Black History Month Communion Liturgy
Written by Rev. Amantha Barbee, Oakhurst Presbyterian Church USA, Decatur, GA and
Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown, Plymouth United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
Copyright © 2020 A. Barbee/K. Brown. All Rights Reserved.
Invitation to the Table
Brothers , Sisters, and Siblings, this is the mighty feast, the joyful feast, the holy feast of and for the people of God. This table represents a level of welcome, inclusion, and imagery which can only be experienced through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have come from all walks of life. We have come from a life of privilege. We have come from a life of poverty. We have either come from a life of oppression or we are oppressors. We have come as financially stable. We have come with nothing. We have come with opportunity and new mercies. The one thing we all share at this table is that we come.
Our prayer is that we come together because we are invited not by the church or the leaders but by Jesus Christ himself. This is the Lord’s table and (we/I) (are/am) humbly excited about serving here. Our Savior invites all who trust him to come.
The Great Thanksgiving Prayer
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks, God of majesty and mercy. For you have called forth the creation and raising us from dust by your ruach. We bless you for the beauty and bounty by which each of us was wonderfully made in your image. We thank you God for the gift of the indigenous people of Zimbabwe, Mali, Ghana, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Libya, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo, Zambia, and Haiti. There are many other places not mentioned but acknowledged for your astounding creation.
It is in our rejoicing that we give thanks for your creation of these, your black children for their contributions to our being; Dr. Shirley Jackson for fiber-optic cable, for Lewis Latimer for carbon filament (inner light bulb), for Marie Van Brittan Brown for closed-circuit television security, for Otis Boykin for the pacemaker, for Lonnie Johnson for the Super Soaker and thermoelectric energy converters, for Charles Drew for the blood bank, for Marian Croak for VoIP, for Lisa Gelobter for animated Gifs on the web, for Philip Emeagwali – a drop out, for the world’s fastest computer, for Jesse Wilkins, Jr, for the math behind gamma radiation, for Garrett Morgan for the gas mask and the traffic signal, and Mary and Mildred Davidson for women’s feminine products, the walker, and the tissue holder. Above all, we give thanks for the gift of Jesus, your son and our Savior.
Because we are thankful we sing! We sing your highest praises in one voice with the company of our ancestors who paved the way:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna in the highest!
Christ was born fully human and fully divine. He shares in our joys and sorrows. He shared in the joy of our resilience despite the deathly terror of the African enslavement, and shared in the sorrow that his gospel didn’t compel transformation and quick abolition. He shared in the joy of the Emancipation Proclamation but equally shared in the sorrow of a people who have worked so hard to override, overturn, and recreate that which it was designed to eradicate. He shares in the joy of a people in the presidency of Barack Obama yet shares in the sorrows of the Obama dolls hung from trees. He shares in the ordination of Katie Geneva Cannon in 1974. He also shares in the sorrows that it took so long. Yet and still he offered his life in obedience and trust in God.
We bless you, O God, for the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit
leads us into truth, fights for justice and equality, continues to gather us as believers
even in the face of adversity, and moves us to be empowered by your love. It is the
movement of the Holy Spirit that allows us to trust in the life, death, and resurrection
which reconciles us to you.
We take great pause as your people to remember all your mighty and merciful acts.
We pray o Lord, that as we take this bread and this wine as a gift from you that we may
celebrate with joy and hope of the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ. Please pour
out your blessings on this bread and this cup as we remember you, your gifts, and your
mystery. Help us to be forever mindful that Black lives matter too.
Great is the mystery of faith.
Dying you destroyed our death,
Rising you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.
Please accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, as a willing, living, and holy
sacrifice and offering of ourselves, our whole selves, that we may be honest enough to
live our lives with authenticity, truth, honesty, and integrity so much so that our very
lives proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Now, together let us pray as Christ our Savior has taught us:
The Lord’s Prayer
Words of Institution
On the night that he was wrongfully incarcerated, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it into pieces without the suggestion of privilege or supremacy. He gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, Jesus lifted the cup to those in need of liberation and empowerment, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.” Every time you eat this bread of equity and drink this cup that pours freedom, you proclaim with your life the saving death of the risen Lord until he comes again.
Prayer After Communion
O God, with gratitude and praise
you have blessed and fed us in this sacrament,
united us with Christ, and given us hope in the face of turmoil,
to remind us that in you, everything is already alright.
Make us children of remembrance
so that herstory and history lives on in us.
Send us from this place with purpose and in your power,
blessed, transformed and bent toward the arc of justice
for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.