Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fifth Sunday in Lent - C

Texts: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126: Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8

Call to Worship
L: Whatever God did in the past, the future is that much better!
(even in Jerusalem)
P: We will not stop looking for the newness God has for us!
L: Whatever we have achieved to this point,
we have not completed our journey.
(even into the unknown).
P: We will quicken our pace to follow Jesus wherever he leads.
L: Whatever obstacles we put in the path,
God will make a way to our hearts.
(even in the desert of death)
P: We will move onward, through our doubts and fears.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God, Water Tamer:
you humble our pride,
so we might open
our hearts
to your healing;
you restrain our fears,
so we might reach
for your joy.

Jesus Christ, Living Water:
you gather up our tears
and wash away
the dust of our despair;
you sit at our feet
and anoint us
with your costly love;
you wipe away our sin
and make us new.

Holy Spirit, Impudent Joy:
you grace us
with gifts so abundant
they become a river
bursting its banks
in our lives.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers and our joy to you,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us:
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Even now, God makes a way for us to be made whole. God wants to bring us out
of despair and to fill our hearts with laughter. Please join me as we pray
to the One who forgets our past to offer us a new future,

Unison Prayer of Confession
    God, whose name is Grace: you are always in the business of surprising us
with new lives, new dreams, new hopes. But we are so busy opening up the
boxes where we have stored the past, making sure that each item remains safe
and unbroken, that we do not recognize what you are doing. We are so blinded
by the dull reflection of our old habits, that we cannot see the fresh
chances which are given so freely to us. Our senses are so deadened by our
desires that we cannot smell the bouquet of joy that is in the air.
    Forgive us, God of Joy. By your mercy, mend our broken lives. You move
through us, rearranging the price tags on everything we value, so we might
be able to let go of all that holds us back from faithful living. Then we
can press on in following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into that
kingdom of hope and wonder.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: God comes to us to give living water to thirsty people;
God comes to us to anoint us with the grace that wipes away our sin;
God comes to fill us with joy.
P: Our tears are turned into rivers of grace; our weeping becomes glad
cries of praise. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: May the God who restores us be with you!
P: And also with you!
L: Our God desires to fill us with grace and wonder.
P: We lift our hearts to the One who longs for us
L: From brokenness, God would make us well.
P: We sing glad songs to the One who touches us with hope.

You made a way through chaos,
God of newness,
riding the rapids through mountain gorges,
giving water to the deserts
so life might spring forth.
You formed us for yourself,
so we might live with you
in the wonders of creation.
But our tongues tingled at
that first taste of sin and
as death filled our dreams
with promises that would not be kept,
we made our way
into the middle of nowhere.
You would not cling to
our former ways, but
sent the prophets to tell us
of all the new things you
wanted to do for us,
but we did not care for such words.
Then you sent Jesus to us
to restore us back to life.

So, forgetting what lies in the past,
we join our sisters and brothers
in reaching out towards you
with glad songs on our lips:

P: Holy, holy, holy, God who fills us with joy.
All creation joins in honoring you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blesses is the One who is always with us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Forgetting what lay behind in glory,
Jesus pressed on in coming to us
to make us his own sisters and brothers.
Find us wandering the back of beyond,
he took us by the hand
to make a way home to you;
sowing the tears of your heart
in the barrenness of our souls,
he brought forth a harvest of hope;
he went to the cross,
suffering the loss of all he held dear,
that we might gain life with you.

As we remember the new spirit he brought,
as we celebrate our heavenly call in him,
we proclaim the mystery we call faith:

P: Christ died, that we might gain life;
Christ is risen, that life might spring forth in us;
Christ will come again, carrying our hopes to us.

Pour out your Spirit, Holy God,
on these simple gifts of the Table
and on all who gather in your presence.
As we eat of the bread,
you refresh us with life
so we might go to serve,
our hands and hearts
overflowing with hope to others.
As we lift the cup to our lips,
we are overwhelmed with
the aroma of servanthood,
and as we taste your dreams
mingling with your tears,
our tongues tingle with grace,
and we go out with shouts of joy
gathering up all your people
to bring them home to you.

And when all time has ceased,
when our tears have turned
and our laments to loud cries of joy,
we will sing our songs of wonder to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman