Zoom Communion

The first time I did communion over zoom was Palm Sunday. I used some of my feminist communion script from Gifts of Women Sunday which was March 8th… and I forgot to post it in the blog…which I’m only realizing now as I look for the link, so maybe I will post that one later. Basically, Gifts of Women Sunday is a Presbyterian Women event and is usually scheduled on the closest Sunday to working women’s day. Since I was asked to preach, I designed a service that included a communion script that referred to God in feminine pronouns. It was unusual for Third Church, but it was well received. I toned it down a little for Palm Sunday and it went over well. All that to say, I’ve edited it again (and that’s the common service included below).

Zoom worship must be different from in-person worship. What feels normal in a large sanctuary feels really strange at my dinning room table. Our attention spans are shorter and we all seem to have zoom fatigue from trying to get work done and “see” family and friends. I noticed that the Palm Sunday Communion wasn’t quite participatory enough and was a little too long. So below I’ve shortened it and changed the opening prayer to be a litany. It is one from Fran Pratt’s book that I reviewed earlier.

PCUSA allowed for communion early on when we realized churches would not be worshiping in person. Here are some other resources from the denomination if you are interested in the PCUSA response to COVID-19-19.


Prayer Before Communion:

Let us pray to God to make us aware of her presence today as we prepare to celebrate Holy Communion:

God, we have come here together

To draw near to you.

In community and in expectation

We draw near to you.

To be at one with you, in your presence,

Is our greatest gift.

To sit at your feet, absorbing your love,

Is our greatest blessing.

You have mead yourself available to us.

We draw near.

You have opened the heavens to us.

We draw near.

You have given us the keys to the kingdom.

We draw near.

You have shown us the path of peace.

We draw near.

You have brought us into your family.

We draw near.

Let every corner of our hearts

Be open to you.

Let every hidden attitude

Be open to you.

Let every life’s story

Be open to you.

Let every unseen ending

Be open to you.

The best life we can imagine

Is lived close to you.

To be wholly present to you is our desire.

We draw near to you.

Amen.[1]

You are blessed, O God, and Jesus is blessed, and the Holy Spirit is blessed.  We ask now that you send us your Spirit, that by your power, this ordinary table will become a sacred banquet, and this bread and cup will become holy things that we can share.

As I break bread today, I invite everyone to break their bread together, and as I pour my beverage, I invite you to do the same if you have not already done so.  As eat bread and I drink from the cup, please do the same.  

Remembering that we are united us as a people who are grateful for all we have and share in that abundance, let us not be afraid of the future, but instead be aware of the divine indwelling, inviting us to be at ease about what is to come as we joyfully step into the unknown.

On the night Jesus was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his friends, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you.  Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper, he took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Remembering now his work of redemption, we pray as Jesus taught us saying… Our father…

These are the Gifts of God for the people of God.  Thanks be to God.

(partake of the elements)

Prayer After Communion:

O Holy Spirit

we are the vessel for your inflowing.

Your radiance requires the clay of our embodiment.

Your flame burns at the core of the earth.

Your warmth penetrates the seedbed and animates the seedlings.

You bless the head of every animal

and kiss the tear-streaked face of humanity.

You are the vision that builds community,

and you are our refuge

when the fabric of community unravels.

Be with us now

as we navigate this landscape of mystery

where your most cherished attributes – 

wild mercy and boundless compassion,

righteousness and wisdom – 

seem to be cast aside and trampled 

by imperious world powers 

and we are paralyzed by helplessness.

Help us.

May we remember you and lift you up.

May we recognize your face and celebrate your beauty

in everything and everyone,

everywhere, always. [2]


[1] Fran Pratt, “Call and Response: Litanies for Congregational Prayer”, Litany for Drawing Near p.81

[2] Mirabai Starr’s prayer to Shekinah from her book “Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics” I substituted “Holy Spirit” for “Shekinah” to avoid having to over explain to the Presbyterian congregation (that I love) already being pushed out of their comfort zone.  

From the Andy Warhol Museum. Andy did a few different “last supper” pieces. This one was my favorite.

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