It's late and I should be in bed, but it's too damn hot to sleep! So, instead, I thought I'd post up a part of our communion service from Sunday.
It's based upon the Form for Christ's Supper (1527) used by Balthasar Hübmaier and captures some of the most important anabaptist themes: Christ-centredness, community and discipleship.
Confession (all stand and say together)
Father, we have sinned against heaven and against you. We are not worthy to be called you children. But speak a word of consolation, and our souls will be made whole. God be gracious to us sinners.
May the almighty, eternal, and gracious God have mercy on all our sins and forgive us graciously. And when he has forgiven us, may He lead us into eternal life without blemish or impurity, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. AMEN.
Abide with us, O Jesus; abide with us. For where you are not, there everything is darkness, night and shadow. But you alone are the true Son, light and shining brightness. Those for whom you light the way, they cannot go astray.
Let us test and examine ourselves, and let us thus eat of the bread and drink of the wine.
Let us each ask ourselves:
Do I believe utterly and absolutely that Christ gave his body and shed his crimson blood for us on the cross?
Do I fervently hunger for the bread that comes down from heaven?
Do I thirst for the drink which flows into eternal life?
Do I desire to eat and drink in the spirit, faith and truth which Christ teaches us?
Am I thankful both in words and in deeds toward God, for the abundant and unspeakable love and goodness shown through our Lord Jesus Christ?
Am I willing to say this publicly, making my pledge that I am willing to offer my body and blood for my fellow believers?
Exhortation: (by leader)
To do the will of God, it is not enough to avoid sins and die to them. For we are called not only to forsake evil but to do good. We are called to do good to our neighbour. For Christ not only broke the bread, he also gave it to his disciples. And not only the bread, but also his own flesh and blood. So we must not only speak the word of love, hear it, confess ourselves to be sinners, and abstain from sin. We must fulfil love in deeds, as scripture everywhere teaches us. In sum, God requires of us the will, the word, and the works of love. God will not be dismissed with words alone.
Silence and meditation, followed by the Lord’s Prayer (everyone)
Our Father, in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done - on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And release us from all our debts,
As we release all those endebted to us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
Forever and ever.
Whoever now desires to eat this bread and drink this wine of the Lord’s Supper, let us rise and respond with heart and mouth in a Pledge of Love. (all stand)
Brothers and sisters, if you desire to love God before, in, and above all things, in the power of his holy living Word; if you desire to serve, honour and adore God, and to sanctify his name; and to subject your sinful will to God’s divine will which he has worked in you by the living Word, then let each say individually, "I desire it."
I desire it.
If you desire to love and serve your neighbour with deeds of love, to lay down for him or her your life; if you desire to be obedient to father, mother, and all authorities according to the will of God, and this in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who laid down his flesh and blood for us, then let each say individually…
I desire it.
If you will practice encouragement toward your brother and sisters, make peace and unity among them, and reconcile yourselves with all whom you have offended; if you desire to abandon all envy, hate, and evil will toward others and willingly cease all action and behaviour which causes harm, disadvantage, or offence to your neighbour; if you will love your enemies and do good to them, then let each say individually, "I desire it."
I desire it.
If you desire publicly to confirm before the church this pledge of love which you have now made, through the Lord’s supper, by eating bread and drinking of the cup, and to testify to it in the power of the living memorial of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, then let each say individually, "I desire it in the power of God."
I desire it in the power of God.
So eat and drink with one another in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May God accord to all of us the power and the strength that we may worthily carry out this pledge and bring it to its saving conclusion. May the Lord Jesus impart to us his grace. AMEN.
Thanksgiving (Congregation stands; leader takes bread; all pray as one)
We praise and thank you, Lord God, Creator of the heavens and earth, for all your goodness toward us. Especially we thank you that you so loved us and gave your most beloved Son for us, so that we who believe in Jesus may not be lost, but have eternal life. May you be honoured, praised, and magnified now, forever, always and eternally. AMEN.
Breaking and sharing of bread
The Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, “Take, eat. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in my memory.” Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, take, and eat also this bread in the memory of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave unto death for us. (Eat the bread as you are ready)
Sharing the cup
Praise be to God! Likewise, the Lord Jesus took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is a new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in memory of me.” Take, therefore, also the cup, and all drink from it in memory of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for us for the forgiveness of sins. (Drink from the cup as you are ready)
As often as we eat the bread and drink the wine, we proclaim the death of our Lord, until he comes. (people all sit down)
By eating the bread and drinking the wine in memory of the suffering and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, we have had communion with one another. By eating the bread and drinking the wine in the Lord’s memory, we are all one body. Our Head is Christ. We are called to be conformed to our head and as his members to follow after him. We are called to love one another, to do good, to give counsel, and to be helpful to one another, each offering up our flesh and blood for the other.
And so I urge you, most dearly beloved in Christ, as dinner companions of Christ Jesus, to lead a Christian walk before God and all people. Remember your baptism and your pledge of love. Bear fruit worthy of the baptism and the supper of Christ. May you in the power of God satisfy your pledge and promise, your sacrament and commitment. God sees it and knows your hearts. May our Lord Jesus Christ, ever and eternally praised, grant us the same. AMEN.
Dear brothers and sisters, watch and pray, lest you wander away and fall into temptation. We know neither the day nor the hour when the Lord is coming and will ask an accounting of our life. Therefore watch and pray. I commend you to God. May all of us say,
Praise, praise, praise to the Lord eternally! AMEN.
And so let us rise.
GO in the peace of Christ Jesus!
The grace of God be with us all. AMEN.