The simple order of our liturgy of Holy Communion has been used by generations of Christians. We gather in song and prayer, confessing our need of God. We read the Scriptures and hear them preached. We profess our faith and prayer for the world, sealing our prayers with a sign of peace. We gather an offering for the poor and the mission of the Church. We set our table with bread and wine, give thanks and praise to God, proclaiming Jesus Christ, and eat and drink. We hear the blessing of God and are sent out in mission to the world.
Gathering: The Holy Spirit gathers us in preparation for hearing God’s word and receiving God’s presence in Holy Communion. Elements of the gathering may include song, prayer, confession/baptismal remembrance.
Word: The corporate hearing of God’s word has its roots in Jewish tradition. From the earliest times, reading -- singing -- reading -- singing created a natural rhythm of proclamation and response. The rhythm provides quiet time for worshipers to listen attentively and active time to respond, reflect, and prepare for the sermon.
The experience of hearing God’s word is followed by the Hymn of the Day. More than a hymn based on the sermon, this hymn or song brings together the themes expressed in the biblical texts and the season of the church year. By singing together, the assembly adds its voice to the proclamation of God’s word. The service of the word concludes with the reciting of the creed and with the prayers of the people.
Meal: The pattern surrounding the meal comes from the scriptural accounts of Christ’s supper: Jesus "took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it." The table setting, great thanksgiving, breaking of bread, and communion is how Christ’s command to "do this in remembrance of me" is lived out today, as it has been for centuries.
Sending: This portion of the service consists of a blessing, sending, and song. Once strengthened by the meal, it is time for God’s people to be sent into the mission field: "Go in peace. Serve the Lord.”