Advent Communion Liturgy
Remembering the Holy Mothers of God
Call to Worship
God’s Banquet is coming. The time we await when all will gather from North, East, West and South.
A table where the rich and powerful will sit with the weak and poverty-stricken. A banquet where all genders, sexualities, ethnicities and ages will listen and learn from each other. A time when all will sit together in peace, “and the wolf will lie down with the lamb”.
Here at this table we get a foretaste of God’s banquet. This is indeed God’s table, not the church’s, and so all who seek to follow The Way are welcome to eat and drink from it.
Come and taste the grace eternal, come and see that God is good.
Approach, confession & absolution
O God who gives birth to all that we see, all that we know, all that we dream, and all that is unseen, unknown and unimagined, we celebrate your life that holds and nurtures the universe.
We celebrate your love which joins creation as one and unites all things with you.
We give thanks for your life which is incarnated in Christ
and which is revealed in every created being.
Yet even as we receive again your vision of life,
we recognise that we have been blind to its universal heartbeat.
Even as we remember the connectedness of all things,
we acknowledge that we have divided and separated ourselves, and forgotten our part in your creation;
Even as we are energised by your breath within us,
we confess our destructiveness, and repent of the harm we have done to ourselves and our world.
We are sorry and seek your forgiveness. As we bathe in your grace, help us to hear these words of Jesus:
‘Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace. Follow me.’ Amen.
Proverbs 1:20-23; 28-33; Luke 1:46-55
I wonder what was your favourite part of those passages.
I wonder what they tell us about God.
I wonder how it helps us to live.
I wonder which women you would like to thank God for today.
God our Creator, you made us in your image and you call us from wherever we are in time and place to be your disciples. Through your Holy Spirit, we are empowered to bring the Gospel to all your people by your grace, you listen to our prayers.
Today, we give thanks for Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba; for Ruth and Mary; for saints Teresa, Philomena and Dwynwen: for Constance Coltman and Marina Kennard; Mary Cotes and Barbara Bennett; for our church secretaries, Lynda and Jan, and for all the women down through the ages and alongside us today who have lifted their voices, used their gifts, and given their time in service to your kingdom.
In a time of stillness, we bring to mind the women known to us who have passed on the faith; stood up against injustice; and sculpted our lives…
In praise and thanksgiving, we offer a version of the prayer that Jesus taught us, saying:
Gracious Spirit, who loves us like a mother, whose realm is blooming among us now, and within.
We pray that your compassion guide us in every action.
Give us what we need for each day, and help us to be satisfied with the miracle of that alone.
Forgiver, whose embrace brings us to wholeness without our asking,
May we reconcile ourselves to one another in humility.
And may we cancel the crushing debts that imprison our neighbours
So that communities of joy and health may flourish. May we neither profit from nor ignore evil.
But ever work to thwart it with non-violence as we co-create the realm of peace in this world.
Now and each day. Amen.
Celebration of Holy Communion
Thanks be to you, Mother God, who in the beginning brought light and life to the world and who continues to bring it love and light everlasting.
Your song of wisdom echoes through the ages, your ancient promise still brings us hope.
Over the ages you have called people to embrace your hope and share your love. But even when they have closed their ears to the song you did not stop singing. You sent prophets and messengers to your people, reminding them of the promised time of peace and justice that would surround the world.
They came in the midst of our despair and filled us with hope.
And then you came to a young woman named Mary and gave the promise in a fresh way
Promising her a son, who would be called Jesus
Promising her that in her son the world would be changed
And now as we prepare for that child to be born, we echo the ancient cry:
O come, O come Emmanuel!
Yet even now, as we prepare to celebrate his birth, we remember the life that this baby will live.
We remember how he broke the bonds of human tradition to show all what the Banquet of Hope could be
as he ate openly with the despised and the outcast of his world.
And we remember one special meal, foretaste of the banquet that is to come, that he ate with his closest friends.
Gathering them together in an upper room to share the story of liberation he prepared them for liberation.
And at the end of the meal he took bread, blessed and broke it, then passed it to them saying:
Take and eat. This bread is the body of Life, broken by the world. Eat it in remembrance and in hope.
After that he took the cup, blessed it, and passed it to them saying:
This cup is the sign of the New Covenant. Whenever you drink it remember me,
for I shall not eat or drink again until the time of the heavenly banquet.
Remembering the birth of the child in the stable, we remember also his life, his death and his resurrection.
We remember how he poured his love out all he met and look forward to his return and the coming reign of peace, love, and justice.
Living God, you poured your Spirit on Mary and she sang words of defiance and hope. Pour out your Spirit upon us today. As we eat and drink may we know your presence. As we eat and drink may we be opened to the possibilities of your hope and power. Amen.
Breaking of the bread
The Bread we break is the Bread of Life. The Cup we Share is the Cup of Promise. These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.
Take and eat, the banquet awaits. [Eat the bread and drink the wine].
God of pregnant expectations, God of Christmas promise, God of child-like hope, we have eaten and drunk from your table.
May the eating and the drinking fill us with hope in a world full of despair.
May we be beacons of God’s love as we wait for the day when the cosmos will be transformed.
Grant that this taste of your banquet to come would give us the hunger for peace and justice in our community and around the world. Amen