Sunday, January 13, 2013

Second Sundary after the Epiphany - C

Texts:  Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 36:5-10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11

Call to Worship
When we are lonely, feeling forsaken,
there is One who knows how we feel:
our God who gathers us up,
pulling us close to the heart of love.
When we sit at the table of despair,
when we nibble at life's stale crusts,
there is One who throws a party for us:
our God who loves to celebrate,
who fills our lives with goodness.

When we are mired in the muck of life,
when every day seems the same as yesterday,
there is One who comes to us:
our God who changes our names,
our God who transforms our lives.

Prayer of the Day
When we stand at the edge of desolation,

staring down into our emptiness,
     you reach out to keep us from falling.
When we fumble and stumble
throw the shadows of our world,
     you offer us a little light,
          which is all we need until our eyes
          grow accustomed to the bright dawn
          of your grace and wonder.
When we are worn down
by the rough edges of life,
     you polish us until we gleam with hope.
When we feel deserted,
     you adopt us as your very own.
When the world files a bill
of divorce against us, turning its back,

     you slip the ring
     of joy on our finger,
     clasping our hands in yours,
          as you whisper vows of love
          which will remain longer
          than the stars will burn.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we give you praise for your presence,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We plead ignorance, but we know. We know the hurt we have caused, the names we have called other people, the love we hold back from family and friends. Let us confess our shadowed lives, so the light of God's mercy might illumine us. Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     If we are to have any hope, Transforming God, we must face the reality of our lives, putting a name to our failings. You hand us a bouquet of gifts, but we let them wither by not placing them in your living water. You call us to speak out for those who live in the corners and cupboards of our world, but we believe our silence is the best way to help them. We listen to those who tell us that to trust in you is a sign of weakness, rather than listening to your invitation to hope in your always.
     You will not rest until we are one with you, God of Peace, so forgive us and fill us with your mercy. Gift us, so we may respond to those opportunities to serve your people. May your Spirit teach us the new language of faith, so we might confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: you are God's delight, you are God's joy, you are God's beloved. God will not remain silent, but will call you by name.
From the farthest corners of heaven to this very place, from God's heart to ours - we are forgiven.  Thanks be to God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of all gifts be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, come to the Wedding Feast prepared for you!
We come, our hearts dancing in delight to the Table.
God’s beloved community, do not keep silent in this moment.
We will sing songs of wonder and praise
    to the One who rejoices over us.

On the first day of creation,
your steadfast love spanned the heavens,
Upright Heart of Wonder.
Mountains capped with righteousness
     dipped their toes in the fountain of glory;
faithfulness stretched its arms to the stars,
     reaching beyond all limitations.
Created in your loving image,
we were gifted beyond measure,
but enticed by sin's sparkle,
     we were led astray, following
     the pied piper of temptation.
For our sake, you did not keep silent,
filling the prophets' hearts with hope,
     using their words to call us home.
When we were rigid in our rebellion,
you saved the best for last,
sending Jesus to draw us back to you.

So, with the forsaken of every age,
and with the delighted of every place,
we join our voices, praising you:

Holy, holy, holy, God of constant love.
All creation drinks from the rivers of delight.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to change our bitter tears

     into the wine of hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who gathers us home,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your true Joy.
When silence would not save us,
     he came, calling our names out loud,
     inviting us to feast at the wedding.
When our name suffered a desolate death,
     he came, renaming us as your delight.
When the best and brightest of our hopes
had been carried into sin's exile,
     he came, to gather us up and bring us home
     from the borders of death.

As we remember that his time had come,
as we celebrate his salvation which brightens our hopes,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, so we would no longer be forsaken;
Christ rose, so we would no longer live in desolation's desert;
Christ will come, so we will become God's delight,

     drawn into the circle of love, peace, hope, joy.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of remembrance
and the people who come from the four corners of life.
Every time we eat the bread,
we are strengthened to take
the gifts from your garden of plenty,
     to share with all who hunger.
Every time we take a sip of the wine of hope,
our eyes are opened and we see
the marginalized in the shadows
     and go out to gather them up
     and bring them to your table.

And on the last day of time,
when we gather with our sisters and brothers
around the feast which never ends,
we will lift our voices in praise and delight to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman