(BTW because my church family are not used to liturgy I make it very clear that what we are doing is praying and reading scripture. All scripture quotes have been adapted from the NIV. Congregational responses in italics. Feel free to use or adapt this material for your own context.)
A Waitangi Communion
God of the nations, Thank you for bringing us to New Zealand. In Maori, European, Asian, Pacific, Indian, African and all races represented in our country, we recognise your provision and grace, the answered prayers of many for a safe and prosperous place to live.
We thank you for the witness of your gospel, for the way it was received by the tribes, for its lasting legacy in our nation. We thank you for those who have come from other lands as your people and we praise you for those who have come to know you since coming to New Zealand. We thank you that we are a country where we worship you free from oppression and persecution and we thank you for the resources you have given us to advance your kingdom here and abroad.
But we also confess our sins as a nation and as individuals we are guilty of injustice, indifference, evil things we have done and thought and said, and good things we have failed to do and think and say.
Using the words of the psalms, we pray together:
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out our transgressions. Wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. (Psalm 51:1-2)
In the silence we confess our sin and the sins of our nation.
We pray together:
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)
Listen to the promise of God given to us in Psalm 32:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds those who trust in him. (Psalm 32:8, 10)
Lord, we thank you for your forgiveness and peace, for comfort and guidance, and for our new identity as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Using the words of the Revelation to John, We pray together:
You are worthy, Lord Jesus, lamb of God, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, people group and nation. You have made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and we will reign on the earth. (Rev 5:9-10)
This weekend we remember the birth of the nation of New Zealand and we are thankful, but even more so today we remember your work upon the cross where you made a way for us to be the people of God.
As we share this meal today, as many races gather around one table to worship one Lord and saviour may we recognise that we are one because you have made us one.
Using the words of the letter to the Ephesians, we say together:
In Christ Jesus we who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Through him we all have access to the Father by one and the same Spirit. (Eph 2:13, 18)
Just under two hundred years ago our nation was formed by a treaty, a covenant between the Tangata Whenua and the British Crown. Just under two thousand years ago a new covenant was made between God and his people, and it is this we remember now as we share the bread and juice, remembering Christ’s body on the cross and his blood shed for the forgiveness of sins and redemption of God’s people.
Come, take, eat and drink and proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again.
[At end of service]
Using the words of the apostle Peter, we say together.
We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once we were not a people, but now we are the people of God; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)