Sunday, January 04, 2015

Liturgy for January 11, 2015 (Baptism of the Lord - B)

Texts:  Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11

Call to Worship
On that first day, when time began:
you gave birth to creation;
light danced through the darkness;
the waters of hope flowed free and clear.
On that first day at the Jordan, when redemption began:
you spoke of life for all your children,
as your Child stepped into the waters of forgiveness,
dancing in hope with his cousin, John.
On this first day of the week, when we begin anew:
you call us to faithfulness,
as we open our hearts to you,
your voice claiming us as your own.
Prayer of the Day
Beloved's Parent:
grace is the gift
     which flows to us
     from your heart;
joy is the seed planted
     deep within our souls,
     that it might blossom
          into lives of service to all.
And we cry: "Glory!"
Servant of sinners:
you emerge from baptism's water,
     to embrace us in your hopes;
you take our fears from us
     and toss them aside
     as you lead us into your kingdom;
you shine the Light
     which brings us out
     of despair's shadows.
And we cry: "Glory!"
Wind upon the water:
you move among us
     sweeping aside our petty pride,
     and offering us the gifts
          of humility and servanthood.
You whisper of your yearning
for peace and reconciliation,
     until it silences our angry voices
     and unclenches our fisted hearts.
And we cry:  "Glory!"
God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our voices as your Beloved teaches,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
You and I are now the ones who step forth out of the safe waters of baptism, to bring hope, to share a word of grace, to carry healing into the brokenness of the lives around us.  Let us confess how we still struggle
to follow in faith wherever Jesus leads us.  Join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Timeless God,
you cast Light into sin's dark places
and call us your Beloved.
Forgive us:
    when we still linger in the shadows;
    when we treat others in hurtful ways;
    when we speak ill of your friends.
As he knelt in the waters of Jordan,
you proclaimed Jesus as your Child,
pointing to him as the way to you.
Forgive us:
    when we put ourselves ahead of him;
    when we think he is no longer needed;
    when we fail to see him in the broken of our world.   

Baptized and blessed in your living waters,
you would have us be your servants in our time.
Forgive us:
    when we fail to welcome the stranger;
    when we refuse to forgive as we should;
    when we believe we are too good to kneel down
        and tie the shoes of the lost, the least, the last, the little.
Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Touched by the waters of life, fed at the feast of grace and hope, embraced in the warmth of God's love and hopes - this is good news!
Blessed by baptism's tears, called to servanthood by the Beloved, filled with the peace of the Spirit, we are indeed God's people - redeemed, restored, refreshed to serve.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Bathed in the waters of baptism, we are graced people.  Graced people, we recognize the gifts which have been poured out upon us.  Recognizing these gifts, we take them and give them back to you, God of the waters, so that others might be bathed in hope, graced with joy, gifted with your peace and love.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Creator of heaven and earth be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who gave his Heart to heal us.
Let us give thanks to the One who made everything and called it 'good'.
How right it is to give our thanks and praise
to the One who calls us 'Beloved.'

Into the shadows of silence,
you hummed the first chords of creation,
Heart of Tenderness,
     your Word crafting the sun to welcome each day,
     the moon and stars to guide the night.
The Spirit gathered up the dust of chaos
     and shaped it into vast universes,
     flinging them into space and time.
Floating on the warm waters of Eden,
cradled in your love and joy,
     we could have lived with you forever.
But we made mud pies from death's dirt,
     shaping our own foolish dreams,
     chasing after sin, and always being caught.
Prophets came, sent from your heart
to call us back to you,
     but we could not hear them
     over the shouts of our desires.
So, when we had no hope,
you sent your Child, Jesus,
the One who was willing to take on
anything, and everything, which kept us from you.
With those who ran to the river's side,
and those who immersed themselves in grace,
with our beloved sisters and brothers
in every time and place, we sing of your love:

Holy, holy, holy!  Creator of Light and life.
Heaven and earth sing forever of your love and joy.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to be baptized
       by water and the Holy Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessedness is your nature, Holy Imagination,
and your Bright Morning Star is our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When our hearts were hardened towards you,
     he came to soften them with your grace.
Knowing we had lost our way,
he came to walk at our side,
     unfolding the map of the kingdom
     and pointing out the way home.
Standing with us in baptism's waters,
he journeyed alone to the cross,
     taking our place in sin's grasp,
     and leading us into your heart,
leaving death empty and alone.
On this day we remember our baptism,
we would proclaim the life which was his,
and the hope which is ours in that mystery we call faith:

Bathed in your tears, Christ died for us;
washed in the resurrection waters, Christ rose for us;
bringing the waters of life to us, Christ will come again.
As your Spirit changed chaos into creation,
may these simple gifts
of the bread and the cup
be transformed into
your life and peace for us.
We come to this table,
your baptized and beloved children,
     hungry for your hope in our lives,
     yearning for your peace to fill us.
And when we have been fed by you,
we would go forth into the world
     to bring the homeless off lonely streets,
     to feed the hungry with more than clichés,
     to welcome the stranger as our sister,
     to embrace the outcast as our brother.
And when time has ended its journey,
and we are gathered as your family
around the Table of grace,
we will join our hands and hearts together,
singing to you through all eternity
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go into the world as God's beloved children.
We will go to share the gift of grace which flows from God's heart.
Go into the world as baptized sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will go to bring the light of hope to all in despair.
Go into the world as those filled with the Holy Spirit.
We will go to hear the whispered yearnings for peace and reconciliation.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman