Didache Communion

Note: “The Didache” (or, The Training) was a first-century manual for early Christians.  It contains the liturgy for a communion ritual that is different from the one the Gospels and Paul transmitted.  The translation below is taken from Aaron Milavec’s book, The Didache: Text, Translation, Analysis and Commentary.  (Copyright 2003 by The Order of Saint Benedict, Inc.  Published by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota.  Reprinted with permission.)  What we now call non-inclusive language (“our Father”, “Lord”) was used in the Didache, reflecting the time of its writing.  Use more modern language if so desired.

Presider: Join me now in our circle around the eucharist table.

It says in The Training that we are to pray the prayer of Jesus three times a day, but it also says that “In church, you will confess your failings, and you will not go to your prayer with a bad conscience.”  So as we prepare for our communion meal, and prepare to pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, let us take a few moments in silence to clear our consciences.  We ask God’s forgiveness for our failings, those things we have done that we ought not to have done, and those things we have not done that we ought to have done.  We know there is nothing that is beyond God’s forgiveness.  (Silence)

We are indeed the beloved children of God.  Let us pray together:

All: Our Creator, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

We come now to our communion celebration.  We give thanks to God:

First, concerning the cup:
We give you thanks, our Father
for the holy vine of your servant David
which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus.

People: To you is the glory forever.

And concerning the broken loaf:
We give you thanks, our Father,
for the life and knowledge
which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus.

People: To you is the glory forever.

Just as this broken loaf was scattered over the hill as grain,
and, having been gathered together, became one;
in like fashion, may your church be gathered together
from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.

People: Because yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.

Distribute the bread and follow it with the chalice of wine or grape juice.  Sing “As the grains of wheat…” (New Century Hymnal #783 by Marty Haugen).

Let us pray together:

We give you thanks, holy Father,
for your holy name,
which you tabernacle in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality
which you revealed to us through your servant Jesus.

People: To you is the glory forever.

You, almighty Master, created all things
for the sake of your name,
both food and drink you have given people for enjoyment
in order that they might give thanks;
to us, on the other hand, you have graciously bestowed
Spirit-sent food and drink for life forever
through your servant Jesus.

Before all these things, we give you thanks
because you are powerful on our behalf.

People: To you is the glory forever.

Remember, Lord, your church,
to save her from every evil
and to perfect her in your love
and to gather her together from the four winds
as the sanctified into your kingdom
which you have prepared for her,

People: because yours is the power and the glory forever.

Hosanna to the God of David!  Amen!

Adaptation by Polly Moore, College Heights UCC, San Mateo CA

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