Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Prayers for the Bread and the Cup

This morning I presided over the Lord's Supper -- or, as good Church of Christ folk call it, I gave "communion comments." I read a mix of Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 6, as well as 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Then in place of "comments," I offered extended prayers before each element. Below are the Scriptures and the prayers. May they bless you as I hope they blessed the church.

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“Celebrate the Passover, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. And in the future, when your children ask you, tell them: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us this land that he promised on oath to our ancestors.”

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“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

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Prayer for the Bread

Triune God of all grace
We believe that
Just as you raised up your servant Israel
Out of the grave of slavery in Egypt, and
Just as you raised up your Son Jesus
Out of the grave of death in Jerusalem
So you have raised us up
Out of the darkness of despair
Out of sin, slavery, and addiction
Out of fear, oppression, and death
And just as your people Israel
Ate together in joyful memory
Of your gracious deliverance
So today we gather together in your Spirit
To break bread in remembrance of our deliverance
In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah
In this meal we remember when we are
That we are at the foot of a rugged cross
On an abandoned hill
To which is nailed the body of our Lord
O God, we remember
That we are breathless and beside ourselves
At the open and empty tomb
Beholding the risen and glorious body of our Lord
O God, we remember also
That we are in the cloudy center of Saturday
In between cross and empty tomb
Awaiting your word of new life
Awaiting your mighty hand and outstretched arm
May we remember in this meal, O God
In this bread that is the body of Christ
That the body of Christ hung on a tree
That the body of Christ is risen in glory
That the body of Christ is this community
Waiting with baited breath for your word of hope
Amen.


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Prayer for the Cup

Triune God of perfect love
We believe that
Just as you fulfilled your promise to old Abraham
The impossible future of a people
As numerous as the stars in the sky, and
Just as you swore through the people Israel
To bless all nations
And to bring them as one to your holy mountain
So in the cross of Christ
You have abolished the dividing wall
Between Jew and Gentile
And made us one people
And just as your church
Was birthed at Pentecost
In the outpouring of your Holy Spirit
On people from every tribe and tongue and nation
So today your Spirit
By the blood of your Son
Has made us into one body
And in the sharing of this cup we remember who we are, O God
That as Christ’s body on earth
We are a community
Who have been reconciled to one another
Who love our enemies
Who know our allegiance is to your kingdom alone
Who forgive others their wrongs against us
Who speak out against violence and injustice
Who share our resources with one another
Who know that in Christ all our differences
Are nothing before your all-encompassing love
So that regardless of
Background, bank account, or job
Race, gender, or nationality
Age, education, or politics
We are yours in Christ
We are yours in Christ
Thank you, O God
For the gift of being your holy people
Amen.

2 comments:

  1. Love this.
    Someday I want to work up a book of communion prayers for use in churches. This would make an excellent contribution.

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  2. Brad,
    Thanks for posting this. These words were a great blessing to me today. - love, mom

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