Saturday, March 05, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for March 13, 2016 (Lent 5 - C)

Texts: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3b-14; John 12:1-8

Call to Worship
We come to this place
because we want to know God,
who helps us set aside the past,
to walk the path to new life.
We come in these moments
because we want to know Jesus,
who anoints us with the resurrection,
who shares our lives with us.
We come with these people
because we want to know the Spirit,
who shapes us for life with God,
so we may praise God forever!

Prayer of the Day
You have done great things
for us, God of great love.
You make a way through our brokenness,
so hope might be restored;
you loosen our grip on fear,
so we might take hold of the One
who cradles us in the palms of grace.
 
You are doing great things
through us, Brother of the poor.
You make a way through our doubt,
so we may have the faith to follow,
as well as to serve by your side;
you gather up our tears,
turning them into fountains of joy.
 
You will do great things
in us, Anointer of our hearts.
You make a way through
our hardened hearts, melting them
into rivers of wonder for all;
you touch our tongues so
they tingle with delights, and
laughter tumbles out of our mouths.
 
Continue to make a way through us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
As we offer our prayers of confession, remember that God chooses to forget about our past, forgiving us so we may embrace the new life and new hope offered to us in grace.  I invite you to join me, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Like Judas, God of new things, we like to complain about your generous ways, rather than living in your grace.  The poor are always with us, we believe, which justifies our ignoring them.  In our memories, we see a perceived golden past, and so close our eyes to the new things you do in our midst.  We are so enamored with our achievements that we are not willing to throw them away in order to follow Jesus.
   Forgive us, Restoring God, and help us to notice the kingdom springing forth in our midst.  By your grace, may our fears turn to faith, our seeds of grief produce a bumper crop of joy, and our tears turn into torrents of tenderness as we journey with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to Jerusalem.

Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
Making a way through all the foolishness and mistakes of our lives, God leads us into new life, where we are restored to grace, to hope, and to peace.
Do we notice what God has done for us, what God is doing in us?  This is good news for everyone.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
If we want to know you, Generous God, we must see you in those all around us.  If we want to serve you, we must give up that which is most important to us, even our material resources, so that blessings of hope and life might be offered to the needy, the lonely, the hungry all around us.  Receive our gifts, we pray, so that others might be transformed even as we are.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all new things be with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer our hearts to the One who restores us to new life.
May we empty them of all that holds us back,
so God may fill the emptiness with grace.
May our hearts overflow with praise to God.
May joy and laughter resound in our words and lives.
 
You made a path through the emptiness
of chaos, God of every imagination,
sending creation to spring forth as
   grass carpeted empty fields,
   trees stretched their branches to the sun,
   animals curled up by cool pools of water.
You even shaped us for life with you,
so we might share in this beauty and goodness,
   but we threw aside all these gifts
   in order to know sin and death.
You sent prophets to us,
who encouraged us to let go of the past
and to return to your side,
   but we didn’t care about their words,
   thinking such a life to be too costly.
So you sent Jesus to us,
setting aside your grieving heart
so we might be restored to you.
 
So with those who long to know you,
with those who run to be with you,
we offer our songs of thanksgiving:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of new things.
All creation honors you with praise and joy.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes to take hold of us.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Though you are holy, God of restoration,
you were willing to set aside all we had done,
so that Jesus might anoint us with new life.
He could have clung to his glory,
   but set it aside to become one of us;
he could have maintained all power,
   but became weak and foolish for us;
he could have been surrounded by your love,
   but walked into the forest of our fears,
   to make a way out for us;
he could have avoided pain and suffering,
   but went into sin’s cold embrace,
   to bring back death’s captives,
his tears sowing the seeds of hope
which brought forth a bouquet of grace.
 
As we long to want to know Jesus more,
as we seek to be restored to life by you,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:
 
Christ lost his life so we might find ours;
Christ was raised, his resurrection life springing forth in us;
Christ will come, that we might gain eternity with God.
 
We pray that you would anoint
this Table and its gifts of the bread and cup
with your Spirit of life and love,
which are offered to the people you love.
When we take the bread
which has been broken and eat of it,
   we forget about our past
   and embrace your kingdom
   where we share in the sufferings
   of our sisters and brothers everywhere.
When we drink from the cup,
the fragrance of your grace fills us
to go and serve your people:
   the poor who do not always need to be,
   the lonely who can be offered a family,
   the grieving who can be cradled in love.
 
And when the past is finally behind us
and we are gathered in the new Jerusalem
with our sisters and brothers of every time and place,
we will join our hands around your feast,
and sing your praises from the depths of our hearts,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
And now, God sends us out into our communities,
not to cling to a faded past,
but to share all the new things God is doing.
And now, Jesus calls us to notice those around us,
to shower them with hope,
to feed them from our deep pantries,
to welcome them as family.
And now, the Spirit anoints us with grace,
to make a way through the injustices around us
so we might walk with our sisters and brothers
into the kingdom springing forth in our midst.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman