Monday, February 02, 2009
I decided (rather last-minute) to write a Great Thanksgiving for yesterday's communion service.
The One to whom we turn our lives over has invited us to this table:
Whoever you are, however you feel, for whatever reasons you are here, come to the feast.
Whatever your condition, whatever demons have possessed you in the past: know that our host is the one who teaches, the one who heals, and the one who welcomes: Come to the feast!
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
The Great Thanksgiving
How can we not praise God? The One who made us, the One who made all that is.
How can we not praise the One who calls people to follow, who is faithful to us throughout the ages, who sees us in our weakness and our infirmities, and who stretches out a healing hand to renew and strengthen us?
Let us praise. Let us lift our voices with all God’s people, past, present and future, and say:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest!
How can we not praise our God, who comes to live among us in Jesus Christ?
Telling us the good news of divine love…
Casting out and casting off the demons that have plagued us…
Healing the sick, comforting those who mourn…
Eating with outcasts and welcoming sinners…
Preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives...
Calling all the little children to come to him…
Showing faithfulness to the grave and beyond…
Rising to new life, and raising us to new life with him! How can we not praise Jesus Christ?
How can we not give thanks that, on the night before he died, he took bread, and gave God thanks and praise, broke the bread and shared it with his friends saying: take, eat. This is my body broken for you. Do this in memory of me.
And how can we not give praise that, in the same way, he took the cup, blessed it and shared it among friends, saying, Take, drink. This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.
How can we not proclaim together this mystery of our faith?
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!
Come, Holy Spirit, come. Settle upon us now. Fill every heart. Heal every soul. Let this meal be our true communion with one another, and with Jesus Christ our Lord. Let this communion extend beyond what we can see with our own eyes, past the boundaries of these walls, to your community throughout the world, and to the great company of the faithful throughout the ages. Let it nourish us and delight us and make us glad to be gathered here:
For Christ invites us to the table for healing, not illness; wholeness, not fragmentation. He invites us to the table for joy, and not sorrow, for life, and not death.
And it is through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, that all glory and honor are yours, mighty God, now and forever. Amen.