A Great Thanksgiving for World Communion

Everyone is invited to the table of grace.
From every tribe?
Every tribe!
From every language group?
Every language group!
Do you mean from all the peoples of the earth?
Yes! God invites those from every nation.
We have been purchased by the blood of Christ as a gift to God.

I now present my life as Christ’s gift, an expression of Christ’s love and holy devotion.

On this day, all around the world we praise You.
On this day, all around the world we join to worship You alone.
On this day, we acknowledge that we are Christ’s gift to You,
We the people of this world encompass Your greatest heart’s desire.

We are all included:
not by our merits,
not by our actions,
nor our great sacrifices.
Gathered together, they are nothing compared to the merits, the actions, the sacrifice of Christ.

We are all included:
not because of gifts we bring,
not because of our brilliant theological understandings,
not because we are good enough to be considered worthy to even enter Your presence.
Jesus told us that You alone are good, the rest of us have nothing at all to ever boast about.

We are all included,
no matter what other people believe about us,
no matter how we even view ourselves,
but because Jesus matters to you.

So we, all the people of the earth, come to Your table as a gift.
We are the gift bought by the blood of Your Son for You alone to enjoy.
And so, together we proclaim:

We praise You, our God!
We praise You from every sanctuary!
We praise You throughout the heavens!
We praise You for all Your mighty acts of grace!
We offer our lives to praise Your absolute greatness!
We praise You with the power of trumpet blasts!
We praise You with the gentle sounds of strings!
We Praise You with rhythm of our hearts and dance of our feet!
May the orchestra of the earth be united to praise You with a symphony!
May our praise be as loud as cymbals,
Yes! Louder than crashing cymbals!
Let everything living praise You O God!
May You always be praised!  (Adapted from Psalm 150)

Yes, You do deserve everyone’s praise for what You have done.
And through the faithful sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
You have been given the gift of every single soul.

We are all Your children through the faith of Jesus Christ.
All of us who were baptized into Christ have clothed themselves in Christ.
We are no longer divided into “included” or “excluded” children;
no longer divided into the “haves” or the “have nots,”
no longer divided by gender, ethnicity, or ability.

Christ has broken down all the dividing walls
that we in our sinfulness have erected to exploit others.
We are now all one in Christ Jesus.
And as Jesus said, let no one divide whom God has joined together.

Jesus joined us as one,
when Jesus stepped down from the throne of heaven
to kneel and wash from our feet all the stains of life with Your love.
Remember that as disciples of the Christ we are to love all others.

Jesus joined us as one,
when Jesus took with thanksgiving,
the bread that commemorated the breaking of the chains of oppression,
sharing it with all saying: “Take, and eat, this is my body given for you.”
Remember that as disciples of the Christ we are to love all others.

Jesus joined us as one,
when Jesus took with thanksgiving,
the cup that recalled all of Your judgments visited upon the oppressors,
sharing it with all saying: “Drink with me, all of you, for this is my blood poured out as a testimony to the faithfulness of God’s eternal covenant of grace, with you and with all.”
Remember that as disciples of the Christ we are to love all others.

Together we join with Christ at this table:
Acknowledging our differences, our disagreements, our divisions, and setting them aside;
Acknowledging our harm, our hate, our hostility, and humbly setting them aside;
Acknowledging the love, mercy, grace, compassion and sacrifice of Christ,
We confess this great mystery of faith:

When we were yet sinners, Christ died for everyone.
When we were dead in our sins, Christ rose to bring eternal life to everyone.
Although we all fall short of the glory of God, when Christ returns we shall all be like Him.

Divine Holy Spirit, who alone binds us all as one,
use these gifts of bread and wine,
make us aware that You make them become for us the body and blood of Christ.

Divine Holy Spirit, who alone binds us all as one,
use the gift of our lives,
make the world aware that You make us become for them,
Your church, the body and bride of Christ.

Divine Holy Spirit, who alone binds us all as one,
use us to heal division in the world,
use us to build an expanding ecumenical unity,
use us as instruments of Your peace throughout the earth,
let our lives together encourage others to join with us,
so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess with us that Jesus Christ is Lord.

We pray this in the love of Christ, the seal of our salvation.
We pray this by the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is love.
We pray this by the love of God only seen through our love for our enemies, our persecutors, and those we would exclude.
We pray this so that we might bring You true glory, true honor, and our eternal gratitude.  Amen.

Now as the beloved children of God, let us pray with Christ…

Prepared for World Communion Sunday (October 7, 2018)
by the Rev. Michael Johnson