Saturday, 14 March 2020

A lament for Communion


Our church has recently had to face the reality of  COVID-19, otherwise known as the corona virus. Like many churches, a good proportion of ours is elderly and in the high risk categories to catch the virus with severe consequences. Because of this risk factor, our church has decided to suspend any physical contact whilst passing the peace with each other and shaking hands with me (the minister) at door. On further reflection, we also decided it was also prudent to suspend communion as we could not guarantee that any infection would not be passed on. This service was written to replace our planned communion service today (Sunday 15 March), to lament that while we could not hold it at present, we could still remember and praise God.

An order of service for a time when Holy Communion was planned
but not able to be held (written during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020)

HYMN 707:   Bread is blessed and broken

OFFERING (Prayer from Spill the Beans)
Bless all the gifts offered,
as all are the work of our hands,
and the hopes of our hearts;
and bring them to bear
upon the hunger and hurts of the world.

Set us free from fear.
Stand us upright in grace.

May our shame and our anger
be transformed
from burdens that hold us back in fear
to gifts that urge us forward in love.

Lead us to the well
and help us to drink deeply. Amen.

THE PEACE
We pass the peace by facing one another, placing our hand on our heart, looking at the other person, and saying “peace be with you”

Holy God, it is our practice to come to this table
to receive the bread and wine.
Today we cannot do this,
for to do so would put ourselves and others at risk.

Yet we know that you still meet us here;
you embrace us in our brokenness,
you pour out your love upon us,
name us as your disciples,
and claim us for an eternity.
And we can still remember, as you commanded.

We lament that we will not share
the bread and wine today.
We lament that we cannot grasp
a hand in fellowship today.
We lament the suspending of this sacrament.
 We can remember that the Lord is with us.
We can remember to lift up our hearts.
We can remember to give thanks to the Lord our God.

Blessing and praise still belongs to you,
God of promise and of covenant.

Through your living Word
you created all things,
the majesty of the heavens
and the glory of the earth.
In your wisdom and goodness
you have made all people
in your image and likeness.

We remember too
that in the fullness of time
you gave your only Son
to share our human nature,
to be tempted in every way as we are,
And who set his face resolutely towards Jerusalem
to be lifted high upon the cross.

We remember too
that on the night of his betrayal
your Son Jesus took the bread
and took the wine, blessed them
and shared them with his closest friends,
saying: "Remember me.”

Come now, Holy Spirit;
bless us as we gather here today.
Unite us in love and peace with all your people
until, with the whole company of heaven,
we are brought into the presence of your eternal glory,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER


LENTEN PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Merciful God, you called us forth from the dust of the earth;
you claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism.
Bless our journey through the desert
of Lent to the font of rebirth.
May our fasting be hunger for justice; 
our alms, a making of peace;
our prayer, the chant of humble and grateful hearts.
All that we do and pray is in the name of Jesus.  Amen.


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