We have a rough hewn 7-foot cross at the front of the sanctuary. Instead of a pastoral prayer, we had a silent prayer during which members of the congregation were encouraged to bring forward their palm fronds and lay them at the foot of the cross symbolically. Ex.: If you are carrying a burden on your heart, lay it at the foot of the cross. If you are harboring a past hurt; lay it at the foot of the cross. If you are burdened by guilt from a past transgression, lay it at the foot of the cross. If you are grieving, if you are lonely, if you have self-doubt, if you are worried, etc., etc. Or if if you have a joy, bring your thankfulness to the cross. The piano player played Sweet Hour of prayer as every member of the congregation filed forward to add to the pile of palm leaves. After all had returned to their seats, we closed with a unison prayer of confession and praise. It turned out to be much more powerful than anticipated.
Since we had a very small confirmation class with only three young people, after we served them communion, they took their first role of service to others by serving the elements to the rest of the church. They walked to the members of the congregation who are unable to come forward. This way they served their great-grand parents first. Then they lined up at the front with the cup in the center and half of the loaf on each side. The congregation took turns with the host bearers and then received the juice by intinction. It was touching and very well received.
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