For God's love is ever constant in our lives.
On this day, we would talk of all that is ours.
Grace upon grace has been poured into our lives.
On this day, we would speak of what we believe.
We will sing glad songs for all that God has done.
Prayer of the Day
When we are too weary
to take another step
on the road to the kingdom;
when our hearts are worn down
by the pain always rubbing
against our lives;
when we are wasting away
because of fears and worries,
you come, Soul Strengthener,
stretching out your hand
to hold us in your love.
When everyone else has turned
their backs on us and walked away;
when we cry out in the night
only to find the world has
turned a deaf ear to us;
when folks think we are crazy
because we believe that
good can overcome evil,
love can conquer hate,
hope can replace despair,
you do not forsake us,
but stay at our side,
Brother to all people.
when we wonder if we
are able to see your kingdom
emerging all around us;
when others seem to want
only the worst for us,
you pull us out of harm's way,
Spirit of faith and hope.
Grace upon grace are the gifts
we have received from you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we give you our thanks
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Everybody else does it, Watching God, and we confess that we do as well. We listen to those whose promises are sold to the highest bidder. We idolize celebrities as if they were teachers of ethics. We long for that one person who will make everything right, once again, once and for all.
Is it any wonder we are a disappointed people, God of Hope? Forgive us for turning our backs on you, even as you continue to stretch out your arms to us. Forgive us for trusting in those who prove to be false, rather than having faith in your love. Forgive us, and fill us with the spirit of faith which is given to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
Glory to you, God of mercy and grace. You want only the best for us, and so we sing praises to you. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We believe, and so we will speak. We speak, and so we will live. We will live, and so we will be generous, because we know that, by your grace, these gifts we offer will extend hope, peace, and life to more and more people. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
And also with you!
Sisters and brothers of Christ, lift your hearts to God.
We open ourselves to the One who fills us with grace.
Beloved of the Lord, sing glad praises to God.
Songs of wonder are offered to our God.
with your imaginative Word, your Spirit of faith
moving, transforming, shaping, creating.
What had not been seen before sprang forth:
suns and moons spinning in the galaxies,
rivers racing one another to the seas,
gentle grains whispering in the breeze.
This garden of wonders and hopes
were shared with those you created in your image,
but we wanted to do things our way
and forsook you for the temptations
offered to us by sin and death.
You would not forsake us
and sent the prophets to us
with words of hope and grace,
but we rejected their words
as having no meaning for us.
Your love was steadfast
and your faith for us did not diminish
as you sent Jesus to call us
back to your heart.
with all of every time and place,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to strengthen our souls.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God of hope and forgiveness,
and Jesus Christ is your love made human.
He could have come to divide us,
but came that we might be one with you
and with our sisters and brothers.
He could have come to judge us,
but came to pull us out of harm's way.
He could have come to defy us,
but came to reject Death and sin's claim on us,
defeating their power once and for all.
As we remember how we have turned our backs on him,
as we hear his invitation to this Table of grace,
we speak of that faith in which we believe:
Christ will come, showing us your glory.
You surround us with your care,
stretching out your hand upon
those gathered in this place,
your Spirit transforming ordinary gifts
into sacred grace and hope.
We taste the bread and drink from the cup,
and notice what we have not seen:
the hunger of the world,
the loneliness of those around us,
the child with no hope,
and we do not lose heart,
trusting that you will use us
to serve these needs around us
so that grace upon grace
might be shared with our sisters and brothers.
And when you stretch out your hands to lead us home,
and we are gathered around the Feast of the Lamb
which we can only glimpse in this moment,
we will sing of your steadfast love and faithfulness
forever and ever, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
On this day, let us leave with thanksgiving in our hearts,
going to share God's love with everyone we meet.
On this day, let us go to speak of what Jesus has done,
pouring grace upon grace into all the lives around us.
On this day, let us go to share what we believe,
singing glad songs of the Spirit to our silenced world.
(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman