Here is our first attempt at an online liturgy for communion. It took 11 minutes and so we are going to refine it down next week by almost half. In the transcript below (also available as a PDF at the bottom) I went ahead and highlighted the ‘inverse’ elements where the innovation happens.
Please feel free to utilize or adapt this if it would be helpful to you in your context. We will be doing Inverse Communion (the shorter version) next Sunday if you would to join us.
Online Communion Liturgy #Digital #Church
Oh, beautiful and sacred divine, we greet you this morning in the knowledge that all life is in your loving care. For your Spirit’s presence is everywhere at all times filling all things with life and intention.
We give thanks this morning for the reality that in our various locations, separated by miles and social distance, that it is still true that it is in you in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). The psalmist reminds us that there is nowhere we can hide from your presence (Psalm 149:7) and we confess that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 38-39).
We rest in the assurance that we are your children and we receive the affirmation that we belong to you–your spirit testifies in our spirit that we have been adopted into your family (Galatians 4:6) and by your grace stand not just adopted but accepted, approved, and adored (Romans 8:16). You have given us the gift of your Holy Spirit who unites us with the saints of the past who have walked this road of faith before us through various trials and tribulations.
Now come Holy Spirit and make us one across the miles and through this media of the digital web that now connects us. Transform, by your spirit of grace, our social isolation and distance into a holy community that is connected to each other by your sacred presence. Be near to us as we are separated from one another so that each of our kitchen tables (and coffee tables) maybe mystically connected in communion to your table which unites us all.
We give thanks for this sacred ceremony in all of the ways it has manifested over the centuries. We give thanks for the ways that this Holy meal has transformed and evolved over the ages from a once a year Passover meal that Jesus took, blessed, broke, and shared with his disciples. We give thanks for all of those who have celebrated this sacrament throughout history in the form of the Lord’s Supper, a Love Feast, Eucharist, Mass, and Communion. We also give thanks for your divine presence in every place that we celebrate being the body of Christ this morning.
We also give thanks for these elements that nourish and sustain us through difficult times. For this bread (or baked goods) and for this cup (or mug) we give thanks and acknowledge that it is through elements like these that our mortal bodies are nourished, strengthened, and satisfied.
We take these as symbols of your provision and goodness and pray that they would be transformed from ordinary elements into signs that point us to the greater reality of your presence in the earth in all places and at all times.
[For the Beauty of the Earth v1]
May these humble offerings be transformed into symbols that participate in the reality that point to into signs of the life to come.
We give thanks for this bread and for the earth from which these ingredients come in humble acknowledgment that we are a part of your loving creation and that as these elements are rooted in the earth that our very life is dependent on the goodness of creation. You created all things good and we are a part of that creation. We pray this morning for those who work in the fields and the farms across to this land and pray that they would know your presence this morning in a significant way during this crisis.
Normally we take the one loaf and we break it to serve the many. In doing so, we symbolize the significance of our unity as the body of Christ through remembering your body broken for us that in you we may be one. This morning we lift up are many pieces through this medium of social media and ask that in you the many would be one. Make this bread to be for us a sign of your presence with us, sustaining us and filling us with good things.
May this symbol remind us that in our brokenness we are to be bred for the world and to care for those who hunger physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally, politically, economically, and environmentally.
[For the Beauty of the Earth v2 communion chorus]
On the night that Jesus took this cup, he lifted it and gave thanks–infusing it with new meaning. This cup represents the life and the love of Christ poured out. This cup symbolizes the heart of God, spilled would love for all creation. We give thanks for what is in this cup in for the earth from which these elements come. We are grateful for the vines and bushes and brambles which give fruit in due season and fill our lives with good things.
Normally during this ceremony, we proclaim that there is one cup in that it is filled with goodness and love poured out for the good of the many. This morning we ask the by the power of your presence our many cups would signify that we drink deeply of the good things of God and that they would help us to remember that we look forward to a day where we shall be together with all the saints for the great Thanksgiving and the banquet feast of the ages in your eternal presence.
May these symbols remind us of the power of transformation. We give thanks for the grapes and blossoms and berries and beans that are transformed from one state into another and that as they are brewed and steeped and stewed that they become elements of refreshment and celebration.
Let them, Holy Spirit, remind us that our lives – like this cup – are filled with your goodness and grace so that our lives may be poured out in service to others. We lift up those in need this morning and those who are pouring out their lives in service to our hurting world at this time.
God of grace and mercy we ask that you transform these humble elements from mere reminders into a symbol of your presence with us and a sign of your life in us as we take these elements into ourselves. Make them be to us the body of Christ – as we remember that we are your body – and the love of God poured out for our good and the good of the many.
Holy Spirit we asked that by the power of your presence that we too would be transformed from the many into the one that the world may hear of your love and the good news of redemption for all creation. Until we eat and drink together again enjoying with all the saints throughout the ages and around the planet may every plate and every cup help us to remember your great love for us and for all living things.
We partake of these elements together through the medium of this digital communion and ask that you would unite us in heart and intention so that in every place and at all times your presence is manifest on the earth. We make ourselves available to this great mystery of the ages – through the mediating presence of this online medium – that we are connected to each other into a holy communion of the people of God – a royal priesthood of all believers.
In God the many are one. In Christ the loved of God is poured out for the good of the whole world. By the power of Spirit, the medium of these elements and the media of this digital space is transformed into a sacred ceremony of communion and thanksgiving across the miles from here unto eternity.
Let us celebrate together! Thanks be God who transforms our humble offerings.
- Christ’s body broken for you – the many are made one and transformed into the body of Christ.
- The Cup of God’s love poured out for you – to fill you with good things as you pour out your life for the good of many and the transformation of the world.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions email VHUMCpastor@gmail.com