Call to Worship
In sacred times of word, wonder, and awe,
in ordinary days of work and play:
in every moment, God is with us.
Whether we are stuck in doubt's mud,
or standing on faith's shoreline:
in every place, God is with us.
In those who teach us
and those who trouble us;
in those who surprise us,
and those who forgive us:
in every person, God is with us.
Prayer of the Day
When we look over our shoulders
at fear shadowing us today,
you go before us into tomorrow,
making a path through
the sea of yesterday's doubts.
When our legs tremble
from the effort of standing up
for what you hope for all creation,
you are at our side,
offering your heart's strength.
Cloud of Grace,
we offer our love to you.
When we turn our hearts
into deserts of stony bitterness,
you transform them
into oases of joy.
When we come up
with all sorts of rules
for those who come to us
seeking to find you,
you tear up the list,
stretching wide your arms
in welcoming grace.
Servant of all,
we offer our lives to you.
When we would clasp
old worries to our hearts,
you open our eyes to that hope
which paves the path ahead of us.
When we spend each day
consumed with doubts and fears,
you remind us that this day
is the time to honor God,
by serving God's children.
Mist of Mercy,
we offer our hearts to you.
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you are all to us,
so we would offer all we are to you,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us,
(the Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
As we stand before God, we think of all the ways we bicker with others, all those times we have not shown mercy and grace to those around us. Let us bow our hearts and confess our sin to God, as we pray together, saying,
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
It is never easy for us to confess
but deep down inside, we know that
we have trouble
being grace-full to others;
we are eager to judge
and punish all who hurt us;
we find ways to put restrictions
on people we fear.
Forgive us, Servant God. You show mercy more often than we deserve; you pardon us more times than we can count. And why? Because we are the Lord's - sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, who died and lived again, so we might live beyond death with you.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
God's hand of mercy is stretched out to us, making a way through all that threatens us, to touch us with grace and hope.
We stand before our God, singing praise to the One who turns our despair into joy, our fears into faith. Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you!
And also with you!
God, our God, leads us through the flood of fears
into the future of wonder and hope.
We open our hearts to the One who journeys
with us, in the past, in the present, into tomorrow.
God goes before us, preparing the Table piled high
with grace and peace.
We sing songs of glad thanksgiving to the One
who fills us with goodness and mercy.
You stretched out your hand,
Cloud of Glory,
parting a way through chaos,
so your goodness might come forth.
You looked, and laughed out loud,
as seas ran forth in joy,
mountains played leapfrog,
and hills hopscotched with valleys.
Creation became a sanctuary
for those created in your image.
But we decided to live for ourselves,
every day becoming one in which
we could turn your dreams to ashes,
your overflowing love into
dust bowls of despair.
Out of pity, you sent the prophets,
those pillars of faithfulness,
but we wrangled with their gentle words.
So, you sent Jesus,
to lead us through evil's deeps,
to that freedom found only
in your kingdom of life.
Therefore, on this day,
when we stand in your grace
around your Table of life,
we join our voices with all
who offer praise to the One who saves:
Living, we serve others in God's name;
serving, we die unto ourselves;
dying, we are given life eternal with God.
Blessed is the One who comes forgiving us more times than we can count.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Cloud of Joy,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Servant.
When we were weak in faith,
he came to strengthen us
with your everlasting hope;
when we were slaves to sin,
he came to lead us into
the promised land of mercy;
when our hearts became like flint,
he softened them with compassion;
when we could only focus on ourselves,
he came to die for us.
As we gather at your Table,
we remember his love for us,
his patience with our failings,
his hope in our willingness to follow,
his trust in that mystery we call faith:
Baptized in Christ, we would live for him;
forgiven through Christ, we would emulate him;
putting on Christ, we wait for his return.
send your Spirit in peace
upon us and these simple gifts
of the bread and of the cup.
As we share the bread,
we share the presence of Christ,
strengthened to go out
with forgiveness in our hearts.
As we pass the cup,
we share Christ's Spirit
with our neighbors,
and are called to welcome all
as our sisters and brothers,
especially those held captive
by the bitterness of the world.
As you gathered your children
to lead them to that promised land,
so you will bring all your children
from the very ends of time itself,
to seat us around your heart,
where we will feast on your grace,
lifting our hearts to praise you forever:
God our Maker,
Christ our Brother,
Spirit our Compassion,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
(c) Thom M. Shuman