Saturday, September 22, 2012

Seven sacraments for the circle of life

What follows are worship materials I prepared for a Newcomer's Event at Calling Lakes Centre near Fort Qu'Appelle SK. This was a four-day event (from 2 pm Mon, Sept 17 to 12 noon, Thu Sept 20) for ministers who were new to Saskatchewan. There were eight minister newcomers this year; three of them came with spouses; so there were usually 12-15 people around the circle for our workshop and worship experiences.

Introduction: Monday afternoon

Before I begin, I have a few words about the design of worship for our four days together. As is often the case in retreat settings, we are in the process of forming an instant and temporary community. Since we are a church group, we could call our gathering a band of pilgrims -- fellow travelers on the road. Although our group will only exist for a few days, the hope is that it might be a crucible in which we can share, grow, and support one another.

As a way of encouraging our growth as a community, I have designed the worship to reflect the whole circle of life. To do so, I refer to the the seven Catholic sacraments, one of which will form the spine for each of our seven worship experiences. I know . . . we are Protestants and most Protestant churches only recognize two of the traditional seven sacraments – baptism and communion. But we are also part of the universal church of the last 2,000 years; and personally, all seven of the sacraments speak to me.

Our three evening worship times will be very brief; just a few sentences to  introduce the theme, a hymn, and a prayer. Our four other worship times, including this one, will be more substantial – 15 to 30 minutes in length. In those times of worship, we will cycle through the seven sacraments in this order: baptism this afternoon, confirmation to close this evening, communion tomorrow morning (although we will not serve communion at that time); marriage tomorrow evening, confession on Wed morning, ordination Wed evening, and last rites on Thursday morning. Last rites will happen just before our farewell lunch on Thursday, and we will celebrate communion at that time.

I have found this concept useful in helping me to prepare; and I hope that all of us are fed by worship and by all our other experiences here together this week. For this first worship experience, we focus on the sacrament of baptism. So let us begin . . .

1. BAPTISM: Monday, 2:30 pm – (material world, support)

Light candle . . . 

Opening – Call to worship

May the peace of Christ be with you . . .

As you know, baptism initiates us into the Body of Christ. It is an act of welcoming, blessing, and belonging. We gather now in worship to welcome each of us into this circle of faith. We gather to celebrate our arrival here, in body and in soul; our physical presence, which is a blessing to ourselves and to all of our fellow pilgrims; and to celebrate the material fact of our new community.

And now, an opening prayer: Let us pray . . .

Gracious God,
we give thanks for this gathering of fellow pilgrims.
We come filled with many feelings:
perhaps excitement, perhaps some anxiety.
May we remain aware of your Spirit within, between and around us
during our brief time together.

We come as people who are similar in many ways:
all children of God,
all ministers of the Way of Jesus,
all broken sinners and holy fools,
all pilgrims on a path of faith hope and love;
all with much to offer each another,
and all with much to learn.

We also come as people with differences:
different backgrounds, different experiences,
different abilities, different personalities,
different ideas, perhaps different hopes and fears.

In this beginning time, we come before you, O God,
to dedicate ourselves anew to you, to the Way of Christ, and to this group.

Today as we remember our baptism,
we pray, O God, that we will always remain
open to the many baptisms of life, big and small;
baptisms of water; baptisms of fire;
baptisms that again and again
reconnect us to Body of Christ.
All the rituals of the church
and all the everyday sacraments of life and love
point towards our participation
in the life of God in Christ.

And all this and much more we pray today in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Hymn: VU #442, "Wash Us, God, Your Sons and Daughters"

A short reading of Scripture from the Gospel of Mark (1: 9-13)

During the time when John was baptizing people in the desert, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee; and John baptized him in the Jordan River.

As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn asunder and the Holy Spirit coming down on him like a dove. A voice spoke to him from heaven saying, “You are my Son, and I love you. I am very pleased with you."

At once the Holy Spirit sent Jesus out into the desert. He was in the desert 40 days. Satan tempted him; the wild animals didn’t harm him; and angels took care of him.


A now few words of reflection on our theme and our reading, which we be followed by a chance for all of us to share something on beginnings and initiations.

Like Jesus in our Gospel, we have come to the shore of a body of water in a dry land. This afternoon, we are being initiated into a brief group experience, which in all its four days forms part of our start in ministry in Saskatchewan.

We may even feel that, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit has sent us into a desert, either during this time at Calling Lakes, or in Saskatchewan as a whole. But though we may encounter temptations, we are also assured that angels are here to take care of us. We can be confident that four days on a retreat, just like 40 days in the wilderness, can be a time of renewal and a time in which to prepare for ministry.

In the spirit of baptism, of beginnings, and of supporting ourselves in this group, we are now invited to share some words on beginnings. I suggest that we now have two brief go-rounds: the first to describe an initiation you have already experienced here in Saskatchewan; the second to speak to some of your fears and hopes for our short time together at this event:

First – an experience here in Saskatchewan that has felt like part of your initiation into ministry here . . .

Thank you: and now we are all invited to share some of our hopes and/or fears for our short time together . . .

Thank you.

And now to close this worship, let us sing the hymn . . .

VU #563: Jesus, You Have Come to the Lakeshore

And some closing words . . .

As members of the Body of Christ we have come to the lakeshore. We have come to remember our baptisms and to support one another as we deepen our ministry in a new place. In this group of fellow pilgrims we know that we journey together with the support of God our Source, our Saviour and our Sustainer. Amen.

2. CONFIRMATION: Monday, 8:55 pm (ego, desire, sexuality)

And now a very brief worship experience before the end of the evening. The second sacrament, which we will briefly touch upon here, is Confirmation. Confirmation is a ritual in which adults, usually quite young, reaffirm the baptismal vows made at the beginning of our lives on our behalf.

Confirmation is a time to consciously affirm our membership in the Body of Christ; a time of ego, of maturation, and of consciously responding to God's call. The hymn I have chosen to represent some of this is from More Voices. It is a hymn of self-assertion, and so one that reminds me of adolescence, and trying to find my own voice within a community of faith. I hope some of us know it

Hymn: MV #157, "I am a Child of God"

And a prayer to close our day together:

God who is Love,
We give thanks for our first day together, for the people who have gathered here to create this small group of pilgrims, for the United Church of which we are all members, and for your call, which has brought us to this province, and to this event.

We pray tonight for all whom we have left behind: family members, friends, congregations and others.
May they feel the same presence of your Holy Spirit that we feel among us tonight.

As we prepare for sleep we anticipate going deeper along the path together in a new day tomorrow and the others that will follow.

Bless us, we pray, and help us to be present to each other and to you in whatever those days bring to us.
So be it. Amen.

3. COMMUNION: Tuesday, 9 am  (union with God and others)

Today in this third time of worship, the focus is on the sacrament of communion. Like confirmation, communion refers back to our baptism, which was an initiation into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Communion symbolizes our union with God in a very material way. By eating the loaf and drinking the wine, we feel in our guts that we are part of the Body of Christ.

Baptism is a ritual that happens to us, often as infants and without our conscious involvement, Confirmation is a ritual that is based upon our assertion as unique and growing individuals. Communion is a ritual that shows our dependence upon God and our interdependence with all the other members of the Body of Christ.

Call to worship and opening prayer

May this brief time of worship this morning, help us remember the Christ within us, God's Spirit between us and God's support, which is a continual unearned gift that makes everything in life possible.

Our opening hymn is . . .

Hymn: VU #402, "We Are One"

Now hear a few selections from Paul's letters to Rome and Galatia

Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6: 3-4) . . . and

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2: 15)

. . . and a few words of reflection.

Baptism marks our arrival in a faith community. Confirmation marks our arrival as conscious and maturing individuals in the community. Communion symbolizes the fact that our egos and our individuality are illusions. It symbolizes that what is most sacred within us is not ours. It is the spark of an inner Christ. Communion also symbolizes that we are dependent upon and incorporated into the wider Body of Christ.

Since baptism often involves infants, it might seem odd to say as Paul does that we are baptized into the death of Christ Jesus. It might also seem odd to continually remind ourselves of the death of self by eating the bread of life and drinking from the cup of blessing. But of course, these symbols point to something quite central.

As we grow into adulthood, we cannot help but build up our egos. At the same time, we are dependent on the world, on human culture and history, on our family and friends, and on God, whom we believe is the source of all the above. Therefore, the new life we symbolically gain in communion is a life beyond ego.

Communion reminds us of our our baptism into Christ Jesus, and so reminds us that our egos continually die or wither away so that Christ might live in us. This is the new creation – a life beyond ourselves and our egos: a new life symbolized by communion.

Communion, then, continually presents us with the central yin and yang of life – growing in maturity as an individuals; and growing in the understanding that what we most value in life – the inner Christ, the Body of Christ, and God, who is the Source of everything – is not about us.

Hymn of Response: MV #194, "Bread of Life"


Friends, as we enter into a second day of our short pilgrimage together, we do so knowing that we are one, united with God and each other through Christ our Lord, Amen.

4. MARRIAGE: Tuesday, 7 pm (union with oneself, self-respect, love, forgiveness)

And now a brief time of worship to end the formal part of our day together. Tonight we touch on the fourth sacrament: marriage.

Marriage, of course, is about love and creating a new family. Marriage is a sing of self-confidence -- that one is capable of loving someone else. But we cannot love well without first loving ourselves. And this latter thought takes me back to our second and third sacraments: confirmation and communion.

Confirmation marks a moment of self-assertion and self-possession, which are required but not sufficient for self-respect. Communion symbolizes our union with God and the death of the ego in favour of new life in Christ Christ. Is there a contradiction here?

Can one be self-respecting, and therefore capable of love, and also be free of ego? Do self-respect and lack of ego contradict one another? I would argue they don't, though I also sense some tension there.

There there are the difficulties we face in achieving self-respect or self-acceptance in a broken world – but I am going to set that question aside until our fifth time of worship, which focuses on the sacrament of confession, tomorrow morning.

For now, let us remember the wonderful news that love is our source, our calling, and our destiny. In communion, as in life, we have accepted God's grace and love. Therefore, we are also confident that we have enough self-respect to love our spouse, our families and our neighbours as ourselves.

And now to celebrate love, let us sing together the great Charles Wesley hymn, "Love Divine." It is number 333 from Voices United.

Hymn: VU #333, "Love Divine"

Closing Prayer

And a closing prayer:

God who is Love,
for the people who loved us into being, for the family members we love, and for our friends and neighbours who help teach us how to love.

We especially give thanks for your love of us, shown to us most clearly in the suffering servant, Jesus the Christ.

Help us, we pray to accept your love; Help us to remember that whatever difficulties we live with and whatever limitations we show, that we are worthy of your love.

Help us, we pray, with both human and divine love.

We give thanks as well, O God, for this gathering of new friends and neighbours. Tonight, we have reached the halfway point of our short journey together as fellow pilgrims. In the days ahead, may we continue to share our hearts and minds and so help one another travel further down your path of faith, hope and love
no matter where it takes us. Amen.

5. CONFESSION: Wed, 9 am – (cleansing of negative acts of will)

This morning as we begin the second half of our journey together, the focus of  worship is on a fifth sacrament: confession. So, in a spirit of repentance and with hope for renewal and transformation, let us now turn our hearts and minds to the worship of God.

Let us pray,

On this beautiful late summer morning,
we come to you, O God,
as thirsty pilgrims seeking living water in a dry land.
May we be aware of your merciful and healing presence
in this brief time of prayer, song, and reflection.

We give thanks for this day and these companions
as we work, play and learn together
on our journey deeper into the life of this province,
this church, and your world.

And all this, and much more we lift to you in prayer this morning, through the strong name of Jesus.


Hymn: MV #79, Spirit Open My Heart"

And now a few words of reflection on confession. I will follow these remarks with a chance for us to briefly share around the circle . . .

