A faith-based program at the Fayette County Detention Center using pastoral experience, Correctional psychology, Wisdom traditions including AA, group dynamics and volunteers. The project coordinator has 17 years experience in correctional consulting and 40 years experience in pastoral counseling (overlapping :-)

Monday, May 23, 2005

INTERFAITH FOOD RITUAL FOR PRAYER AND WORSHIP

Once monthly I visit our Spiritual Growth inmate pod at the County Detention Center, and offer a prayer service. May 22 in Fayette County unit was such an occasion. Here is the interfaith food ritual employed, for your copying and use. Songs we sung were Amazing Grace and Here I am, Lord.

BREAKING BREAD (Rev 11/30/04)
An interfaith food ritual beyond the Passover seder, beyond the
Last Supper, to embrace all the Abrahamic Wisdom traditions,
Hebrew, Christian and Muslim
(bread and grape juice on the table; with several leaders, of both genders)
SONG (standing)
Prayer for "Breaking Bread"
LEADER ONE: Before we break bread together, we pause to reflect on bread and community: both are the product of a marvelous cooperative effort. Let us affirm the individual ingredients which join together to form our food and drink.
LEADER TWO: Let us recall the human labor that goes into producing wheat, grinding to make the flour, from many grains, one substance for our bodies, the basic essence without which flour would not become bread: DIVERSITY IN OUR HUMAN DIGNITY. Next the shortening, the grease: OUR LAUGHTER which balances and enriches our lives. The liquid: the soothing and smoothing gentle KINDNESS which binds us together. The yeast, which raises us: Our hope and faith in things unseen yet "known." May we handle it gently and with respect, for it functions only within the warmth and security of love. The salt, which both preserves and makes savory: our honesty, the critical intelligence which seeks new truths and cherishes doubt. The sweetness: our grateful tears of thankfulness and appreciation for all that is good and beautiful. And finally the heat: the passionate conviction that fires a community to mutual commitment for peace and justice.
LEADER ONE (OFFERING)
The great symbolism in bread is used by all the Abrahamic Wisdom Traditions, Hebrew, Christian and Muslim. Bread represents life, love, renewal and deliverance. May we pause in silence to honor and appreciate the diverse and unique gifts we each bring to this table today, to encourage the making of community within our midst. So be it. (Each person speaks one word or so, of a gift you bring: some desire, hope, prayer, pain, dream, goal, etc.
SONG
LEADER TWO Let us pray.

COMMUNITY RECITES TOGETHER: Holy Mystery, / with us, / all around us, / and within us, / we begin our meal / in solidarity with the poor, / many so hungry / "that God cannot appear to them / except in the form of bread," / as Gandhi said. / We share their hunger – / for both food and for community – / and pray you will nourish us now,/ with this food and drink, / and with the kindness / and friendship of each other, / and with compassion for the earth / and for the whole family of all living things.
(A MOMENT OF SILENCE)
We put on the table / this ritual meal / as a symbol of our own gifts, / of the taste of our lives, / all our ups and downs, / our personal joys and hurts / our hopes and concerns, / our gains and our losses, / our gifts and our poverty / all our differences and diversities.
(A MOMENT OF SILENCE)
May the grains of our separate lives / form into one bread. / May the fruit of our separate lives / form into one drink, / and then be poured out / and broken / and given as nourishment for our communal life, / our common faith, / and our mutual friendship -- / no one better than anyone else, / all of us forgiven our faults / as we forgive others, / linked together, / this moment at least, / as if we were a single family, / united with all who have gone before us / into death, / in the holy communion of all humans.
THE COMMUNITY CONTINUES:
We again give thanks, / thinking of all those, living and dead, / who are symbolized by this food, / who seem present with us / in the breaking of the bread: / first of all the beloved prophets of the past, / Moses and Miriam,/ Jesus and his mother, / Mohammed, and for all those seekers of the Right Way who continue / to give birth to the Divine Mystery / amongst us / and in our world.
This bread symbolizes ourselves, / the taste of our lives / and the power of our shared experiences. / This drink is ourselves / and our lives poured out / in solidarity and human communion.
(The bread is broken and passed with the words: "The bread of life," and the drink passed as "The cup of solidarity." We sing.)
SHARED SILENCE, WHICH CAN BE USED FOR PERSONAL INTENTIONS, WHICH CAN BE OPENLY SHARED. “We remember here...� Each petition ends with “. . .Let us pray to the Lord.� Community reponds with “Lord hear our prayer.�
LEADER TWO (BENEDICTION)
May we go from this table, our lives as shared as bread and as poured out as wine. And may the blessing of the One God, merciful and gracious, the heart of all the prophets, and the Loving Presence that energizes the universe, be with us and within us. Amen.
ALL: “Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.�
CLOSING SONG