Saturday, November 26, 2011

Second Sunday of Advent - Year B

Texts:  Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2nd Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Call to Worship
L:    You come to us, alive and present
        in that Word clothed in human flesh,
P;    so we might hear those songs about
        forgiveness, echoing with joy.
L:    You come to us, Shepherd of God's people,
        feeding us with your peace,
P:    so we might go out and offer
        the bread of hope to all the lost.
L:    You come to us, Spirit of comfort,
        welcoming us into the kingdom,
P:    where righteousness is our best friend,
        where justice lives right next door.

Prayer of the Day
While others are making lists
of things we have enough of,
you come:
    to offer us salvation,
    that one gift we cannot purchase.
As the world prepares
to entice us with more and more,
you come:
    to fill our hearts with all the hopes
    you have dreamed about us forever.
When skepticism and fear
callous our hearts,
you come:
    to bathe us in the soothing
    lotion of compassion.
When stress scoops out potholes
for every step we take,
you come:
    filling the emptiness with serenity
    as tough as your grace.
As the clock turns
faster and faster each day,
you come:
    to swaddle us in a shawl
    woven with patience.
When others push past us
to get to the front of worry's line,
you come,
    so we can clasp them
    so close to our hopes
    they can hear your heartbeat.

So come to us, come to us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We can no longer play dumb.  We not only know
the lives we are called to lead, we are well aware
of how we fail - through our words as well as our
silence, by our deeds and our unwillingness to act.
Let us confess to the God who comes to us,

Unison Prayer of Confession
   You call us home to live with you, Comfort of the
lost, but we are too busy right now to listen.  We flock
to the stores run by temptation and seduction, seeking
the best prices.  We rush to judge everyone around us,
but ask you to be more patient with our repeated errors.
We feast at the table piled high with broken promises
and drink from the cup of fading dreams.
   Yet you continue to cry out to us, Broken Heart,
speaking to us of your love.  Forgiveness is the gift
for every moment, not just one day; hope is our constant
companion as we journey with Jesus Christ, our Lord
and Savior, who is your Messenger of mercy.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    At the beginning, at the end, and in every time between,
        the good news speaks to us of God's tender mercy and
       love for us.
P:    God comes!  Not to punish, but to gift us with peace,
        not to judge, but to save us.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:    May God be with you.
P:    May God be with you as well.
L:    People of God, open your hearts.
P:    We open our hearts to the God who approaches.
L:    People of God, give thanks to the One
        who brings you out of the exile of sin.
P:    We sing praises to the One who offers comfort
        and hope to each and every one of us.

Into the silence of chaos,
your voice cried, Comfort of the Ages,
your Word flinging open
the doors of goodness and beauty,
the Spirit speeding over the waters
to bring peace to all creation.
Refusing to wait for all
which you had promised to us,
we made straight for death,
running down the dusty road of sin.
Prophets cried out to us
while we were in this wilderness,
but our tantrums drowned out
their invitations to return to you.
Since peace was your hope for us,
and salvation is your steadfast gift,
you sent your Child, Jesus,
to become the Way for us.

So, with those who have waited
in every time and place,
and with those who try to lead
lives of godliness and goodness,
we lift our voices filled with longing
for your comforting presence:

P:    Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of creation.
        The exiled of the world await your coming.
        Hosanna in the highest.

        Blessed is the Comfort who comes in your name.
        Hosanna in the highest!

Holiness is your grace, God of exiles,
and blessed is your Word
who comes again to us in this time.
Herald of good news,
he whispers to us of all your promises
fulfilled in his life and death.
Prince of Peace,
he takes our brokenness
and shapes us into servants.
Messenger of salvation,
he carries the cross to Calvary,
where he ends death's power,
gathering us up from the tomb,
holding us so close to his life
that we can feel your heart beat.

As we prepare to come to the Table,
we remember the One whose birth
is the beginning of that mystery
we call the good news:

P:    The Word came, creating life;
        the Word comes, speaking comfort;
        the Word will come again, to call us home.

Send your Spirit to rest upon
these gifts of the field and the vine.
Take the common loaf,
and by your mercy,
transform it into the life we need.
Remind us that when we hunger for more,
you feed us with humility
that we might see the emptiness of our world,
and offer ourselves to fill it with your gifts.
As you hand the cup of salvation to us,
may it quench our desire for more and more,
that we might give all we have,
and all we are called to be,
as a healing for a broken creation.

And when your love gathers us up
and leads us to your banquet in the kingdom,
where we are seated with our sisters and brothers,
we will sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:
    Creator of goodness,
    Friend of the lost,
    Spirit of joy,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

L:    As you were present with us
        through your Word, O God:
P:    may we be present to others
        send us to serve this week.
L:    As you fed us with your peace,
        Bread of life:
P:    may we grace others with that peace,
        this day and all the days to come.
L:    As you welcomed us to your table,
        Spirit of Hope:
P:    May we welcome all those you send us
        that they may find a home with us.

(c) Thom M. Shuman