Sunday, April 15, 2012

3rd Sunday of Easter - B

Texts: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 34:36b-48

Call to Worship
L: We are witnesses,
P: to the love God has poured into us.
L: We are witnesses of God's love,
P: sharing it with each person we meet.
L: We are witnesses to everyone we encounter,
P: little children like us, sisters and brothers in God's family.

Prayer of the Day
When it seems that no one will listen,
we find you at our side,
leaning over to catch every
faltering, stumbling, fearful word
spilling forth from our hearts.

When it seems that the world
rushes past us, leaving us behind,
we find you waiting just ahead of us,
ready to light the way
into the future you have prepared.

When we worry about yesterday
and all the tomorrows to come,
you gather us up in your arms,
gently rocking us in your hope.

God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to touch us with your peace,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know how easy it is to trick ourselves into believing
that every thought is pure, every act is just, every choice
is correct. But if we want to be God's children, to grow
in hope, to walk in the Light, we must admit our mistakes,
so we may open ourselves to the healing mercy of God's
love. Join me, please, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Emptier of tombs, we find ourselves running down the
street after lies, rather than walking with you. We find
it easy to love other people, as long as they don't annoy
or bother us. We hunger for love and search for affirmation,
yet find it difficult to let others love us for who we are.
Forgive us, Compassionate Heart. You listen to the
whispers of our hearts, and then sing of the promises
of hope. You grace us with peace, so our hearts can
rest in you. You continue to transform us into Easter
people, brothers and sisters of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: Not everything has been revealed to us, but
this we do know: as God's children, we
are blessed, we are loved, we are forgiven.
P: Our lives have been transformed by the
abundant mercy given to us in Christ
Jesus our Lord. Thanks be to God!

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: May the Lord of Easter be with you!
P: And also with you!
L: Open your hearts to God, beloved of the Lord.
P: We lift them to the One who fills our lives
with joy and wonder.
L: Children of Easter, sing praises to God.
P: Our voices unite in thanksgiving to the One
who walks with us in this life.

You opened your hands,
pouring creation's glory
into the emptiness of chaos,
God of beginnings.
The sun, moon, and stars became
the mirrors of the light of your face,
shining down upon all that was crafted.
Shaping us in your divine image,
you stood beside us,
pointing out all the good you offer to us.
But we found comfort in sin's shadows,
fear and doubt claiming us as friends,
and we turned our backs on you.
Through our ancestors in the faith,
Sarah and Samuel, Hannah and Hosea,
you demonstrated your faithfulness,
your longing to welcome us
into your embracing arms of love.
But we did not recognize them,
and clung to the vain words
spoken to us by temptation.
So, you sent your child to us,
to show us what love truly is,
that we might have this hope
offered to us in Jesus.

So, with little children who delight in your joy,
and with older folks who trust in your promises,
with our sisters and brothers throughout all time,
we join our voices in praising your name:

P: Holy, holy, holy, God of grace and beauty.
All creation joins in singing your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes so we may be like him.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed are you, Holy and Righteous God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Author of Life.
In the Word become flesh,
you call us to repent and turn to you.
In the Light of the world,
our eyes are opened
so we can see you standing with us.
In scarred hands and feet,
we see the power of sin and death
destroyed by your grace and hope,
so we can reach out and embrace
that life which is ours forever with you.

As we gather around the Table to remember,
as we give thanks for the life which was given for us,
we speak of what we do not always understand - the mystery of faith.

P: Christ walked to Calvary to die for us.
Christ strode from the tomb to raise us to life.
Christ will come and stand among us, to lead us home.

In this moment, and in this place,
pour out your Spirit upon us,
and on the gifts of the bread and cup
which have been prepared for us.
As we take the bread
from your scarred hands,
may we reach out
to mend the broken of our world.
As we drink from the cup,
open our hearts and eyes,
so we may see those
the world overlooks,
so we may stand with them
in every moment and place.

And when our journey has ended,
when at last all is revealed to us,
we will take our places around
the wedding banquet in heaven,
joining our sisters and brothers
in singing our thanks and joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
now and forevermore. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman