Saturday, January 23, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for January 31, 2016 (Epiphany 4 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; I Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30

Call to Worship
With powerful words and dramatic gestures,
with a quiet conversation and a gentle touch,
we respond to God’s call to offer
healing and hope to our world.
With courage to face the injustices around us,
with the willingness to go into the brokenness,
we fulfill the call of Jesus
to engage in faithful obedience.
With the patience of a teacher of six-year-olds,
with the gentleness of a nurse helping a patient,
we become the Spirit’s refuge
for all who live in worry and fear.

Prayer of the Day
In you, God of love,
we find that panic room
when our terrors try to
break down the doors of our hearts.
In you,
we discover the patience
to keep our expectations
from getting in the way
of the fulfillment of your kingdom.

With you, Child of our hearts,
we find the One we have leaned on
every step of our uncertain journey
even when we thought we walked alone.
With you,
we discern the passion to speak up
for the voiceless and the forgotten
who are all around us.

Through you, Gentle Spirit,
we can offer a hand
to partner with those trapped
in the tight grasp of oppression.
Through you,
we can catch on to the arrogance
which too often is our attitude
and replace it with your humility.

In you, with you, through you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
we can seek to be your people,
even as we pray as you taught us, saying
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Arrogance, envy, harsh words, empty hands, pleasure in doing what we know is wrong – these are what we often use to fill our lives.  Let us confess in faith, trusting in the hope that God’s love restores us and makes us whole.  Please join me, praying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Ah, Lord God, we do not know how to speak words of hope, because we listen to the purveyors of fear.  We do not know how to be loving because our role models are ridicule and anger.  We do not know how to be faithful to you, because at an early age, we learned to trust the promises of all the false prophets who entice us with their simple thoughts.
   But you know how to forgive, God of kindness, so we pray you would pour out your mercy upon us.  May faith abide in us, so we may serve others even as you have served us; may hope abide in us, so we may surround the broken with your compassion and grace; may love abide in us, not only in these moments of brokenness, but in every moment of our life with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who abides in us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is that, in our God, we find that safe place for our lives.  In God’s forgiveness, we are offered the healing we need.
In God’s acceptance, we discover the love in which we may abide in every moment of our lives.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We do not need to speak in tongues, but to offer words of encouragement.  We do not have to be know-it-alls, but those who work to life the burdens off those around us.  We do not need to give everything, but we will join our gifts with those of others to reach out, in love, to those who have nothing.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of love be with you.
And also with you.
Do not be afraid to offer your hearts to God.
We do so, knowing they will be filled with God’s love.
Always and forever, let us praise our God.
Here, now, every day, everywhere,
we will offer our songs to the One who abides.

You could have spoken any tongue,
God of every love, but you
silenced the cacophony of chaos
with the simple words, ‘let there be,’
and creation, in all its goodness and beauty
sprang forth from the depths of your heart.
Mysteriously, you chose to create us
in your image, knowing we might reject you,
   which we did, placing our faith in death,
   learning more about death than we ever dreamed.
Empowered with your words, prophets came
to remind us of what would happen,
   but because we loved sin and death more,
   we gained nothing from their advice.
So you gave us the priceless treasure
of your heart who, filled with your love,
handed over his body so we might gain everything.

With those who worry they cannot do what you ask,
with those who believe your word is fulfilled,
we join our voices in singing your praises:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of abiding faith.
All creation sings of its hope in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who came as your love embodied.
Hosanna in the highest!

As patient as a cat waiting for
a sunbeam on a winter’s day,
kinder than a father teaching
his daughter how to repair a car,
   Jesus showed us love in so many ways.
He never blew his own horn or
wished he was someone else;
he never bullied the vulnerable,
didn’t whine, and let go of every grudge.
He didn’t look the other way when
we were foolish, and encouraged
everyone to own up to their mistakes.
He picked up all of our burdens,
he trusted everyone the world discounts,
he looked beyond all our fears,
   as well as his own,
taking on everything sin
and death had to offer him
in order that everyone might
experience your resurrection love.

We may not have prophetic powers,
we may not know as much as we think we do,
but we can speak of that mystery of faith:

God’s Word came, offering his life in faith on the cross.
God’s Word comes to offer resurrection hope to all.
God’s Word will come, bringing love for each one of God’s children.

Your love has never retired, Eternal God,
but your Spirit pours it out upon
the gifts of the Table and those gathered around it.
This bread, though broken, will feed us
so we might be able to
   bear the brokenness of those around us,
   believe in all those doubted by the world.
The cup, containing faith, hope, and love,
will send us into the world,
   to serve in the belief
      that justice has no future;
   to endure until peace becomes the reality
      rather than the fantasy of a few.

And when we run out of things
to say and words drift away,
when we have to more to learn,
when your fullness comes and
all the pieces of life fall into place,
your children will see you clearly,
God in Community, Holy in One,
knowing you as well as you know them,
rejoicing that
   your steadfast love,
   the grace of Jesus, and
   the Spirit’s hope
rest forever in your love
even as we all will.  Amen.

God touches our mouths,
so we may go to share the good news.
Jesus touches our hands,
so we may serve all in need of life and hope.
The Spirit touches our hearts,
so we may be a haven for those
who are longing for acceptance and love.

© 2016 Thom M. Shuman