Be With Our Children (Romans 8:22-27 and Acts 2:1-21)

Heavenly Mother, we are your children.
You gave us the gift of life.
You knew us before we were created and you formed us in your image.
You surrounded us with grace as we struggled to understand how to live
and how to follow your teachings.
You nurtured us and comforted us when we fell short.
You taught us what it means to be in a family.
We especially thank you for the young adults
who have spent the last year learning about their faith
and who have chosen to join us as part of this family of believers.

Holy Spirit, intercede on their behalf.
You alone know their deepest needs, their biggest dreams,
and their unique talents and abilities.
Fill their hearts with the passion of their faith.
Strengthen them when they begin to despair.
Open their eyes to how they can make a difference in this world.
Guide them through the temptations of this world and
keep their focus on following Christ and his teachings.
As your children, we want to follow your will and your teachings.
Help us to instill this same desire in our children.
Help them to instill this same desire in their own children
in the years to come.

Heavenly Father, you declared you would pour out your Spirit onto us.
You gave us your Son to show us the way.
Fill us with your Spirit, show us your signs.
As your early church did, help us to create a community of believers.
Help us to support one another.
We lift up to you, those among us we know are in need.
We name ___
We also lift up to you those who are unnamed.
Help us to be your people and to follow your ways.

As your people, we lift up our voices using the words your Son taught us,
so many years ago, “Our Father…”

You Call Us to Your Table (Luke 14:16-24)

Lord, you call us to your table
and we accept your invitation.
We come, not because we fully understand,
but because we want to know your truth.
We come, not because we feel worthy,
but because we know you love us anyway.
We come, not because we are at peace,
but because we are in search of your peace.

We ask that you open our ears to your invitation.
Open our eyes to the opportunities you place before us,
chances to make connections in a broken world,
and encounters that open our minds to new possibilities.
Use us to extend your invitation to all that we meet.
Help us to embody your teachings in our words,
our thoughts and our daily activities.
As you have extended love to all,
fill our hearts with an unending love for others
so that we can share your love with others.
Fill us with the desire to be as invitational as you were.
Surround our table with those hungry for your truth
and your peace.

Lord, you called those to your table that others ignored
and overlooked.
You sought peace and justice for those without power.
You healed those who were sick.
We ask that you be with those among us in need of your healing grace.
We name ___ .
We ask that you also be with those who go unnamed,
with those living in fear and uncertainty,
and with those who feel forgotten and ignored.
May they feel your invitation deep within their hearts.
May they emerge from the shadows and take their place
fully in this life, healed and complete,
knowing they are loved and accepted.
And as they step forward, invite us to fully embrace and welcome them.

As we accept your invitation, we lift our hearts in celebration and joy,
and we lift our voices to you, using the words you gave us many years ago,
“Our Father….

Our Sense of Humility (Luke 14:1, 7-14)

Gracious God, we know that when we invite someone
to have a meal with us, that it is a special event.
We don’t have dinner with just anyone.
We give you thanks for always inviting us to your table,
for always making us welcome and
for providing a generous feast.
Sharing food with each other at a common table
sparks conversation and allows us to share ourselves with others
on an equal setting.
Help us to find opportunities to be with one another
and to share our lives with others.

As humans, we compare ourselves to others
and strive to excel, to be seated at the best seat at the table.
Remind us, Creator God, that you have made us in your Image
and that each of us is the child of God, deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we sit around the family dinner table
and share the story of our day as equals.
May we be able to tell the story of how we shared the good news of your teachings,
the story of how our voices were raised to speak for those without a voice,
the story of how we stood up for those without power and
the story of how our love changed someone else’s day for the better.

As we join together at your table, we form your community,
the body of Christ.
We come together every week in this sacred place,
to be one with each other, to put others first before ourselves.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your grace and your healing strength.
We name ___.
We support one another and share grace at your table of abundant plenty
regardless of where we sit at the table.
Bring us together in community and in harmony.

We come together to the table set by your Son,
following the teachings of your Son, and
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father….”

Bread and Wine, Body and Blood

John 6: 51-58
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Take a piece of bread from the Table. Hold it in your hands and consider its texture – the hardness of the outside compared to the soft inside; smell it and remember the welcoming smell of baking bread and the feelings that evokes; taste it and as you eat the bread, consider the life-giving force contained within the bread. As you chew and swallow the bread, it becomes one with your body providing nutrients, energy and sustenance to you.

Meditation phrase:
“…abide in me, and I in them.”

Consider these words and what it means to abide in Jesus and to have Him abide in you.

Prayer of Confession:

Lord, those words imply a spirit of oneness, complete intimacy.
I long for that closeness, but I confess I don’t always strive for that closeness.

I let myself get distracted by the shiny things in life not recognizing that
what appears attractive and inviting to me may not be part of your plan or will.

I let myself get distracted by my fears and worries
not recognizing that I should be focusing on living within your spirit of love.

I let myself get distracted by the day to day demands of my life
not recognizing those in need that you place in front of me.

Help me remember always that the gift our Father gave us in You is an eternal gift.
The one who eats this bread, who abides in You, is one with You eternally. Remove
my distractions and help me recognize that spirit of oneness and to openly
share in the complete intimacy You offer to me.