Monday, February 15, 2016

Liturgy with communion for February 21, 2016 (Lent 3 - C)

Texts: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35

Call to Worship
Today, God comes to us,
to gather us in worship:
to wait in silence for the Word,
to sit at the Table of grace.
Tomorrow, the Word of God comes,
calling us to go forth to serve:
to bring hope to those who have none,
to love all tossed aside by indifference.
The next day, and the next day,
the Holy Spirit will come:
so we might discover the gift of peace,
and offer it to our broken world.

Prayer of the Day
Today, you are on your way,
Reckoner of the righteous,
gathering your children into your arms
and offering them to us as precious gifts,
   so, through our sisters and brothers,
   we might be blessed.
 
Tomorrow, you are on your way,
Pilgrim of the Passion,
looking back to see if
we will dare to follow you,
   imitating your every act
   of compassion and justice.
 
The next day, you will be on your way,
Spirit with confidence in us,
   transforming our humiliation
      into grace,
   sheltering fear-filled people
      under the wings of your peace.
 
Today, tomorrow, and the next day,
we will seek to be faithful,
God in Community, Holy in one,
even as we pray, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Join me in imitating all who have gone before us, who trusted that if they spoke of their misdeeds and hollow hearts, God would not only hear them, but forgive them.  Let us pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Offered a feast at grace’s table, God of the covenant, we choose to gorge ourselves on the empty calories of greed.  Invited to live in your house, we move into death’s fear-infested boarding house.  Though you promise to be with us, we toss you aside, chasing after those who will abandon us at the first chance.
   But you will not let the foxes of foolishness devour us, Mothering God, but will gather us under the shelter of your love.  You do so in order to give us that peace which heals us, that wonder which surprises us, and that faith which enables us to let go of the present to walk into the covenant of grace made possible through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
God does not abandon us.  Like a border collie, God gathers us up, leading us to that shelter of love and life.
Today, tomorrow, and the next day, God’s grace rests upon us and gives us hope and mercy.  Thanks be to God!  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As you have blessed us beyond all expectation and need, we would join in imitating you, by offering gifts which will bring hope, healing, and help to those who struggle in this life.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God gather you around this Table.
And you as well.
Let us bring our hearts to our God.
We offer them to the One who hears us when we sigh.
Rejoice in the One who shelters us with grace.
Our heads and hearts are lifted in glad cries of joy.
 
Spoken into the silence,
God of shelter,
your Word came with generous gifts:
   snow to frost hills and valleys,
   birds to tease cats staring out windows,
   butterflies to herald spring.
This refuge of creation was for those
you created to be citizens of grace,
   but our hearts questioned your motives,
   as we foolishly cast our votes for sin.
Prophets came to remind us of your ways,
   but we continued to walk
   the crooked paths leading to death.
So you gave us your Child,
the One who came
so we might see your face.
 
As we seek to set aside our fears,
as we would be gathered to you,
we offer our cries of joy:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, God our shelter of grace.
All creation makes melody to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
You are holy, Speaking God,
and your Word comes in Jesus.
With your forever and ever,
   he left your side
   to gather us from all
   the foolish places we had wandered.
Though we were anything but,
   he reckoned us to be righteous,
   heirs of the covenant.
Knowing us as sisters and brothers in grace,
   he faced our enemy sin
   on the cross, having the faith
   to let go of the present
   to walk into God’s covenant
   we know as the resurrection.
 
Today, tomorrow, the next day and the next,
as we seek to follow Jesus on the way,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:
 
Christ died, gather up our sins to take them away;
Christ was raised, gathered up from the grave;
Christ will come, to gather us up in God’s love forever.
 
Here, in the bread and the cup,
anointed by your Holy Spirit,
the Word comes, calling us
to taste life and to drink of grace.
The brokenness of the bread
is what makes us whole
   so we might challenge the ‘foxes’
   of our time and break their power
   over the vulnerable and voiceless.
The richness of the cup’s hope
fills us with your gifts to share:
   hope for those who despair,
   comfort for all who grieve,
   justice for the oppressed.
 
And when all our words have turned to dust,
your Word will come again,
to gather us up in the shelter
of your eternal grace and glory,
where we will forever sing your praise,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
Today, tomorrow, and the next day, go with God:
we will take the Word of grace into our world.
Today, tomorrow, and the next days, go with Jesus:
we will shelter those who have nowhere else to go.
Today, tomorrow, and all the days to come, go with the Spirit:
we will gather the forsaken into our hearts.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman