Like many churches, we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day this Sunday. My church also makes meals several times a year for Larry Under the Bridge. This Sunday, we will celebrate that the Table Jesus prepares extends to the saints who have gone before us, those who are homebound, and those who are homeless, and brings us all into communion with one another.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God who always loves us first, we cannot begin to comprehend such a love. In your sovereign love, you wash us in the waters of Creation. You form us in the waters of the womb. You redeem us through the waters of the Sea. You guide us through the waters of the Jordan. And in the waters of our baptism, you call us by name.
Jesus who was without sin, we are all sinners, but yet you welcome us at your Table despite this – and really because of it. Through your life, we find the measure of which to examine ourselves. Through your death and resurrection, we find the grace by which you save us. In your baptism, you stood in solidarity with our humanity. At your Table, you remind us of your grace.
Holy Spirit, the voice of Truth, you reveal our sin and shortcomings. You gather us together in worship as the Body of Christ, so that we may both confess our sin and receive your words of life. You bring us to the Table to remember and celebrate our forgiveness and to be strengthened as we seek to trust that you will continue God’s good work in us.
Holy Spirit, we pray that you would once again bring us into communion with Christ through this loaf and this cup. We pray that we would once again commune with all the saints and sinners that have come before us as you extend the Table beyond what our eye can see. We give you thanks that this communion is never limited by our faithfulness or time and place, but is the very feast of the Kingdom of God.
We remember those who have died and gone to the place you have prepared for them. We are comforted knowing that in you, we still share the waters of Baptism and the loaf and cup of your Supper. We also rejoice in our communion with those not with us today but will receive this meal: for those who are homebound and for those who are homeless.
In the grace of Jesus Christ, the sovereign love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we join our voices, as we pray using the words most familiar to each of us, Our Father…
Today, you are invited to a fuller celebration of the Lord’s Supper. As usual, we will celebrate by intinction. You are invited to come forward to receive the elements. But rather than returning to your seats, you are invited to participate in making a meal for the Larry Under the Bridge ministry. Twice a week, Larry collects these donated meals and they are delivered to those living outside in the Bay View area. Although we are not sharing a full meal like the early Church did, we have the joy of providing one to those in need.
In addition to the meals, you are invited to write a little note or draw a picture to be included with the meal. It doesn’t need to be profound or perfect, it is an offering of our shared humanity with those who not at the Table but are being fed from it.
All Saints’ Day was November 1, and so we are also remembering the saints who have gone before us. You are invited to dip your hand in the baptismal font, remembering how we remain joined in the waters of baptism. You are also invited to light a candle or candles in memory of those who have passed. If it is difficult for you to reach the table, there will be someone to help you with the lighting.
For those who find it difficult to come forward, we will come to you. We will bring the elements first. After that we can either bring you forward to participate in the meal-making and candle-lighting or we will bring the candles to you and then place them on the common table.
This may seem confusing and we knew it would be a little chaotic, but it seems that activity of the Holy Spirit is rarely quiet and orderly. We will begin with receiving the elements and then you can either follow the person in front of you, or we have folks here to help guide you.
We are the Church when we wash in the waters of God’s love, when we share the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. We are the Church when we confess our sins and when we accept forgiveness. We are the Church when we look beyond ourselves and share the grace of Jesus Christ in the world around us.
Come and be washed. Come and be fed. Come and remember. Come and feed others. Come, because Jesus has prepared the way.
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.