May 2015: Communion by numbers
6 café tables in polygon with usual café lights and sheet up projecting image from flyer.
glasses and wine and juice out to be drunk during evening with a few nibbles on table
numbered envelopes on tables
music playing - resurrection playlist
Welcome and explanation - as people arrive explain format and that when bell rings open first envelope. That way we don’t have to have a big welcome for everyone. It can start round tables.
Envelope 1 - Gathering/intro - questions on experience of presence/absence
Envelope 2 - Prayer/invocation - use LED lightbulbs
Envelope 3 - Confession and absolution
Envelope 4 - Reading and discussion John 21
Envelope 5 - Share peace - toast
Envelope 6 - Share bread and wine and communion prayer from Janet Morley*
Envelope 7 - Prayer - night lights
Envelope 8 - Blessing - from Janet Morley* and then instruction to share fish and bread
*Taken from All Desires Known by Janet Morley
After Easter we remember Jesus’ appearances to his followers after his resurrection – times of hope, confusion, doubt and excitement.
• Do you have a favourite from the accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances?
• Has there been a time when you have had an experience of the presence or God?
• Can you remember a time when God seemed totally absent from your experience?
Take time to share your thoughts and experiences around the table.
sometimes there isn't much light.
sometimes the light is hidden, waiting for us to unwrap and reveal it.
so unwrap the lamps, push the 'bulb' up and put them on the table in front of you
sometimes the light comes in unexpected forms.
holy spirit, be with us and in us here tonight.
be the light of love between us
be the light of love in us towards the world
be the power of love in us to act and change the world
be the light of truth in us
bring the light of truth through us into the world
be the power of truth in us to act and change the world
make us your unexpected lamps
3 Confession and absolution
One person should read the following confession leaving a silence between each section.
‘This is who we are’
We are the people who long for the new heaven and the new earth
But can’t always take the first step towards it.
We are those who love the city
But who participate in its destructive patterns of live
And fail to lift up its beauty and creativity.
We are the people who commit ourselves to build the community of the Gospel
But we so often betray that hope and fail each other.
We are people who sometimes see the vision for our own lives,
But we are weak and fall far short of the dream.
Gently sprinkle each other with water from the bowls saying together:
Forgive us, gracious God.
This reading is chapter 21 of John's Gospel. It is an extra piece added to the finished Gospel as an afterthought, maybe in response to the “rumours" mentioned in it!
Please read one part each out loud.
Then discuss the questions below.
Why do you think the disciples went fishing?
What do you think the big catch meant?
Why do you think Peter rushed to meet Jesus?
Why do you think Peter said only that he was Jesus's friend?
Why do you think Jesus asked Peter to look after the disciples?
5 Sharing Peace
Read these verses from John 20 and the words after
“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you’ he said.”
It sometimes feels like the sharing of peace is overly religious. But actually the words translated ‘peace be with you’ are simply a greeting ‘shalom’ - in other words “hello!” Jesus is not doing anything religious but simply saying hello to friends in the midst of their fear and worry.
Take your glass and propose a toast to someone else round the table to wish them well in the midst of whatever fear, worry (or joy) they might be in the midst of.
6 Sharing Bread and wine
A prayer of thanks will now be led by [the celebrant]. Please join in the responses in bold.
O Eternal Wisdom,
we praise you and give you thanks,
because the beauty of death
could not contain you.
You broke forth from the comfort of the grave;
before you the stone was moved,
and the tomb of our world was opened wide.
For on this day you were raised in power
and revealed yourself to women
as a beloved stranger,
offering for the rituals of the dead
the terror of new life
and of desire fulfilled.
Therefore, with the woman who gave you birth,
the women who befriended you and fed you,
who argued with you and touched you,
the woman who anointed you for death,
the women who met you, risen from the dead,
and with all your lovers throughout the ages,
we praise you, saying.
Holy holy holy
heaven and earth are full of your glory
hosanna in the highest
Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of God
hosanna in the highest
Blessed is our brother Jesus,
who walks with us the road of our grief,
and is known again in the breaking of bread;
who, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said:
‘This is my body, which is for you.
Do this to remember me.’
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying:
‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this whenever you drink it,
to remember me.’
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
Come now, disturbing spirit of our God,
breathe on these bodily things
and make us one body in Christ.
Open our graves, unbind our eyes,
and name us here;
touch and heal all that has been buried in us,
that we need not cling to our pain,
but may go forth with power
to release resurrection in the world. Amen
Share bread and wine on your table.
Pass them round and say something appropriate as you wish - for example ‘The body of Christ’ ‘The blood of Christ’. But do feel free to improvise.
Let's share the matters we'd like to bring before God for prayer
God hears us when we pray and our prayers can be long or short – an explanation or a single word.
Light a candle for each prayer.
At the end say together the following prayer:
You know what we need before we ask it
You see the hidden desires of our hearts
You remember all the things we have forgotten
You understand the whole picture
Answer our prayers in accordance with your wisdom and compassion
Lord we place our concerns before you
In your love and mercy hear us
Read out the following as a final blessing:
May the God who shakes heaven and earth
whom death could not contain
who lives to disturb and heal us
bless you with power to go forth
and proclaim the gospel.
The service is ended.
Please don’t rush off but stick around and chat with people.
In the spirit of the reading there will shortly be fish and bread brought to tables!