The sacrament of confession – along with the seventh and final one, last rites, which we will encounter during our final time of worship together tomorrow – presents challenges for me. I have experienced and participated in baptism, confirmation, communion, and marriage – as well as ordination, which is the sacrament that we will touch on briefly this evening. But confession – at least in the sense of personal penitence in front of a priest who has the power to absolve sins – is not something that I have personally experienced; at least not in a church setting.

Nor did I always include a Prayer of Confession and Words of Assurance in worship services before I started at Borderlands last year.

Then there is the tension between so-called personal sins and so-called corporate or social sins. My bias is towards social sin. Many of the difficulties we face in life seem to stem either from the human condition of fragility and mortality or from social systems in which we are caught like bugs on flypaper.

Here is an obvious example of the latter – for the past sixty years, we have all lived under the shadow of nuclear war. At any moment, the entire human race can now be destroyed with the simple push of a button. None of us are to blame for this ridiculous and terrifying dilemma; nor could any one leading nation, even the USA or Russia, solve this problem without a level of international cooperation that humanity has not yet come close to achieving. So should we confess the sin of the threat of nuclear war? If not us, who? Similar things could be said about climate change and habitat destruction, I think.

The confession of sins also runs the risk of egotism, I believe. It could tend to assign to ourselves more blame, and therefore more power than we actually possess.

For me, the road to repentance and conversion has often taken the road of powerlessness – acknowledging that I am powerless in the face of a personal situation or in the face of social issue.  Conversion can come from accepting God's acceptance of me in a powerless place, which in turn can open a door to self-acceptance despite humiliation. With grace, I sometimes find myself able to move from humiliation to humility, and from self-hatred to self-acceptance.

But that is probably more than enough from me. At this time, I would like to open the floor for a brief time of sharing. I don't think we need to confess our sins to each other during this time – certainly not any sins that we fear we may have committed during our brief time together. Instead, I am hoping to hear from others is how you approach confession in worship services that you help to lead. Would anyone like to comment on the role of confession and assurance in worship? . . . .

Thank for you that.

To close, let us turn to More Voices and sing . . .

Hymn: MV #80, "Beyond the Beauty and the Awe"

And dear friends, hear these words of assurance . . .

Scripture, tradition, and the whispers of our secret hearts assure us that God knows all the difficulties as well as the joys of our lives. God in Christ suffers in solidarity with us when we stumble. God is present with us as we try to right wrongs in our families, as well as in our communities. God walks with us and leads us to his full acceptance and love regardless of how winding that road might sometimes seem. Thanks be to God. Amen.

6. ORDINATION: Wed, 7 pm –  (path of service: mind, intuition, insight, wisdom)

And now a brief time of worship to end the formal part of our day. Tonight we touch on the second-to-last sacrament: ordination. I am glad that ordination comes at this point on our short journey together. We came here as ministers seeking to learn and share together; and we are doing this. Tonight is a moment when we can briefly reaffirm our call to serve.

So, let us pray,

Gracious and Loving God,
we hear, see, taste, and touch your call everywhere. We experience it in nature, with friends and loved ones, in congregations; and in the marketplace. We experience it in the struggle for a better world, and by the bedside of a dying friend. Your call goes to everyone and everything, and your world and humanity responds.

Tonight, we give thanks for your call to us. We give thanks that we have been given the grace and courage to accept it.

God, we do not always find ministry easy, but we do not do it alone. Ministers, both lay and ordained, carry out our work of telling, teaching, celebrating, doing, and being the story of salvation, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. We also engage in ministry with colleagues near and far, and for this we also give thanks.

Even in the midst of challenges, we love this work of witness, worship, justice and comfort. May we always remain attentive to your call, and to your compassionate presence when we try to respond to it.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Hymn: MV #161: I Have Called you By Your Name


And a benediction,

Dear friends, as we leave this time of worship, we do so knowing that we go into the world to witness and serve with the Love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, both now and always. Amen.

7. LAST RITES: Thu (11:30 am, closing worship) – (spirituality; unfinished business)

May the Peace of Christ be with you . . .

