A Litany for Celebrating Communion at Home. Reprinted and adapted from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Grateful to Sandy Swartzentruber, Faith Formation Ministries, for her work on adapting this liturgy.
This litany for family communion at home is similar to the traditional Jewish Passover celebration, in which young children ask adults about the meaning of what the family is doing together.
Here’s what you’ll need to get ready:
Buy some grape juice and put it in a special pitcher if you have one.
Bake or buy a loaf of bread to share, and put it on a special plate. Baking the bread together on Saturday as a family can make this extra meaningful for kids!
You’ll also need an empty wine glass or special cup. A cup or mug may be easier for young children to handle. If health considerations make separate cups important, add one cup for each person.
Print a copy of this litany for each person (pre-readers may just like to hold a copy to feel like one of the group).
Invite an older child or adult to read the part of “Leader.” (He or she might like to practice reading the part first.)
Sit around a table, or in a circle on the floor. In the center place the plate of bread, the pitcher of juice, and the empty cup.
Thanking and Praising God
LEADER: Today we’re celebrating communion together at home, since we can’t be at our church with the rest of God’s family. Let’s start by thanking and praising God together.
CHILDREN: Why do we thank and praise God before we take communion together?
EVERYBODY: Because we are grateful that God made our wonderful world and sent Jesus, God’s Son, to save us.
LEADER: It is right for us to thank and praise you, God!
You made the heavens and the earth and everything in them.
You made us in your own image. Every day you show us your mercy.
We worship you, and with the angels we praise you:
EVERYBODY [sung or spoken]: Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
LEADER: Holy God, because you are full of mercy
you gave us your only Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus became a human like us and lived on earth like us.
He died to save us from our sins, and God brought him back to life!
We thank you that Jesus gave us this way to remember what he did for us
until he comes back to live with us forever.
The Bread and Cup
CHILDREN: Why do we eat bread and drink wine or juice to remember Jesus?
LEADER: The bread and the wine or juice remind us of Jesus’ body and blood. Jesus knew he was going to die on a cross, which was a painful way to die.
EVERYBODY: Jesus did this because he loves us so much!
LEADER: On the night before he died, Jesus took a loaf of bread.
After he thanked God for it, he broke it into pieces
and gave it to his friends, the disciples.
(Here an adult holds up the bread and breaks it in two.)
Jesus said, “This is my body. It is given for you.
Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”
EVERYBODY: We remember you, Jesus!
LEADER: After Jesus and his disciples ate dinner together,
Jesus took a cup of wine.
He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
It is poured out for you.”
(Here an adult pours the juice into a glass or cup.)
EVERYBODY: Thank you, Jesus!
Remembering the Father, Son, and Spirit
CHILDREN: What do we remember when we celebrate communion together?
LEADER: We remember God’s amazing love for us,
Christ’s death and resurrection for us,
and the Spirit’s tender care for us.
Loving God, send your Holy Spirit to bless this bread and juice.
When we eat and drink it together,
remind us that we are part of your big family.
Thank you that you forgive all our sins
and that when Jesus returns we will live with you forever!
LEADER: Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer together.
EVERYBODY: Our Father in heaven
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
And the power,
And the glory forever. Amen.
(At this point, an adult takes the loaf of bread, breaks off a piece, and passes it to the next person, saying, “[Name], Jesus died for you” (or whatever words you’re accustomed to saying at your church). Each person repeats that until all have bread. Then an adult takes the cup, dips his or her bread in the juice, and passes it to the next person, saying, “[Name], Jesus loves you.” The adult then eats his or her piece of bread. Each person repeats that until all have eaten)
LEADER: Thank you, loving God, for giving us this meal
to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection together.
Help us to live as your children here and now,
as we look forward to the day when you make everything new, including us.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.