Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Banquet of Hopeful Expectation -- Advent Communion

God’s Banquet is coming. The time we await when all will gather from North, East, West and South.
A banquet where the rich and powerful will sit with the weak and poverty-stricken. A table where young and old will learn from each other. A time when all will sit together in peace, “and the wolf will lie down with the lamb”.
Here at this table we get a foretaste of God’s banquet. This is indeed God’s table, not the church’s, and so all who seek to follow The Way are welcome to eat and drink from it.
Come and taste the grace eternal, come and see that God is good.

The Great Thanksgiving
God is with us
We are not alone
Christ is present here
The Spirit moves within us
Let us give thanks to God
In memory and in hope
Blessings be to you, Creator God,
Who in the beginning brought light and life to the world and who continues to bring it love and light everlasting.
Your song of wisdom echoes through the ages, your ancient promise still brings us hope.
Over the ages you have called people to embrace your hope and share your love.
But even when they have closed their ears to the song you did not stop singing.
You sent prophets and messengers to your people, reminding them of the promised time of peace and justice that would surround the world.
They came in the midst of our despair and filled us with hope.
And then you came to a young woman named Mary and laid out the promise in a new way
Promising her a son, who would be called Jesus
Promising her that in her son the world would be changed
And now as we prepare for that child to be born, we echo the ancient cry:
O come, O come Emmanuel

And also we lift our voices in song, singing together the praises of ages (MV #203 tune: Kingsfold)
O holy holy holy God,
O God of time and space.
All earth and sea and sky above
bear witness to your Grace.
Hosanna in the highest heav’n,
creation sings your praise.
And blessed is the One who comes
and bears Your name always
The Story Remembered
Yet even now, as we prepare to celebrate his birth, we remember the life that this baby will live.
We remember how he broke the bonds of human tradition to show all what the Banquet of Hope could be as he ate openly with the despised and the outcast of his world.
And we remember one special meal, foretaste of the banquet that is to come, that he ate with his closest friends.
Gathering them together in an upper room to share the story of liberation, he prepared them for liberation.
And at the end of the meal he took bread, blessed and broke it, then passed it to them saying:
Take and eat. This bread is the body of Life, broken by the world. Eat it in remembrance and in hope.
After that he took the cup, blessed it, and passed it to them saying:
This cup is the sign of the New Covenant. Whenever you drink it remember me, for I shall not eat or drink again until the time of the heavenly banquet.
Remembering the birth of the child in the stable, we remember also his life, his death and his resurrection.
We remember how he poured his love out all he met and look forward to his return and the coming reign of peace, love, and justice.

And in our remembering we sing the mystery of faith (MV #204 tune: Kingsfold)
Sing Christ has died and Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!
Sing Christ has died and Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!

The Spirit Transforms
God, you poured your Spirit on Mary and she sang words of defiance and hope.
Pour out your Spirit upon us gathered here. As we eat and drink may we know your presence.
As we eat and drink may we be opened to the possibilities of your hope and power
And may we be strengthened in our time of waiting for peace and justice so that we will have the courage to make the Christmas promise a reality.

And the people all sang: (MV #205 tune: Kingsfold)
Amen, amen, O Holy One!
Hosanna and amen!
Amen, amen, O Holy One!
Hosanna and amen!
And now, as beloved children of a loving Parent, we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

The Pouring and Breaking and Serving
The Bread we break is the Bread of Life
The Cup we Share is the Cup of Promise
These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.
Come and eat, the banquet awaits.

Prayer Following Communion
God of pregnant expectations, God of Christmas promise, God of child-like hope, we have eaten and drunk from your table. May the eating and the drinking fill us with hope in a world of despair. May we be beacons of hope as we wait for the day when the world will be changed. Grant that this taste of your banquet which is to come would give us the hunger for peace and justice in our community and around the world. Amen


Anonymous said...

just want to thank you for superb wording of the Advent Communion liturgy. Loved the theme of the banquet. I'm borrowing from it to use for a monthly service that some friends and I lead in a residential care home this week.

revkjarla said...

Dear Gord,
I know you are a revgalpal...
I would like to use this liturgy in worship in December, with attribution to you, with your permission.....

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely service of Advent Communion. We appreciate your willingness to share and will give credit to your words in our worship service. Blessings and Peace

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your willingness to share your works. This Sunsay, I like to use this as part of communion liturgy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I am using parts of it (with attribution) for our communion liturgy this Sunday. Beautiful.

Leila said...

Thank you for this beautiful and imagery-filled litany. Together we break bread, together we share. Thank you for your generous spirit.
Peace and Light to you in this season of waiting and promise.

Beth said...

This is so beautiful. While I love to write my own liturgy, in the fog of my first few months in a new call as as a solo pastor, I'm relying on others to write for me, and I'm grateful I found this. Blessings to you!

Liddy Barlow said...

We will be using this liturgy (with attribution) at St. John's UCC in Larimer, PA this Sunday -- thank you so much.

Sally Budge said...

Thank you for posting this liturgy. With your permission and proper attribution, I will be using it for an Advent ladies gathering in Halifax Nova Scotia.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful liturgy! Thank you!! It will be offered December 1, 2013 at Community UCC, Medford, Wisconsin. Blessings abound!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. We're using it in Rantoul, IL tomorrow!
First United Methodist.

Anonymous said...

We will use this liturgy, with attribution, tomorrow, December 1st, in Elizabeth, CO. Thank you for the gift of this beautiful Advent Communion!

Anonymous said...

We are using this beautiful Advent liturgy at Common Table in San Francisco, CA. Thank you so much for making this available to all who come across it. With best wishes, Elle Noble

Georgia Hale said...

Thank you we are using this in our liturgy this Sunday. Peace be with you from Grand Rapids, MI

Anonymous said...

Just what I have been looking for!

similarity space said...

Thank you so much for this liturgy. We will be using it at First United Presbyterian Church of Guthrie, OK!

Chuck Griffin said...

Thanks so much for this Advent communion liturgy. I look forward to using it this coming Sunday as we enter our season of expectation.

Pete Slee said...

Am using this liturgy (slightly adapted) with retirement living community in Bath, UK, today. Thanks very much.