A Liturgical-Anabaptist Worship Gathering: our “worship script” from last sunday

Many people often ask me about how Pangea Communities: a movement of peace, justice, & hope is able to be both Anabaptist and liturgical. What does this look like practically?

Although we are still figuring this stuff out, I thought I’d share with you our “worship script” from last Sunday. You will notice that we draw from several sources, including The Book of Common Prayer (so thankful that this resource is in the “public domain”). The Anglicans have created a basic flow that is wonderful for worship. You will notice, especially if you belong to an Anglican Church, that we have adapted our words with quite a bit of intentionality – especially when we take the Eucharist.

Another thing to note is that we stepped outside of the Revised Common Lectionary for our New Testament Reading. This is because we were talking about Missional Communities that day.

Some will also notice that we are a bit more sacramental than the average Anabaptist congregation. t At Pangea Communities, most (not all) embrace a more ancient-future view of Communion which somewhat differs with the general consensus of Mennonites that Zwingli was right about it only be a “memorial.” With that said, I hope this will be helpful to someone out there :-)

ENTRANCE

Welcome

Collect of the Day

One:    The Lord be with you.
All:     And also with you.
One:    Let us pray.

All: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [from BCP]

THE WORD OF GOD

Hebrew Bible Reading (CEB)

*Before Reading
Reader: “A reading from Isaiah 9.1-4.”

*After Reading
Reader: “The Word of the Lord.”
All: “Thanks be to God.”

Psalm 27.1, 4-9 (NRSV)

One: 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

All: 27:4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

One: 27:5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.

All: 27:6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

One: 27:7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

All: 27:8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.

One: 27:9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

All: (with the *Sign of the Cross*):[1] “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen”

2 Songs

Litany of Confession & Allegiance

One: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
All: Have mercy on us
One: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
All: Free us from the bondage of sin and death
One: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
All: Hear our prayer. Grant us peace.

One: For the victims of war
All: Have mercy
One: Women, men and children
All: Have mercy
One: The maimed and the crippled
All: Have mercy
One: The abandoned and the homeless
All: Have mercy

One: the imprisoned and the tortured
All: Have mercy
 
One: The widowed and the orphaned
All: Have mercy
One: The bleeding and the dying
All: Have mercy
One: The weary and the desperate
All: Have mercy
One: The lost and the forsaken
All: Have mercy

One: O God — Have mercy on us sinners
All: Forgive us for we know not what we do

One: For our scorched and blackened earth
All: Forgive us
One: For the scandal of billions wasted in war
All: Forgive us
One: For our arms makers and arms dealers
All: Forgive us
One: For our Caesars and Herods
All: Forgive us
One: For the violence that is rooted in our hearts
All: Forgive us
One: For the times we turn others into enemies
All: Forgive us

One: Deliver us, O God
All: Guide our feet into the way of peace
One: Hear our prayer.
All: Grant us peace.
 
One:    From the arrogance of power
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the myth of redemptive violence
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the tyranny of greed
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the ugliness of racism
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the cancer of hatred
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the seduction of wealth
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the addiction of control
All:     Deliver us

One:    From the idolatry of nationalism
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the paralysis of cynicism
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the violence of apathy
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the ghettos of poverty
All:     Deliver us
One:    From the ghettos of wealth
All:     Deliver us
One:    From a lack of imagination
All:     Deliver us

One:    Deliver us, O God
All:     Guide our feet into the way of peace, Amen.

One: Today we pledge our ultimate allegiance… to the Kingdom of God
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To a peace that is not like Rome’s
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the Gospel of enemy love
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the Kingdom of the poor and broken
All: We pledge allegiance

One: To a King that loves his enemies so much he died for them
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the least of these, with whom Christ dwells
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the transnational Church that transcends the artificial borders of nations
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the refugee of Nazareth
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the homeless rabbi who had no place to lay his head
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the cross rather than the sword
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the banner of love above any flag
All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the one who rules with a towel rather than an iron fist
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the one who rides a donkey rather than a war-horse
All: We pledge allegiance

One: To the revolution that sets both oppressed and oppressors free
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the Way that leads to life
All: We pledge allegiance
One: To the Slaughtered Lamb
All: We pledge allegiance

One: And together we proclaim his praises, from the margins of the empire to the centers of wealth and power
All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb
One: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb
All: Long Live the Slaughtered Lamb[2]

All: Amen.

2 Songs

The Gospel: Matthew 4.12-23 (CEB)

*Before Reading
Reader: Please rise for the reading of the Gospel. (pause while all stand)
Reader continues: The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
All: Glory to you Lord Christ.

*After Reading
Reader: The Gospel of the Lord.
All: Praise to you Lord Christ.

New Testament Reading (CEB)

*Before Reading
Reader: “A reading from Acts 2.42-47.”

*After Reading
Reader: “The Word of the Lord.”
All: “Thanks be to God.”

The Message

Community Says Apostle’s Creed

We believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He announced and embodied the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.*
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,[3]
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Passing the Peace
“Peace be with you” “And also with you”
(Time to hang out)

THE HOLY COMMUNION

The Eucharist[4] (The gathered community stands together.)

One: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them to the Lord.
One: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Proceeding over the elements:

It is right and good, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, God. You are worthy of all glory, honor, and praise, Almighty Creator, fashioner of the heavens and earth.

All: For you are the source of light and life, you made us in your image, and called us to new life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Therefore we worship you, in the company of the heavenly hosts, who forever sing of your incomprehensible majesty:

All: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The community stays standing or kneels in reverence to God:

Holy and gracious God: In the overflow of Divine love you created us for yourself, to be in relationship with you, each other, and all creation. When we had rebelled against this pattern of shalom and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent King Jesus, your only and eternal Son, to model a fully human existence, to live and die as one of us, and to reconcile us to you. By enduring and overcoming the full wrath of evil, Jesus removed the alienating shame that hinders us from fully reflecting your image into the world.

All: Jesus stretched out his arms upon a cross, designated for enemies of the state, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for all creation. This act of self-sacrificial love perfectly revealed the character of God, the one who loves even enemies to the utmost.

At the following words concerning the bread, the Worship Leader is to hold it, or to lay a hand upon it; and at the words concerning the cup, to hold or place a hand upon the cup of wine to be consecrated.

On the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread.  After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.”

He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” (1 Cor. 11.24-25, CEB)

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again
.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. As we proclaim the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we respond in faith by offering you these gifts. Sanctify them by the power of the Holy Spirit to be for your people the mysterious heavenly presence of the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of the New Covenant.

All: Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, that we may be empowered by your presence to be witnesses of peace, justice, and hope to your world. May this holy Sacrament be a signpost pointing toward the healing of the nations, the resurrection of all flesh, and the restoration of all things.

We ask this in the name of King Jesus: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.

And now, as our Savior
Christ has taught us,
we are bold to say,
As our Savior Christ
has taught us,
we now pray,

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen
.

The Breaking of the Bread

The Worship Leader breaks the consecrated Bread. A period of silence is kept. Then, the following is said:

One: Remember, Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us;
All: In obedience to the Lord, we will keep the feast. [Alleluia.]

One: The Gifts of God for the People of God.

All: Thanks be to God!

One: As we eat and drink, remember that Christ died for us and now feeds us with these elements through the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit.

All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.[5]

The Bread and the Cup are distributed amongst the community with the following words:

The Body of Christ, the bread of new creation. [Amen.]
The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation. [Amen.]

Final Song

SENDING INTO MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES

Parting Thoughts from Pastor or Worship Leader

Benediction

All: Gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for accepting us as family members and as citizens of your Kingdom. You have fed us by the Spirit with the spiritual food of the holy Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. Now, empowered by the renewing presence of your grace, send us into our neighborhoods, homes, workplaces, and world to be ambassadors of peace.

Grant us the strength to join your mission to bring all creation into the joy of your loving reign. Amen.

Pangea Communities Values

Peace – We choose to love our enemies.
Justice – We choose to right wrongs with those at the margins.
Hope – We choose to imagine the world as it ought to be.
Community – We choose countercultural relationships guided by love.
Inclusive – We choose to invite everyone to the party.
Story – We choose to live into the narrative of God.
Transformation – We choose the subversive path of knowing and following the crucified Christ.
Context – We choose to ask rooted questions to unleash creativity.

Be sure to check out our new website: http://PangeaCommunities.com/


[1] This is a form of bodily prayer. The motion is as follows: up, down, left, right, center.

[2] Jesus for President Litany of Resistance. Available online: http://empireremixed.com/resources/

[3] “catholic” means “universal” not Roman Catholic.

[4] This liturgy has been adapted from the Book of Common Prayer and The United Methodist Book of Worship.

[5] This is a form of bodily prayer. The motion is as follows: up, down, left, right, center.

*Line added to fit our Anabaptist theology.

