Worship Materials: Eucharistic Resources

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

 
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

Behind the words the actions, behind the actions the mystery.

The Eucharist is a prism through which we can view the painful and joyful realities of life. It enables us to go beyond focusing on the historic events to evaluating all the events being enacted in our world and in our lives today.

The same symbols can empower us for liberation or legitimize our captivity, for liberation and captivity reside in the mind and not in the symbol.

Eucharist is a Way of looking at life in which we see
all water as wine,
all air as the breath of God,
all sunlight as the fire of the Spirit,
all earth as womb.
It is a way of visioning beyond the realm of logic to the shadowy world of the mystery of the human mind where the play of symbols creates aworld of vitality, humor, reverence and delight.

The Holy Communion (Eucharist, Mass) follows the pattern of love

  • Clarification of who one is – a mixture of frailty and Prayer of Affirmation and Confession.
  • Dialogue with the other. Scripture, sermon, sharing of stories.
  • The letting go – the trusting the Offertory.
  • The sharing of thankfulness – the Eucharistic Prayer
  • The sharing of pain – the Breaking of the Bread and the Pouring of the Wine.
  • The Oneness – the Eating – the inter-dependency the balance between absorption and solitude, the celebration of inclusive identity ‘We are the Body of Christ.’

This world is a world for lovers. At its best Eucharist is a participation in and a celebration of loving.

Spirituality follows nature.

Awareness comes through observation and reflection.

All life is Eucharist for those who not only participate in the sacramental but who also seek to live sacramentally.

To speak of receiving Communion is only half the story. In the sharing of bread we, like God, both give and receive.

Contextualized liturgies are born in the hearts of the artists rather than the minds of the theologians so listening to the poets can be the beginning of belonging.

While reason tends to universalize, the senses encounter the here and now.

Jesus said “this bread is my body” but the eucharistic bread is also the body of each of us individually and collectively as well as the body of the Cosmos.

How can I be part of the Cosmic feast? Only four things are necessary.

  • Letting go.
  • Being thankful.
  • Joining the process.
  • Living the blessing.

From this springs justice, peace and reverence for the Cosmos and all its life forms.

We can attempt to contextualize the liturgy from the perspective of power, wealth and intellectual superiority or we can start with the poorest of the poor. The former produces a fashion in liturgy, the latter liturgy itself for by definition liturgy is “the work of the people.”

Sharing bread (or rice) is a sign of love, inclusiveness and interdependence.

Is our eucharist primarily about death remembered or is it a celebration of radical aliveness?

Eucharist is not only a celebration of the past and the future, it is pattern for living in which love conquers brokenness through the sharing of self and bread.

If all life is sacred, in eating bread, or anything else for that matter, I am involved in killing and consuming something that is of God so that it is incorporated into myself. Maybe that is part of the mystery, part of the spirituality, that lies at the heart of the Eucharist.

 

HYMNS

Can bread and wine? (BL)

To God the process. (BL )

O golden cup of life. (BL)

Taste and see. (BL)

O golden doors now open wide. (BL)

 

The right time has come.
www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

The patterned mystery.
www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

With God we shape compassion’s robe. (Offertory hymn)
http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

I am more than flesh and bone (prior to the element’s reception)
http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

“No-one takes my life away”.(Offertory hymn)
http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

The Way of the Christ. (STS1)
We will celebrate with praises. (STS1)
Behind the bread. (STS2)
All our hearts and minds, O God. (Offertory hymn) (STS2)

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011, Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications

SUNG RESPONSES

All things of Earth.
http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

Glory to you O God. (Sacred Energy/Mass of the Universe)

 

 

EXPERIMENTAL EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

This is a celebration of life in the form of bread and wine: a celebration of God – parent, child and creative spirit.

 

All:        WE CELEBRATE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.

WE CELEBRATE OUR OWN BODY AND BLOOD.

WE CELEBRATE THE SUBSTANCE AND LIFE OF THE COSMOS.

 

THE OFFERTORY

(The first action)

CALL TO OFFERING

It is in allowing ourselves to be embraced by mystery that we find peace.

It is through accepting others that we find acceptance.

It is in giving love that we find love.

 

DEDICATION OF OFFERING

The whole of creation is yours, O God; earth, sea and sky,

all that lives,

our own bodies and abilities,

are gifts from you

to be reverenced and cared for.

 

All:        TAKE THE FLESH OF OUR BODIES, THE BLOOD OF OUR VEINS AND THE SUBSTANCE OF THE UNIVERSE. MAY THEY BE FOR OURSELVES THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FOR OTHERS THE TRANSFORMING BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, AMEN

 

THE THANKSGIVING

(The second action)

The following maybe used in the Eucharistic Prayer before the thanksgiving for the life of Christ and the Words of Institution.

