This weekend, the youth at church are participating in the 30-hour Famine (you can donate to World Vision here). Eldest will be participating at church. Youngest and I will do it together from home. I was asked to lead the communion service to break the fast – which I am so excited to be a part of because I love that the youth do this (and the adults that lead), the youth, and communion. Here is the communion liturgy I wrote for Saturday night. The Famine starts for us at noon Friday – 6:00 pm Saturday, so it’s not too late to join us from home or wherever you are.
After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.” – Matthew 4:2-3 (CEB)
Having experienced hunger for 30 hours, you know that Jesus really was starving. You also know that now is not the time for your parents to sit down and discuss that class that you really need to study more for. Now is not the time to head to the gym to play basketball or go for a run with your friends. Now is not the time for your brother or sister to ask you 1,000 questions about what you did, where you slept at the church, where you served, and whether you were hungry.
But this is the time that Satan came to Jesus and tempted him. You see, he knew that Jesus was starving. He knew that Jesus’ patience was thin and his resilience was weak.
But Jesus was strong where it mattered.
As you have talked about this weekend, fasting is something we do to become closer to God. When the Bible talks about fasting, it usually talks about praying as well. You fasted this weekend to not only become closer to God, but closer to God’s children who fast because they have no other choice. For 30 hours, you fasted in order to understand why Jesus commands us to feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, and visit those who are sick or in prison.
What you experienced over the last 30 hours was incarnational ministry. This is the ministry that Jesus entered into with us. Jesus fasted not simply to draw closer to God – but to draw closer to us.
So how did Jesus and God respond to the temptations Satan offered:
Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him. – Matthew 4:10-11 (CEB)
Jesus is an example for us – that in times of temptation or difficulty, our response is to worship and serve God. God’s response is to take care for us.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God our Creator, you have made this world an awesome place. Your love is evident in the range of colors, the diversity of the animals, the intricate nature of our bodies. You bring order out of chaos. You bring order and calm to our souls.
Jesus our Savior, you chose to be born and walk this earth just as we do. Your love is evident in the way you welcome each person – regardless of their past or their future. Out of our simple faith you offer us forgiveness and eternal life. You are love.
Holy Spirit our Comforter, you fill us with peace despite the circumstances of our life. Your love is evident in your constant presence. You comfort us when we struggle and challenge us when we become too comfortable. You bind us to God and to one another.
Holy Spirit, we pray that you would fill this place; that you would make this simple drink and loaf the cup of life and the bread of heaven. Just as the angels took care of Jesus as he broke his fast, may this simple meal care for our souls as well as our bodies.
As the Body of Christ, we belong to you and also to one another. We join our voices now praying the prayer Jesus taught us, saying.
People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s kingdom. – Luke 13:29 (CEB)
In the same way, we come from Cedarburg and Mequon; Grafton and Fox Point; Germantown and Thiensville to gather as the people of God. We come to this table hungry. Hungry because we haven’t eaten but more importantly hungry for God’s kingdom to come.
We have a lot of stories of Jesus eating. He knew this everyday act brought life to our bodies and to our relationships. This meal, brings life to our souls as well. This communion we share tonight not only breaks our fast but also nourishes us for where God is leading us next.
We remember that on the night Jesus was betrayed, he shared a meal with his disciples. After the meal, he took the bread, gave thanks for it, broke it and said, “This is my body broken for you. Take, eat.” Likewise, he took the cup. And after giving thanks for it, he said, “This is my blood shed for the forgiveness of sins. Take, drink.”
Every time we share this cup and this bread, we both remember and look forward. Every time we share this cup and this bread, we proclaim God’s kingdom until Christ comes again.
Come and let God take care of you.
If you are looking for more liturgical resources, please consider checking out my book:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.