This is a communion liturgy for Luke 15:1-10. It also references the Great Banquet in Luke 14. My congregation is also celebrating Rally Day this Sunday. We don’t have Sunday school, but we are still celebrating returning “home” after the summer.
All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” – Luke 15:1-2 (CEB)
In our Gospel reading, we heard about a dinner party where the guests didn’t all get along. The religious leaders arrived at Jesus’ dinner party to find it was full of sinners. They might have thought the sinners arrived there by some unfortunate misunderstanding.
It’s not that the religious leaders weren’t “sinners” but that in their community they weren’t seen as extraordinary or intentional sinners. They might stumble on one of their many purity laws or forget to tithe their herbs, but they didn’t go around extorting people for the government or who knows what else.
But it was no accident that this motely group gathered around Christ’s table. Each one was invited. And not just from the Temple or houses of power, but in the city streets, the roads and the lanes, Jesus found them and brought them all to his feast.
In this same way, Christ has gathered us from our many locations and life experiences. When we first arrived, we didn’t really know anyone either. But we’ve learned that when we gather at the Lord’s table, we become family. Let us give thanks.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Out of people with no special status in the world or great achievement on their resume, you called us by your own name. You formed us into a holy priesthood, not that we would lord this honor over others but that we would be a blessing to the world. Holy God who calls us as your own, we give you thanks.
In the synagogues and Temples were the righteous people met, in the streets where tax collectors plied their trade, at the roadside where the lame begged for food, you came to all. You did not sit in heaven or even on any earthly throne, but became the Word in the flesh and dwelled among us. Jesus, redeemer of the lost, we give you thanks.
In the valley of dry bones, alongside the River Jordan, in the hearts of those with ears to hear, you breathed truth and peace in the world. Even now, you are not contained to any building or people. In every corner of the world, you speak of mercy and grace, of justice and humility. Holy Spirit who kindles hope in our hearts, we give you thanks.
Now, with the wind and fire of Pentecost, fill us with your presence. Make this table Christ’s own table; the bread and cup, signs of grace. Bring us into communion once again with our Risen Lord, fortifying the communion of this worshipping community as a member of the Body of Christ.
We come as many but in your presence we are made one. Therefore, as one voice, we pray using the words Jesus taught us, saying: Our Father…
Paul wrote to the church in Rome: Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. As we gather today, we remember how Christ welcomed us as friends and members of the family. And everyone was welcome to the family dinner table.
Jesus was always eating with saints and sinners, in all our various forms. And it was for all, for saints andsinners, that Christ broke bread — a sign of his body that would be broken— and he poured the wine — a sign of his blood that would shed.
As we come to Christ’s table, we come invited. No one here is an imposter or excluded. At this Table we are saints and sinners. We are friends. We are family. All are welcome. Come to the Table.As we come to Christ’s Table, we come invited. No one here is an imposter. At this Table we are saints and sinners. We are friends. We are family. All are welcome. #Welcome #Jesus #Communion #Loved Click To Tweet
Prayer After Communion
Welcoming God, we give you thanks for the invitation to come and sit at the Table with you. May the bread and cup that nourished our bodies, nourish our souls. May we go not only to those we know but also to city streets, the roads and the lanes, where the lost can be found — that we might all rejoice together. Amen.
If you are looking for more liturgical resources, please consider checking out my books:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for Worship 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.
Come to the Table: Communion Liturgies of Invitation to Celebrate and Experience the Love of God is a collection of communion liturgies inviting worshippers to experience and respond to the Gospel. These meaningful liturgies enhance and reinforce the biblical message of the day. Worshippers are welcomed to the Table to experience the Word in preparation to go out into the world and live it. Come to the Table includes liturgies for the entire liturgical year providing pastors with a valuable resource in worship planning.