We see people who try to be faithful,
even as questions and struggles challenge our faith.
We look in the mirror and how do we see?
We see with hearts which are open to God's love,
with lives which seek to trust when all the evidence
tells us not to be so foolish.
We look in the mirror and who do we see?
We see Jesus, the One who struggles with
the questions we raise, who models faithfulness
for all who would follow.
when we cannot see you,
you look in compassion upon us;
when we cannot speak a word,
you hear the sighs of our hearts;
when we are falling apart,
you hold us together with your grace.
Jesus, Healing Hand of God:
you reach out to take away all
which distracts us from discipleship;
you challenge us to give away everything
which keeps us from following you;
you surround us with people, even strangers,
who enfold us with your love and hope.
one faltering foot in front of the other,
you carry us in your strength;
as we seek to challenge
the unfairness of our world,
you stand beside us in your justice;
when we are afraid to come near,
you bear our prayers to the seat of grace.
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray together,
using the words we have been taught by Jesus,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
We stand before you, Holy Grace. As you empty our hands of that wealth of unneeded things we cling so tightly to, fill them with your grace and hope. As we let go of all which might hold us back, give us the trust to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into that life with which he offers to each of us.
Committing everything to God, trusting in the One who redeems us, we decide to live as God's faithful and forgiven people. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
When we look in the mirror, may we see our sisters and brothers in need - the lonely, the hungry, the searching, the aching. And as we see them, we pray that these gifts we offer may be used to bring them food, hope, companionship, and healing. This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
And also with you.
In confidence, draw close to the Table of our God.
We bring our hearts, our lives to the Feast of Grace.
Sing glad songs to the One whose goodness fills our lives.
We rejoice that we may enter the kingdom of love and hope.
You turned to your right,
and there was nothing there;
you went forward and backward,
and there was only nothingness;
and so, in your wonder and majesty,
you created all that was good and true,
God of unparalleled imagination.
Your Word crafted the living and active -
waterfalls carving the sides of mountains,
butterflies flitting from flower to flower;
your Spirit bubbled with laughter,
and the bright morning stars were reflected
in clear pools brimming with hope.
All these gifts were given to those shaped in your image,
but we chose to contend with you,
mocking you, making faces at your glory.
When it became too hard for us
to enter your kingdom on our own,
you sent Jesus among us,
to deliver us from ourselves.
So, with those who raise their questions to you,
with those who struggle with your answers,
we lift our voices to you, singing your praises:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of mystery and hope.
All creation honors your name.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God of grace and truth,
and blessed is Jesus, Child of wonder.
He set aside the treasures of heaven,
to become one of us,
so we might know the riches of mercy.
He let go of the power of glory,
so he might know our weaknesses.
He went to the cross on Calvary,
committing himself to your love,
and it was you who took him from the tomb,
raising him to new life.
As we proclaim his death and resurrection,
as we break the bread and fill the cup,
we would live out that mystery we call faith:
Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come again in glory.
Here at the Table graced with your gifts,
here, upon your children gathered in joy,
pour out your Spirit of peace and life.
As we come to taste of that Bread which,
in its brokenness, makes us whole,
we would not go backward to our old life,
but go forth to bring hope to all
who cry out for justice in the world.
As we drink deeply from that Cup which,
by its grace, fills us with compassion,
we would offer the blessings we have,
that others might know the richness of your love and hope.
And when the age to come has arrived,
when our lives are gathered up in your mercy
and we are at one with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place around your feast,
we will join our hearts and voices for you,
singing through all eternity of your love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
Go forth as God's people to serve those around us.
We will honor each person as if they were our family.
Go forth as sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will share the gifts of grace and hope with everyone we meet.
Go forth as those strengthened by the Spirit.
We will stand with others searching for God's justice in their lives.
(c) Thom M. Shuman