Sunday, March 02, 2014

Liturgy for March 9, 2014 (Lent 1-A)

Texts:  Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7; Psalm 32; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Litany for Lent
L:  Jesus of the temptations,
     you enter the wilderness
     of our hungers,
     our lust for power,
     our eagerness to test God:
P:     be with us on our
        journey to Jerusalem, we pray.
L:  Jesus of hopes,
     you set aside your glory,
     choosing to cradle us
     in your scarred hands:
P:     hold us in your
        tender embrace, we pray.
L:  Jesus of the Feast,
     you are broken
     so we might be healed,
     you pour our your self
     so we might be drenched
     in your grace:
P:    feed us from the simple
       gifts of creation, we pray.

Silence is kept

L:  Lamb of God:
P:     have mercy.
L:  Servant to the poor:
P:     have mercy on us.
L:  Free gift of our righteousness:
P:     have mercy on us,
        even as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are easily seduced by the temptations all
around us.  But if we are willing to trust God
and offer our confessions, God is quick to forgive
us and fill us with hope.  Join me, as we pray
together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Led by the crafter of lies, Lord God, we
wander into the wasteland of wrong-doing.
We hunger for more and more, and feel
emptier and emptier.  We seek power, especially
over others, only to do harm.  By our choices, we
worship the false gods of success, wealth, and
spectacle.

Have mercy on us, God of love, and forgive us
for the power we give to temptation in our lives.
Help us to become as vulnerable as Jesus, for in
that vulnerability, we find the humility to trust
you in all things; in that trust, we discover the
grace which sets us free from the grasp of the
shrewd one; in that freedom, we can leave our
badlands behind, in order to follow Jesus in this
life, and into the next.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Be glad and rejoice! Give thanks with shouts
of joy!  Grace abounds for everyone.
P:  With glad cries of deliverance, we offer our
thanks to God who loves us and forgives us.
Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of discipleship be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Let us begin our Lenten journey with open hearts.
P:  We offer them to the One who walks with us.
L:  Let our voices resound with thanksgiving to
     the One who shows us faithful care.
P:  We rejoice in our God of hope and love.

You held nothing back,
Gardener of grace,
as the Spirit led creation
into the hinterlands of nothingness:
     spreading rich soil in the valleys,
     planting seedlings and flower bulbs,
     making mountains from river clay,
     sprinkling water over everything.
Mornings came in Eden's beauty,
all that wonder and goodness
given for your children,
     but we listened to evil's whispers,
     believing those lies so easily told.
Like a crew launching in boat
to rescue those who are adrift,
prophets came, counseling us
to let go of our stubbornness
and return to your side,
     but with our eyes wide open,
     we followed that path which
     took us away from the middle of the garden.
So you sent Jesus to us,
that free gift of grace for all.

With the faithful who have gone before us,
with companions through this journey today,
we offer glad songs of deliverance:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
     Creation sings your praises as on that first morning.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who brings grace to us.
     Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, Hope of our lives,
and Jesus Christ is your blessed righteousness.
When we got what we wanted
in knowing both good and evil,
     he came, so we might receive
     what we need most - your grace.
When we left the garden
to enter the deserts of temptation,
     he came , to show us
     the path back to your heart.
When we had given control
of our lives to sin and death,
     he came, to break their hold on us
     as he was resurrected from the grave.

As we begin to follow him to Jerusalem,
as we would choose to embrace his suffering,
we speak of that free gift called faith:

P:  Christ died, going into the wilderness of the grave;
     Christ rose, shattering the grip of sin and death;
     Christ will come, so we might follow him
          to the New Jerusalem.

You hold nothing back from us
as the Spirit comes to rest
on the gifts of the bread and the cup,
so that those gathered might be fed.
Like your heart, the bread is broken,
so we might be made whole and,
     by our healing, go forth
     to bring hope to those around us.
Like your Child, the cup is poured out,
so we might be filled with your grace, and
     go out into the world
     to empty ourselves for others.

And when our journeys in and out
of the wildernesses of the world are ended,
you will gather us around the
great Feast of the Lamb,
where we will sing glad songs of joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  May God lead us to all who are afraid.
P:  We will follow God into the barren
      spots of our world.
L:  May Jesus lead us to all who look
     for a friend, a companion in this life.
P:  We will follow Jesus into all the
     places where the lonely live.
L:  May the Spirit lead us to all
     who are tossed aside by the world.
P:  We will follow the Spirit to the
      neighborhoods filled with injustice,
      to bring hope.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman