Assurance of Pardon
The forgiveness of God be upon you; the peace of Christ rest upon you; the grace of the Holy Spirit be the gift which is placed in your life, this day and forever.
From this day to the end of eternity, we are God's children: citizens of God's kingdom, brothers and sisters of the Prince of Peace. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord be with you, little children of the kingdom.
And also with you.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, open your hearts to God.
As we seek to walk in integrity in the kingdom, we offer our hearts to God for wisdom and peace.
Come to the Table which has been prepared for you, with songs of thanksgiving in your hearts.
With this people gathered in this place, we give thanks to God for all the blessings which are ours.
Long ago, so long ago
only you can remember, Imaginative God,
you brought creation into being,
subjecting chaos to your will.
It was fitting for you to do this,
for your Word shaped glory
into mountains, fields and streams;
your Spirit breathed hope
into all that has life in you.
You spoke to our ancestors,
inviting them to walk in your integrity,
but their hearts became hardened
by the sweet words of seduction,
their hands were full of sin's bribes.
Prophets were sent by you,
pleading, cajoling, calling all your
children back to your side,
but we continued to consort with hypocrites.
So in your steadfast love,
you sent Jesus to us, that we might receive
your kingdom of peace and redemption
as your little children.
So, with those who gather around tables
of peace and hope in every corner of our world,
and with those who are with you in glory,
we offer our praises to you with glad songs:
Holy, holy, holy, God of glory and goodness!
All creation joins in one voice in glorifying you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the Pioneer of our redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!
There is no one like your Servant, Jesus our Brother,
God of holiness and grace.
Walking in your integrity,
he wandered the world's ways,
calling us to follow him into the kingdom.
Walking in peace with you,
he invites us to set aside
all differences and divisions,
so we might live as one in you.
Walking in trust towards you,
he tasted death for every one,
that we might feast at your Table
of forgiveness through all eternity.
As we remember his gentle words and tender heart,
as we celebrate the gift of his resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:
Christ has died, destroying death;
Christ is risen, bringing peace to all;
Christ will come again, proclaiming God's name to his sisters and brothers.
Pour out the Spirit of the Prince of Peace,
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
not only on those gathered in this place,
but on all your children throughout the world:
on those who gather around war-scarred tables
and at the tailgates of humvees,
longing to pass the Bread of life
from hand to hand, mouth to mouth,
until all have been fed;
and on those who stand on both sides
of walls built by hatred and fear,
daring to share the Cup of salvation
with those labeled as the 'enemy'
until all are graced.
And when the eons of our fighting and destruction are done,
when all of your children are gathered in peace
around your Table of glory and grace in heaven,
we will bless you in that great congregation,
singing our love, our hope, our joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman