Great Thanksgiving: Bread for the Journey

Bread for the Journey:
a great thanksgiving

This Great Thanksgiving is written for use during communion in conjunction with the Narrative Lectionary’s appointed lessons for Sunday, October 8, 2017 in Exodus 16:1-18 and John 6:48-58. It may also be used for devotional prayer or as a prayer of thanksgiving/response following the sermon/homily in congregations that will not celebrate communion.

It may be used without alteration with the following attribution:
Copyright 2017 by Christopher J. Montgomery. Used with permission.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is good and right to give our thanks and praise.

O God of Liberation, you promise us provision for our journeys.
But it’s not always what we want:
“Couldn’t we have a safer journey?
Couldn’t we have a more comfortable journey?
Couldn’t we have a quicker journey?”

We look back at our enslavement and find comfort in its familiarity.
But it’s not ever what you want for us:
“Won’t I provide?
Won’t I sustain?
Won’t I remain?”

O God of Liberation, you give all that you promise, even as we ask, “What is it you’ve given us?” So we join our voices with the saints, with whom you have journeyed in faith:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.

Jesus, the Bread of Life, is blessed above all.

You give bread for the journey, O Christ: in homes with reviled government agents and the guardians of religious purity, in fields with hungry masses and cranky disciples, in intimate spaces with betrayers and deniers and connivers. And yet the bread is never merely bread. It is transformation.

“This is my body,” you say, as you give us hope for our long journeys.
“Remember me,” you say, as you give us a promise for our weary souls.

We take you in, O Christ of Liberation, so that we may know you as One who loves us.

We proclaim the mystery we call faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Spirit, open our eyes to your sustenance. As we share this bread and cup, may our mouths experience what our ears have heard and our eyes have seen, that you feed your children so that they may journey in hope and promise. May this small taste of goodness whet our appetites for the great feast of the Promised Land, where you will be our Host forever. Amen.

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