“Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.” – Luke 2:29-32 (CEB)
This communion liturgy brings complete our journey from Announcement to Presentation. But the story doesn’t end there as Luke goes on to say:
When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown, Nazareth in Galilee. – Luke 2:39 (CEB)
Just as Mary and Joseph needed to take Jesus home and begin life, we do the same as we sing the last Christmas songs on Epiphany and continue in the new year.
Christmas day has passed – what does that mean? What do we do now with the Good News of great joy? In a way, we are waiting once again – between the wonder and reality of Immanuel, God with us, but before the entire world embraces the miracle and hope. We ponder, we rest, we remember, we wonder – but what will we do?
Are we any different from we were six weeks ago?
Like Mary, have we allowed ourselves – or readied ourselves – to be opened, utterly?
What do we carry with us into the new year?
While the Lord’s Supper is a meal of hope for us, it is also a statement that grace was already complete when Jesus shared this meal the first time. This table provides us with a sustaining meal, rooted in hope and grace, as we continue to live life in Nazareth.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God, who announces Good News of great joy for all people – how amazing that you invite us to be a part of this proclamation. You do not limit your grace to the boundaries of our faithfulness. You do not withhold joy based on our merit.
God, maker and keeper of promises – we cannot comprehend the magnificent nature of all you have planned. Never fully comprehending, we accept what you offer not fully knowing how to respond. Like children who don’t understand the value of the gift, too often, we cast your promises aside for the worthless distractions of this world. Yet, your promises remain.
God, ever-present in our times of waiting – you created time to allow us to more fully experience joy but also to prepare us for the challenges of life. In your incarnation, you walked with us in both, leading us towards joy. In your Spirit, you are with us still.
Holy Spirit, present with us in this moment and in this place, we offer ourselves to you in this sacred space. We pray that you would make this meal sacred, bringing Christ’s presence to the cup and the loaf and to our communion together in your name.
Immanuel, God with us – we remember the fragile way you entered this world. How you trusted us with your humanness, showed us what it means to love, and taught us to pray, saying…
Just as God’s Good News of great joy was for all people, so is God’s table. Just as Jesus came to bring us life so that we may experience abundantly, so does this meal. The cup we share reminds us that Christ’s love is a cup overflowing. The loaf we share reminds us that Christ’s love is to be shared. Let us come, eat and drink, receiving Christ’s love and being prepared to share it in the world.
Prayer After Communion
“Lord, now you are dismissing your servants in peace, according to your word; for our eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
This is indeed Good News of great joy for all people. Let the truth of your incarnate and eternal love for us guide our hearts and minds in the year to come. Amen.
 Luke 2:29-32, adapted from NRSV