Saturday, February 06, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for February 14, 2016 (First Sunday in Lent - C)

Texts: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13
 
Call to Worship
Jesus began his ministry to the world,
led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
As we begin our Lenten journey,
let us be led by the Spirit,
even into the uncomfortable places.
In those forty days, and in that place,
Jesus was faced with hunger, doubt, and temptation.
As we seek to follow Jesus, we would be led,
even into the uncomfortable choices.
Jesus left the wilderness, faithful and obedient to God,
rejoicing in the One in whom he trusted.
As we continue on our path to faithfulness,
we will be led by our Christ,
rejoicing in the Lord our God.
 
Prayer of the Day
Hope is the inheritance
you gift to us, God our trust,
so we might discover that
when we are tempted
we may call out to you for help;
that even when we stumble
during our journey,
we are carried in your hands.
 
Grace is the inheritance
you share with us, Brother of strangers,
not that we might hoard it
for ourselves and loved ones only,
but we would be willing
to be generous to all we meet,
making no distinction when
it comes to our sisters and brothers.
 
Peace is the inheritance
we receive from you, Spirit of salvation,
not that we might settle in
and claim it only for a special few,
but that we might turn it
into that place of refuge for all,
where mercy and hope flow
into each person’s life.
 
All that we have is an inheritance from you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
blessings to be shared with all,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer) 
 
Call to Reconciliation
God makes no distinction between us.  We are all sinners, we are all children of God, we are all precious to God, and we are all saved by God.  Because God is so impartial, let us confess our common humanity to the One who is generous to all.
 
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We meet you here, God of faithfulness, our hands and lives full of all our foolish ways.  Your people, we treat the strangers who walk among us with fear and doubt.  We afflict our anger on those who care about us the most.  We impose hard words on those who need to hear hope and grace in their lives.
   So now we bring our hearts to you, Generous God, setting them down before you in hopes that you will mend them.  As you hear our faltering words, we pray you would answer us with your forgiving love.  And as you forgive us, may we go forth to be generous with our lives towards others, even as the one who is Lord of all, Jesus Christ, has been so generous to us.
  
Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
As you have confessed, do you so believe?  The good news is that there is nothing we do that can conquer us, for we are sheltered in God’s gracious mercy and hope.
This is the truth we believe.  The Word is in our hearts, and on our lips, as we give thanks to God who is our shelter and our live.  Amen.
 
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
From a laptop and a daycare center, from retirement and teaching, from construction work and nursing, from all the places where we derive a living, we offer you our gifts, God of grace, so they might become part of all the fruits of hope and of healing, of peace and patience, which you give to others throughout the world.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of wilderness hopes be with you.
And also with you.
Let us bring our hearts to God. 
We offer them to God who fills them with life.
With songs on our lips and in our hearts, let us praise God.
We sing of what we believe, offering thanksgivings from our hearts.
 
From the deep wilderness of chaos,
you brought forth the refuge of your heart,
God our God, creating
   mountains that shade the valleys below,
   rich grain and vegetables to feed the hungry,
   rivers and lakes filled with the water of life.
This creation was entrusted to those
shaped in your image, the first fruits of your love,
   but we chose to follow temptation
   into that wilderness we call death.
Seeking to be generous to all,
you continued to send prophets to us,
women and men who carried your words
to us in their hands and their hearts,
   yet we continued to serve the empty
   promises of sin and fear.
So you sent the Word near to us
in Jesus, the One who came to reveal
your salvation to us.
 
With old-timers as well as newcomers,
with insiders and those who have stood outside
we offer our songs of praise to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, Giver of all goodness.
Creation’s heart overflows with joyous praise to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who is full of the Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Holy are you, God of mercy and hope,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Lord of all.
When he could have feasted on glory,
   he came to feed all who hungered
   for hope and for life.
When he could have strode the halls of power,
   he chose to walk the wilderness,
   picking up all who stumble along the way.
When he could have chosen the easy way,
letting the angels carry the burden,
   he confronted death face to face,
   being flung into its wasteland,
   where you brought him forth into new life.
 
As we seek to believe in our hearts all he did and taught,
as we try to confess his death and resurrection,
we proclaim the word of faith that is so mysterious:
 
Christ died, trusting in your continued presence;
Christ was raised, the first fruits of resurrection;
Christ will come making no distinction, but welcoming
   all into that kingdom overflowing with mercy and hope.
 
Led by you, we come to this Table,
where the first fruits of redemption,
the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
are filled with the gifts of your Spirit
and offered to all who gather before you.
As we are fed by the bread,
may we become as generous as you,
making no distinction as to who we will serve.
As the cup nourishes us with your life,
may we be poured out for others,
   feeding those who are hungry,
   joining the voices of the powerless,
   offering our lives in grace and hope to all.
 
And when we gather at last where you dwell,
we will celebrate the great feast
of the first fruits of your love and grace,
joining our sisters and brothers in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
Now let us go from this place of haven
God has given to us.
Led by the Spirit, we will go to be with those
who are filled with fears, with hopes.
Now let us go from the refuge of the Table
where we have tasted the first fruits of grace.
Led by the Spirit, we will go to feed
those who hunger for companionship and life.
Now let us go into the world, living out God’s reality
that there is no distinction between people.
Led by the Spirit, let us go to serve
our sisters and brothers who are our true family.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman