We gather in the presence of our God:
where grieving people and children with skinned knees
have their tears wiped away.
We gather as the little children of God:
to worship the One who provides what we need,
not what we want.
We gather around the Table of God:
to taste the goodness of God,
to drink deeply from God's mercy.
Prayer of the Day
Lead us, Creation's Architect,
into all those places
where we will discover your hope
waiting to nourish and restore
our famished souls.
Lead us, Shepherd of little children,
into all those places
where we may have the joy
of filling the emptiness of others
with your goodness.
Lead us, Spirit of Goodness,
into all those places
where deeds of kindness
and hands overflowing with mercy
speak louder than platitudes.
God in Community, Holy in One,
lead us into your kingdom
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Knowing how easy it is to wander from the paths of right living; aware of all the shadowed valleys we wander; remembering how we have failed to place our trust in God - how can we not come to God with our confessions? Please join me as we pray, saying,
Comfort of your people: we confess the emptiness of our souls which sends us searching for all those things which cannot nourish us. Our restless longing for the goods of the world fill us with every lust and envy. Our belief that still waters are stagnant causes us to thirst for whitewater thrills and adventures. Our trust in the hollow promises of our culture turns us away from the shelter you offer to us.
Forgive us, Goodness Incarnate. Call us back from our wayward lives, so we may find rest in the stillness of your gentle heart; we may find healing from your scarred hands; we may find that life for which we yearn, together in you and through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God will walk with us in every moment, God will fill us with goodness and mercy, God will bring us home to live forever.
Anointed with grace and forgiveness, our lives overflow with love for all people. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of green pastures be with you.
And also with you.
Beloved, still your hearts before God.
We open them to the One who fills them with living water.
Children of God, give thanks for the sake of God’s name.
Our praise is continually offered to our Heart, our Shepherd, and our Savior.
into the bitterness of chaos,
you poured pools of living water;
into the cracks of nothingness,
you filtered dirt, seeds, nutrients
so lush pastures of life might emerge;
you carved paths of beauty and wonder
for those who bear your name and image to walk,
but we longed to follow sin and death
all the days of our life, and so turned away from you.
You gave your rod and staff to prophets,
trusting that their words might anoint us with healing,
yet we only found comfort in seduction’s
So, in the presence of these enemies
we did not recognize,
you sent Jesus, to be that grace and hope
which we needed, even if we didn’t want them.
With those assembled in this place and time,
with those whose love is shown in their actions,
we gather as your people,
singing your praise and our thanksgiving:
join all creation in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!
When we would wander the deserts of sin,
he leads us to the green pastures of grace.
When we turn down the wrong road towards foolishness,
he takes our hands to show us the right path.
When we are tossed about by life,
he brings us to the still waters of your gentleness.
Walking through the darkest valley,
he surrendered to the cold embrace of death,
until you brought him out of the grave,
anointing him with the oil of resurrection.
As we would join goodness and mercy in following
the Good Shepherd all the days of our lives,
we celebrate that mystery we call faith:
Christ died, walking through death’s valley;
Christ was raised, the Good Shepherd for us all;
Christ will come, to bring all into the one flock of God.
You have prepared this table for us,
anointing the bread and the cup,
as well as all your people, with the Holy Spirit.
May this bread which is broken
be our healing and strength,
so we walk the shadows of our world,
leading our sisters and brothers
down the paths of healing and hope.
As we are anointed with the cup’s grace,
may we bring comfort to the lonely,
build homes for those who have none,
fill the hungry with nourishing food,
shower them with goodness and mercy.
And when there are no more shadows around us,
when your rod of reconciliation
and your staff of salvation gather us around
the Table prepared for us in eternity,
we will join all from every time and place,
singing your praises with glad voices,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
We will speak up for all people
who long for healing and hope.
Let us go to shepherd Jesus’ sisters and brothers.
We will risk our lives for justice,
we will serve the outcast.
Let us go to anoint others with the Holy Spirit.
We will bring goodness and mercy
to all whose lives need restoring.