Telling someone “I love you” in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, “Well, I knew that already, you don’t have to say it again”! Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside.
Henry J. M. Nouwen, “Words that Feed Us,”
Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith,
entry for February 12
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come, all you who are hungry,
come to the feast of love!
People: Listen to the voice of the Beloved:
“For the bread of God gives life to the world.”
Leader: Filled only with our opinions,
superiority, and self-sufficiency,
we hunger for true nourishment.
People: We come to eat the bread of God
and to hear the Word of love.
Leader: In communion with one another
we suffer together, rejoice together,
and find our true selves in service to the world.
All: Living and loving as the Body of Christ,
we gather to give thanks and praise.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy Lover of all creation,
too often we forget that love is the daily bread of life.
People: We remember all the ways that we feel unloved,
but forget to tell others how much we love them.
Leader: We want to be loved and understood,
but refuse to hear others
with patience and compassion.
People: We want to live in a world filled with peace and love,
but let our selfish desires scatter anger and hatred.
Leader: Holy Lover, Breath of compassion, Bread of life,
forgive our unwillingness to be your body,
broken to feed a hungry world.
All: Forgive us for forgetting that loving others is loving you.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One hears us and knows us.
In patience and compassion,
God surrounds us with forgiveness
and fills us with the daily bread of love.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the Heavenly Feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once;
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing,
believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: Holy God of life and all that sustains it,
we give you thanks
for your solid, nourishing presence,
grain in the loaf.
People: Holy God of love and all that nurtures it,
we give you thanks
for the yeasty presence of your chosen child, Jesus,
the bread of life who shows us how to love.
Leader 2: Holy God of constant new beginnings,
we give you thanks
for your Spirit flowing through us and among us,
floating us to new places where we can be your love.
People: Holy God of healing love,
we give you thanks for your Church,
the place where we find fresh bread for our souls.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger,
You who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night of his arrest, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
If you do not wish to receive the elements today you are welcome to join the circle and allow them to pass, or remain in your seat.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world.
SHARED REFLECTIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Leader: We have gathered here to be filled and nourished.
In this place we have known God’s love
and the tender concern of one another.
Let us now be the bread of life,
ready to love and serve God’s tender, hurting world.