Celtic Retreat – Evening Gathering

by Christine Sine
Celtic retreat gathering - photo Andy Wade

Celtic retreat gathering – photo Andy Wade

This is the third of the litanies that we used for our retreat last weekend. Some of it is adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, some from Iona Worship material. Some of it is original – sorry that I cannot distinguish which parts for you but hope that you enjoy it anyway.

Evening Gathering

Gathering song – Go In the Wilderness

God today we have gazed on the beauty of your world,

And been enthralled by its splendor.

We have eaten of its fruit,

And cherished the gift of its food.

We have drunk in its wonder,

And been filled with the water of life. 

Now we pause to give thanks,

And remember your generous hospitality.

We have come into your dwelling place, O God,

And caught a glimpse of your holy mountain,

You have given us a foretaste of your eternal banquet,

A lavish feast, an invitation for all the people of the world.

This morning we placed objects on the altar as symbols of God’s hospitality. But the day has taught us new things about generosity and hospitality. It has given us new companions, stirred within us a new sense of the journey of sharing God calls us to. What are the new things you take with you today as preparation for the journey ahead?

Pause for a time of sharing.

Lord Jesus Christ as we share these gifts and partake of your generous hospitality,

We breathe in the wonder of your love,

And say thank you.

We breathe in the fragrance of your life,

And say thank you.

We breathe in the joy of your presence,

And say thank you.

Thank you for love and life and presence.

Thank you for abundance and generosity and hospitality.

Thank you for blessings that overflow.

We breathe in and are filled with the glory that is you.

Song: Be Thou My Vision

The Eucharist – The Great Thanksgiving 

Now as we come to the communion table, let us welcome as Brigid did all the little ones God sends to feast with us. This is the table not of the Church but of Christ. It is for all those who love him and want to love him more. It is for those who have tried to follow and those who have failed. Let us come remembering those whose faces we cannot see, those desperate for God’s generous hospitality, those who live on the edge, the poor and the sick and the abandoned. At this table we all meet together to enjoy this foretaste of God’s eternal banquet feast. 

An Affirmation of Faith

We believe in a loving and hospitable God, who made us and all things, who loves us and all the world with a father’s tenderness and a mother’s strength.

We believe in God our maker.

We believe in a saving and generous God who became human and lived among us, who died and rose to set us free.

We believe in Jesus Christ, our redeemer.

We believe in a living and faithful God, breath of life in all life. The gift of God to the people of God.

We believe in the Spirit, our life-giver. 

Brigid’s Prayer

Brigid left us with this beautiful prayer which is a glimpse into her generous and hospitable heart. As we read it together may we too be inspired by her spirit of hospitality and generosity.

I should like a great lake of finest ale, 

for the King of Kings.

I should like a table of the choicest food, 

for the family of heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith, 

and the food be forgiving love.

I should welcome the poor to my feast, 

for they are God’s children.

I should welcome the sick to my feast, 

for they are God’s joy.

Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place, 

and the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor, 

God bless the sick, 

and bless our human race.

God bless our food, 

God bless our drink, 

all homes, O God, embrace.

Let us gather around the table with God’s gifts of bread and wine and read together these words that Jesus taught his disciples:

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, 

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all. Loving God, in whom is heaven.

The hallowing of your name echoes through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the earth!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, spare us, 

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.  Amen.

Loving and generous God, through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer. It is given from the earth, a symbol of your hospitality. It was made by human hands to be shared as Brigid did, with love and generosity. In this we are reminded of and celebrate together the life that Jesus shared among his community throughout the centuries and shares with us today. 

Living among us, Jesus loved us. He broke bread and shared hospitality with outcasts and sinners, healed the sick and proclaimed good news to the poor. He yearned to draw all the world to himself yet we were heedless of his call to walk in love and generosity.

On the night before he died Jesus shared a meal with his friends. He took bread, gave thanks to God, broke it and gave it to them saying: Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine. Again he gave thanks to God, gave it to them, and said: Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me. 

Now gathered at your table, O God of all creation, and remembering Christ crucified and risen, who was and is and is to come, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, a living sacrifice.

Pour our your Spirit upon these gifts, that they may be the body and blood of Christ. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation, the body of Christ given for the world you have made. 

In the fullness of time bring us, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, Brigid and Columba and all your saints, from every tribe and language and people and nation, to feast at the banquet prepared from the foundation of the world.

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory and praise, for ever and ever. Amen

Alleluia, We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

We who are many are one body, for we all share in the one bread. Alleluia.

The Invitation

Draw near and receive the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ in remembrance that he died for us. Let us feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

All are welcome at the Lord’s Table to receive holy communion. Children are welcome at parental discretion. Receive the consecrated bread in the open palm of your hand and assist the chalice bearer by guiding the cup to your lips, or if you prefer dip the bread into the cup and then eat it.

Communion Music by Matt & Sundee Frazier: Don’t Be Weary Traveller. 

Post Communion Prayer

Gracious God in the bread and the wine 

we have been given a foretaste of your eternal banquet.

We have been nourished by faith, hope and love,

And shared in the hospitality of your generosity.

Send us out in the power of your Spirit,

to live and work to your praise and glory.

We ask this in Jesus’ name


The Blessing

May the blessing of the one 

who died for us

be on you.

May the blessing of the one 

who is risen

be on you.

May the blessing of the one

who invites us to the banquet feast

be on you.

The blessing of God,

creator, redeemer, sustainer,

be yours this day and evermore.


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