“Agape” (uh-gah-pay) is the New Testament Greek word for “self-giving love.” In Christian tradition an “Agape” is also the name for informal meals and times of togetherness and mutual sharing. Many scholars believe that an Agape was the earliest setting for what is now called the Eucharist/Mass/Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper.
A bell sounds.
Leader: “God is love, and those who dwell in love dwell in God, and God dwells in them” (1 John 4:16). Welcome to this meal, celebrating the Love that many of us believe moves all things.
People: We come to share our food and our lives.
Leader: We come to break bread together, and open ourselves to one another.
People: We come to express our wonder and gratitude for the mystery of being alive, here, together.
Leader: May the One in whom we live be known to us in this food and this gathering.
People: As we share our food, we give thanks for this abundance, and we remember those who do not have enough.
Leader: May there be food to those who are hungry.
People: May the Love that moves all things give us a hunger for justice, and a determination to serve those who hunger for food.
A Prayer from The Apostolic Tradition (3rd/4th Century—yes, you can giggle): If anyone offers cheese and olives, one shall say thus: Sanctify this milk which has been coagulated, coagulating us also to your love. Make this fruit of the olive not to depart from your sweetness, which is an example of your richness which you have poured from the tree of life to those who hope in you.
Food is served. People share stories.
Toward the end of the meal those who wish may receive Communion from pre-consecrated bread and wine.
Leader: These are the Gifts of God for the People of God. “Your mystery is laid on the table of the Lord. Your mystery you receive. Be what you see, and receive what you are” (St. Augustine).
When the meal is finished:
Leader: Behold the fragments of our feast. Our meal is ended, but Love’s banquet continues as we go from this place.
People: Let us take the banquet into the world and never give up until all people are fed.
Leader: May the peace of Christ be upon you, and may you be channels of peace and justice.
Go now in peace; though friends must part,
your presence lives in every heart.
Your gifts to us no words can tell:
go now in peace, in Christ go well.
Go now in hope, and hopeful stay,
though shadowed valleys hide your way;
through good and evil, joy and pain,
with God, in Spirit, you remain.
Go now in faith, through time and chance,
until we join the wedding dance
as partners of the Three-in-One,
where all is ended, and begun.
Leftovers are taken to share with others.