You can watch a recording of the service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time. Later in the service, we will be sharing virtual communion. Have bread and grape juice or wine on hand–or elements that are roughly equivalent. Granola bar and a juice box? Jesus’ body is broken for you. Goldfish crackers and pop? Jesus’ body is still broken for you. Muffin and coffee? Yep, Jesus’ body is broken for you! We are one in Christ even when we aren’t able to share the same loaf of bread.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God is the vine and the branches,
the wheat and the Word.
God feeds us and fills us,
leads us and guides us.
We grow in faith together
and we gather to worship God.
OPENING PRAYER (Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, Zimbabwe Shona and English, adaptation of “A Non-Traditional Blessing” by Sister Ruth Fox)
Let us pray:
Mwari wedu (Our God who is)
Musiki wedu (Our Creator God)
Nyadenga wedu (Our Heavenly Father)
Bless us with discomfort at easy answers,
half-truths and superficial relationships.
Bless us with anger at injustice,
oppression and exploitation of people.
Bless us with tears to shed
for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
Bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we can make a difference in this world.
Muzita raBaba, nere Mwanakomana, nere Mweya Mutsvene.
(In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.)
CALL TO CONFESSION (Rev. Katie Dawson of Immanuel United Methodist Church, Des Moines Iowa)
World Communion Sunday is a time to repent of the times we have excluded others from our table. It is a time to repent that so many who surround us have tables that are empty of food, love, and relationship. It is a time to repent and confess, and to offer signs to one another of reconciliation and love… so that we come to this table aware of those across the street, across the country, and across the world.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord, as we prepare to break the bread and drink from the cup, we cannot help but hesitate to partake of your body and blood. We remember your admonishment to go and be reconciled to our siblings before coming to your table. We recognize how we have fanned the flames of division rather than repaired the breach between us. We know we do not make evident our unity in you, our oneness made possible through your sacrifice. Too many of your children do not have a place at the table, do not have enough to eat, are relegated to beg for crumbs when you command us to offer radical and abundant hospitality. In your relentless mercy, forgive us, free us from fear and make us conduits for your reconciling love. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon
God refuses to give up on us. God restores us. God sent the only Son to save us.
There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Friends, believe the good news, through Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION (Magdaléna Trgalová, Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren)
Holy Spirit, grant us openness and give us understanding of what each one of us needs to receive through Holy Scripture. When we are facing a difficult choice between the easy and the right decision, help us to choose the narrow path. We also pray for all who are about to set on an adventurous journey of faith anywhere in the world. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
Turn again, O God of hosts;
look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’
- What does communion mean to you?
- Have you ever shared communion in a different country or a different kind of church? Did it feel different than sharing communion at Peoples?
- How can we feel connected to the approximately two billion other Christians in the world?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s interview with Emily Chesley about what growing up in Africa taught her about Christian unity around the world here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
O Lord our God, hear our cries of lament for the injustice so rampant in your world. You came to release the captives and set the oppressed free. You weep when your prophets are killed and your call to repent unheard. Grant us the courage to be repairers of the breach, those who restore our city streets. Bring justice. Bring peace. Make us embodiments of your perfect love that casts out fear.
O Lord our God, silence in us any voice but yours. As the chorus of divisive rhetoric rings in our ears and hate-filled speech gets amplified, send your Spirit to give your people the right words at the right time to proclaim good news for all people. Do not let us remain silent when we are called to give voice to your will. Do not let us open our mouths when our words do not reflect the Word of grace and truth.
O Lord our God, open our eyes to see you present, at work, creating a future where all your children are valued, respected, fed and free to fulfill with joy your purposes for them. Give us a holy imagination that enables us to envision your vision and dream your dreams with such tenacity that we cannot help but enact your will.
O Lord our God, break our hearts in ways that move us to compassion, enliven our empathy and help us emulate the love of Christ. May those who feel dismissed know of your delight in them. May those who feel lonely know of your presence with them. May those who feel despair know your resurrection hope. May those who feel shattered by this time and current events know your healing power. May we, your body, the church, be made through the work of the Spirit the answer to the prayers of your people.
Invitation to the Table and The Great Thanksgiving
Pastor: The Lord be with you.
Response: And also with you.
Pastor: Lift up your hearts.
Response: We lift them to the Lord.
Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Response: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
We know the story, that on the last night with his friends, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, telling them, “Take this and eat. It is my body, broken for you.” He also poured a cup, telling them, “This is the new covenant, sealed in my blood. Drink from it, all of you, and remember me.”
Throughout the centuries, across the nations, even when we have been divided by time and place, every time we break bread together in Jesus’ name, we take part in the meal he shared with his friends so long ago. We may be separated now, as we continue to practice physical distancing and as we continue to be unable to take part in church, work, school, family life, or social activities in the way we used to, but Christ is always with us, even to the end of the age, and Christ is in the meal that we are sharing now, no matter what form it might take.
Please pray with me. Holy God, we thank you for bread and for the bread of life and we join our voices together with Christians around the world as we pray together the prayer Jesus taught us:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
(If you are fortunate enough to be worshipping alongside someone, you might offer the elements to each other. If you are worshipping alone at home today, remember that you share this meal with Christians around the world and that God’s arms are around you, no matter how lonely it feels to eat this meal alone.)
Remember that this is the body of Christ, broken for you.
Remember that this is the blood of Christ, shed for you.
1 In Christ there is no east or west,
in him no south or north,
but one great fellowship of love
throughout the whole wide earth.
2 In Christ shall true hearts everywhere
their high communion find;
his service is the golden cord
3 Join hands, disciples of the faith,
whate’er your race may be.
All children of the living God
are surely kin to me.
4 In Christ now meet both east and west;
in him meet south and north.
All Christly souls are one in him
throughout the whole wide earth.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
Knowing Jesus Christ surpasses all else. Knowing and being known by Jesus Christ reorders our priorities and shapes all our actions. Recognizing this truth, we give our morning’s offering with joy and in thanksgiving for God’s outpouring of goodness and mercy to us.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street). Alternatively, there is a link at the top of this page that will take you directly to a secure page where you can make a one-time donation. We appreciate your generosity as we seek to continue our mission and ministry throughout the community during this difficult time.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Gracious God, you create and call us, feed and sustain us, forgive and redeem us. We can never return to you that which you deserve. We pray to honor and glorify you with these gifts and with our entire lives. We present this offering as a tangible way of showing our love for and loyalty to you. As tenants in your vineyard we rejoice in being called to work with you in sharing your abundant harvest with the entire world you so love. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (The Apostles’ Creed)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead and buried;
he descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace.
Remember that God is with us, wherever we are,
all around the world.
God has seen us through times of distance before
and God will see us through again.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us after the benediction with this link. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003.