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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Communion Prayers for the Eve of the Nativity


These are the prayers I have composed for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper on the Eve of the Nativity. They are part of a longer service which includes more prayers, readings, and music.

Offering


To the Lord belong the Earth
and everything in it.
the world and all its inhabitants. Psalm 24:1 (REB)

*Doxology, “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” 5

*Prayer of Dedication

O God,
what shall we give in return for your gift
of coming into our lives and our flesh in Jesus Christ?
You have no need of anything we have;
indeed everything belongs to you from the beginning:
our bodies, the Earth, and matter itself.
Yet we offer to you these signs of our trust in you,
for the ministry of your peace, justice, and love in the world.
With these gifts we give to you Mary’s answer:
let it happen to us according to your Word.
Amen.

Invitation to the Lord’s Table

This is our communion meal with Christ our God;
it is a foretaste of his coming commonwealth,
it is our thanksgiving for God’s abundance and generosity.

Jesus Christ welcomes us to his Table.
He invites those who trust in God’s love revealed in him
to participate with him in the feast which he has prepared.

Here we become his body in the world,
taking on his ministry of peace,
sharing his message of hope and love,
and spreading his life to all.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O God,
on this blessed night
we lift our voices in praise to you
for your great act of reconciliation in Jesus Christ:
Your Word, by whom you made all things,
now becomes flesh to dwell among us,
sharing our body and our history.
In him you, O God, become one with us,
so that we may become one with you,
and one in ministry to all the world.

And so we join our voices to the choirs of creation,
past and future, within and without,
in singing the song of praise and glory:

Holy, holy, holy Lord
God of power and might:
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory,
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he,
O blessed is he
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna in the highest!

In the beginning, O God,
you created all things by your Word and Spirit.
Tonight your Word becomes flesh to dwell among us,
bringing together prophecy and hope
in a pure act of living Presence:
Jesus Christ, born of Mary.
He reveals once and for all your love for your creation.

By his birth in Bethlehem to homeless, migrant, refugee parents,
abused by the government, and given no room by business,
by his recognition by women, poor shepherds, and faithful old people,
though the rulers were blind or resistant to his coming,
by his healing and teaching,
his exorcisms, and his raising of the dead,
by his lifting up of the poor and the powerless
and his including of the outcast,
by his preaching of justice and love,
and his nonviolent resistance to evil,
by his critique of wealth and hypocrisy,
and his zeal for the Temple as a house of prayer for all nations,
by his gathering of a holy community of disciples,
and his sending them out in service to all,
and finally by his execution at the hands of fearful human authorities,
and his defeat of the power of sin and death in his resurrection,
he fully revealed your saving love for the world,
and opened the way for us to life in union with you.

As you offer Christ to us as your living Presence
and our pure and shining example and Master,
we make our offering to you, O God.
Transform us for his sake.
Send to us your Holy Spirit,
your beautiful gift to those who trust in you,
and sanctify us and these elements,
drawn from your creation.
May we discern here and now your Presence.
Empower us to follow Jesus Christ,
that as he takes our life on himself,
so may we take his life on ourselves.

The Lord’s Prayer

O God,
in Jesus Christ you revealed yourself first to Mary,
who bore you into the world you came to save.
And so we are bold to pray in the words Jesus taught us,
saying:

Our Father….

The Breaking of Bread

On the night when he was born
Jesus Christ, the Word of God,
became human flesh and blood,
revealing the depths of God’s love for the world.

And on the night before he died,
he gathered his disciples for the Passover meal.
He took a loaf of bread,
blessed it, broke it, and said:
“This is my body. Mark 14:22

The celebrant breaks the bread.

Here we share in Christ’s Body,
God’s living Presence,
given to us that we might be his body,
his living community,
witnessing to God’s love in all the Earth.

And after supper he lifted the cup, saying,
“This is my blood.” Mark 14:24

The celebrant pours the juice into the cup.

Here we share in the Blood of Christ,
the very life of God,
given to us and spread over all the world
blessing and a binding us in love,
restoring the connection between Creator and creation.

Now as often as we share this meal,
we proclaim with joy
that our Creator is now with us in Jesus Christ,
in our mortal flesh,
in our life and our death,
bringing us and all creation from death to life.

It is a sign of the new covenant of peace
in which we remember Christ,
participate in Christ,
and await Christ’s coming.

The Holy Communion of the People

Therefore,
I invite you to come to the Table
with hearts overflowing with love and joy,
in humility and thankfulness,
and receive the life of God.

The people come forward to share in the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Closing Prayer

Gracious God,
you came to us at Bethlehem.
We have come to you at this Table,
and you have given us your life in this sacrament.
Send us out into the world in peace,
sharing that life in ministries of justice and love.
And gathering together
your new community of blessing.
Amen.