Sunday, January 29, 2012

5th Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary Time 5 - B

Texts:  Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1st Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

Call to Worship
L:    When we look at the night sky, speckled with stars,
P:    we discover the never-ending imagination of our God.
L:    When we pick those not chosen on life's playgrounds,
P:    we join Christ in the ministry of healing and hope.
L:    When we set aside the time for prayer, as well as wonder,
P:    we meet the Spirit who is at our side in every moment.

Prayer of the Day
From the very first tale
told around family tables
to that last word written
in the book of time,
you tell us the story
of your love and joy.
From the foundation
laid in Eden's valleys
to the ever-open gates
of the new Jerusalem,
you build a home for
every single one of your children.
How good it is to sing your glory,
Heart of Creation!

Into the abandoned areas
of our lives, you come -
shushing the little imps
who whisper in our ears
of our failings and foolishness.
When we seem unable
to listen to your hopes for us,
you sit down at the edge of our hearts,
once again retelling the story
of your love and grace.
How good it is to sing your name,
Healer of broken lives.

When our dreams dry up
and turn to dust,
you gather them up
and shape them into
a future which surprises us.
When we would pull shut
the curtains of our compassion,
you yank them open,
so we can see those
we are called to serve.
How good it is to sing your peace,
Spirit of patience.

How good it is to sing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
It is in the deserted moments of our lives, when we realize
how we have failed to love, to act, to be God's children,
that Jesus comes, not only praying for us, but holding us,
mending us, sending us forth as new people.  Let us come
to our God, speaking of those things we would rather forget,
so we may once again hear the words of healing and hope.

Unison Prayer of Confession
     In that effort to cross the finish line of achievement, Always
Listening God, we know we have rushed by those we could
have stopped to help.  In our attempts to climb the ladder of
success, we know we have pushed past those who were too
weary to continue and were looking for encouragement.  In
our channel-surfing for the next big thing, the new guru, the
bestseller which would change our lives, we pass over that
quiet place where we could listen to your heart, and find our
true home.
     Forgive us, God who hears our hearts.  In setting aside
false pride, may we reach down to lift up the fallen.  In
letting go of that security which only deludes us, may we
place our lives into your hopeful future.  In turning from
the stress which controls our lives, may we find the One
who leads us into the kingdom of hope and joy, Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    No matter how many times it is said, it bears repeating:
       God loves us, God forgives us, God heals us, God
        restores us to new life.
P:    This is Good News!  God listens to our words,
        fills us with grace, and sends us forth to proclaim
        the gospel to others.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:    May the God of grace be with you.
P:    And also with you.
L:    People of God, open your hearts.
P:    We open them to the One who calls us to follow.
L:    Sing praises to the God who delights in you.
P:    We lift our songs to the One who strengthens us
        with the gifts of the Table of life.

Into the beginning of all that is,
you poured the foundation of goodness,
Innovative Wisdom.
You did not tire in creating creatures
of every imaginable size and shape,
nor did you waver in your dreams
of peace and grace wandering the earth.
You longed for us to sit in the circle
with joy and wonder as our companions,
as we listened to your hopes for us.
But we thought we could run forever
with sin and death at our side,
never needing to rest.
You were determined to bring us back,
giving us the law as a guide,
but we broke every rule over and over.
You sent the prophets,
and we ignored their words.
So, you sent the One
we did not expect,
or think we needed,
Jesus Christ, our Savior.

So with prophets and parents,
with choirs of children and angels,
and with your children from every time,
we sing your praises forever and ever:

P:    Holy, holy, holy, Creator of heaven and earth!
       Young people embrace your promised grace,
           older people yearn for your peace and hope.
       Hosanna in the highest.

       Blessed is the One who comes to heal us.
       Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, Namer of stars and your children,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Child, our Savior.
The Word speaking goodness into life,
he whispers of your love for us
through every moment of our lives.
The One who shaped galaxies,
and flung them into the universe,
tenderly lifts up those cast out by the world,
placing them in your heart.
The Drifter of deserted places
enters into death's abandonment,
and the cold emptiness of the tomb,
to come forth with new life and hope,
running with us to enter the kingdom.

We come to this Table in remembrance of his life,
singing of his healing and hope for all,
even as we tell of that mystery we call faith:

P:   We proclaim Christ's death with our hearts;
      we declare Christ's resurrection with our hopes;
      we await Christ's return with our lives of service.

Here in these moments and in this place,
where we have gathered in your presence,
pour out your Spirit upon us
and the gifts you have prepared for us.
Bone-tired, we come to the Table,
that we might be strengthened
with that Bread filled with life.
So weary, we stumble through each day,
we drink from the Cup overflowing
with hope and grace.
Fed and nourished,
we would go forth into all those places
where the outcasts have been abandoned,
and where the hopeless feed on despair,
that we might bring them
not only words of good news,
but the very gifts which can
bring healing to their lives.

And when you gather your children
around the Table set for us in glory,
when we join hands and dance for joy,
we will forever sing your praises:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2009  Thom M. Shuman