U2Charist…a liturgy I wrote

[Below, is a communion service set to U2 music, a U2 chapelU2Charist, that I wrote not long ago for Chapel where I work. Feel free to adapt and use however you’d like.]

Opening liturgy

[This serves as the invitation to offering (addressing world hunger). There are a number of biblical texts such as Psalm 40 that can be read before the opening.]

Leader: It’s said love is a temple. It’s said all people can enter. But not everyone enters the same way. Some must crawl; some endure a welcome with conditions. For many, love is a temple under construction. The pain of oppression explodes in bodies protesting, raging, hurting, scared, tired, left-out, abandoned.

Cries of exhaustion, of exclusion, of isolation, of hunger echo throughout the world.

Do we hear them?

All: We hear.

Leader: For many people the world sucks. It is not working for everyone. This stark reality has gathered us in this space. What will we offer?

All: We can offer our ears and our voices.

Leader: The world is harder for some than for others and almost impossible for countless more. This is unacceptable! What can we offer?

All: We can carry each other…carry each other.

Leader: Yes, we can carry each other. May God help us.

At this time, you’re invited to also make a monetary offering if you’re moved to do so.

[Offering – with “One” – U2]

Invitation to table

Words of Institution…

Leader: A table is not built with walls.

All: Good! Walls divide us, walls create spaces for exclusion, for isolation…they leave people out.

Leader: Then let’s imagine the world as a table.

All: But the world is built with walls.

Leader: Then let’s tear them down.

All: Yes! Let’s tear them down.

Leader: Jesus’s table helps us imagine the world as God’s table. A world God created for all to have a place. A table where there are no reserved seats or places of honor, but instead enough space for all to pull up a chair and participate. A world where no person would see the need to begin building walls because belonging is not a thing to be earned or managed or constructed but a basic assumption. A table is not built with walls. The seats are not named as if to imply that some names don’t belong. The world as God’s table is not handed off to any group of people to manage. It is set. It is open.

In the Christian tradition, Jesus invites us to connect with this vision of God’s table when we gather around smaller tables like this one during our ritual expressions. The story is told that on the night before Jesus died he gathered his friends around a table for a meal. He talked of the symbolism of bread and wine. He wanted his friends to know that after he was gone they could still remember this moment and reflect on these symbols, keeping his vision of the world as table alive and going. And in this moment, we stoke the fire of love that we might set aflame the walls of exclusivity and division.

He took the bread, broke it and gave thanks for it. This is the bread of life, the bread of one world…signifying that all humans share the world’s sustaining gifts.

He took the cup, poured it, and gave thanks for it. This is the cup of love, a cup of one love…signifying the necessity of love for learning together how to live together. 

Prayer for bread and cup

God, we give thanks for the power surging through this ritual, for this bread and this cup. We are humbled and convicted while we eat and while we drink realizing that we are often satisfied with our small tables. We pray that our participation at this table awakens within us an awareness that we also sit at the table of human interdependency. In memory of the one who left us a story worth repeating, amen.

Communion Song – “Where the Streets Have No Name” – U2

Post Communion liturgy

Leader: These smaller tables are not meant to fill us. If we leave here satisfied, then we leave having missed the significance. This is not a table for us to get our fill. We come to this table to whet the appetite of our awareness and connect us with the hunger pangs of those who have been unjustly excluded from the table of the world. This table reminds us what we’re looking for; it’s not the place to find it.

All: Then we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.

Leader: Then by all means, keep looking! There are people at the table who are not seen, who are seen-through.

All: We are looking for God.

Leader: Yes, there are people at the table who are not seen, who are seen-through.

All: But where is God?

Leader: There are people at the table who are not seen, who are seen-through.

All: Then we should see them. Amen.

Closing Song – “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” –U2

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