Remember :: Communion Liturgy

An empty tomb, Bet-Shemesh Israel.

Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. – Luke 24:8-9 (NRSV)

This communion liturgy accompanies a message on Luke 23:54-24:12 on the call to remember.  The Greek word for tomb has the same root as remember.  As people of the resurrection, we don’t go to the tomb in order to look for the dead but to remember our Lord lives.  Likewise, we are called to remember what was, but not for the purpose of reliving the past but live faithfully in the present.  Our journey to the open and empty tomb and remembering there what Jesus has said, is meant to change our purpose and identity.  It is a journey of transformation.

 

Welcome

The Easter story is rooted in time and place.  Beginning with Maundy Thursday, we are pulled out of whatever else is happening in life into four days that unfold similar to an episode of “24.”  Luke, who is so purposeful in telling us who was emperor, governor, king, or chief priest, keeps us bounded in the particulars of a rather small group of people in a small area of Jerusalem.

On Easter, time and space held captive these four days breaks free.  We know that Jesus will appear to many.  We know that the Good News will spread.  As humans, we are still bound by time and space, but Ecclesiastes wisely says that God has set eternity in the human heart.[1]  Likewise, the Sacraments transcend a simple bowl of water or loaf of bread and cup of juice.

  • In the waters of Baptism, engrafted into the Body of Christ, we join all those who have ever been baptized into the faith.
  • At the Table, brought into communion with the Risen Lord, we eat not only with those around us but share a holy meal at a Table that extends from to a field where 5,000 were fed, an upper room where a final meal was shared, to Emmaus where the bread was broken and hearts were opened, and into heaven with the saints who have gone before us.

These are the first fruits of the resurrection – our baptism and communion – that allow us to be emptied of our sin and fear and find open the way to new life.  Let us remember together as we offer our thanks to the Lord.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give thanks to you, O God, because you are good and your faithful love lasts forever.[2]  From the gift of creation to the gift of yourself, you prepare a way for us to find you.  Although at times we wander, we never go alone, for your hand leads us and holds us fast.[3]

We give thanks to you, Jesus our Savior, because rather than avoiding our humanity, you willingly entered into it.  You have not held our sins against us, but offer us grace.  You do not turn away from our illness or the demons that seem to possess us, but bring healing and wholeness to our lives.  You do not abandon us to our hunger, but nourish us with your very body.  You have taught us what love is.

We give thanks to you, Spirit of Truth, because you continue to breathe the newness of resurrection into our lives.  May the awe of the first Easter be renewed in us each day as you lead us in life everlasting.

On your path of righteousness, we come hungry and thirsty.  Feed us today not on our meager offering of  juice and bread but on the very Bread of Heaven and the true Cup of Salvation.  In communion with our Triune God and one another, we pray together using the words each of us finds most familiar, saying:  Our Father…

 

Invitation

We come to this table as ones invited.  And all are welcome because Jesus said that we would come from the north and the south; the east and the west.  All are welcome to come and share in the bread that Jesus offers:  his body broken for ours.  All are welcome to come and share in this cup that Jesus offers:  his blood shed for ours.

[instructions]

  • We do this in remembrance of Jesus – not as ones who visit the tomb of the dead.
  • We do this in remembrance of Jesus – as ones who share in his resurrected life.

And as we remember, we also proclaim that our Risen Lord will indeed come again.  Come and be fed, one and all, at the table of our Lord.

 

Prayer After Communion

Faithful and loving God, you have once again fed us at your table, strengthening us for a life lived not in the shadow of the tomb but in the light of the resurrection.  As we go forth today, let us remember all that you have said so that we may live as your people.  Amen.

[1] Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

[2] Psalm 118:1

[3] Psalm 139:10

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