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  • Evelyn

    As an English Anglican with anabaptist sympathies I find this wonderful and fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing it. Not at all a criticism, just an observation: it reads quite American to me – all that pledging allegiance stuff, as a Brit it wouldn’t occur to me to pledge allegiance to anything (although of course we all do, all the time, with our words and our wallets). A question, just out of interest: why do you have the NT reading before the Gospel reading? Are planning liturgical baptisms as well? What does ‘time to ‘hang out’ entail? We do a lot of handshaking and ‘Peace be with you’-ing. OK, that was more than one question LOL.

    • AmyS

      The “American” language of pledging allegiance can be appropriate–powerful, in fact–in this context, as it punctuates the counter-allegiance of Christ followers from earthly powers to the kingdom of God. It’s difficult, perhaps, to convey cross-culturally the depth to which U.S. children are indoctrinated with allegiance to the state. Every public school child pledges their allegiance to the nation every
      school day, as though a child can make such a pledge. We are not taught simply to prefer our nation. We are taught that our nation is the only truly good one on earth. Appropriating and upending the language of national allegiance pricks our hearts in a uniquely necessary way.

      • Evelyn

        Oh, I get that. The whole thing just highlights for me how weird pledging allegiance is – but that’s just *my* cultural baggage.

        • AmyS

          I tend to think of my own cultural baggage as a wholly bad thing, but your comments are helping me reframe that. I suppose that making a daily pledge of allegiance is something I understand on a gut level, and so I can be grateful that I have a deep understanding of that aspect of kingdom citizenship. Certainly, those who have been shaped in other cultural contexts are inclined to understand different aspects more “innately” such as, kingship or landlessness.

  • Reuben

    Please know that I say all this irenically. No sane person would want to revisit the polemics of the sixteenth century. I wish you all the best. That said, I find the comment “We no longer, at Pangea Communities, agree with the general consensus of Mennonites that Zwingli was right about it only be a “memorial.’”[sic, I guess] disappointing. Anabaptist rejection of the sacerdotal/sacramental system was not an incidental hand me down from Zwingli. It was rooted in Biblical convictions, expressed well previously by Gansforth, Hoen, and Rode and which found agreement in the Reformation in numerous places–Basel, Strassburg, Zurich, and in particular then among Dutch Anabaptists. Anabaptists were executed for this understanding. Being a “bit more sacramental” would seem to me to be a pretty big step away from Anabaptism. All that aside, who wants to play 16th century Anabaptist? I simply agree with them on this one.

  • AmyS

    Lather, rinse, repeat 1,500 times.

  • http://rachelheldevans.com Rachel Held Evans

    Oh my heavens I love this.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      Thanks Rach!

  • Elizabeth Jones

    As a Reformed Christian/seminary grad (currently worshipping at a
    liturgical UCC church in suburban Chicago) with an undergrad degree in
    Church Music from an evangelical Christian college, I was intrigued by
    the title of this blog post. Liturgical? and Anabaptist? Connected in
    the same sentence?? Further intrigued, I opened the link.

    I read
    through the worship service, and I thought, “Awesome!” I’ve got to hand
    it to you, excellent job. Whoever put this together has a great sense of
    balance and flow, while remaining true to Anabaptist theology. Kudos to
    the worship team! And I would love to come and worship with you
    sometime.

  • Richard Cheek

    Our Mennonite fellowship is not liturgical, but our worship leaders are free to include liturgical elements if they choose, and they often do. Also, many of our preachers choose to use the Revised Lectionary even though they are not required to do so. I will not speak for all of our fellowship, but am fairly certain that most of them, me included, think Zwingli was right. On the other hand, my wife would love your liturgy.

  • rtoz

    Very nice preparation !!

  • Guest

    I was raised Anglican and now attend an MB church. This is more to my liking. Our pastor does use some prayers from the BCP, but he does not want too many to know. Thank you so much for doing this, as there needs to be more structure and prayer. Without the two 15-minute song sets, the services at my church would feel very empty in content. Granted, I would not mind the songs being cut a bit, as it gets too much for me.

    • http://wendon74.blogspot.ca/ Wendalynn Donnan

      I would like to add to my comment above (my name somehow got removed). I say give this a try. Do not feel the structure of the service takes away any validity, just be careful it does not become a formality instead of substance.

  • Frank

    Quite wonderful — it’s like an anabaptist Mass! As a Catholic I would feel right at home with this. Does the eucharistic prayer change each week, or is it constant?

    Some of the language seems a bit jargony (though the substance is fine) — e.g., “model a fully human existence” and “shame that hinders us from fully reflecting.” But that’s just being picky. This is really good stuff.


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