Saturday, May 06, 2017

Liturgy for May 14, 2017 (Easter 5 - A)

Texts:  Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Call to Worship
We are God's household, crafted by the Architect of creation:
our hearts a shelter for the outcast;
our hands open to the stranger.
We are God's people, created in the divine image:
to tell others of God's love,
to offer mercy as freely as we have received it.
We are God's children, called to give of ourselves:
chosen to serve the lost and lonely,
gifted to minister to a hurting world.

Prayer of the Day
Our Way:
you call us
   to celebrate your peace
      in a world which worships war;
   to celebrate your freedom
      in the face of oppression;
   to celebrate the seed of faith
      planted in the doubts of our hearts.

Our Life:
you would have us
   celebrate the safe ground of hope
      emerging from the flood of our tears;
   celebrate those who love us
      in the midst of hurt and hatred;
   celebrate our salvation
      as we struggle with sin.

Our Truth:
you teach us
   to celebrate our new life
      in the gift of the Risen Lord;
   to celebrate the grace of your heart
      which melts our fears;
   to celebrate that all our moments
      are cradled in your hands.

Our Way, our Truth, our Life,
we lift our prayers to you as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Considered too rough for their smooth plans, the builders cast out the Stone they needed.  But God builds salvation on the One who is the foundation of all hope.  Let us confess our sins to God and one another, trusting we will not be put to shame,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Hear the brokenness of our lives, Precious God.  We cover our ears so we cannot hear the cries of those in need, or you urging us to respond.  We rush together to defend every issue that matters to us, but quickly disperse when you would call us to be your holy people.  We shout as loud as we can to cheer on our sports teams, but can manage only whispers when it comes to sharing the good news.
     Forgive us, our Eternal Guide, and do not hold our sins against us.  We lay the garments of our foolishness at your feet, so you might clothe us in grace and hope.  We would feed on the spiritual food which flows from your heart so we might be strong enough to follow Jesus as he leads us in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
You are no longer alone - you are God's Beloved.  You are not of this world, but residents of God's    Kingdom.  You, who once had no hope, have been filled with forgiveness.
Each one of us, all of us, have received God's mercy in Christ.  Forgiven, redeemed, made    whole - we are a people made one in faith.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts so that others may not feel alone, eat alone, live alone, be alone, but that they may be surrounded by your grace and love through us and the lives we offer to the.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of every way be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to the One who is the Truth for God's own people.
We offer them to the One who warms them with love.
Sing praises to God, who is our Life.
Glad songs are offered to the One who provides shelter for us.

You made a way through chaos,
Constructing God,
the Word echoing on mountaintops
and whispering in valleys;
the Spirit teaching songs to the stars,
and breathing life into those created
in your image as your precious children.
You longed to cradle us in your lap,
breastfeeding us with grace and hope,
     but we slipped out of your grasp,
     covering our ears as you called us
     to come back home to you.
Prophets came to remind us that
you would not put us to shame,
psalmists sang to us of your longing
to cut the net of sin and death and set us free,
      but , together, we rushed
     into the open arms of temptation.
Then you sent Jesus, so that
in knowing and believing in him,
we would know and believe in you.

With those who have nothing
and with those who give everything away,
we lift our voices to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who pulls us to safety.
All creation kneels down to worship you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who shows us the Truth.
Hosanna in the highest!

You shape a safe place for us, Imaginative God,
and send your Child, Jesus, to show us the Way.
Born a tiny baby as we are,
     he shows us how to grow into your people.
The cornerstone of your kingdom,
     he uses us to build a spiritual home for all.
Committing his spirit to you,
     he entered the emptiness of death,
     so we might stand on the solid ground
                of the resurrected life.

Even as we celebrate the Life which was his,
as we claim the Truth that all are one with you,
we take refuge in that mystery called faith:

Christ died, trusting in God's promises;
God raised him from the dead, promising the same for us;
Christ will come, fulfilling all the promises of God.

Once, we were nobodies, alone and hopeless,
but by your mercy, Living God,
we are now a family,
gathered in your love around this Table,
where the Spirit sanctifies the bread and cup.
You lean over to serve us the bread,
enveloping us in your grace
so we might go to be your people.
You offer to us the cup of hope,
which can heal our troubled hearts
and strengthen us to serve our world.

And when the Way leads us home to you,
when your Life gathers us with our sisters and brothers
around the Table which is prepared by your Truth,
we will sing glad songs of praise to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

May the blessings of the One who is the Way be with you in the days to come.
May God guide our feet wherever we go.
May the blessings of Jesus who is our Life be with you in the days to come.
May he lead us by the hand to those who are our sisters and brothers in need.
May the blessings of the Spirit of Truth be with you in the days to come.
May we journey with the Spirit to that way which is everlasting.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman