Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Communion Prayer for Good Shepherd Sunday

We Gather At Table
The God who leads us to green pastures and still waters
Has brought us here together
God has prepared this table in our midst
Here our cup overflows with God's abundance.
God has set this table, it is God's
and so we welcome all to come and eat and drink from it.

We Give Thanks
The Lord is our shepherd,
Our guide, our comforter, our protector.
And so we give thanks
For green pastures, for overflowing cups, for ongoing presence
it is good to give thanks

God of Creation, God of Life, God of Love,
as we gather at this table we remember many gifts:
the world around us, bursting with the springtime promise of new life;
family and friends with whom we share our lives;
food and drink to sustain our bodies;
fellowship to sustain our souls;
Your abundance overflowing in our lives.

God made known in words, and in the Word.
We remember the many ways You have been revealed in the world
In the glory of creation but also in through the witness of our forebears in the faith.
People like Abraham and Sarah – wanderers seeking a new land
People like Moses and Miriam – leading their people out of freedom and sharing a vision for how they could live.
People like Paul and Lydia – sharing a new vision, a new Way

We remember that You have always had a hope, a vision for how we would live together in peace and justice.
And yet we remember that we have often lost sight of the vision, have left peace and justice in the dust.
And yet, like a shepherd searching for a lost lamb, you have not given up on Your children
Sending prophets to call us back to the hope, reminding us how we are meant to live, challenging us to change our ways.

We Remember the Story
After many different messengers had come and gone, we remember, God of Life, that you chose a new path.
And so you came to walk among us as one who was fully human, just like us.
In the man Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, we met You anew
In him we see Your passion, in him we hear and know Your voice.

Remembering the life of Jesus, we consider what he taught.
He welcomed all into his presence, offering words of love and forgiveness where others offered judgement.
He ate with those others called outcasts.
He spoke of a new way of living, of a world that would be changed, of a Kingdom of love and peace and justice.
He called us to the table of life, where we are fed in abundance.

For being true to his understanding of You, Jesus was arrested, tried, and executed.
Put to death on a cross.
He knew the darkness of the valley of shadow, he felt abandoned. And yet You were there.
And then, even as his friends walked in the valley of darkness and shadow, something amazing happened.
Where they looked for signs of death they found the promise of life. An empty tomb, a resurrected Christ, a changed world.
And so in this Easter season we proclaim the joy of New Life.

Here at this table we remember the night before Jesus' arrest.
He gathered with his friends for the central meal of faith.
During that meal he took bread, blessed, broke it, and passed it to them saying:
This is my body, broken by and for the world.
Take it, eat it, and remember me.
Then later he took the cup of wine. Blessed it and passed it among them saying:
This is the cup of the New Covenant, sealed in my blood. Whenever you drink this remember me.
So, God of the table, we continue to eat and drink and remember. We share in this foretaste of the Banquet that is to come.

We Invoke the Spirit
Guiding, comforting, protecting God;
send your Spirit upon and among us here and now.
Through the presence of the Spirit may we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us out to new pastures, leading us to fresh waters, comforting and protecting us with rod and staff and love.
Spirit of life and love, fall upon us all, we pray these things in the name of the Good Shepherd, the Risen Christ, who taught his friends to pray together saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven...

We Share the Meal
The Bread we break is the Bread of Life.
The Cup we Share is the Cup of Love
Here at this table we share the abundance of God's gifts.
Thanks be to God

We Close in Prayer
God our shepherd,
we have gathered at the table You have prepared.
We have eaten, we have drunk, we have tasted your overflowing abundance.
May this meal embolden, enrich, and nurture us as we go out to live as people of The Way.
And may goodness and mercy flow through us all the days of our lives. May we live in your presence forever. Amen.

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