Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
World communion 2018
The Lord be with you. And Also With You.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is truly right Oh God, that we give you our gratitude and our praise, for we owe everything to you. You created this earth and all the universes spinning, and you called it good. You created us good, and at every turn we fail to live up to the goodness you have created us to be, but you are faithful still.
Today we celebrate at this table together, your people unified across time and space, with Your people in every part of creation. This meal is always one of unity, and yet, in our faltering, distractible way, we forget one another, or never meet one another, or misunderstand one another when we gather here.
We forget that it is your table and not ours, and so we are not welcome to exclude any who you invite.
We forget that it is your hope that all might be nourished here not just in spirit but in body as well, and that this table reaches out and fills every table where bodies and souls are fed.
We forget that we need to be at peace with one another when we gather here, and that the meal we share here invigorates us anew to go out and to do the hard work of peace and justice that are ours as your children.
We forget because these are times, as have been so many other times, that find many of us, here in our nation and around the world, held captive by terror, rage, prejudice and hate. Times that make us scared to be good neighbors, scared of our own family and community, and all the more scared of what we do not understand. Instead of giving that fear to you and finding a way toward justice and connection, we remain frozen, held hostage to the story our world tells us, a story full of lies and half truths, that aims to keep us all alien from one another, to keep fear at the center of our lives, for fear is easy to manipulate, it is easy to claim power over the fearful, and in our times, fear and power rule the day.
...help us to tell a different story...a beloved story...one we already know so well it dwells in our hearts...the story told by so many of your faithful ones who have come before us...a story that reminds us that fear and worldly power and death cannot win, do not have the last word, will not succeed in the end..
And so remind us with your hope-filled story, God of Grace,
To welcome all- the abused, the ignored, those who are different from us, those whose ways of life, language, culture, or time, are foreign to us, for yours is a table of unity in diversity.
To feed and care for all- those who, in our estimation, deserve it or do not, for your table is abundant beyond our wildest dreams.
To be doers of justice and lovers of peace- for you call us to this sacred calling, in all parts of the life of your world.
Help us to dream again O God, and to dream so big it scares us toward your hope and away from our fear.
Even when things are terrifying and hard.
Help us to dream when we face war and strife and sojourns in lands and times that are strange to us. For we know our forefathers and mothers faced such times too, and with you they survived and thrived and found a way toward hope and peace.
Help us to dream when we face choices that are hard, for your prophets come to help us, just as they did for our matriarchs and patriarchs, to tell us what is your truth, even as we seem incapable of hearing it and believing.
Help us to dream when we despair, when things seem so dire we cannot find a way through to you, you send us Jesus,
the son of a young mother and an adoptive father,
a man who was ridiculed for including those the world didn’t like and harmed,
a teacher who taught in ways it was hard for his community to accept,
a revolutionary who called his neighbors to do better in the face of empire and long history of powerlessness,
a God who would condescend to live as one of us, enjoying the joys and overcoming the hardships of life as a man,
a sacrifice made to offer us all a new life and a renewed hope,
a resurrected Lord who offers hope and love instead of domination and seperation of people one from another.
Help us to dream the dreams you have for us.
Spirit of this living and present God, Be with us today in the sharing of this holy and abundant meal. Join us and empower us to show the power of this meal to all who we meet, not because its power has overpowered us, but because it has empowered us to be your agents and friends, sharing your truth with all we meet. Be with us in these elements, simple and timeless, the elements of life itself, that nourish us from the smallest cell to the whole of the world.
And Thank you for these elements, from the earth and water and sun that sustained them, to every set of hands from the field to this table that brought them to us. We offer you gratitude and pray Goodness for the good creation and, for all those who brought this goodness to us.
Finally, primarily, we offer you thanks for Jesus Christ, our brother, friend, teacher, model, God and Lord who brings us together here, and everywhere, again and again to learn what it is to be a blessed community in your name, and to be your children. Who taught us long ago and again in this moment to pray together the prayer he taught us...our father...