Monday, 30 March 2020

Scattered yet Gathered

A liturgy in two voices for sharing communion whilst scattered.

The Baptist Times have published a theological reflection on this liturgy, which you can read here:

You can download a PowerPoint of this Liturgy here (DropBox Link).

Jesus said:
‘Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, 
so that one may eat of it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
(John 6.47-51)

We are the people of God,
we are the body of Christ.
We are scattered, and the body of Christ is broken,
but as we gather, the body of Christ is re-membered.

So together we gather in obedience to Jesus’ command,
to remember, and to share together in breaking bread and drinking wine,
in remembrance of the death of Christ.

Each piece of bread that we eat was once scattered across the fields,
              and the grain that God gave to grow
              has become for us the bread of life.
Each sip of wine that we drink was once many vines,
              and the grapes that God gave to grow
              have become for us the new wine of God’s kingdom.

In our communion with one another,
              we are fed with the bread of heaven that sustains us,
              and we drink the wine of gladness that brings us joy.

The people of Israel were sustained by God 
through their years of wilderness wandering:

‘The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land;
they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.’ 
(Exodus 16.35)

‘[God] rained down on them manna to eat, 
and gave them the grain of heaven.’ 
(Psalm 78.24)

And we too are God’s people, sustained by God through the wilderness of this world.

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness;
as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'
Then Jesus said to them,
"Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven 
and gives life to the world."
They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. "’
(John 6.31-35)

On the night on which Jesus was betrayed, he sat at supper with his disciples.
While they were eating, he took a piece of bread,
said a blessing broke it, and gave it to them with the words,
‘This is my body. It is for you. Do this to remember me.’
Later, he took a cup of wine, saying,
‘This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood.
Drink from it, all of you, to remember me’.
So now, following Jesus’ example and command, we take this bread and this wine,
the ordinary things of the world which Christ will make special.
And as he said a prayer before sharing, let us do so too

God of all those who are scattered and broken,
you call us to wholeness.
We thank you for the love demonstrated in giving your son,
that we might be united with you.
We thank you that in Christ you enter into the pain, uncertainty, and fear of our world;
and that your arms are open in loving embrace,
gathering us to you as a mother hen gathers her brood under her wing,
as a shepherd gathers his flock.
We thank you for bread and wine,
symbols and signs for us today, 
of your faithfulness to your people through all generations.

‘Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; 
say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him, 
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock."’ 
(Jeremiah 31.10)

Let us share in bread together.

‘Then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been scattered 
and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah; 
and they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance. 
(Jeremiah 40.12).

Let us share in wine together.

Jesus said
‘The hour is coming, indeed it has come, 
when you will be scattered, each one to his home,
and you will leave me alone. 
Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!"’ 
(John 16.32-33)


Growing4God said...

Beautiful liturgy - a real gift for these troubled time!

Unknown said...

Really helpful and thoughtful. Many thanks Simon...

Unknown said...

today I read your heart warming profound liturgy and celebrated a lone communion reading your words. I am uplifted and strengthened Liz Ashworth Morayshire Scotland