O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
On June 4 we celebrated the Day of Pentecost, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit and signaling God’s presence – alive and always with us – stirring us to enliven God’s mission in the world.
In this Season After Pentecost, visual elements in our worship space remind us of God’s presence and the movement of the Holy Spirit among us. At the entrance (from the 5th and Linden corner doors), the baptismal font stands as a reminder of the church’s rite of initiation, and its waters call us into our baptismal vows. Dip your fingers in the water and, as you desire, make the sign of the cross to ask for God’s blessing and renew your commitment to live the Good News, seeking and serving Christ in all persons.
At Grace, we strive to live into our baptismal covenant as we explore our call to mission in this downtown community. We’re sharing space this summer for an artist-in-residence program to engage neighborhood children and we’re reaching out – to an Inner City Health Fair in June, the Puerto Rican Parade and Festival in July, and Pride in the Park in August.
The “Nave,” our main worship area, is arranged so that we can see one another and this season it is set in a “cruciform” (cross) shape, to remind us that Christ is ever with us. The lectern (where the Word of God is read) and the baptismal font form the vertical axis of the cross shape; the torches, symbols of the light of Christ, mark the horizontal axis. At the center, and central to our worship and our common life, is a clear glass altar – a reminder that Christ’s table is accessible to us. During the gospel procession, the Word is brought to the altar for proclamation, in the center of the gathered community; this reminds us that the Word of God is among us and that we take it in, to be fed, nourished, and transformed by it.
At the time of communion, we form a circle around this center altar as a sign of our unity. Those who need to remain seated are fully included, in the front rows of chairs, and others stand, filling in spaces in the circle. There is room for all. After the prayers and consecration, the priest distributes the bread around the circle, followed by two Eucharistic Ministers, who offer wine from chalices. As desired, you may receive both bread and wine or communion of one kind (bread or wine); either option you choose is appropriate. To signal your desire to receive a blessing instead, you may cross your arms over your chest.
To assist our observance of holy days, the commemoration of saints, and lesser feasts and fasts, Forward Movement offers three liturgical calendars, as well as daily meditations and a variety of devotional resources.