Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baptism of the Lord Communion Liturgy

This Great Thanksgiving is written by Shannon Sullivan, 2013, for Baptism of the Lord Sunday at Deer Creek United Methodist Church. It is written using language from The United Methodist Baptismal Covenant, The UM Service of Word and Table, and scripture, particularly Isaiah 43:1-7 and Luke's gospel.

Remembering Our Baptism and Holy Communion
It is a holy day indeed when we celebrate our two sacraments together. This morning we remember the sacrament of our baptism as we partake in the sacrament of communion. One celebrates birth and new life, and the other, our continued nourishment and growth as we live into all Christ calls us to be.

When we approach the font or the table, we first renounce the power of wickedness in our lives. And so, let us confess together:

Nourishing God, you tell us not to fear for you are with us. But we are so full of fear that we cannot love you with our whole heart. We use the freedom and power you have given us, not to resist evil, injustice, and oppression, but to rebel against your love to hurt our neighbors and ignore the cries of the needy. Cleanse us of our fear. Feed us the courage to put our whole trust in your grace.

The Holy Spirit has not abandoned us. We are still God's beloved, and the Holy Spirit continues to work within us.

We remember our baptism are thankful!

And now we come to the table, for God continues calling us each by name to bring us into the fullness of the new life we glimpsed at our baptism.

We offer ourselves anew to God, listening for the guidance of the Spirit!

PASSING OF THE PEACE: Now let us share signs of that peace which we find in Christ with our neighbors!

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.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing,
always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Almighty God,
creator of heaven and Earth.

In the beginning, darkness covered the face of the deep, but You swept over the face of the waters and brought forth abundant swarms of life. And you blessed them, seeing that it was good. You watered the face of the ground and formed a human creature from the dust and mud, breathing life into it and leading it to life in a garden. You created a second earth creature so it would not be alone, and man and woman were created. But these earth creatures, these humans turned their backs on you, and were expelled from the lush garden.

Yet you did not abandon them then, and you do not abandon us now. Throughout our history, you have come through the sustenance of water and bread to call us back to paradise. In the days of Noah, you saved those on the ark through water, and after the flood you set in the clouds a rainbow. When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt, you led them to freedom through the sea, and then sustained them with manna, bread that covered the dessert like dew. Their children you brought through the Jordan to a land flowing with milk and honey.

And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn.

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.

You told us when we pass through the waters, you will be with us. You told us that you love us so much, because we are precious in your sight, you will redeem us. You saved our biblical ancestors and us through water, but the story never ends there. You continue to nourish us through the fullness of time, sending Jesus, nurtured in the water of a womb.

When he grew up, your Spirit descended on him like a dove, proclaiming his belovedness as he emerged from the water. He began his ministry preaching new life because the time of redemption had come. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners.

Yet so many feared and still now fear the new birth he offers all of us. We reject the fullness of the feast he give to us. And so we turned our backs on Jesus, on the nourishment he offered. And we gave him up to die, even after sitting at table with him.

On his last night with us, Jesus sat at a table and fed his disciples as he feeds us now. He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and shared it with us, saying “This is my body, which is given for you.”

When supper was over he took the cup, blessed it, and shared it with us, saying, “Take, and drink. As often as you do this, remember me.”

The cup reminds us of the new covenant, a covenant by water and the Spirit in which God reminds us again of our belovedness and calls us to new life.

And so, in remembrance of these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

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

Pour out your Holy Spirit to bless this gift of water and those who receive it. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. May these two gifts, the water and the meal, redeem us again by washing away our sin and filling us with good things.

By your Spirit, incorporate us into God's new creation, making us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until we all come to the table, cleansed of all hatred and sin to welcome all people in joy and thanksgiving as members of the family of Christ. May your spirit work within us, that being born through water and the Spirit, and fed through Christ's body, we may be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

And now, with the confidence of the children of God, let us pray for our daily bread, praying the prayer Jesus taught us: THE LORD'S PRAYER

The bread of life.
The cup that saves us, and sets us free.

The table is set and all are invited. In the United Methodist Church, we practice an open table. This means you don't have to be a member, you don't have to be baptized, you don't have to take classes, you don't even have to be in a good mood. You are invited to come and know that no matter who you are and where you are on your journey, you are a beloved child of God and God's grace is sufficient.

As you approach the Table, you will first come to the Font, where you are invited to remember your baptism and be thankful. And, as you remember your birth through water and the Spirit, you will come to the Table, where you will be offered nourishment to sustain you on that journey of new life. You will be offered a piece of bread, which you can take and dip into the cup. Now come with joy to meet God anew.

The God of all grace, who has called us each by name as Beloved, establish and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you may live in grace and peace.


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