Holy Communion - Sunday 28 September 2014,
on the MS Balmoral

Jesus said,
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies,
it remains that and nothing more;
but if it dies it bears a rich harvest."

God of exodus and wilderness,
God of death and resurrection,
God of surprises and the unexpected,
come to us now as we come close to you.

Hymn: "Great our joy as now we gather"

Holy God,
loving and gracious God,
forgive us
for failing to recognise you in others,
for being swift to find fault and slow to see what is good.
We can be greedy and self-centred, wasteful and careless.

Holy God,
loving and gracious God,
forgive us

for often ignoring the important to spend time on the trivial.
We can know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

Holy God,
loving and gracious God,
forgive us

for letting slip through our fingers opportunities not taken,
people not cared for, life not celebrated.

Holy God,
loving and gracious God,
forgive us.

Listen! Here is good news.
Our past is behind us.
We are free to live new lives,
to be new people,
to try again to be the people God intends us to be.

We are a forgiven people.
Thanks be to God!

Hymn: "The kingdom of God is justice and joy"

Bible reading: Matthew 20: 17-28


Let us give thanks for the gifts of God,
and pray for God's world and God's people.

God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

We call to mind our concerns and commitments,
and join our prayers for peace and well-being
to the prayers (formed or unformed)
of all who seek a better world.

So let us pray.

We pray for those who walk the road to peace,

a rocky path strewn with boulders, through unfamiliar land,
and amongst people whose trust and dignity
have so often been shattered by war and terror.

We pray for those who walk the way to justice,

amongst many who are impervious to human suffering
or whose interests do not include compassion.

We pray for those who walk the way of power,

for whom success is paramount and no-one else matters
if they cannot join in the chase.

We pray for those who walk the way of poverty,

for whom living is struggle and tomorrow is perhaps,
and who so often become invisible.

We pray for those who walk the way of suffering,

who live in pain and fear and cannot imagine
wholeness of body or mind.

We pray for all who walk the way of faith,

recognising God by whatever name,
for those whose faith elicits love and compassion
and those whose faith is harsh and exclusive.

We pray for those who walk with us,

who show love and care towards us,
and whom our hearts embrace;

and we pray for what we alone know -
people, events, sadness, joy -
knowing that God loves us to death.

Nearing the end of this cruise,
we pray for ourselves and each other,
returning to familiar people and familiar places,
with new memories, new friends, and a new energy!

May God bless us, each one,
and guide our steps as we journey on,
along the road of faith.

Let us remember that, wherever we may be,
God is with us.

God's Spirit is among us.
God's Spirit is within us.

We are not alone.

We are not alone,
we live in God's world.

We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God's presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.

We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
(from the United Church of Canada)

Hymn: "A broken loaf - this broken world"

Now we do what Jesus did the night before his betrayal.
During the meal he took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his friends, even to Judas, and said,
"Take, eat; remember me."

Later, after supper, he took the cup of wine,
gave thanks, and gave it to them, with the words,
"Take, drink: remember me."

By this bread and cup, we remember Jesus,
and we rejoice in the mystery of love incarnate.

Send your Spirit upon these gifts,
that we who eat and drink here may share in the life of Christ.

Come, eat and drink,
and give praise to God for such a feast!
We are nourished together
by the bread of life and the cup of blessing.

The sharing of the Bread of Life and the Cup of Blessing

We give thanks
that bread broken brings wholeness,
that wine poured out replenishes,
that time spent with Christ and with one another is gift and grace.

Gracious God, go back with us to our homes, to our communities,
and to our places of work and leisure,
that we may be servants of the servant Christ,
in whose name we pray.

Hymn: "Christ, you call us all to service"

So go gladly into the world, be filled with the love of God
and with love for God; dance to the song of the Spirit -

and may the everlasting God shield you,
east and west, north and south, and wherever you go.
As you pick up your life after leisure,
and return to that place in the world where God has put you,
in all your life, may God be with you, and give you peace to share.

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