I was asked to lead taking communion together as part of our our virtual church gathering today. I started writing some sort of liturgy to help us participate together in this sacred act of worship, and the words evolved into a poem of sorts with 3 stanzas.
During this time of unprecedented ‘lockdowns’ and ‘distancing’, there’s much that we can’t do. Yet, in a certain sense, we can join with followers of Jesus in homes around the world (and indeed in homes over the last twenty centuries) as we take communion together. This might be as we connect through digital platforms, or as households take communion together. (Note, I would want everyone to use this within local government guidelines...)
I recognise many church traditions have various restrictions around who can lead communion worship, however, other church traditions, like mine, are more open to more informal practice. I've written this little liturgy for households or families taking communion together at home together during Covid-19. The simple symbols of communion - bread and wine - are rich with meaning orienting us within the Biblical story. Communion is grounded in the gospel story in which we encounter and ‘feast on’ God’s self-giving love, that we might have kindled in us a self-giving love for God, for others, and for God’s good creation. Here is a simple liturgy to guide you through taking communion together as a household. If there are at least 3 of you, you might choose to have a different person read each numbered section below. Before you start, set out the bread and the wine (or whatever alternatives you might be using at home).
Lord of Creation, from your loving hands you have made us all. Every person, young and old, every creature, great and small. All nature sings with vibrant diversity Emerged from your bounty of grace and generosity. Yet your good world is stained, stretched and swollen. Your beloved creation distorted by our sin In silence we sit, hearing earth’s groan Your contorted cosmos, our hurting home. [Allow a minute of silence as you reflect] Lord of Liberation, A crown formed of thorns you wore as the crowd declared their angry scorn Water and blood from your pierced side poured As the temple’s curtains wide open were torn The Prince of Peace lay crushed by human violence As the skies dimmed and darkened and the indignant mob was silenced Behold the Son of Man who came from above Behold the Son of God, gave up his life for love. [Pass around and take of the bread and the wine, symbolic of Jesus’ body, broken for you, and his blood shed for you. When everyone has done so, read the final prayer stanza below. ] Lord of Resurrection Life, On your broken body we sip and we chew We feast on your fallen frame raised anew Your life now our life, sustained and restored Breath to our bones, death-defeating Lord. Let us see from your eyes, heal our blindness Form in us true Christ-likeness Though now this world groans, strains and strives Jesus, enthroned, and in us, alive! Amen.