Call to Worship
Whether we live in an apartment or a house;
if we reside in the suburbs or the city:
God tells us to pray for the places where we live.
Whether we are exiles or prisoners for the gospel;
if we are young, old, insider, outcast:
God says, 'when you search for me, you will find me.'
Whether we have been wandering and lost;
or if we have lived in the same place all our lives:
God says, 'I will gather you from all your places
and bring you home.
Prayer of the Day
you bring us together in this sanctuary,
calling us from all those places
where we live and work and play,
so we can recognize you
in faces lined with wisdom;
so we can hear you
in the questions of the smallest child;
so we can sit up and notice
all that you do in our midst.
Cradler of Grace:
you speak your words,
so we might hear the sighs
of the outsiders of our world.
You walk the borderlands
of our joys and sorrows,
so we might embrace your healing.
You enter our hearts,
despite our best efforts
to close them to your presence.
when we are tempted
to imprison the good news
with our politics, our fears,
our prejudices, our doubts -
whisper that Word
which shatters all chains,
and sets us free to be God's people.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray as Jesus, our Brother and Savior,
has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Despite our foolish and angry words, God continues to speak of mercy to us. Despite our best efforts to be faithless in our living, God remains faithful in keeping the promise to forgive us and restore us to wholeness. Let us confess our sins to God, so that God's hope and grace might endure in our brokenness.
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God beyond borders, we know that on our way to worship, we may not have noticed the exiles in our neighborhoods. We admit how easy it is for us to wander down the streets of temptation, pausing at the corner of easy choices. We fall silent in the presence of those who speak words of anger and hate. We tolerate a culture that suspects all who are different from us.
Have mercy on us, O God, for surely you take the side of justice. Open our hearts to all the wonders you are performing in our lives. You gift us with those of other cultures, that our lives might be blessed. You send us friends out of places we least expect, that our community might be enriched. You call us to be generous with our blessings, so others might be graces with the gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
God challenges us, God encourages us. God confronts us, and God accepts us. God works wonders in our midst and gives us the eyes, the hearts, the souls to see such miracles.
God forgives us, God guides us through the wilderness of the world, God leads us home. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gratitude be offered with these gifts in these moments, praying that what we share with others will bring them healing, hope, grace, and peace. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of joy be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, open your hearts to the One who does wonders for you.
We offer our hearts to God, who plants gardens of peace within us.
Children of God, sing praises to the One who leads us to this place.
We join all creation in singing our thanks God, our Creator.
On that first glad morning, Architect of glory,
you built the house of creation
for us to dwell in with peace as our neighbor;
you planted gardens in the valleys and meadows
that we might be fed by your goodness.
But we chose to live in death's dim exile,
believing sin would provide a better home.
You sent the prophets to us,
carrying words of promise and hope,
but we refused to return to you.
So, seeking the welfare of all creation,
and longing to restore us to wholeness,
you sent Jesus of your heart to us.
With all the earth that worships you,
with all brought to spacious places,
we sing your glory forever:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of wondrous acts.
All creation rejoices in you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blesses is the One who remains faithful to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, God of peace and hope,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Healer.
Your Word sent from glory,
he came that we might see
what you are doing for us.
Your Freedom for all your people,
he set free the gospel which
shatters the chains of our oppression.
Your Hope from the foundation of creation,
he went through the regions
of sin and death that we might
enter the wonders of your kingdom,
singing praises to you as we travel your Way.
As we celebrate our redemption,
as we remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead,
we sing that mystery we call faith:
Christ died, his faith making us well;
Christ was raised, that we might live with him;
Christ will come again, to present us before God.
On this glad morning, Loving God,
pour out your Spirit on the gifts of the Table,
and on those who gather at your feast.
As we are strengthened by the Bread of life,
send us forth to plant gardens,
sharing the harvest with those who hunger.
As we are nourished by the Cup of hope,
give us the tools to build homes
for those who live in poverty's grip.
As we are filled with the Spirit of service,
may we have the courage
to use our hearts and voices
to break the chains of those
who live in oppression's exile.
And when that glad morning of resurrection comes,
when we gather with the exiles of every time and place,
our sisters and brothers who were ever faithful,
we will rejoice in you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
Having prayed for the places where we live, we go forth.
God sends us into the apartments and homes,
into the streets and playgrounds to bring hope.
Having gathered with God's people of every age, we go forth.
We will join Jesus in serving folks whose birthdays are celebrated in decades,
and newborns who are facing poverty and fear.
Having shared prayers and songs with friends and strangers, we go forth.
We will welcome those who the world forgets but who God loves,
as surely as we have been embraced by the Spirit.
(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman