Sunday, February 10, 2013

1st Sunday in Lent - C

Texts: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13

Call to Worship
Led by the Holy Spirit, we come to this place.
God has given us this haven where we may bring
our hopes, our fears, our doubts, our wonder.
Led by the Holy Spirit, we will gather at the Table.
Jesus has come to be with us in our lives,

to feed us with grace and peace.
Led by the Holy Spirit, we will go to serve God's people.
There is no distinction between 'us' and 'them,'

between Presbyterians* and other believers;
we are sisters and brothers in God's family.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Refuge of desert wanderers:
as the seeds of grace
you have planted within us
bear an abundant harvest,
     we would offer the first fruits
     in thanksgiving to you
          and in service to others.

Jesus Christ, Companion of Lenten pilgrims:
you understood
that God alone feeds us,
     and so became the broken Bread;
you knew that the power
to transform our lives
comes from God alone,
     and so became our Servant;
you did not ignore
the warning not to test God,
     and so became our Hope.

Holy Spirit, Leader of Christ's apprentices:
you fill the hungry
     with the Bread of hope;
you fill the arrogant
     with the Servant's humility;
you fill the hopeless
     with that trust which endures.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in our hearts, and on our lips,
we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Too many times, what is found on our lips are words of hurt and anger. Too often, what is found in our hearts is bitterness and fear. And so we end up testing God with our foolish lives, rather than trusting God to lead us in the way we long to go. Let us bring our words of confession, as well as our brokenness, to the One who hears us and makes us whole. Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
   God of our ancestors, we confess that we can become so obsessed with all that is new, we ignore the past which is filled with wisdom. We prefer to wander down streets to all the places we know so well, yet are reluctant to be led by your Spirit into unfamiliar neighborhoods.  We sometimes are in such a hurry to get our heart's desires, we stumble past the grace you are longing to give us.
   Hear our hearts and see our brokenness, God of our days, and forgive us. May we grow in our trust of you, rather than continuing to test you. Gather us up and bring us into the presence of Jesus Christ, our Servant, our Savior, that we might follow him to Jerusalem, and beyond - into that place of hope and peace you are giving to us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is our good news: hearing our prayers and our silence, God forgives us! God is giving to us a marvelous inheritance - hope and grace, peace and joy.
On our lips are cries of gratitude, in our hearts is the trust in the One who loves us. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who shelters us be with you!

And also with you!
People of God’s inheritance, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts filled with hope are offered to our God.
Those whom God has brought to this place, offer your gratitude to God.
With glad songs, we celebrate the bounty of this Table God provides for us.

Full of the Holy Spirit,
you spoke, God our strength,
and with signs of light and water,
with the wonders of earth blossoming,
     you gave the first fruits of creation
     to our ancestors long ago.
But refusing to dwell in the shadows
of your love and grace,
     we stumbled after sin, trampling underfoot
     your dreams and hopes for us.
You sent psalmists and prophets,
your word on their lips and in their hearts
to call us back to you,
     but we chose to live by sin alone.

You sent your Child to us,
so we might celebrate the bounty
of your love and salvation.

As we gather in this place given to us,
as we draw near to your Table prepared for us,
we join our voices with all our ancestors
in faith from every time and place:

Holy, holy, holy, God of signs and wonders.
All creation flows with your love and joy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to share your inheritance.
Hosanna in the Highest!

Holy are you, God our Refuge and Hope,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Sign and Wonder of your love.
Led by the Holy Spirit,
he came to the wilderness of our lives
     so we might be brought to
     your kingdom of peace and joy.
Hearing our cries of loneliness,
he came to bring us
     our inheritance of life with you.
Seeing how harshly sin and death
treated us, he opened his scarred hands
     to show us our salvation.

As we follow him to Jerusalem,
as we come to the Table he has prepared,
we proclaim that mystery of faith:

Christ died, salvation for all.
Christ is risen, generous to all.
Christ will come again, Lord of all.

Pour out your Holy Spirit
upon those who have gathered in this place
and upon the bread and the cup
which you are giving to us.
In the broken bread, may we find
that word of faith

     we can proclaim with our lips.
In the cup of grace poured for us,
may we find that life of faith
     we can proclaim with our actions.
And filled with the Holy Spirit,
may we be led into the world,
     to be a refuge for the searching,
     to be hope for the despairing,
     to be with those in trouble,
      to be a friend to the lonely.

And when these days are over
and we are gathered in that
inheritance you are giving to us,
we will join with our sisters and brothers
in proclaiming with our lips and our hearts
that you are indeed, forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

* Feel free to substitute your denomination for 'Presbyterian'

(c) Thom M. Shuman