 

Celebrant: Let us give thanks for creation.

 

Each person is given the opportunity to share with their neighbor or in groups something of beauty within nature or in the lives of people. Then all may share with the group some experience of creating which they have been involved in recently.

 

All:        ALL THINGS OF EARTH ARE HOLY, ALL THINGS ARE ONE IN YOU, THIS EARTH IS FILLED WITH YOUR BEAUTY, GOD, CHARGED WITH YOUR LOVE.

 

Celebrant: Let us give thanks for liberation.

 

Each person is given the opportunity to share ways in which they have experienced liberation, or have seen other people becoming liberated. Then all share ways in which the world is becoming more liberated.

 

THANKSGIVING FOR JESUS

Celebrant: We thank you for Jesus,

Sign of God,

Child of God,

Presence of God,

The most compassionate

Prophet and Mystic.

For his nativity – window to all birthing,

His childhood – mirror to our inner child,

His life – sign of fully alive humanity,

His death – symbol of inextinguishable love,

And his continuing presence – doorway to your radiant mystery

O God.

 

WORDS OF INSTITUTION*(see notes at end of service)

Celebrant: We thank you that at Christ’s last Passover Meal, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and sharing it with his disciples said: “take, eat, this Bread is my being, a being for all”. After supper, Christ took the Cup, gave thanks and invited them to share his life-force, a life- force poured out for the new WAY of forgiveness. We rejoice that we also stand in the tradition of Christ’s Resurrection Meals, meals of the mystical presence, meals of fulfillment and anticipation, meals of the Spirit’s empowering love.

All these things we remember with joy as we take this bread and this cup, thankfully sharing in response to your invitation.

All:  Glory to you, O God,

In the midst of suffering and death we find hope,

Through the gift of new life we share your wholeness

and beyond all our endings, we encounter

the mystery of your love.

Celebrant: Holy Spirit, whom we experience whenever there is life, love, justice or peace, grant us that awareness which sees

Beyond the surface to the eye of the symbol,

Beyond the explanation to the delight of the mystery,

Beyond the certainties to the wonder of the unknown;

And may this feast of bread and wine be

Christ with us,

Christ in us,

Christ through us

Now and always.

 

All:  TO YOU CREATIVE, LIBERATING AND EMPOWERING GOD,

BE ALL GLORY AND PRAISE, HERE AND EVERYWHERE,

NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN.

 

THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

(The third action)

 

Celebrant: The bread which we break is a sharing in the Body of Christ,

a sharing in the life of faith,

a sharing in the energy of the Cosmos.

 

After the breaking of the bread and before the sharing of the elements, it is appropriate to have a silent or guided reflection on sharing ourselves and our wealth.

 

THE SHARING

(The fourth action)

 

Words to accompany the sharing

THE BREAD

  1. Behold (or look) this is Bread

This is Christ, this is You, this is Me

This is Us, for we are the Body of Christ.

  1. The Body of Christ, the fabric of Creation.

The Body of Christ, the poor and the oppressed.

The Body of “Christ in you” the hope of glory.

The Body of Christ for the Body of Christ (the Church)

 

THE WINE

  1. Our sufferings are part of the sufferings of God.
  2. The way of forgiveness, the Way of Christ.
  3. The way of sharing, the path of life.
  4. God is with us in pain and joy, in grief and in rapture.
  5. In darkness and in light, God is with us.
  6. Trust the mystery and delight in God.

AFTER RECEPTION OF THE ELEMENTS

All hold hands and say to their neighbor

All:  MAY YOUR BODY AND BLOOD BE AS CHRIST TO ME.

WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST,

CO-WORKERS WITH GOD,

SIGNS OF GOD’S NEW WAY.

Here may follow a Lord’s Prayer paraphrase as in the Fire and Water Liturgy.

 

BENEDICTION

Prior to the grace, said by all holding hands, the following may be used

Celebrant:   All life is holy, all life is one.

All:  PURIFY US, O GOD, THAT ALL LIFE MAY BE HOLY COMMUNION AND THE WHOLE CREATION EUCHARIST.

 

*Notes 1) in Hebrew: Body = total personality, Blood = life or life force

           2) the Eucharist stands just as much in the tradition of the Resurrection Meals as in that of the Last Supper.  See Eastern Orthodox Liturgies.

 

 

ALTERNATIVE OFFERTORY PRAYER

Celebrant: With this bread and this wine we bring to you O God all the life of Earth, all the fruit of human endeavor.

May the sacredness of life infuse all our living and may the presence of the Inner Christ strengthen, comfort and delight us on the path of the Way.

 

All:     IN THE LETTING GO WE FIND LIFE,

FOR DEEPER THAN THE STRIVING IS THE FLOWING,

DEEPER THAN THE SEARCHING IS THE KNOWING AND

DEEPER THAN THE GRIEVING IS THE MYSTERY

IN WHICH DARKNESS AND LIGHT ARE ONE.

 

A CELEBRATION OF THE PROCESSES OF THE WAY

(An Alternative Form of Eucharistic Communion)

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF AWARENESS

Awareness of oneself as a child of the Cosmos and an integral part of the ecosystem.

Awareness of oneself as a child of God sharing the sacredness of the Cosmos.

Awareness of one’s strengths and frailties in relation to oneself, to other people and to the ecosystem.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF FORGIVENESS AND TRANSFORMATION Forgiveness as a therapeutic process. Practising letting go of anger, resentment and the victim mentality.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF IMMERSION IN WISDOM from ancient and  contemporary writings and from our own inner well. A time of sharing.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF PRACTISING SEEING OTHERS AS CHILDREN OF GOD especially our enemies. Combining and focusing our positive energies.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF PRACTISING LETTING GO of things, of over-consumption, of misuse of the environment, of Dualism, of divine intervention, of static thinking, of ideology, of over simplification and of the elements of negativity in our own self image and that of society.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF FOSTERING THANKFULNESS for the prophets and mystics past and present (including Jesus) and for life itself.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF TRANSFORMATION OF OURSELVES, OF SOCIETY AND OF THE ECOSYSTEM. The acceptance of and integration of the opposites including the realities of suffering, death and destruction in our own lives and in the whole of the Cosmos.

 

  1. THE PROCESS OF EXPERIENCING COMMUNAL WHOLENESS. The sharing of elements of a communal meal including the symbolic use of bread and water and concluding with a celebratory affirmation.

 

A RADICAL COMMUNION SERVICE

THE OFFERING

The experience of oneness with everything is not something other worldly, it is being in touch with the reality which lies beneath the surface. (Quote from Brian Swimme)

It is that reality which we open our hearts to encounter as we come to this Communion, this Eucharist.

So we sing “In the letting go”.

We let go of the idea that we are totally separate from everything else (read “No-one can share my inner space”)

So we sing “In the letting go”.

We let go of the idea that we are totally different from all other living creatures. We remember that we are 70 to 50% water. We are one with the sea, one with the rain, one with all the plants and all the animals.

So we sing “In the letting go”.

We let go of the idea that the atoms of our body came into existence at our birth. We remember that they came from the stars and will return to the Earth and sky at our death.

So we sing “In the letting go”.

We let go of the idea that the fire of our life-force, the warmth of our heart, the pulsing of our blood is unrelated to anything else.

So we sing “In the letting go”.

And we let go of the idea that the air in our lungs is something that belongs to us. It may do so for a moment but it soon returns to the air that millions of other people, animals and plants are using.

We remember that we are not alone and that deeper than all the disappointments, failures, hurts and suffering there is the constantly reliable, ever-compassionate love of God and that in allowing ourselves to trust that love we find life.

For “In the letting go” we find life.

 

Now with all this in mind, we make our offering, singing again and again “In the letting go”.

PRAYER

O God, as we let go, we find life.

May our letting go be a blessing to ourselves

And to all the life of this Planet.

 

 

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said, “if the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You’ that would suffice”. So we give thanks.

Thanks for our life, our connectedness, our knowledge that we are not alone, that we are at home in God and can never be separated from that home, even if at times we cease to be aware of it.

 

We give thanks for the whole eco-system, for all the processes of the Cosmos and especially for the recycling process of birth, death and new life that springs out of death.

 

We give thanks for the whole of human history, of people moving from dependency to independence and on to inter-dependence.

 

We give thanks for the evolution of Religion and for the growth in our own spiritual life within the never-ending journey of Spirituality.

 

We give thanks for all the mystics and prophets, priests and sages and especially for Jesus Christ who came to empower us and enable us to be in touch with that of God within each of us.

 

We give thanks for his transforming love and his new way of living.

 

With grateful thanks we acknowledge the greatness of God, the mystery of God and the ever-presence of God singing Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Amen, Amen, Amen.(BL135)

 

THE FRACTION

Now as Jesus did on the night of his betrayal, we take bread and wine to remember that the creative and transforming power of God is present even in suffering and death. In so doing we acknowledge that the world is full of death and resurrection, rocks turning into soil, dead flesh nurturing new life and rain greening the face of the Earth.

 

So, we take this bread, symbol of Christ, symbol of us, symbol of the Cosmos and become aware of the presence of God.

 

We take this wine, symbol of life given and life renewed, symbol of the flow of blood within our body and the pulse of life throughout the Cosmos and are fed in our spirits for the mystic pilgrimage.

 

(The bread and wine are held up for all to see and the following is said):

‘Behold the things we can see which point us to the eternal things which we cannot see but which are ever-present. Glory and praise to you O God, for ever and ever.

 

THE SHARING

After all have received Communion, all are invited to hold hands and think of the people for whom they should pray. And conclude with a call to be one with all who give praise to God, all who enter into the mystery and all who work for peace and justice.

 

A congregational Alleluia may be sung at this point.

(See Congregational Alleluias)

 

THE WAY AS ENCAPSULATED IN THE PROCESS OF EUCHARIST

  1. The way of mystery (Epiphany) (Adoration)
  2. The way of personal and collective awareness (Confession)
  3. The way of forgiveness
  4. The way of interaction with wisdom. Sacred and insightful texts and their unpacking.
  5. The way of application of wisdom through the pursuit of justice, peace and reverence for creation.
  6. The way of letting go. The way of giving and receiving – silence and emptiness. (The Offering)
  7. The way of thanksgiving. Training the mind to be a thankful observer and an enlightened seer. (The Eucharistic Prayer)
  8. The way of perceiving sacredness. ( The Elevation and Fraction)
  9. The way of oneness, of singularity. (The Consumption of the Elements)
  10. The way of sharing and interconnection. (The Fellowship of the Meal)
  11. The way of blessing. The practice of thinking and bestowing blessing.


FIRE AND WATER LITURGY

(A non-Eucharist service after the pattern of Eucharist)

THE PREPARATION

Leader:      As Jesus took bread and wine and used them as prisms through which to view life, so we take fire and water in the manner of Eucharist. Life is a gift from God. We may reject it and misuse it, or accept it, use it and rejoice in it.

 

Guided reflection on fire and water with groups sitting around these elements.

 

FORGIVENESS

All-loving God, you do not condemn us for our immature and irresponsible behavior but instead long for us to grow into greater maturity. Help us to forgive ourselves, as you forgive us, so that we may also be able to forgive others.

 

AFFIRMATION

I am a lovable person, created by God. I give myself permission to enjoy being myself, to use my power responsibly and to be a singer and dancer of God’s new world.

 

THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD

Leader:      The Word comes as water to soothe and nourish; as fire to energize and purify.

 

READINGS AND EXPOSITION

Leader:      May we be moved by these words of hope and judgment to share in the creation of God’s new Way.

 

INTERCESSION

RESPONSES

  1. We pray:

Help us to care for all other living creatures.

  1. Wisdom comes from the fire of pain,

Healing from the waters of our tears.

  1. In the mystery of love

Life springs out of death.

  1. We give thanks,

Help us to rejoice in all that lives.

 

A PARAPHRASE OF THE LORD’S PRAYER

Most Compassionate Life-giver, may we honor and-praise you; may we work with you to establish your new order of justice, peace and love. Give us what we need for growth, and help us, through forgiving others, to accept forgiveness. Strengthen us in the time of testing, that we may resist all evil for all the tenderness, strength and love are yours, now and forever. AMEN.

 

THE OFFERTORY

Let us add our light to God’s light and mingle the waters of our compassion with the transforming pain of God’s love. Light and water are brought forward; candles are lit from the groups’ candles and the waters mingled.

 

PRAYER

To you, Creator, we offer this water, symbol of the green Earth which we have despoiled.

To you, Liberator, we offer this fire, symbol of our dancing spirits which we have denied and your justice which we have failed to implement.

To you, loving and lively Spirit, we offer ourselves and our gifts that from them new life and hope may arise.

 

AFFIRMATION OF THE SACRED

(see All things of earth)

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

THE THANKSGIVING

Give thanks to God

IT IS INDEED RIGHT AND FITTING, OUR JOY AND OUR FULFILMENT, ALWAYS TO BE PRAISING YOU, GOD OF ALL TENDERNESS AND STRENGTH.

 

Let us give thanks for creation.

Let us give thanks for liberation.

 

O DIVINE ARTIST AND LIBERATOR, SOURCE OF ALL WARMTH AND NOURISHMENT, WE THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT ENABLES US TO GROW IN WISDOM AND GRACIOUSNESS, AND ESPECIALLY WE THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST.
WE THANK YOU FOR
HIS HUMBLE BIRTH,
HIS COMPASSIONATE LIFE AND DEATH,
HIS CONTINUING PRESENCE WITH US AS THE MYSTICAL INNER CHRIST.
HE SHARES OUR JOYS AND SORROWS,
EMPOWERS US TO LIVE FOR OTHERS,
UPHOLDS US IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING AND DEATH AND ENABLES US TO KNOW THAT NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM YOUR LOVE, O GOD.

 

We remember that Jesus said, ‘the water that I give you will become in you a spring that will provide you with life-giving water and give you eternal life’ (John 4/14b) and that Jesus also said, ‘I came to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already kindled’ (Luke 12/49)

Strong and gentle Christ,

OUR DEATHS ARE PART OF YOUR DEATH,

OUR RESURRECTIONS PART OF YOUR RESURRECTION,

OUR HOPES PART OF YOUR HOPE.

Holy Spirit, baptize us with fire, purify us and enliven us that your passion for Justice, Peace and Community may burn within us and set the whole world alight.
PARENT, CHILD AND CREATIVE SPIRIT, ALL RADIANCE AND MYSTERY ARE YOURS, HERE AND EVERYWHERE, NOW AND FOREVER. AMEN.

 

THE PROCLAMATION OF THE MYSTERY

Christ is the light of the world. (A candle is held up for all to see)

Christ is the water of life. (A container of water is held up)

 

THE SHARING

We share with our neighbors our commitments to action.

THE WATERS OF CREATION ARE LIFE TO THE EARTH, THE WATERS OF BAPTISM LIFE TO THE SPIRIT. WE TAKE THIS WATER AND SIGN OURSELVES WITH THE SIGN OF THE CROSS REMEMBERING OUR BAPTISM.

 

An opportunity is provided for all to sign themselves with the sign of the cross on their foreheads with water.

 

AS WE WERE ONCE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST SO MAY WE CONTINUE IN CHRIST, EVER FAITHFUL TO THE GOSPEL OF JUSTICE AND PEACE. AMEN.

 

We are called to be comfort and challenge to those to whom we minister.

We are called to be wounded healers for the sake of Christ.

We are called to be singers and dancers of God’s new Way.

Let us sing and dance a HYMN: e.g. The Way of Life.

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011 World Library Publications

Then all hold hands and say the Grace.

 


EUCHARIST AS PROCESS

(As a becoming)

Approach

  1. Becoming aware of one’s divinity.
  2. Becoming aware of one’s frailties.
  3. Becoming aware of the presence of God.

 

Wisdom Listening to and becoming aware of wisdom and then internalizing it.

 

Compassion Becoming aware of the plight of the ecosystem and of    the joys and sorrows of other people, enfolding them with positive energy and committing ourselves to forms of action which create a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

 

The four-fold action

  1. The Offering. Practicing letting to.
  2. The Thanksgiving. Practicing being thankful, joyful and hopeful
  3. The Fraction. Practicing transforming suffering.
  4. The Sharing. Practicing partnership and blessing.

 


EXPERIMENTAL COSMIC CELEBRATION

(After the pattern of Eucharist)

  1. LOCATING ourselves physically, historically, spiritually.

 

  1. TRANSFORMING.  Replacing guilt with repentance, insecurity with  affirmation, anger with forgiveness, failure with experimentation

 

  1. ENLIGHTENMENT.  Allowing ourselves to be enlightened by wisdom  from sages and sacred books and from the ensuing discussion.

 

  1. SIMPLIFYING (The Letting Go) Letting go of needing more, letting go of the need to simplify complexity and mystery, accepting the process of gestation and creativity and of flowing with the process. Come in emptiness with readiness to be filled.

 

  1. CELEBRATING the Cosmos, the Earth, Human Beings, prophetic figures (the Christ, Mary, the Saints), the peace makers, the movers and the shakers.

 

  1. PARTICIPATING through the use of imagination and identification and thus giving and receiving energy from Earth, Air, Fire, Water and the fruit of the Earth.

“Touch the rock and be touched by the earth. Remember that you are of the Earth and will one day return to it.

Be aware of breathing the air in and out and be filled with the breath of God. See and feel the warmth of fire (the candle) and allow yourself to be filled with the fire of the Spirit.
Drink the water and be immersed in the River of Life.

Consume the fruit of the Earth (e.g. a raisin) and remember that you too will one day be consumed by friendly Sister Death.”

 

  1. AFFIRMING AND EMBRACING. We affirm each other and then light candles and focus our healing energy on those whom we identify verbally or silently.

 

  1. BLESSING.  We go out empowered to give and to share.

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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