Sunday, January 25, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for February 1, 2015 (Epiphany/Ordinary Time 4 - B)

Texts: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

Call to Worship
Thinking we know all the answers,
yet wondering if we haven't missed something:
we enter this sanctuary of Truth.
In the company of sinners,
in cahoots with saints:
we gather as God's people.
Standing by folks of deep, abiding faith;
seated with those who stumble through the Kingdom:
we lift our praise to God.
Prayer of the Day
We hunger for power,
     and you feed us
     the bread of humility;
we long for freedom,
     and you invite us to drink
     the cup of self-denial.
Faithful and Just God:
our songs of gratitude
will echo down
the hallways of creation.

You speak
     and all the props
     are knocked out
     from under our pride.
Then, you astound us
by reaching out your hand
     to lift us to our feet
     so we may follow you.
Holy Gift of God:
our songs of praise
will echo down
the hallway of our hearts.

Without your wisdom,
     we would be speechless;
without your peace,
     we would be heartless;
without your presence,
     we would be graceless.
Bearer of Truth:
our songs of joy
will echo down
the hallways of eternity.

God in Community, Holy in One,
may our songs echo in your heart
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
It's very simple:  all God asks is that we recognize our sin and acknowledge it. And why?  When we offer our prayers of confession, God takes them from us and fills our hearts with such an abundance of mercy, we cannot hold it all.  Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     God our God: we fill our souls with the empty sounds of our culture, and wonder why we are so empty when we need words of hope, of grace, of comfort.  We are careful to follow the   prescriptions our doctors give us, yet pay little heed to your hopes for us.  We puff out our chests over what good people we are, yet do not notice how our pride trips those who seek to follow Jesus.

Forgive us, Holy One, and be gracious to us:
   astound us with your words,
        so we may learn your ways;
   nourish us with your mercy,
        so we may be filled with life;
   enter our empty souls,
        till they overflow with praise for your
        Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
Of all the astounding works of God, this may be the most wonderful:  God is gracious and merciful  -  to us!
What has this to do with us?  Everything!
What is this?  Good news, of the very best kind!
We are forgiven.  We give thanks to our God with all our hearts.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Now, we know how easily we could treat our abundant resources as idols, Holy God, so we will treat them as they truly are, marvelous gifts meant to be shared so others might know of your marvelous presence in their lives.  Bless what we offer to you, and use it in service to others, we pray.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of wondrous deeds be with you!
And also with you!
Let us give thanks to our God.
We lift our whole hearts to God, holding nothing back.
Join in praising God, who is merciful and gracious.
In the company of our friends and fellow followers,
     we rejoice in the one who is our God.
'What have you to do
with us,' chaos cried out,
and you rebuked it, Holy One,
whispering, 'be silent,' and with a Word
all that is good and true came forth,
   oceans teeming with life,
   meadow grass rippling in the breeze,
   snow-capped peaks touching the sky.
You raised us up in your image,
but we worshiped the idols, sin and death,
becoming so accustomed to them
we would follow them anywhere.
You put words into the prophets' mouths,
so they could speak your words of hope,
but we refused to listen.
So you sent Jesus,
from whom all things are,
so we might live with you.

Thus, with prophets and those who never listen,
with the foolish, as well as the faithful, of every age,
we sing our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of great wonders.
All creation is astounded by your works.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who restores us with love.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Awesome Creator,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all.
He teaches, as one with authority,
those who rebel against you.
He heals, as one with compassion,
those who struggle with pain and illness.
He calls, as one with the words of life,
those who have lost their way.
He dies, as one with complete trust,
for those who have no hope.
He rises, as one known by God,
so we may live for you.
As we remember what Jesus has done for us,
as we celebrate his life, death, and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:
Christ died, as we fell silent in grief;
Christ is raised, silencing the power of sin and death;
Christ fills the silence of our fears with songs of
        your wondrous love and life.

You long to have everything
to do with us, God of wonders,
and so you call us to this table
of peace, hope, reconciliation.
Here, in the bread and the cup
transformed by your Spirit,
we are reminded that
there is no God but you.
For, in the life of the bread,
we feast on that grace
which can heal a broken world.
For in the sweet taste of the cup's hope,
we taste those promises
which we can share with all people:
   peace where there is only war,
   love where there is only evil,
   wonder where there is only despair,
for from you come all things;
to you, we all would turn to follow.
And when all human time and history is done,
when we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
in that time with you we call eternity,
we will praise you forever, singing glory to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

God sends us into the world,
so we may see Jesus at work in all the desolate places.
As one with compassion, Jesus calls,
so we may follow him to those who live on the fringe of life.
The Spirit opens our ears and our hearts,
so we may hear the cries looking for hope.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman