Lake Hart, SA, 2016

Great Prayer - Elijah and Jesus

This prayer is written for the Sunday reading where the disciples James and John wish to call down fire on the Samaritan village that did not welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-66)  They had good precedent for this, because Elijah had brought down fire upon recalcitrant Samaritans. Jesus rebukes them and introduces them to a very different vision of God's realm.

I began this prayer standing at the break in the communion rail, that fence between us and God, which Jesus breaks down.  The congregation is welcomed into the "holy of holies" to take Communion together.

The Words of Insitiution
On the night on which Jesus was betrayed,
he sat at supper with his disciples. 
While they were there eating,
he took a piece of bread,
said a blessing, broke it and gave it to them with the words,
"This is my body
It is broken for you
Do this to remember me"

Later on he took a cup of wine, saying,
"This cup is God's new covenant,
sealed with my blood,
Drink from it, all of you, to remember me."

The Call
This is a day which the Lord has made...
a day of Communion.

Come freely through these broken rails-
Jesus removes any barrier
between us and God.

Let us stand at Jesus’ table
sisters and brothers, all
loved by God
seeking God.
We are all welcome.

The Prayer.
In the beginning there is God...

You have always been with us.
Always with us,
constantly inspiring one more Moses
to call us out of slavery
and bring us to the river.

And  we
constantly
drift back toward wilderness
failing to listen. Yet

always there has been One from God
constantly a  Deborah who
arose as a mother in Israel
and judged fairly and well
if we only would listen.

You sent Elijah and Elisha
brave and fierce
uncompromising in their calling us.
Constantly calling us back to the ways of God
outspoken against the high and mighty,
and the kings who would make themselves God.

But lastly you sent us Jesus
cloaked in the mantle of Elijah
breaking open the heavens when he came to Jordan...
not merely parting Jordan’s waters...
allowing love and compassion to flow down

Fire no longer rains down from the heavens
but love, justice, and peace...
a new consciousness of compassion.

Elijah’s uncompromising calling
has now become
Jesus uncompromising compassion...
mercy full
a new light
Love.

Dear God…
Unknown beyond all we can conceive…
Deepest longing in our small and fragile hearts…
More than we dare hope for…
Gentle beyond all we deserve…
Generous without measure…

We thank you for the gift of the Christ
whom we find in our hearts
and in living out our love for each other.

We thank you that in him
we find you…
and life, meaning, and salvation.

In gratitude for our lives
in wonder at your love
we eat his meal together. Amen

Fraction and Elevation
The bread we break is a sharing in the body of Christ
The cup we take is a sharing in the blood of Christ
These are the gifts of God for you and for me
the people of God.

Distribution

Prayer after Communion
Surprising God
Renewing God
Fill us with courage
to go out and live your good news in all the world.
Amen.

Andrew Prior


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