Do Not Cross

Do Not Cross

Editor's Note:
The following was originally posted by Rev. Jeff Lukens on his Wordpress Blog Page. It is reprinted here with his permission.

With all the news this spring and summer about border crossing, asylum seekers, and kids being ripped from their parents; and in conjunction with our worship series from the Gospel of Mark called “Risky Business,”  I decided we needed a tactile ritual to experience and remember that Jesus crossed and crosses many boundaries and borders just to get to us, and we often have to do the same to get the healing and wholeness we need for ourselves.
I had remembered that Marcia McFee spoke once about experiencing a communion ritual where the pastor invited people to literally cross over yellow caution tape to get to the sacrament.  She recalled this act so vividly, that I thought it might work for us.  With Marcia’s encouragement, I wrote a communion liturgy around that experience. 
In addition to the sacrament of communion, (served by two deacons), I made myself available for healing and anointing prayers.  All this fit well with the scripture for the day – Mark 5.21-43. These readings contain two stories of people crossing boundaries in the quest for healing and wholeness. First, there is the woman whose hemorrhaging made her ritually unclean, and therefore not allowed to be in public. She risks everything in order to touch Jesus. And Jarius, a Jewish leader, risks his reputation in order to have this renegade preacher and healer over to his house to heal his daughter. What boundaries would you cross to find health and safety for you or your family?

Here is the liturgy I wrote:
(A print version is available here.)
Communion Hymn – Eat this Bread (Chalice #414)
Eat this Bread       (Taizé)
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in me and you will not thirst.
{Musician continues to underscore}
Invitation to the Table
In the shelter of this church, there is no real risk in participating in this sacrament.
But there are other places in the world where it is not safe.
And, yet, people travel long and dangerous journeys,
cross boundaries and borders,
just to experience the healing and wholeness found in Christ Jesus.
{Put yellow caution tape on the floor so people have to cross it to get to communion.}
No matter who you are,
no matter where you are on the journey,
you are welcome at this table.
This feast is prepared for you,
and for everyone who needs the presence of Jesus.
So come,
you who have been here often.
you who haven’t been in a while.
come and take a symbolic journey across boundaries
in solidarity with those for whom this sacrament is risky
come and taste and see that the Lord is good.
{Music ends}
Communion Prayer
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 right to give thanks and praise.
Let us pray.
We remember you, O God, creating the world
and blurring the boundaries between us and you.
Then we broke your heart when
we messed it up.
So we left the garden to be on our own,
yet you keep trying to bring us back to you.
We give you thanks that you called Abraham and Sarah
to leave their homeland
traveling long distances
crossing boundaries
to get to the land you were giving them.
You took your people and, through Moses,
led them out of captivity into freedom
crossing the boundary of the Red Sea,
and later crossing the Jordan River
into the Promised Land.
You were with your people as they were marched into exile
crossing boundaries into a foreign land.
You taught them how to worship you in a strange place,
and in time you led them back home again,
home to recommit themselves to living in your ways.
And so with all our ancestors of faith
in ever time and place, we proclaim,
repeating after me:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord!
God of power and might.
The whole world is filled with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest…
…in the widest
…in the deepest
…core of our being
{Musician begins to underscore “Eat this Bread”}
Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Blessed is your Son, Jesus,
who became a refugee and was forced to flee into Egypt with his parents.
Blessed is Jesus who crossed boundaries
boundaries of custom and place to
preach and heal
and bring life and wholeness to the world.
Blessed is Jesus who sought to eliminate the boundaries
that separate us
and worked to bring us together in the Kingdom of God.
And blessed is Jesus who broke through the boundaries
that separate life and death
so that we all can have life eternal
with you, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit,
one God,

Eat this Bread         (Taizé)
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in me and you will not thirst.
{Musician continues to underscore}
Words of Institution
On the night in which he gave himself up for love and justice,
He sat down at the table with those that had become family.
At that table were those who adored him and those that would betray him.
He knew this. And he gave bread to all anyway.
“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
When the supper was over, he took the cup,
invited all to drink from this cup of love, this cup of suffering–
the sign of the covenant of relationship.
“Whenever you gather as family around tables,
whenever you strive to overcome the adversity of being human together,
whenever you need to remember I am always with you, do this.”
Prayer of Consecration
I invite you to raise your hands in the ancient posture of blessing, as we pray,
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts
of bread and juice. Let them be for us the body and blood of Christ so that
we may be for the world the body of Christ, liberated by his witness,
passion, and life. Be with us, Holy Spirit, fill us so you can move through us.
Eat this Bread       (Taizé)
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in me and you will not thirst.
{Musician ends}
Instructions for Communion (if needed)
In addition to communion this morning, we will also be offering prayers and anointing for healing. After you have taken the bread and cup, if you wish healing prayers, see me in the corner.
Come, cross the boundary and find Jesus, find healing.
Come, for all things are ready
Sharing of the Bread & Cup
{Use whatever music suits the style of communion.}
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Lord Jesus Christ, you have put your life into our hands; now we put our lives into yours. Take us, renew and remake us. What we have been is past; what we shall be, through you, still awaits us. Lead us on. Take us with you. Amen.
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