “Christ has promised to meet us in the supper with forgiveness of sins, life and salvation”.
As we eat the bread and drink the cup, we remember the various stories of Jesus and his meals in the Gospels, such as the feeding of the 5000 and the meal on the road to Emmaus.
Christ is truly present with us.
Now we turn to the Offering.
The Offering has two purposes:
firstly, to prepare the table for the meal and secondly,
to collect material goods for the mission of the church.
It is “a humble and grateful response to all God’s gifts”,
not a transaction! (That is: we aren’t paying admission to a meal).
In addition to money, and materials, we offer our praise, gifts of music and stand to present ourselves.
As the ushers bring the plates up the aisle, we should breathe a silent prayer (and this is what I do when I place the plates on the altar):
“to you O God”.
The offering might be one of the times, besides the sermon, where we are made a little uncomfortable.
We may ponder before or during the offering:
“How much should I give? or how much is enough to give”?
Some might say; give till it hurts.
Jesus tells the young rich man to give away everything.
And yet, we calculate how much to sacrifice, just as we are accustomed to balancing our personal budgets.
The Bible calls for a tithe, or ten percent of our income, but I would suspect that for most in the pew, it is a lot less.
The Apostle Paul writes that God loves a cheerful giver, and that everyone should give proportionally to what they can.
In terms of church history,
early Christians before communion placed gifts and food near the altar for the poor.
Paul recommended to the Corinthians to collect money for the needy, but
this practice ended in the late Middle Ages, as it was replaced by the priest’s prayer (to do penance for people’s sin and plead for salvation).
This evoked memories of the Israelite Temple practices where a “sinless, spotless animal was sacrificed in hopes for God’s absolution”,
and also especially to
John the Baptist’s exclamation: “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, while pointing at Jesus.
In many churches the “eucharist became the sacrifice of Jesus to God to wash away our sins”.
But Martin Luther was clear in his criticism:
that the Meal is God’s gift to the people and not a sacrifice for the people.
“All the Reformers rejected the Roman Offertory and its idea of a sin offering by the priest instead of a thank offering by the people”.
And the Reformation restored the practice of people offering gifts for the church and the needy.
Up until recently (perhaps 30 years ago) all other types of fundraising other than passing the plate was frowned upon:
the point was that one should give freely of what God has given us. However, the reality is that today, people like to give for different reasons and in different ways: that’s why we have PAR, on-line donations, fundraiser events, coffee coin baskets, and so on.
In the Offering (or in the old terminology, the Offertory)
we give “ourselves and our money for God’s work throughout the world” as a sign of our love and care.
“If God so graciously feeds us, in Word and Sacrament, we in response should turn toward the needs of our neighbour. We have prayed in faith for those needs. Now we share something of what we have.” and acknowledge
“we have nothing to give to God except our needs and our hopes, yet we try to make a humble gesture of giving.”
“We also thank God that he can use the ordinary things of life, like bread and wine and use them to do something wonderful in Holy Communion. God will use this bread and wine to give us the most precious gift of all, Jesus Christ.”
The optional offering prayer “symbolizes the Christians’ response of thanksgiving in all their daily life and for the unearned grace of God”.
It articulates the intent of our bringing our offering:
that it is in thanks to God, highlighting ideas of creation, redemption and vocation.
This prayer used to be said by the entire congregation,
but now in the ELW it is said by the Assisting minister,
which might make it more understandable.
When it is prayed by the minister, it is said on behalf of the assembly. However the challenge is: do we make it our own, even if someone else is praying it?
Do we truly and authentically say “Amen”: “let it be so with me”?
The Great Thanksgiving is the second liturgical summit of the service (after the reading of the Gospel), and it includes the Dialogue, the Preface, the Holy, Holy, the Thanksgiving at the Table, and the Lord’s Prayer.
It is one big prayer with five parts.
“In the Great Thanksgiving the church praises God for the continuing creation, for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, and for the presence of the Holy Spirit through this meal and throughout the world.”
The Great Thanksgiving “gives thanks for the gifts of God in this sacrament and proclaims the command and promise of Jesus in the Last Supper,” and in it we are “invited to thank God for his creation, and all the good things he has given us.”
The Great Thanksgiving “is both a public proclamation of what God has done and a humble prayer, begging God for daily bread for all the world, confidently dependent on the promises of God.”
It must be noted that one of Martin Luther’s big reforms of the service of communion occurred in this section: he removed any reference to priestly sacrifice and omitted the words whispered by the priests of the time that were inaudible to the people.
The Great Thanksgiving begins with the Dialogue whichstarts with
the Greeting “The Lord be with you….and ends with “It is right to give our thanks and praise.”
It is one of the most ancient (and unchanged) texts in the liturgy, dating to the 2nd century.
The Dialogue invites the assembly into the Thanksgiving.
After the initial greeting invoking the faith statement that Jesus is Lord,
the presider invites the assembly to lift up their hearts, with “up” being a metaphor for where God is:
meaning that we should put God first in our lives and make God the center of our existence.
The assembly corrects the presider slightly: and says that we lift our hearts to the Lord: and the concept of up is, yes, just symbolic.
Finally, the presider says:
“let us give thanks to the Lord our God”: and the assembly responds yes…it is fully appropriate, and let’s get on with it.
Like the initial Greeting that happens in the Gathering Section,
this Greeting functions a bit like a check and balance before we begin: presider and assembly check each other out and confirm that they want to go ahead with this most sacred and special act.
After the Dialogue, we have the Preface, an initial telling “of the reason for giving thanks and praise”.
It is not simply an introduction, but a public proclamation of the “merciful and saving acts of the Lord”.
The preface varies by Church Season or Festival, and draws reference to the themes of the season or day.
Both Dialogue and Preface are sung, or rather chanted, if possible.
Next up is the Sanctus, or in English rather repetitively, Holy, Holy, Holy.
It is a short song based on texts from Isaiah, Revelation, John and Matthew written in the second half of the 3rd century.
In it we “look forward to our Lord’s coming in Holy Communion and therefore, we greet him with praise and joy”;
“even our feeble thanks is joined to the praises of all the angels, all the cosmos, all time and all place”, and it acknowledges that the “place of our table has a cosmic location, before the face of God”.
In our liturgy, the Holy, Holy is merged with the Benedictus,
the “Blessed is He” based on Psalm 118 whic “welcomes the approaching King to Jerusalem as today the assembly welcomes Jesus into its midst”, this Jesus who comes in God’s name “with mercy and self-giving”. Hosanna in the highest here means “save now, O high God, save all things!”
THANKSGIVING AT THE TABLE
Please be seated.
Next we turn to the Thanksgiving at the Table, which used to be called the
Eucharistic Prayer (Eucharist coming from the Greek, meaning to give thanks).
There are 11 options in our ELW,
reflecting different themes or styles and lengths.
Number 2 contains the Words of Institution of Communion only,
and represents one Lutheran trajectory: in most Lutheran churches until the mid-20th century this was the only option.
Luther himself recommended it be sung.
As these Words of Institution (this retelling of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper found in the Gospels and in 1 Corinthians) are Biblical,
they were felt to be more centred on the Meal than what the Roman Catholics were doing.
Remember that before the Reformation, the presider recited the prayer silently and the imagery was all about sacrifice which wasn’t necessarily Biblical.
Communion had become a spectator event and was not participatory in the least.
So many Reformers rejected all the extraneous prayers and focussed on the Words of Institution.
The other 10 Thanksgivings at the Table reflect a older tradition, whose practice was revived in Lutheran churches in the mid-20th century.
It was recognized that the baby had been thrown out with the bathwater, so to speak, and there was deep richness and theological significance possible in these prayers, esp. when they were said aloud, and the prayer was biblically-based and gospel-centered.
No matter which option, the Thanksgiving at the Table “continues on our thanksgiving by remembering esp. what Jesus said and did when he ate with his friends before his death.
We hear of his love for us – a love so great that he died on the cross.
He gave his life so that we might receive his life.
But the Christ who shares himself with us in Holy Communion is no longer dead.
While we remember his death, we also shout out our faith: that he is risen and will come again.
We want him to enter into us with his life now and always.
So we pray “come Lord Jesus””.
The full Thanksgiving prayer follows a very old form:
- first a proclamation of the gift and promise of Jesus
- then the words of institution
- then we remember Jesus’ death, resurrection and coming again
- then there is a prayer for the Spirit
- then the doxology; the final words of praise to God.
Many variations in hand gestures and movements are possible in this Thanksgiving at the Table, and pastors will do different things based on their training, piety, and local contexts, you probably notice differences between Pastor Helen, Carey, myself and previous pastors.
Current recommendations are to keep things simple, and stick to the oldest prayer posture, the Orans position with arms wide outstretched to receive God’s mercy and love.
The Lord’s Prayer “is a special prayer of God’s family, so we pray it before we begin this family meal” .
Saying the Lord’s Prayer before the Meal is a uniquely Lutheran practice.
The Lord’s Prayer is like a “touchstone”: it is good for any occasion, challenging yet comforting.
It can be called a model prayer, or a beginner’s prayer.
It is a unifying prayer that crosses languages and denominations.
The Gospels note two locations where Jesus taught it:
-in Luke Chapter 11, Jesus taught it at Bethphage near Jerusalem
on his way there after visiting Mary and Martha
-and in Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus taught it during the Sermon on the Mount on the Western shore of the sea of Galilee
Scholars don’t claim it now to be completely original but based on
a form of Aramaic Kaddish (the prayers said after the principal section of a synagogue service).