Dear friends, our journey together is ending. In this worship we both end our formal time together and also end our exploration of the seven Catholic sacraments. Today the focus is on Last Rites. Last rites refers to three separate sacraments administered to a person who is dying. The first is final penance or confession; the second is final anointing of the sick, formerly known as extreme unction; and the third is final communion. Catholics use the Latin word, Viaticum, for the communion service celebrated after extreme unction. Translated into English, viaticum means "supplies for the journey." This final communion is designed to provide the spiritual supplies required for the journey from this world to the next.

We, of course, are not dying. Still, our temporary band of pilgrims is ending its existence. With this ending, we are being sent out, back to our home communities where we will continue our work of preaching, teaching and healing. So now, let us end one journey and begin another in worship. Let us confess our sins and our faith, let us spiritually anoint one other, and let us celebrate the Eucharist and so remind ourselves of our union with God and each other. May this time of worship give us the supplies we need for our journey home and for our continued ministry in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ.

And now let us pray,

Gracious and merciful God,
we come to you this morning filled with gratitude for the many gifts we have received on our journeys in life so far; for family and friends, beauty and love, learning and careers.

We also come as broken people seeking love and healing in a broken world. And so an ancient cry may form again on our lips: Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us.

As if often the case when we end one journey and begin another, we may fear what awaits us next in ministry. We may wonder if we have all we need in order to do the work we are called to do.

We come seeking assurance of your presence, O God, and of the ongoing work of your Holy Spirit within us, between us, and all around us.

Help us, we pray, to remember that we are not alone; that our ministry is the work of your Spirit; that our role is often to get out of the way and let Your Presence be known through us and through the people among whom we serve.

Help us to remember that your gifts are a never-ending stream of grace, which supplies us with more than we could ever ask for.

We pray that this time of song, prayer, reflection and the sharing of bread and wine will remind us of your mercy, your grace, and your all-sufficient love.

All this and much more we lift to you in prayer this morning in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Our opening hymn is . . .

Opening Hymn: VU# 595, "We Are Pilgrims"

Scripture: James 5: 13-15

Our first reading is from the book of James

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Mark 6: 7-13

And our Gospel reading is taken from Mark

Calling the Twelve to him, Jesus began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them."

So they went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. 
Thanks be to God.

Sharing around the Circle: Final Anointing

We are now invited into a final time of sharing around the circle. I have not provided oil or spices so that we could physically anoint another for the spiritual journeys that lie ahead of us as our we are sent out into the world. But I hope that this time of sharing could become a form of spiritual anointing.

I suggest that this final sharing be open-ended. We could share our fears or hopes for what lies immediately ahead for us in life or ministry. We could speak about blessings we perceive that we have received during our short time together. We could lift up words of learning, or encouragement, words of wisdom, words of foolishness. But please feel free to speak from your hearts into this sacred circle one last time as we prepare for communion, and as we prepare to leave this band of pilgrims behind  . . .

Thank you so much.

Our hymn before communion is

Hymn: VU #480, "Let us Break Bread Together"

Service of Holy Communion

Invitation to the Table

And now a service of Holy Communion. Brother and sisters, Jesus invites everyone to his table. All who seek to know God and live in peace with their neighbours are welcome here.

1. Call to Give Thanks

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.

2. Thanksgiving

Blessed are you gracious God . . .
By the light of your promise
you have been our guide through all the seasons of our lives,
even up to this sacred moment.
In the darkness of slavery, you light led our ancestors to freedom.
In the darkness of disobedience and sin, your light shows us the gracious door
that led us to repentance.
In the darkness of an Upper Room, your light leads us to your Table of Salvation.
In the darkness of Gethsemane, even when we slept or fled in terror,
your light shone beyond Golgotha and brought us back to your life and way.
Through the light of your peace
you claim us as your beloved, and joy is our banquet.
We give you thanks that you make manifest your glory:
lighting the way for every pilgrim.
You have guided us through this brief time together and to this table with Jesus to live again his tragedy and his resurrection.
We give thanks for your presence as we re-enact that
troubling, mysterious, beautiful, and death-defying meal of
the first communion with Jesus so long ago.
So it is that we join the song of all creation to proclaim your goodness, saying . . .

