aliens, Communion, Communion Liturgy, Hebrews 13, immigrant communion liturgy, Immigrants, Leviticus 19, Liturgy, Matthew 2, non-violent Communion, orphans, progressive Christianity, radical hospitality, refugee, refugees, strangers, widows
This communion liturgy was written for a Sunday in which we were featuring the musical The Sound of Music. I was preaching on welcoming the stranger and caring for immigrants and refugees. Scriptures included that morning were of the Holy Family’s escape to Egypt as found in Matthew 2, Hebrews 13:2, and the Leviticus 19 text in which we are given the following command:
“When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
SERVICE OF COMMUNION
One: God be with you,
Many: And also with you.
One: Open wide your hearts!
Many: We open them up to God.
One: Let us give thanks for this time and space,
Many: Giving praise to God for this meal we will share.
One: We are surrounded by a world of hunger and hurt. We are surrounded by injustices, loneliness, illnesses, and hate. Yet through you, God, we know a different story.
Our sacred story tells us of many times when our ancestors dined with the Divine. When the Israelites left Egypt, they escaped with little resources. As refugees, they moved into the wilderness. In their exile, God rained sacred sustaining bread from heaven.
Our sacred story tells us of times when our ancestors dined with those who hungered. When Abraham was approached by three strangers, he offered them bread to rebuild their bodies and refresh their souls.
Our sacred story tells us that when sojourners listening to the teachings of Jesus became hungry, Jesus gathered loaves and fish, ultimately providing enough for all in attendance with twelve additional baskets to share.
Our sacred story tells us that on the night before Jesus died, as he and his friends gathered in a room, Jesus clenched a loaf of bread. He broke the loaf and said “do this in remembrance of me.” And after supper, as the night grew long, Jesus took a cup. As he blessed its contents, he exclaimed “Drink in remembrance of me.”
And our sacred story tells us that two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus and came upon a stranger on the journey. In a spirit of hospitality, they invited him to stay. As their new friend broke the bread, they were able to see the Christ.
Our table extends beyond this time and space: to food pantries, to community meals, to dinners shared with home-bound friends, and to coffee shared with friends who grieve. When two or three are gathered, the Christ is present. As scriptures detail, in showing hospitality to strangers, we entertain the angels in our midst. As we have experienced, while sharing bread and cup, we have encountered angels among us.
May the Spirit of God encircle these gifts with love. May the Spirit of God bless these gifts and, in doing so, bless the connections between all here and all in our hearts. May the Spirit of God bless the widows and spouseless ones, children without parents and children from foreign lands, the last and first, the poor in spirit and the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness. May all of your children in each space on our earth feel your love and experience the winds of your righteousness. Amen.
Distribution of Elements
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
We celebrate our gratitude, Divine Companion. As this spiritual meal has nourished us, inspire us to feed our neighbors and journey with the lonely. Through our co-creation together, may we spread love throughout our world and extend your hospitality to people in need. Amen.
(c) Rev. Michelle L. Torigian. Free to use with attribution.