In any case, Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi and much of his teachings are found in the Hebrew Scriptures and theology of his day.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer during Holy Communion,
“Jesus tells us to pray “give us today our daily bread” and that very bread for which we pray– that foretaste of the feast to come- is present now by the power of the Holy Spirit in regular nourishment of this holy meal”.
“Give us today our daily bread” is a petition, that we would get what we need to survive that day, but here it refers particularly to the spiritual nourishment we are about to receive at the Lord’s Table.
The line “forgive us our sins as we would forgive those who sin against us”, is also particularly important in this context as we should examine our relationships with others before we come to the Lord’s Table.
As our Heavenly Father has been merciful to us, so we should be merciful to others as well.
At the end of the Lord’s Prayer is the Doxology;
or the final words of praise for God: “for thine is the power, and the glory”
These words are not in the Bible, but are found in the Didache (a book from around 100CE) and were added later.
COMMUNION AND DISTRIBUTION
Next we turn to the Communion Distribution.
It is a “time to gather at the Lord’s table to receive Jesus and all the blessings he has for us because of his death and resurrection.
As we eat the bread and drink the wine, he becomes part of us, forgives us, and makes us new.”
At the distribution “the Word of God is now proclaimed by the assembly eating and drinking these “visible words”.
“This publicly proclaimed, visible, eatable, drinkable word—like the audible word as well- is given by God to bring faith and turn us in love and service toward our neighbour.”
When we give the bread and wine, we use the same words as the Words of Institution
(the body of Christ given for you, the blood of Christ, shed for you).
And the response of the person receiving should be a joyful “Amen”= “Yes it is so!”
During communion, we sing songs which “help centre the assembly and encourages participation as though everyone is sharing a meal”.
The time while others are communing and we are waiting is a time for personal prayer.
Since we are on the radio (although often communion is after the hour mark), the songs help fill any possible dead air.
The songs reflect either themes of the day and the readings, or reflect the theme of communion.
TABLE BLESSING AND PRAYER
After a brief optional blessing at the table, reminding us of the strengthening power of communion, we turn to the Prayer after Communion
previously called the Post-Communion Prayer,
prayed by the Assisting Minister.
It is a transitional moment: “giving thanks for the gifts of the meal and asking God’s blessing on the assembly’s continued participation in God’s mission in the world”.
In this prayer, we “thank God for his special gift to us and ask him to help us live as children of God.”
Holy Communion Narrative for Children, Augsburg Fortress, 1978.
The Sunday Assembly, Brugh and Lathrop, 2008.
Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Leader’s Edition, 2006.
Holy People, Lathrop, 1999.
Celebration Bells Prelude “Calming Peace” Cathy Moklebust
We listen to the bells as we reflect on the past week, and prepare our hearts for worship.
We continue our reflections, listening to the choir.
Words of Welcome & Service Announcements
We gather in the name of the Holy Trinity, and inform ourselves about the worship service ahead.
*Gathering Hymn “God Is Here” # 526
We sing a song to orient our minds, hearts and bodies to God’s presence in our lives. This particular hymn is a good explanation of what we do in worship.
We greet each other in the name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
*Prayer of the Day
We pray to God in a brief prayer that summarizes the theme of the day.
We hear a simple message on the theme of the day for young and old.
We listen to the choir as they sing a song relating to the day’s theme, and we get
ready to hear God’s word proclaimed.
*Gospel Reading Jesus calls the disciples to fish for people Luke 5:1-11
We hear God’s Word about the Word of God, Jesus Christ.
*Prayers of Intercession
We respond to the Word by praying for the church, the world and all in need.
Offering Collection Hymn “Here I Am, Lord” # 574
We share the gifts and our very selves for God’s work.
*Offering Presentation Hymn“Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful” # 184
We offer up our gifts and our very selves for God’s work.
We give thanks for God’s gifts so generously given.
*Great Thanksgiving p. 129
The presiding minister greets the assembly a second time and invites all present to give thanks.
*Holy, Holy, Holy p. 130
We sing an ancient hymn of praise to God, the holy Trinity
*Thanksgiving at the Table I p. 130
The presiding minister gives thanks for the gift of God’s Meal.
*Lord’s Prayer (Our Father who art in heaven…) p. 134
We join in praying the model prayer that Jesus taught us
Lamb of God p. 135
We sing an ancient hymn of supplication of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Communion Hymns # 462, # 817, # 798
We receive God’s gift of Himself in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, as we sing hymns relating to Holy Communion and the themes of the day.
We recognize the healing and strengthening power of God’s mission in the world.
Prayer after Communion
We pray that God’s Meal will help us continue God’s mission in the world.
*Hymn “Jesus Calls Us: o’er the Tumult” # 696
*Dismissal A: Thanks be to God.