3. Song of Creation

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

4. Remembering Jesus at Table

Mighty and tender God, in Jesus of Nazareth
we recognize the fullness of your grace:
light, life, and love, revealed in words that confront and comfort us,
in teachings that challenge and change us,
in compassion that heals and frees us.
And now we gather at this table to remember
and to be filled with such longing for your realm,
that we may rise together to turn our worship into witness
and to follow in your way.

Let us remember together the vision of God’s reign
shown to us in Jesus at table: in his ministry, he shared food with followers and friends,
with saints and sinners, with crowds of thousands on the hillside,
and a few friends in an upper room.

On the night before he died, he had supper with his companions.
He took a loaf of bread, and after giving thanks,
he broke it, and gave it to them, saying:  “Take, eat. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Then, he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he passed it among them, saying:
“Drink this.  Do this in remembrance of me.”
Through this loaf and cup, Jesus lives within us.
In word and deed, Jesus lives among us.

5. Prayer of Self-Giving

Loving God, we rejoice in the gift of your grace,
remembering Christ’s life and death, proclaiming his resurrection,
waiting in hope for his coming again.
Grant that, in praise and thanksgiving, we may so offer ourselves to you
that our lives will proclaim the mystery of faith, saying . . .

6. Affirmation of Memory and Hope

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

7. Prayer for Transformation

Send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts, that all who share in this loaf and cup may be the body of Christ: light, life, and love in the world. In this hope and as your people, we praise you.

8. Remembering the Community -- Intercessions

Gracious God, at this time, we also remember all with whom you would have us share your feast. We pray with faithful pilgrims here and around the world who gather at this table as often as they can. We give thanks for the Body of Christ, of which we are only one small vine.

God of Love, we remember your self-giving love, and your commandments to love one another, to love our neighbours as ourselves, and even to love our enemies.

May this table today remind us of the bonds of love that knit us together as friends, as neighbours, as fellow Christians, as pilgrims on the journey, as part of the whole human family, and as part of the web of life. This table reminds us that love is our source, and our calling. May we also always remember that your Love is our Holy Destiny.

As we strive to live into our calling to love, we search again for your guidance, O God. In the life, example, and love of Christ, may we always find that inspiration and light, which will guide us forward to new life.

We ask tonight for forgiveness for our many failings. In the stories of Jesus' first disciples -- in their lack of understanding, their fear, and even their betrayal -- we sometimes see ourselves. Remind us, O God, of your forgiveness and understanding, which the death of Jesus showed to us so clearly.

O God, may we hear again today your call at this Table so that we can align our will as individuals and as a community to your will and your dream for your realm on earth, as it is heaven.

And at this ending, which is also a new beginning, we pray that we may always know your presence, O God,
a light which leads us on the journey to wholeness, to healing, and to new life.

9. Concluding Praise

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, God most holy, now and forever. 10. Amen.

11. Prayer of Jesus

And now let us bring all of our prayers, spoken and unspoken, into one as we together say again the prayer that Jesus taught us, saying

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever -- Amen.

12: Distribution of the Elements

Jesus Christ, bread for the journey  . . .
Jesus Christ, the wine of arrival . . .
These are the gifts of God for the people of God. All is ready.

The person to your left will offer you the loaf and then the cup. After you have partaken, please offer the loaf and cup to the person to your right . . .

. . . . Prayer after Communion

and now a Prayer after Communion

Holy One, though we live in a world of need, here we have tasted goodness and hungered for justice.
Though afflicted by brokenness and division, here we have heard your call to be a healing community.
Though daily we touch our limits, here we have received the fullness of your grace.
Send us forth on our journey, O God, in faith, in hope, and in love. Amen.

Our closing hymn, which will also serve as our Benediction is

Closing Hymn: VU #430, "God Be in My Head"

And let all the people say, "Amen."

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