Today is a day that we remember the fullness of our sacraments. In the waters of baptism, we celebrate the spiritual rebirth we have in Christ in this lifetime as well as the new life we have in Christ in the one to come. In these waters, we grasp hands with every person who has been a member of the Church. In the communion of the table, we celebrate that the meal we share today nourishes us in this life as we look forward to the day when we sit down at table with Jesus and the Church universal. As we eat this meal in this place, we eat it with every person who has been a member of the Church. In these sacraments, we are reminded that God transcends life and death.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God, in life and death we belong to you. We give thanks for the breath of life you breathed into us; for the part of you, you put into us. We give thanks for the beauty of creation that you share so freely.
Faithful Jesus, in life and death we belong to you. We are thankful that you didn’t hide your grief over Lazarus’ death. We know that you share our grief in the death of our loved ones. We give thanks for your promises that you are with us until the end of the age and that when our time on earth comes to an end, you have already prepared a place for us.
Life-giving Spirit, in life and death we belong to you. We give thanks that you are always as close as the breath in our lungs. How thankful we are that you come alongside us – binding us together as the Body of Christ, encouraging our faith, calling us to correction, reminding us that our God transcends time, place and the limits of our humanity.
Holy Spirit, ever-moving, ever-present, ever-living, we ask that you move through this place right now. May the loaf and the cup we share be more than cut up bread and grape juice. May they bring us into communion with loved ones who have died, who now eat at the heavenly table. May they bring us into communion with Christ, in whom we have our being. May they bring us into communion with one another.
With boldness, we join our voices now, praying the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, Saying,
The table is not simply a memorial, a testament to what was. This table represents the living presence of Jesus in our lives today and in all our days yet to come. While we remember that Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take, eat. This is my body broken for you.” And how in the same way he took the cup, blessed it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood shed for the forgiveness of sins.”
While we remember a death we also proclaim life everlasting. We come to the table with both joy and grief, knowing the pain of this life but also the glory of heaven.
Prayer After Communion
Saint and sinner, we come before you, Lord, in deep gratefulness for the promises you have made and keep. We offer you both the joys and pains of our life, knowing that you tenderly hold both. May we take the communion we have shared as we leave this place. Let it continue to nourish us as we go about our lives. May it be received joyfully as we extend it to those who could not be with us here today. To you be the glory, today and forever, amen.