Sunday, March 16, 2014

Liturgy for March 23, 2014 (Lent 3-A)

Texts:  Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Call to Worship
L:    Come and see the ambassador
        of God's friendship for us.
P:    We will find Jesus waiting to meet us:
        in classrooms, at a shopping center,
        in all the common places and moments.
L:    Come and hear the One who speaks
        of God's joy in us.
P:    We will listen to Jesus,
        whose words of grace and peace
        raise the rafters of our hope.
L:    Come and know how much
        God loves you.
P:    We will discover Jesus,
        who offers us the gift
        of reconciliation.

Prayer of the Day
When we were determined
to remain at war with you,
you sent the Prince of Peace.
When our relationship with you
was laying in pieces on the floor,
you offered the broken Bread
to restore us to wholeness.
When petty pride
stiffens our necks so much
we cannot bow down
in your holy presence,
you massage our souls
with grace's tender touch.
We worship you in joy,
God, our God.

When our ears become stuffed
with our selves,
you open them with songs
of grateful praise.
When our mouths overflow
with rich, sweet whine,
you wash them out
with living waters of hope.
When all we can say
is 'Give me! Give me!'
you challenge us
to submit to servanthood.
We worship you in sprit,
Jesus, Water Giver.

When our souls are empty,
you fill them with living water.
When we are reluctant
to follow Jesus,
you steer us in the right direction.
When we are tempted to boast,
your whispers of grace silence us.
We worship you in truth,
Comforter of our hearts.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our joy, our truth, our spirit,
we worship you, as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Walking the dog, reading a bedtime
story, recycling newspapers - in every
moment, in every place, God is there.
Let us confess how often we do not
see God in our lives, especially in
how we live them.

Unison Prayer of Confession
   God of eternity, you know how often we
travel down the rocky roads of doubt and
fear.  We pester others with our worries;
we hurl bitter words at those we love.
We have chances to offer ourselves in
service, but only give our contempt to
those in need.  We could share the living
waters with the world, but want to store
it in jars for safe-keeping.
   Fountain of Grace, you turn towards us,
to meet us wherever we are.  You break
open our rock-hard sin, so we might be
made whole.  In Jesus Christ, our Lord
and Savior, our thirst for hope and joy
is quenched.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    God does not disappoint us.  Our sins
        are forgiven, our lives are made whole,
        we are sent forth to serve.
P:    In Jesus Christ, living water breaks through
        the roof of our hearts, in such abundance
        that we don't have enough buckets to
        hold it all.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  The God of wilderness and wells be with you!
P:  And also with you!
L:  Lift your hearts to the One who comes bringing life.
P:  We offer them to our God of hope.
L:  Make a joyful noise to Salvation's Rock.
P:  We will sing songs of praise each day.

With the Spirit,
you struck stony chaos,
and creation gushed forth,
to fill the hollows of heavens,
to seed the mountains
you cradled in your wisdom.
You longed to sit by Eden's well,
telling us stories of the world
you were shaping for us.
But we tested you
with our quarreling ways.
Hearing the boasts of sin and death,
we bowed down and
worshiped at their altars.
Prophets came to lead us
through despair's desert
back home to you,
but our ears were clogged
with temptations seductive songs.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to meet us in our brokenness,
to save us by your grace.
Therefore, we join our voices
with saints and sinners,
with testers and pesterers,
who forever sing your praises:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Rock.
     All creation sings glad songs to you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who comes to ease our thirst
              for salvation.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Grace-giving God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
the Fountain of our hope.
When we were too weak to resist,
Christ came to take on sin and death.
When we are unfaithful,
Christ shows us your constant love.
When our fears and failures
stain our souls,
Christ cleanses us.
When our hopes for life had faded,
Christ died that we might live forever.

As we remember his gentle touch,
as we recall his words of hope and grace,
we speak of that mystery called faith:

P:  Christ died, pouring himself out for us;
     Christ rose, pouring God's love into us;
     Christ will come, pouring hope into us.

Pour out your Spirit
upon your children
gathered in this place,
and on the gifts
of the Bread and the Cup.
May they be the grace
which nourishes and sustains us.
As we come to reconciliation's table,
may our broken relationships
be made whole again.
As we see you in these gifts,
may we go and proclaim the good news.
As we open our hearts
to your never-ending love,
may we offer our selves
to everyone we meet.

And when all time is ended.
when hunger and thirst is no more
as we are fed at the Lamb's feast,
we will join our hands and hearts,
bowing down to worship you forever:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman