James Cone, a Black Liberation theologian, wrote:
Theological concepts have meaning only as they are translated into theological praxis, that is, the Church living in the world on the basis of what it proclaims.
Or in other words, our God Words are not just spiritual truths but are also experienced in our physical life. Our Sacraments are like that. Our theological statements of living, dying, and being raised with Christ are demonstrated in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Sacraments allow us to experience physically these theological truths.
When we come to this table,
- we proclaim the truth that God has led us on paths of righteousness;
- we acknowledge that it is God who prepares the table;
- we experience the good abundance of green pastures and still waters;
- we announce God’s goodness and mercy;
- we declare that death is a part of life, but in Christ we have no fear.
Let us offer our prayer of thanksgiving to our Good Shepherd.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of Creation, you are made known in your great works. All of our senses delight in the beauty around us. From dust you formed us and to dust we will return, and just as you breathed the breath of life into us, so that breath – our soul – will be restored to you.
Jesus, you took on humanity to make theology real. In your life, you helped us to understand what it means to believe. You showed us what it looks like to walk in paths of righteousness. In your feeding and healing, you sat your people in green pastures feeding them the Bread of Life and leading them to Living Water. You restored their soul. You restore our soul.
Holy Spirit, you are made known in the goodness and mercy that both leads us and earnestly seeks us. In your goodness, you comfort us with your presence and correct us when we wander. In your mercy, you show us how to return evil with love.
Holy Spirit, you are also the one whose presence at this table makes it more than just a few pieces of bread and a cup of grape juice. We pray that once again you would make this the Bread of Life and the Cup of the New Covenant – bringing us together in the house of the LORD – in this life and the one to come.
God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, we offer you are thanksgiving for all the ways you lead us. And recognizing your unity in one another we demonstrate our unity in you as we join our voices saying the Lord’s Prayer in the words most familiar to each of us: Our Father…
Jesus was both the receiver and giver of hospitality. He ate and drank with all people, offering himself to them.
In the same way, at one of these meals, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks for it, broke it and gave it to the disciples, saying: This is my body, broken for you.
Likewise, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to the disciples, saying: This is the cup of the new covenant, my blood poured out for you.
Jesus has prepared this table so that all who seek him would know the covenantal love of God’s goodness and mercy.
Prayer After Communion
Good and merciful God, we pray that our theology would be more than words as it is made real in our lives. May this meal nourish our bodies and souls so that we might live in service to the world around us, to your glory. Amen.
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.