Come suddenly, Holy God, into our slow expectations
and fill us with your urgent hopes for justice.
In this holy season of delight and wonder, our Savior comes.
Come suddenly, Companion of the poor,
and challenge us to share in the gospel of welcome for all.
In these days of remembering what our lives are to be, our Spirit comes.
Come suddenly, Preparer of the way, to take us by the hand
to walk with our sisters and brothers down the path to service.
playing salvation’s love song
on a baritone sax;
preparing the way for grace
to transform our souls;
holding us in Your heart
when we lose our way.
with grace’s riches;
tearing down cruelty-capped
straightening out the winding paths
we make the needy walk;
soothing the lonely nights
of rough sleepers.
See, You come, Eyes of grace,
so in seeing the suffering around us,
we might share mercy;
in observing the struggles of others,
we might give offerings of justice;
in noticing the silence of leaders,
we would cry out for hope.
See, You come, God in Community, Holy in One,
so we might be Your people of grace and justice,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Have mercy on us, God of grace, and prepare our hearts for Your forgiveness to have its way in them. Fill us with Your hope so we might lighten the shadows of others. Help us to join the choirs of children in singing of Your joy. Transform us with that tender mercy who is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Silence is kept
We are held in God’s heart, not only on this day, but all the days of our lives. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
See, you come in this holy season with the simple gift of life itself. See, you invite us to share from the abundance of our lives, so others might be filled with life, with hope, with love, and with grace. Bless these gifts we offer to You, so they may be used to share the gospel of wholeness and welcome for all. Amen.
May you be filled with the tenderness of our God.
Lift up your hearts to the One who looks with grace upon us.
Confident of God’s love, we open our hearts to the One who comes to us.
Sing glad songs of praise in this moment.
We join our sisters and brothers in joyful thanksgiving.
Chaos could not endure the day
of creation’s coming, Ingenuous God,
and so gave way to Your gifts
of snowflakes gently melting on our eyelashes,
of golden clouds awakening our mornings,
of children singing carols in bathtubs.
These joys, and so many more
were given to those shaped in Your image,
but we heard the voices of temptation
crying out and foolishly followed.
You called women and men (and even
children) to remind us of Your promised mercy,
but we refused to see
sin and death as our foes.
So You sent Your heart’s Delight
to us, Jesus, preparing the way
for your redemption to come to us.
With those who long for hope,
with those who cry out for justice,
we lift our joy to You:
Holy, holy, holy are You, Melter of our frozen hearts.
All creation waits for Your Advent once again.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the Dawn from on high.
Hosanna in the highest!
You alone are holy, God of our hopes,
and Jesus is Your glory made flesh.
He came with tender mercy in his hands,
to shatter our hardened hearts.
He came to transform fuller’s soap
into the waters of baptism.
He came to shine a bright light in death’s eyes,
stunning it into submission
to resurrection’s love.
As we draw ever closer to Bethlehem,
as we prepare to journey with Jesus from birth to new life,
we declare that mystery we know as faith:
Christ died, preparing the way for salvation;
Christ was raised through the baptism of the resurrection;
Christ will come, Dawn from on high of every time and place.
As Your people gather at Your Table,
pour out Your Spirit on us
and on these gifts of joy and wonder.
Though broken, the Bread makes us strong enough
to not only cry out for justice,
but to sacrifice for it;
to not only notice the poor,
but to discover what they have to teach us.
Poured out, the hope of the Cup
can flow through us,
to feed the hungry,
to be reconciled to those we fear,
to welcome all cast aside by the world.
You will look on us with grace
at the end of all time,
gathering us with our sisters and brothers
around the Table of life eternal,
where we will forever sing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
God is sending you to be messengers of this holy season.
We will go to share God’s grace in the shadowed places of our world.
Jesus is sending you to be messengers of his gospel.
We will go to share the good news of justice in every way we treat each person.
The Spirit is sending you to be messengers of peace.
We will go to share the gifts of hope and reconciliation
which have been placed in our hearts.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman