Sunday, March 30, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for April 6, 2014 (Lent 5 - A)

Texts:  Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8-11; John 11:1-45

Litany for Lent
L:  In the buds on the trees eager to burst;
     in the flowers poking their heads out of the dirt;
     in the children chalking spring on the sidewalks:
P:  we see how you love us,
     God of steadfast love.
L:  In the tears of a worried father over his son's illness;
     in the weariness of a mother facing a long shift at work;
     in the woman who anoints her grandbaby with talcum powder:
P:  we see how you love us,
     our Resurrection and our Life.
L:  In the touch of a wife on her husband's papery skin;
     in the birds which rush into the sky before spiraling down;
    in the words we are given to offer to the empty-hearted:
P:  we see how you love us,
     Breath of our souls.
                                      Silence is kept
L:  Creator of life:
P:  bring us light, we pray.
L:  Mourner of the dead:
P:  take away our grief, we pray.
L:  Refresher of dry lives:
P:  bind us to God forever, we pray, as we say together,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If it is true that God has recorded our failings, we hope it
will never be published.  But in truth, if the book was
opened, every page would be blank, for God forgives us
of everything we have done, or failed to do.  So, let us
wait for God's mercy and grace, as we come with our
prayers for forgiveness, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are set free by your saving grace, Generous God,
yet we must confess how we are still bound by our pride
and arrogance.  We seem unable to throw of the grave
clothes of our habitual sin.  We cling to our fears, for they
are so familiar and comfortable.
     Yet, there in every corner of our lives, in every shadow
we fear, into the cold embrace of death itself, you come,
Steadfast Love.  You break the bonds of sin and death, calling
us to new life through the love and sacrifice of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  You can put your hope in God, dear friends, for God offers
us that love which never fades, that life which never ends.
P:  We wait for God, and God does not fail us.  God's hope,
God's love, and God's grace are forever.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of tears be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Offer your hearts to the One who calls us out of death into life.
P:  Unbound, we bring our hearts to our God of new mornings.
L:  People of God, sing songs to the One in whom we hope.
P:  We rejoice in God, who dwells in our souls.

In that first moment, God of wonder,
you cried out, 'Unbind creation and let her go!'
      and flowers grew in the cracks of chaos,
     blustery winds played talk through the forests,
     lambs leapfrogged one another in the meadows.
Your hand came upon the dry dust of earth,
and your Spirit breathed life into us.
You longed for us to be with you,
     but we allowed sin and death
     to lead us around by the nose.
You called to women and men,
'Prophesy!' urging them to call us back.
     but we did not believe their words.
So you sent a certain man named Jesus,
to cause new life to come upon us.

With those who have stood beside graves,
and those who wait for signs of hope,
we sing our praises to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of our shadowed valleys.
     All creation hopes in you and waits.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who calls us to new life.
     Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, Caresser of our souls,
and Jesus is our Child, our Friend.
Seeing that those he loved were sick,
     he brought us healing.
Finding us wandering in despair,
     he showed us that our hope
     need never turn to dust.
Believing that you loved him,
     he went to the cross, for us.
And when he was in death's cold arms,
you stood at the door of the tomb,
crying out, 'unbind him, and let him go!'
and our Resurrection and our Life
came forth for us.

Believing that he is the One who calls us to new life,
trusting that, by his tears, he takes away our pain,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

P:  Christ died, taking away the sins of the world;
     Christ rose, taking away the power of sin and death;
     Christ will return, taking us by the hand to lead us home.

In the bread and the cup,
you give life to us,
as the Spirit comes to dwell
in every room of our souls.
You bless the bread, breaking it,
so it might heal and strengthen us
so we can say
     to the barren, 'here is your life;'
     to the despairing, 'here is your hope!'
As the grace-filled cup nourishes us
we would go into the world
     to visit those who are sick,
     to wait with the expectant,
     to share tears with the broken.

And when you call of us to your side,
we will join Lazarus, Mary, Martha,
and all our sisters and brothers
in forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Now go forth with God's hope!
P:  We have put flesh on our faith
     and will go to serve others.
L:  Now go forth to fill others with Christ's Light!
P:  We will go to call others to new life,
     wiping away their tears.
L:  Now go forth with the steadfast love of the Spirit!
P:  We will go to share that hope
     for which all people long.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman