Come, let us give thanks to God!
We gather together to praise the One who strengthens the weak,
and hears the prayers of the forgotten.
Come, let us give thanks to Christ!
We gather together to sing of the One who calls us to serve those
who are hungry and alone at this time of year.
Come, let us give thanks to the Spirit!
We gather together to exalt the One who provokes us to love
not only our family and friends, but the guest among us.
to give them the best rooms in your house;
you pull the broken
from the dust of the world,
brushing them off and clothing them with joy;
you exalt those we have pushed aside,
and let them say grace at the feast in heaven.
You are our God, and we worship you.
you guard our feet so we can walk
as faithful people;
when we think we need to pay attention
to all the gossip around us,
you give us a double portion
of good news, so we will not fear.
You are the Christ, and we will listen to you.
When no one else will listen to us,
we can pour out our soul to you;
when no one notices us,
you see our misery, and fill us with joy;
when everyone else forgets who we are,
you remember us and call us by name.
You are our Spirit of Love, and we welcome you into our hearts.
God in Community, Holy in One, we raise our prayers to you,
even as we speak the words of Jesus,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Longing for the touch of God, we cry out; humbled by the awareness of our human nature and brokenness, we bring our prayers of confession to God, praying together,
Forgive us, Rock of Redemption. Cleanse our hearts, so we might be more loving; keep us on the path of faithfulness, so we might find those whom we are called to serve; give us your words, so we might confess your hope offered to all who are broken, who are lost, who cry out to you. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God gives us hope, God gives us peace, God gives us joy so we may share these gifts with everyone we meet.
Thanks be to God, who has forgiven us and provoked us to love others and to serve all who are around us. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We who are full can now give bread to others. We who are well-off can reach out to raise up the poor. We who have everything can offer a seat of honor to those who have nothing. We who are blessed by you, Exalted God, can be blessings to others. And so we pray that the gifts we have may give hope to the despairing, give strength to the weak, and justice to the oppressed. Amen.
And also with you.
Hold fast to the confession of our hope, God's people!
Our hearts will not waver in testifying to God's grace.
Encourage one another to go forth to serve the world.
With glad songs, and lives of service, we will proclaim our God.
God of wonder and power:
by a single word spoken into
the silent emptiness of chaos
creation burst forth early in the morning.
Day after day, your imagination
crafted beauty beyond compare,
meadows sprinkled clean with joy's water,
the sun appearing through dawn's curtains.
You offered humanity a home for all time,
but we hired ourselves out to sin,
becoming bloated on the bread of death.
Through the prophets, you offered
again and again to take us back but,
year after year, we continued to provoke
you with our rebellious nature.
You sent Jesus to us, so your hope
might be written upon our heats,
so we might be redeemed
by your singular Word of love.
with Penninah and her forgotten children,
singing your grace forever and ever:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who listens to prayers.
All heaven and earth reveals your creativity.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to give himself for us.
Hosanna in the highest!
He sat beside the doorpost of glory,
seeing the acid tears of our despair
etch our faces with deep canyons,
listening while our lips struggled
to form our cries for help and hope.
Though he found favor in your sight,
he became one of us,
knowing our misery,
befriending our loneliness,
cradling our despair in his heart.
By the single act of going to the cross,
and giving himself to the grave,
he destroyed the power of sin and death,
that we might live with you
for all time beyond time.
As we celebrate the faithful life of our Brother,
as we remember the redemptive death of our Savior,
we would laud that mystery we call faith:
By Christ's death, we are made whole;
by Christ's resurrection, we are made alive;
by Christ's return, we will inherit a seat at the Lamb's Feast.
upon the simple gifts of redemption,
writing the names of your children
on the place cards which seat them
next to the Groom at the Wedding Banquet.
As we brush the crumbs
of the Bread of life from our lips,
may we reach out to brush
the ashes of despair off
the hopeless around us.
As we lift the cup of hope
to our lips and drink deeply,
may we be as eager to lift
the poor from poverty's dusty floor,
offering them your living waters.
And when our lives are perfected in glory,
when we are gathered for all time
with our sisters and brothers from every time,
our hearts will celebrate your love and hope for us,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
Go forth now as God's people.
We will go to offer joy to those in misery,
to remember all who have been forgotten.
Go forth now as sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will go to offer the best rooms of our hearts to the lonely,
to pick up all those we have knocked down.
Go forth now as hearts of the Spirit.
We will go to share a double portion of grace with the empty,
to invite others to walk the paths of faith with us.
(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman