Monday, November 15, 2010

The Reign of Christ - C

Texts:  Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:33-43

Call to Worship
Blessed be the Lord God who looks with kindness on us.
We are the inheritors of the promises made long ago to our ancestors.
Blessed be the Lord God who gathers us here in this place.
From across the street, from halfway around the world, God brings us home to the heart of grace.
Blessed be the Lord God who has remembered us.
Scoffers and singers, watchers and wigglers, we are those redeemed by God.

Prayer of the Day
Gathering God:
when we have only
a few pennies of hope
in our pockets,
you multiply us
into a blessing.
When the world whispers
seductively to us,
you tell us
of your joy for us.
When everyone has forgotten
even who we are,
you shout out our name
with delight: "My Beloved!"

Dawn from on high:
when we would divide people
by class, by race, by age,
you cast your lot
with the outcasts of society.
When we get lost
from the muddled directions
the world gives us,
you lead us down
that path called Peace.

Spirit of wisdom:
when we grow impatient
with all the trivial matters of life,
you surround us with serenity.
When the world puts us on
the route to sin,
you transfer us
to the streets of the kingdom.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we trust you will remember us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We know that we have not lived as God hopes.  But however fragmented we become, God longs to hold us together in grace and peace.  Let us come with our prayers of confession and need to the One who prepares the way for our words.

Unison Prayer of Confession
In these moments, Remembering God,
we bring to you all the ways we have not
lived as your people:
   we stand by watching
       while those in need struggle to survive;
    we cast our lots with those
        who worship power and success;
    we offer insults rather than words of grace
        to those who care for us;
    we scoff at your words
        which call us to a different lifestyle.

Forgive us, God of Mercy, for not knowing what we do to you, to others, to ourselves.  Speak to us through Jesus Christ, our King and our Savior, who bears words filled with your tender mercy and gracious hope.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news:  God remembers!  Not our sins, not our foolish lives, not our rebellion.  God remembers us -  and redeems us!
God prepares the way for us - the way to grace, to hope, to new life.  Joyfully, we offer our thanks to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the peace of God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One whose has favored us with grace.
God's beloved children, sing of your hopes and dreams.
We bless the One who remembers us and redeems us to new life.

Joyfully, we lift our songs
of praise to you, O God.
From the fragments of chaos,
you created all things.
Those that are visible to us
in the leaves drifting to the ground,
in the children playing hopscotch,
in the moon shimmering at night -
and those that we cannot see,
but gift our lives beyond measure:
grace, which heals our longing;
hope, which fills our emptiness;
love, which embraces our loneliness.
All were shaped and blessed for us,
but we chose to cast our lots
with sin and death,
believing their powers to be greater
that your hopes and dreams for us.
The prophets came to speak
about the One from on high
who yearned for us to come home,
but we grew impatient with their words
and mocked their faithfulness.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to gather your scattered children together
and to bring us back to your heart.

Therefore, we join our voices
with rulers and reprobates,
with the fruitful and the foolish
of every time and place,
who forever sing of your joy:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God our shelter.
All creation makes glad your heart.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is exalted among the nations.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who remembers us,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
Dawn from on high and creative Word.
Creation's true Light,
he rescues us from the darkness of death;
speaker of promises
to our grandparents in the faith,
on the cross
he kept the vows made to them;
the first-born of all creation,
he was born again
from the grave,
so we could all be with you
in eternity's kingdom.

As we reflect on his life, his ministry, his love,
we remember all that he has done for us,
that mysterious story we call faith:

Christ died, having done nothing wrong;
Christ arose, having done God's will;
Christ will return, having reconciled us to God.

As we come to this Table of peace,
pour out your Spirit of life upon us,
and upon the gifts
of the Bread of life
and the Cup of salvation.
You nourish with grace,
so we may go wherever
the broken and lost live,
that we might feed them.
You fill us with hope,
that we would have no more fear,
but would boldly reach out
and gather up all
whom the world has cast aside.

And when time has come to an end,
and all creation has been reconciled to you,
we will gather around the feast in heaven,
singing our joy and praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.

(c) 2010 Thom M. Shuman