Saturday, February 20, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for February 28, 2016 (Lent 3 - C)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8; I Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9
 
Call to Worship
We come, because we seek our God.
Every morning, every day, every evening,
every moment, God is with us.
We come, because we hunger for Christ.
Jesus will feed us with hope,
will replace our emptiness with grace.
We come, because we thirst for the Spirit.
Who fills our yearning for peace,
who ends the drought of justice.
 
Prayer of the Day
God of steadfast love,
Imagination of the ages:
you offer to all that world where
   all thirst is quenched,
   all the hungry are fed,
   all strangers become family.
 
Jesus, friend of the poor,
Brainstormer of the kingdom:
you dare to envision that world
where we do not waste a single person,
   but offer hope to those in despair,
   bring light into every shadow,
   embrace the lonely and broken.
 
Spirit of discernment,
Artist of our lives;
you inspire us not to toss aside
any of the gifts of God, but
   to offer peace to angry hearts,
   to share joy with mourners,
   to welcome those whose ways are not ours.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to nurture us with steadfast grace,
even as we pray, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
Do you think that because you have spoken hurtfully, or failed to help, or left God behind as you travel through each day, that God forgets you?  God’s love is as constant as the sun; God’s forgiveness is as sure as the stars in the night sky.  Let us join together, as we pray, saying,
 
Responsive Prayer for Forgiveness
The thirsty come,
   and we offer lead-filled water;
the hungry come,
   and we offer a single can from
   our overflowing pantries;
the lonely come,
   and we cling to our cliques;
the broken come,
   and we hand them an aspirin;
the needy come,
   but we have wasted everything
   on stuff we do not need.
 
Have mercy on us, Steadfast love, and pour your heart into our grace-parched souls.  As you have been with us in every moment, may we go to be with all around us.  May we listen to the needs and hearts of others, even as you lean down to listen to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.
 
Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
In every moment, God seeks what is best for us, continually offering us peace, hope, and forgiveness.
We will bless God in every moment, rejoicing with the One who fills us with steadfast love.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven.  Amen.
 
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Having been blessed by you, Loving God, we will not waste our gifts but offer them back to you, so the parched throats might be soothed by your grace, the hungry feed on your bounty, and the stranger welcomed as family who have been away for too long.  This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the Table be with you.
And also with you.
Seek God with all your hearts.
We bring them to the One who fills them with life.
Join all creation in praising our God.
We lift glad songs to the One whose love is constant.
 
At the very time there was nothing,
you let your imagination roam free
through chaos, Steadfast Love,
   pouring water into oceans and lakes,
   planting crops in fields of rich soil,
   letting galaxies whirl through space,
as creation’s goodness sprang from your heart.
You shaped us in your gracious image,
so we might cling to you, heart and soul,
   but we chose to waste our lives
   purchasing worthless gifts from sin.
Prophets appeared, calling to the thirsty,
the hungry, the lost to come to you,
   but we could not forsake the foolishness
   which fed us on its empty calories.
So you chose to send your Child,
your desire for our return so great
you could almost faint.
 
With the hungry and the thirsty,
with those who seek you in every moment,
we sing our joy to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of constant compassion.
All creation hungers and thirsts for you.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who watches over us.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
You have been, are, and will be our help,
God with a holy heart filled with love,
and we know this because we are blessed
by Jesus, who was sent because
we refused to come back to you
despite repeated invitations.
When he saw our parched souls,
   he handed us cups filled to the brim
   with the waters of your life.
When he heard our empty hearts
rumbling with hunger,
   he fed us on your hope,
   spread thick with your sweet grace.
When sin and death chose
to put you to the test,
   he went to the grave,
   erasing all their questions,
and offered your new answer
known as the resurrection.
 
As we prepare to receive the spiritual food and drink,
provided by your never-ending love,
we sing of that faith which fills us:
 
Christ died, his love for you constant to the end;
Christ was raised, your love for him
   revealed in the empty grave;
Christ will return, gathering us up in your eternal love.
 
We hunger, not just for spiritual food,
   but for that hope which strengthens us as your people.
We thirst, not just for spiritual refreshment,
   but for that grace which fills us
   so we can overflow in service.  
So pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup
and on your children gathered here.
We would not waste your gifts
of grace and hope,
   but share them with those
   who hunger for them in their lives.
We would not hoard your gifts
of peace and justice,
   but use them to lift up
   all tossed aside by the world.
 
And when we no longer have to seek you,
but are found with our sisters and brothers
gathered around the Lamb’s Feast,
we will praise you with joyful lips,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
God sends us out to empty our gifts for others.
Letting us charge whatever we need to grace’s account.
Jesus sends us out to find those who are thirsty and hungry.
Giving us the water for parched children,
filling our arms with bags of groceries for the hungry.
The Spirit sends us out to search for those who long for community.
Taking us by the hand when we grow weary,
so we might continue to welcome the stranger.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman