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An Order of Service

Here is the worship script for last night’s “vespers” service [along with my annotations]. As I said previously, the theme was feeding the hungry, with particular emphasis on our church’s Crisis Closet ministry. For reasons I’m not quite sure I understand, we drifted into a service with a rather “Celtic” feel in terms of texts and music.

Also, I was not terribly surprised when‚Äîyet again‚Äîa Baptist experiencing this kind of Communion service for the first time described it as “the most meaningful Communion experience I’ve ever had.” It’s really not that hard to do a “meaningful” Communion service in Baptistland, seeing that we usually do it so poorly 😦

Anyway, for those who may be interested, here is what we did.

The Gathering

[We gathered around tables in the fellowship hall, which helped the entire service feel more like a meal.]

Blessing
Refreshments and Fellowship
Hymn: “Let All Things Now Living” (Tune: ASH GROVE)
Words of Welcome
Special Music [Acoustic guitar. Touching lyrics, sung by someone who believed them. Wow.]

The Word

First Reading

[Exodus 16:13-26; followed by the traditional dialogue:]

The word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God!

Acclamation (Tune: We Will Glorify)

Hallelujah to the King of kings, Hallelujah to the Lamb;
Hallelujah to the Lord of lords, who is the great I Am.

Second Reading

Matthew 14:13-21. I might have gone with the response, “Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ!” but decided not to push the issue. We used the same congregational response as with the first reading.

Testimony

[Sylvia, the coordinator, spoke about our church’s Crisis Closet ministry.]

Affirmation of Faith

I believe that bread comes from grain that grows in the wind and the rain with the farmers’ help far from the eyes of city folk.
I believe that bread comes from love: the love of God, the love of the farmer, the love of the baker’s hands, the love of those who bring it to me.
I believe that bread can be and should be broken and shared and given to all people until all have enough and then some.
I believe that Jesus loved bread and took it and broke it and blessed it and fed his disciples and asked them to feed us forever.
I believe enough in bread to want it from Jesus, to want it to nurture me, to want his life through it, to want to give life through it.
I believe that his body as bread feeds me and as part of his body I want to be bread for others.
I believe the Spirit will help me as will the people of Jesus. Amen.

The Table

Hymn: “All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly” (Tune: HOLY MANNA)

All who hunger, gather gladly, holy manna is our bread.
Come from wilderness and wandering. Here in truth, we will be fed.
You that yearn for days of fullness, all around us is our food.
Taste and see the grace eternal. Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, never strangers; seeker, be a welcome guest.
Come from restlessness and roaming. Here, in joy, we keep the feast.
We that once were lost and scattered in communion’s love have stood.
Taste and see the grace eternal. Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, sing together; Jesus Christ is living bread.
Come from loneliness and longing. Here, in peace, we have been led.
Blest are those who from this table live their lives in gratitude.
Taste and see the grace eternal. Taste and see that God is good.

Dialogue

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.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

[The Eucharistic Prayer is drawn mainly from Ray Simpson’s Celtic Worship through the Year. I prefer to offer the Prayer extemporaneously, so I can’t guarantee this is exactly what I said, but it is what I was aiming for:]

High King of the universe,
you brought forth the earth;
you breathe wisdom into all your creatures,
until we reflect your love.
With grateful hearts we cry out
to your tender Lamb,
slain before the world began,
perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Who, on the night he was betrayed,
took bread, gave you thanks, broke it
and gave it to his disciples,
saying: Take, eat, this is my body,
which is given for you.
After supper he took the cup, gave you thanks,
and said to them: Drink, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant
which is shed for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.

Therefore, Heavenly Father,
with this bread and wine
we remember the life our Lord offered for us.
By the power of your Holy Spirit
may these gifts be for us Christ’s body and blood.

Feed us with the bread of heaven;
may we become drunk with your holiness,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord’s Prayer

[Introduced with:]

And now we pray as our Savior taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, etc.

Communion

[We received the bread individually, then held our cups until all could receive at once after reciting together the following:]

He gives bread to the hungry,
And to the thirsty, water from the living spring.

The Dismissal

Words of Dismissal

Heaven is entwined with earth. Alleluia! We have taken the divine life into ourselves; therefore we may boldly say:

I rise up clothed in the strength of Christ.
I shall not be imprisoned,
I shall not be harmed;
I shall not be downtrodden,
I shall not be left alone;
I shall not be tainted,
I shall not be overwhelmed.
I go clothed in Christ’s white garments;
I go freed to weave Christ’s patterns;
I go loved to serve Christ’s weak ones;
I go armed to rout out Christ’s foes.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Amen.
technorati tags: celtic, eucharist, liturgy, worship

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