Saturday, December 26, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for January 3, 2016 (2nd Sunday after Christmas - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:1-18
Call to Worship
Here in this place, now in these moments,
we gather to meet our God,
whose Word runs sprints
through the rough streets of our lives.
Here in these people, now with shared cares and prayers,
we hope to see our God,
who transfigures our shadows into light,
who transforms our grief into gratitude.
Here in our silence, now in our songs,
we long to know our God,
who gathers us in from every far place,
who melts our frozen hearts with love.
Prayer of the Day
God of winter and spring,
God of summer and fall:
You come to offer us
every spiritual blessing imaginable
(and those we never expect):
   our loneliness joined with others
         into a community of wonder;
   our despair transformed into hope;
   our death resurrected into new life.
Powerful Word of God,
by Your weakness
You teach us humility;
Changeless Word,
Your steadfast love fills our emptiness;
Creative Word,
You take us by the hand
to lead us out of our self-imposed exiles
to new life in Your kingdom.
Holy Spirit,
the warmth of Your grace
loosens our fear-wedged souls;
the durability of Your peace
enables us to risk all on God;
the vulnerability of your compassion
opens our eyes to the One
who keeps us safe and brings us home.
In grief and joy, in every season of life,
we can lift our prayers to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we have been taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation   
We have gone places we should have avoided; we have wandered the wrong streets; we have spoken those words we cannot take back; we have squandered our inheritance from God. Let us confess all those ways we have not been God’s children, as we pray together,
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God who has chosen us before we ever were, we confess how we have heard Your Word, but not allowed that grace and truth to transform us.
   Offered life, we choose death;
      furnished hope, we cling tightly to our despair;
         extended fellowship, we walk in our loneliness;
      granted peace, we idolize power and might;
   offered forgiveness, we are convinced we can save ourselves.
Forgive us, God of promises.  The mark of being Your people is seeing how completely dependent we are on You: for life, for hope, for love.  All these, and more, You give to us in your Word of Truth and Your Child of grace, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
This is God’s good news: wherever we have wandered, God gathers us up and brings us home; whatever we have done, God forgives us; whoever we are, we are God’s child, enveloped in God’s love.
Blessed be our God, who gives us voices to sing our joy and who sets our feet dancing in praise.  We are forgiven!  Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We not only have spiritual blessings, but tangible ones as well.  So, we pray that you will gather up these gifts we offer and will transform them into food for the hungry, hope for the despairing, healing for the broken, and peace for those who are torn apart by war and fear.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all new things be with you.
May God fill you with newness.
Let us lift our hearts to the One who touches us with ever-new love.
We open them to God, who gathers us in this place.
We have received the good news that grace was born in Bethlehem.
We will sing songs of joy and wonder to One who is with us in these moments.
Your Spirit blew through chaos, Speaking God,
and Your Word tamed its havoc as
   horses galloped through meadows,
   beavers built homes in rivers and lakes,
   rain fell softly up mountaintops.
In those moments, You chose us to be your children,
Heirs of all the goodness You desire for us.
Singing to us in Eden’s morning,
You invited us to glorify You forever,
   but we walked into the shadows of the world,
   leaving our music behind.
Yet You persisted in Your plan
for us, knowing that
   where no life is anticipated,
   where no future is seen,
   where no hope is expected,
it is there You gather us up
and carry us into Your kingdom.
Therefore, with angelic choirs of every region,
with the shepherds who caroled a refugee family,
with those who came home from exile singing,
we lift our voices in joy and gladness:
Holy, holy, holy are You, ever-blessing God.
All creation joins in showering praise upon You.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who was born to bring us grace and truth.
Hosanna in the highest!
You alone are holy, God of Bethlehem,
and You are Father of Jesus,
Bearer of grace and Singer of truth.
When we lost our voices in exile,
   You sent Your Word to teach us
   new hymns of joy and praise.
When our ears were stuffed
with the lies of the world,
   Jesus came, speaking Your truth.
When we were marked for death,
   He came running to us,
   defeating sin and death,
marking us as Your own
with the kiss of the Holy Spirit.
As we come to this Table in remembrance,
as we speak of his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
we proclaim that faith which is so mysterious,
as well as the One in whom we set our hope.
The Word of creation was silenced on the cross;
in resurrection love, the Word became the promise of redemption;
at the right time, the Word of love will come to lead us home.
In these moments, and in these people,
may Your Spirit come to fill us
with the bread of righteousness and the cup of hope.
Flow through us, we pray, like living waters
so we might be a river of reconciliation.
Grant us Your peace,
so we might share it with others;
set our hope on Christ,
so we might bring that same hope
to our neighborhoods and communities.
Then gather us,
no longer broken but made whole,
no longer exiles, but citizens of the Kingdom,
no longer strangers, but brothers and sisters of Christ,
around the Table of peace and life,
where we will forever praise You,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
Let us go, remembering the gift of the Word.
We will go to sing of the good news to a silent world.
Let us go, filled with the gifts of the bread and the cup.
We will go to feed the emptiness of those around us.
Let us go with the gifts of the water and the oil.
We will go to anoint all brokenness with the peace of God.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman