God of hope and grief,
God of power and strength,
God of the widow and the orphan,
God of the imprisoned and impoverished,
God of the poor in spirit, the merciful, the mourning…
God who sees the proud and arrogant,
God who does not forget those who turn away from the one in need,
God who waits to be greeted in prison, in hunger, in hospital, on the corner,
God who grieves the word spoken in hate and the action that excludes…
You are the one true God and it is our gift and right and duty to call upon you here.
We praise you for your faithfulness in history.
We praise you for your prophets who have shouted the truth.
We praise you for your saving action in leaders, in the church, in the community
And for what You have done sometimes in spite of them.
With all faithful people of Christ, with all your children across the world, with all the saints we name now [insert names appropriate to your congregation regarding Black History Month and local observances], with the whole creation, we praise your name and join the unending hymn.
[Insert whatever form of Holy, Holy, Holy you may choose]
God, with our sighs to deep for words, we come to this table
And we remember when it was been closed.
We remember when the invitation was not open.
We remember when the feast was in part, but not the whole.
With gratitude and thanksgiving, we celebrate in our spirits and our bodies that the barriers people erect cannot withstand the Holy Spirit.
With gratitude and thanksgiving, we celebrate in our spirits and our bodies that the prejudices that people hold will not withstand the Holy Spirit.
With gratitude and thanksgiving, we celebrate in our spirits and our bodies that the ignorance people profess will not withstand the Holy Spirit.
We gather here today and we remember Jesus gathered with those whom he loved.
They celebrated the first Passover, that event that marked the move of the people from slavery into freedom.
As they ate and drank their celebration, their actions anticipated the second Passover- from death into life, from fear into joy, from resignation into resurrection.
Jesus took the bread, a food that they as Jews had in common with all people,
gave thanks to you, O God, broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Take, eat; this is my body – given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper, he took the cup- filled with wine-
A drink they had in common with all people.
He gave thanks to you, O God, gave it to his disciples, and said:
“Drink from this, all of you; this is a new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
You have brought us thus far and we trust that you will not leave us.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts
That they may strengthen us in the faith, in the fight, and in our freedom in Christ.
Draw us together and bring us ever more fully into being the people you have created us to be.
Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,
all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and for ever.
The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage, AK. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.
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