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Invitation to the table Liturgy Prayer after Communion

An invitation to the table and two prayers after communion – no gatekeeping; acting out our gratitude

INVITATION TO THE TABLE

Sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ,
this table is not ours to guard or gatekeep,
and there is no shortage of blessing here.

This is the table of Jesus Christ,
whose abundance is overflowing
and whose arms are open wide to receive
all who hunger and thirst.
Come to the table: you are welcome. 


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

What words of gratitude are big enough to express
the miracle of being nourished by our God’s own body and blood
across time and space?
Under all our different roofs, in so many corners of the world?

Words fail. So we will act out our thanksgiving,
fueled by this meal to bring glory to God
by working for peace, grafted to justice, for all God’s creatures.


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Let all the people thank you, God, 
for the nourishment of your own body, the sharing of your Spirit.
Having been fed at your table, may we be a nourishment to others,
sharing your good news with the world
until all know your justice, your mercy, and your abundance.
Amen.

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Charge and Benediction Liturgy

General benedictions – thanksgiving, joy, solidarity, lament

Below are several charges + benedictions that may be fitting for various worship services – some for general or joyful services, and others for services that focus on lament or solidarity with the oppressed.


Friends,
The Triune God whose self-sustaining love overflows into all Creation,
who whirls into our lives and sweeps us up in Their lively dance,

now sends us dancing out into Their world
to fill its empty aching with God’s love,
to subdue its pain with Their peace,
to make Their good news known far and wide
in what we say and what we do.

So let us go, glorifying the Source of life in all we do
and growing in Their love.

Let us go, following after the Redeemer of life
and striving to follow the example He set through His ministry.

Let us go, hand in hand with the Sustainer of life
allowing Her to use our hands to transform death
into new, radiant, abundant life for all creation.
Amen.


[referencing protests and activism]

Siblings in Christ,

Nourished by song and by scripture, by God’s Word proclaimed and Christ’s Body shared, it is time for us to go and be a nourishment to others. Whether at home or at work, at the park or at a protest, let us live out God’s good news of liberation and community for the world. 

Go in peace, go with courage, in the name of the One who creates, sustains, and redeems you.


[drawing loosely from Exodus 17:1-7]

Beloved community,

How can we thank God for the abundance that Xe has lavished upon us here? Only by responding in kind, by feeding one another as God has fed us. 

So let us go now, encouraged by the knowledge that we do not go alone:
we have each other;
and the one who Creates, Sustains, and Redeems us is in our midst,
blessing and empowering us for the work ahead.


[drawing from Psalm 23]

Shepherd God,

We have worshiped you and praised you for gathering us,
diverse as we are, into one flock.
Now, it is time for us to enter back into the world.

Lead us forth, guiding us through valleys and shadows,
protecting us as we dine not only with friends
but also with foes,
in the hopes of becoming one with them too.

Help us to be shepherds as well as your sheep,
guiding one another through valleys of shadow
to food, to water, to rest.

The way is not easy, but we rejoice,
because you guide us always
and because you give us to one another
to serve you and to be your church together.

Amen.


[suitable for services of lament / that address suffering, anger, etc.]

Comrades in Christ,
Here we have received good reason to believe
that the God of the Oppressed is with us in solidarity

– not only when we are content or joyful
but also when we are grieving,
when we are enraged,
when we feel disappointed in God,
when we cannot feel God.

Assured of God’s steadfast presence, let us go out
into a world full of grief and disappointment,
full of downtrodden spirits and tortured bodies,
and join God in Their solidarity with all who cry out for justice.

Amen.


Categories
Invitation to the table Liturgy Prayer after Communion

Invitation to the table and prayer after communion: come with your doubts

Sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ,
as we gather around different tables to partake in the same feast,
let no one be afraid to wonder, “Is God really in our midst?”

Let no one be ashamed to admit they do not fully believe or understand —
for who among us does? 

Jesus truly does welcome us — welcomes you! — to his table just as you are, with your doubts and your dread, your trauma and your pain.
So come, sit with us, and be fed by the One who loves you dearly.


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Jesus our Lord and our sibling, 
At this table you have proclaimed your resounding “Yes!” to our question, “Is God really here with us?”

Through the sharing of your life, your love, your Spirit, you take up our causes as if they were your own. All we can say is thank you. Thank you. Amen.


I wrote this for a virtual service centered around trauma and community’s role in the journey to recovery; an affirmation of protest is also woven throughout the liturgy. My sermon was based around Exodus 17:1-7, looking at the wilderness wandering through a lens of generational trauma and applying it to the collective and individual traumas we are facing today, from those caused by pandemic and police violence to personal struggles.

For this invitation, I draw from the Exodus reading.

Watch or read my sermon here.

Categories
Invitation to the table Liturgy

Invitation to the table: outcasts welcome, bring your struggles and guilt

Sisters, brothers, and siblings in Christ,

When we are shunned, shamed, called unloveable,
Jesus sets a place for us.

When we are the ones doing the shunning and shaming,
Jesus sets a place for us, too, inviting us into a better way. 

Whoever you are, whatever struggles you face,
whatever guilt weighs you down,
come. Join us. This is God’s table, and Her feast is for all.


I wrote this for a virtual service on June 21, 2020 centered around themes of oppression, patriarchy, and white supremacy; it explored how our world shapes each of us based on our various identities and what kind of reconciliation is possible between oppressors and the ones who oppress. My sermon text was Genesis 21:8-21. My sermon, “No Good Patriarchs – Solidarity with Hagar” can be read or watched here.