Sunday, August 2, 2015

God of Action Communion Liturgy

The Cokesbury Vacation Bible School Curriculum for 2015 was G-Force, about God's love in action. I wrote this more interactive communion liturgy for our Vacation Bible School kickoff worship service at Presbury United Methodist Church.

The primary scripture for this service was Acts 17:22-31.

Invitation/Confession/Pardon/Passing the Peace
L: Because our God is a God of action, God calls us to move to the Table, to come and receive grace. But too often we find ourselves stuck, unable or unwilling to hear God's direction to love. So let us confess our stuck-ness before God together:
P: Living, loving God, we know that you have called us to be your love in action. But that can be so hard! We give you so many excuses, find and put up so many barriers to keep us from living as you have taught us. Forgive us for all those times we do not care for our neighbors and all those times we don't follow your lead.
(A time of silent confession.)
L: Do not be afraid! Our God is not unknown but is indeed not far from any of us, with arms outstretched ready to welcome us whenever we ask for forgiveness!
P: God's forgiveness propels us forward to show the world the immensity of God's love!

The Great Thanksgiving
L: In God we live and move and have our being!
P: Thanks be to God!
L: God is so mighty that God cannot be contained! God made the world and everything in it, even each of us, breathing into us the breath of life. What kinds of things did God make?
(Share your own responses at this time.)
L: God made so many things, and we are so thankful. But God was not alone in God's work. God chose us to help! We messed up more often than not, but there were some of us who did amazing things for and with God! In Vacation Bible School we will learn about people who helped God, people like Jochebed, Miriam, the Egyptian princess, and Moses. They played a part in bringing us, God's people, to freedom! And we will learn about Solomon, who took action to honor God by building a temple! Who are other people who helped do God's work?
(Share your own responses at this time.)
L: Of course, Jesus also helped do God's work. Jesus was God in human form, and he healed people who were hurting and ate with people who were always alone. And he taught us a lot. What kinds of things did Jesus teach us?
(Share your own responses at this time.)
L: But the love Jesus showed us, God's love in action, was so radical that people were afraid. So they plotted to kill Jesus. Jesus knew he would die, so he gathered his friends together to teach them about love one more time. He brought them together for a simple meal of bread and wine. He took bread, thanked God for it, and shared it with his friends, saying,
P: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
L: When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his friends, and said:
P: “Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
L: And so now, we remember Jesus – all that he did on earth to show love and all that he does for us now to care for us. And to say thank you for all this love, we should love one another and care for those in need. Let us pray:
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit help us to put your love into action, caring for our neighbors, following your teaching, and sharing about your love everywhere we go. Amen.
And now, with the confidence of the children of God, let us pray 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 even have to be baptized, you don't even have to be fully awake this morning. You are invited to come and know that no matter who you are, you are a beloved child of God and God's grace is sufficient.

We will be taking communion by intinction, meaning I will give you a piece of bread and you can dip it in the cup. Now come and eat.

Giving the Bread and Cup/Prayer after Receiving
P: Living, loving God, we thank you for this holy mystery in which we have searched for you and found that you are not far from us. Thank you that your move among us and through us to do your work and spread your love here on earth! Amen.

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