God of the Living | Communion Liturgy

An All Saints Day Communion liturgy based on Luke 20:27-38.


In the week before Jesus’ death, the religious leaders did all they could to trap him into some sort of blasphemy. The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, plied him with the impossible scenario we just heard. The religious leaders didn’t want to gain wisdom but for Jesus to defend resurrection when it doesn’t appear in Torah so they could discredit him. For them, life was only what you could see.

Jesus understands the real question and corrects their misunderstanding about resurrection. Resurrection is not about Life Part II but the newness of life in the presence of God. Paul said it this way to the church in Corinth: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”[1]

But even more importantly, Jesus corrects their misunderstanding about God. God is not limited to this life or the boundaries of our comprehension. God is I Am. It is always “now” for God. Even though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were long gone by the time Moses stood at the burning bush, they remained present before God. God is bound by neither the time and space of this world nor the limits of our physical death. God is God of the living — whether in this life or the next.

In joy and gratitude of our great God, let us give thanks.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is a great mystery how you are the God who was, the God who is, and the God who will be. It is hard for us to comprehend that the God of the burning bush is also the God of our 21st century lives. We wonder how it is that you have not changed.

Your faithful love is true from before time until after it ends. For this we give you thanks.

God who lived and breathed, you walked among us in our earthy, flawed, very human lives. You spoke timeless words to us in way we could understand. You healed our bodies and souls with the completeness of your grace. We wonder how you do not reach the end of your compassion.

Your faithful love is true from before time until after it ends. For this we give you thanks.

God who hovered over the waters of creation, spoke words of life through your prophets, forms us into Christ’s Body: the boundlessness of your presence can move us to silence. But you still speak the words of life, calling us to be your prophets in the world today. We wonder if our brokenness can quench your holy fire.

Your faithful love is true from before time until after it ends. For this we give you thanks.

Holy Spirit in not only this time and place — but even in the highest heavens — bring your power upon us. Unite all those who live in Christ as one holy communion. May the bread we share be the bread of life; and the cup, one of salvation. For evermore and evermore, we belong to you.

United in your name, we join the saints who have gone before us as we pray, using the words each of us knows best, saying: Our Father…



This Table is not a memorial of what was, although it is true that this is a Table of remembrance. But even as we remember how God created a world with every kind of plant and tree and provided manna in the wilderness; as we remember how Jesus multiplied the bread and fish to feed the multitudes, ate with his disciples on the night he was arrested, and broke bread with the travelers at Emmaus; we celebrate that, through the Holy Spirit, our sharing today is not a replica but a true communion with our Risen Lord.

In this celebration of the bread of life and the cup of salvation, we also celebrate that in the waters of baptism, we remain united with those who have gone before us. Our communion today includes heaven and earth, for God is God of the living. Let us gather at the Lord’s Table.


Prayer After Communion[2]

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend all those who have gone before us. In communion with you, we remember those who have been received into the arms of your mercy. As we live this life, we humbly pray that you acknowledge us as a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. And when this life ends, that we would be received into the blessed rest of everlasting peace and the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

[1] 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV)
[2]  adapted from the Book of Common Worship


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.

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