Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Communion for the MLK 2016 Worship at the Presbyterian Center

I was really mad about racism today, and reminded that we are all more than our worst moments (derived from Sister Helen Prejean's ministry and work). Some folks thought this liturgy was pretty good, so I'm posting it in case anyone else wants to use it.

MLK Worship
January 20, 2016
Presbyterian Center Chapel
Original by Laura M. Cheifetz, and quoted text from from Great Thanksgiving H in the Book of Common Worship (and also Scripture)


Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God.
They have come from east and west, from north and south.
They came in great joy and with great suffering.
They were invaded, colonized, abducted, trafficked to generate wealth for others, their governments overthrown so that others might profit, their lands stolen from them and their children.
They are the ones who spread suffering throughout the world, colonizers, invaders, traffickers, and enslavers, overthrowing governments for their own small-minded desires of material gain.
They left their countries because they were desperate, or because they wanted their children to have more opportunities, or because they wanted to live in safety.
Too many never wanted to leave their countries, but were forced to do so.
They are people who trade in the lives of others
They are people who fight for the lives of others
They are people fighting for their own lives every day, and for the legacies their children will inherit.
Yet all of them, all of us, inhabitants of this world house, sit at table in the kin-dom of God,
Drawn together by one who was crucified, dead, and buried, and who rose again in defiance of the powers of death.

This is the Lord’s table, and the Savior invites those who trust him to share the feast he has prepared.

Great Thanksgiving

“Holy God, we praise you.
Let the heavens be joyful,
And the earth be glad.

“We bless you for creating the whole world,
For your promises to your people Israel,
And for Jesus Christ in whom your fullness dwells.”

God, you created this world beautiful, diverse, teeming with life, temperate rainforests and tropical jungles, wide-ranging plains and huge skies, steep mountains and old gentle hills, colorful deserts and oceans filled with coral, cold ice-scapes and rocky shores, a world dangerous and wild, yet care-filled enough to nurture the most delicate of creatures.
You created humanity as one in a world of many,
And when your people rejected you, you continued to loved them fiercely,
Calling them, us, beloved, as we struggle to learn to live together in peace.

You sent prophets to call your people back to your ways,
Prophets we persecuted and mocked and surveilled,
Prophets we bombed and threatened and falsely accused,
Prophets calling us to our best selves while we only showed them our worst selves.
You sent prophets whose names we recall today in our own whitewashed versions of history
And prophets whose names are lost because their work and lives were unacceptable to the victors.
You sent Ph.D.s and the self-taught,
Those full of virtue and those barely able to hold it together
All speaking the words we needed to hear, and words we continue to ignore.

You sent us your most beloved son,
A Palestinian Jew from a humble family
With scandalous beginnings
A young woman pregnant before she should have been
A family of refugees fleeing for their lives
A boy full of questions who grew up to heal the most disgusting, to reach out and love the worst of society, one who cared more for the vulnerable, poor, and disliked than for his own power and safety.

“Dying on the cross, Jesus saves us.
Risen from the dead, he gives new life.
Living with you, he prays for us.

“With thanksgiving we take this bread and this cup
And proclaim the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Receive our sacrifice of praise.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
That this meal may be
A communion in the body and blood of our Lord.
Make us one with Christ
And with all who share this feast.

“We praise you,
through Christ your Word made flesh,
In the holy and life-giving Spirit,
Now and forever. Amen.”

Lord’s Prayer

As Jesus taught his disciples to pray, we join, each of us praying in the languages of our hearts, “Our Father…”

Words of Institution

"Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

“In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

The gifts of God for the people of God.


Prayer After Communion

“God of grace,
You renew us at your table with the bread of life.
May this food strengthen us in love,”
And help us to choose relationship instead of war,
Reparations instead of violence,
Social good instead of personal gain,
Faith instead of anxiety,
Accountability instead of prejudice,
Both/and instead of either/or,
Difficult conversations and professional risk, instead of accommodation and silent complicity.
“We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.”

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