Last week I reported on “My Wife’s First Mass.” Here is the “Table Prayer” we wrote for that occasion. As we intend using it again, I’d be interested in any suggestions for making it better.
Eucharistic Table Prayer
All of us are welcome here to commemorate and celebrate this Lord’s Supper. No one is excluded from this table. No one can be excluded; this table belongs to Jesus not to us. So come and break bread in a spirit of thanksgiving, recollection, and inclusiveness. Come as you are – with your strong faith, your weak faith, with your doubts, questions, and deep-held convictions. (Pause) In that spirit of inclusiveness, please join me in our prayer of thanksgiving and remembrance.
Blessed are you, Great Spirit of the universe.
You are the one in whom we live and move and have our being. You are within and without, above and below, and all around.
You interpenetrate every cell of our bodies – the eye of our eyes, the ear of our ears, the breath of our breath, the mind of our minds, the heart of our hearts, the soul of our souls, the life of our lives.
Dear God, bless us and make us aware of your presence in every here and now – in this here and now:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
The Table Prayer (Leader):
In particular, O gracious God, our Mother and Father, we thank you for sharing yourself with us in your magnificent creation stretching a hundred billion galaxies across an unfathomably vast universe.
In our own brief human history, we are grateful for your profound personal revelations in the Buddha, Krishna, and the Great Mother worshipped by humans all over the world for more than 50,000 years.
We thank you especially for Jesus of Nazareth who for us embodied your presence like no other.
We recall the heart of his teaching which was simply to love one another even to the point of death.
We remember how he healed and taught and organized and gave his own life as an example he called us to follow.
(Stretching both hands towards the bread and wine) And so, dear God, we ask that the Spirit of this Jesus may come upon these gifts of bread and wine. May they help us recognize his presence among us who taught that he is there wherever two or three are gathered in his name. May our sharing of the consecrated bread and wine not only transform the meaning of this food and drink, but deeply transform us and our very lives.
So we would never forget the transformation of self he called us to, Jesus asked us to break bread together and to share a cup in his name as he did with his friends the night before he died.
It was then that Jesus took bread into his holy hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said
“Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you.”
Then when the supper was ended, Jesus took a cup of wine. He blessed it and gave it to his friends. He said:
“Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, of the new and eternal covenant. It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins might be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.”
Having shared himself in this way, Jesus led his friends in song. Today we sing:
“We remember how you loved us to your death. And still we celebrate that you are with us here. And we believe that we will see you. When you come in your glory, Lord. We remember; we celebrate; we believe.” (Repeat)
Preparation for Communion (Leader):
In this memorial, we join in spirit with all those great people of faith and who have gone before us. We unite with Peter and Paul, the apostles and martyrs throughout the ages – with Jesus’ mother, Mary, with his “apostle of apostles” Mary Magdalene, with Aquinas, Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Hildegard of Bingen, Theresa of Avila, Teresa of Lisieux, with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Malcolm, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, Rachel Corrie, Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Oscar Romero, with the millions who died in the Woman’s Holocaust, and untold others.
We unite ourselves as well with the members of our own families, and with our teachers and friends who are with us still, and especially those who have gone before us in faith. May all those faithful departed rest in peace. (Here let’s pause to remember our deceased loved ones, and, if you like, to mention their names aloud.)
And now, to prepare ourselves for communion, let us pray in the spirit of Jesus’ Great Prayer. . . .
“Our Mother and . . . :”
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, etc.
Leader: Jesus said we should reconcile with each other before worship. So let us now offer each other a sign of peace.
All: Exchange peace greetings.
Leader (Holding up the Elements):
“Come to me all of you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
“Lord, to whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
After you have received communion, please return to your seat for some minutes of silent prayer.
Conclusion [Leader (after the meditation period has ended)]:
(Please rise.) Lord God, Creator and Mother, we thank you for calling us together this afternoon. We ask that the symbolic meal we have shared may strengthen us on your way of understanding and of love. Help us to recognize you this week in ourselves, in one another, and especially in those you called the least of our brothers and sisters. We pray in Jesus’ name.
Our celebration is ended. Let us go forth to love and serve the Lord!