Seeds Mealtime Prayers & Liturgy

The Seeds Meal:  Growing Home through Slow Food…

Central to the emergence of the Seeds Covenant has been the spirituality of the table.  It is the gathered meal that often unites our efforts in knowing the word, growing home and going to engage the problems of our world.  Some queries from our covenant point to the table.

How regularly will we come together around a common meal?

Who will be invited and made to feel welcome at the meal?

How will our meal reflect the Eucharist as practiced through history?

How will our meal reflect peace, justice and joy by making reconciling connections with God, others and the earth?

What practical processes and symbolic rituals around production and consumption of our food will shape the spirit of the meal and build a sense of home? (Who’s cooking and who’s doing the dishes? How and why?)

The following is an attempt to make our spirituality of the table more explicit and to make some of the words and processes we have found helpful more accessible.  To celebrate and share different food traditions that exist among our Seedy Mobs and to inspire new production and consumption.

Some of the values of these meals take their cues from the “Slow Food” Movement which arose in Italy as a response to the negative impact of multinational food companies and is spreading around the world – slowly!

Slow Food opposes the standardisation of taste, protects cultural identity tied to food and seeks to safeguard processing techniques inherited from tradition.  It involves valuing time to prepare, eat and build community through food.

It is sometimes critiqued as being an elite pursuit, however Jesus himself would often seek out the best feed in town!  Far from extravagant eating, Slow Food is about the celebration of the connections that food can create with sustainable production, local food traditions and hungry or socially isolated people which are often lost in our economy.

Slow Food has helped reframe our understanding of what it means to be “church” because If we read the gospels without getting hungry we aren’t really paying attention.  The how, what, where and with whom Jesus eats is a central point of gospel conflict and ”understanding about the loaves”  (Mark 6:52) is presented as essential to understanding Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation.

This ministry is symbolised in the offer of wilderness bread and of his body and blood in the Eucharist.  Our prayer is that, like the followers at Emmaus, it would be in the offer of hospitality to strangers, and at the breaking of bread that our eyes will be opened and that Christ may be made known among us.

The Welcome

  1. 1. A Listening Welcome

Hear the cry and promise of Jesus who said ;

“Listen, I stand at the door and knock: if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you and you with me.”

In the gift of Jesus and through the presence of his Spirit, we have tasted  God’s gracious hospitality to us.  And so we extend this grace to each other…

(Each person names the person seated beside them saying….

Welcome to this table in the name of Christ.

Reply: Amen. (expressions of personal feelings or acknowledgement of what people bring to the table may also be offered.)

(adapted from Tablelife, Oxford)

2. Setting Place for the Unseen Christ.

This may involve a simple setting of an empty place at the table.  It may involve the lighting the Christ Candle (see below) or Prayer for Placing the Seeds Covenant Symbols which includes a bowl.

Placing of Covenant Symbols

(This prayer takes some of the key aspects of the Seeds Covenant.)

Holding up the packet of Seeds
Holy community of gracious hospitality, in the midst of our homelessness you extend us an invitation to Grow Home.

We thankyou for your invitation to join the vocation of those who through the ages have vowed to grow new households of love.

Set us free to share our wealth and may the poor always be with us.  May we live in fidelity with your wild creative power respecting the sacred connections between your Spirit our bodies and all creation. May we be obedient to your way of sharing power.  Grace this table with mutual submission and equality. Give us courage to give of ourselves with the same passion with which you lived and died.

Lord hear s.
All: Lord hear our prayer

Holding up the Bible

May we Know the Word. Not ancient words on a page but the living Spirit of Christ among us.  Guide us in our speech at this table, choosing our stories and storying our choices. May this table be rich in story, give us strength to raise our voice and to discipline to listen for yours.
Lord hear us.
All: Lord hear our prayer

Holding up the Credo Cafe bowl
May we Eat Slow. Make us mindful of all that has been given and received in the process of production and consumption. ( At this point mention could be made about different elements of the meal and what is known of their process of production). May this meal reconcile us with God, creation and others. May our eyes be opened to your presence through the breaking of the bread and may our eating bear witness to the meal to come, to which all are invited and where there is enough for all.

Lord hear us.
All: Lord hear our prayer

Holding up the bottle of oil
May we leave this table energised to Go and Engage our world. To speak truth to the powers and to each other; to name and cast out that which is evil in our world and within; and in the midst of our brokenness may we know and share your healing power; your gracious hospitality to us.

Lord hear us.
All: Lord hear our prayer

Amen.

3. Lighting of the Christ Candle

We acknowledge that we gather on the land of which the (insert) people have been custodians from time immemorial. We honour this history and commit ourselves to care for the land with them. May our worship and our service be work for reconciliation with people and with our God.

(We say together…)

Jesus light of the world we confess that you are here. Shine your light in to the hidden places of our lives and bring warmth to the dark places of our hearts. Amen.

A time of silence is held during and/or after the candle has been lit.

Neil’s Grace

(a long term volunteer at Urban Seed’s Credo Café and example of gentle humility and service.)

Heavenly Father we thank you for……………..

May we always be grateful for your provision and may we always be mindful of the needs of others. Amen

Marcus’s Grace

(used at Credo Café 2004)

Take a moment to become aware of your body and your senses.

The smell of the food prepared for you, your salivating mouth, your growling stomach. Become aware of your hunger.

The hunger we bring to this table is not for bread alone but for a sharing with others and our Creator.

No matter who we are at this table, no matter our difference, we are united by our hunger.

We give thanks for our bodies, this bread and that some of what we long for will soon be satisfied.

We remember those whose hunger will not be satisfied this day.

May this food give us the energy we need to work for a world without hunger.

Amen

One Response to Seeds Mealtime Prayers & Liturgy

  1. Pingback: Good Food I Cooked This Summer… « Word on the Street…

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