Saturday, April 01, 2017

Two different liturgies for April 9, 2017 (Palm/Passion Sunday)


Texts:  Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66

Litany of the Passion
What shall we do with you, Jesus?
Glad songs sung at your birth will turn to jeers, taunts, and worse,
hurled at you from every side.
What shall we do with you, Jesus?
We will promise to stay,
     but run away;
we will sleep through
     the anguish of your heart.
What shall we do with you, Jesus?
The One who gave living waters to an outsider at a well,
the One baptized in the Jordan will thirst upon a tree.
What shall we do with you, Jesus?
Before this week runs its course,
the disciples, including even us, will fail you in force.

          Silence is kept

Lamb of God, you cry out in agony:
and the silent stars howl in grief.
Lamb of God, you breathe your last:
and the Spirit moves over the void in our  hearts.
Lamb of God, you are place in a cold tomb:
and creation trembles in the deep,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
What shall we do with our sins?  Shall we continue to try to hide them, or confess them - honestly and without reservation - to the One who comes to vindicate us?  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We confess, Passionate God, how often we scheme against you.  In every moment, we look for chances to betray you, breaking your heart.  We turn our backs on those who reach out to us for help.  We hide our faces from those who are wasting away from hopelessness.
     Be gracious to us, Compassionate God, and stay with us in these moments.  Morning by morning, awaken us with your voice of mercy, and call us to humble ourselves in service to others, even as did Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It is God who holds our lives, healing us when we are broken, forgiving us when we do wrong.
Our tongues have confessed, now let our hearts and lives reflect the One who humbled himself for us.  Amen.

Prayer  of Dedication/Offering
Your passion for justice for the most vulnerable, of hope for the despairing, and of life for every single one of us is the model we seek to live, as well as to offer with our gifts for others on this day.  In your name, we pray, Lamb of God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of Holy Week be with you.
And also with you.
Join your hearts with the One whose heart breaks in pieces this week.
We offer them for healing and hope.
With songs too painful to sing, with sighs too deep to utter.
We lift our mournful souls to God.

When the hour was at hand,
you called forth creation, Holy God,
your Word teaching
     the birds what to sing,
     the butterflies where to flit,
     the grass how to grow,
     the trees how to stand straight and tall.
You did all this for us, your
children created in your image,
asking us to stay with you forever.
but we asked of sin and death
what they would give us to betray you,
     and went running off, our pockets
     filled with their 30 pieces of seduction.
Deeply grieved, you continued to call
through the prophets of every generation,
but they always found us sleeping,
     wearied by our foolish choices.
You sent Jesus to us, to awaken us
to his voice of gentleness and grace.

With those who have spent their lives in sorrow,
with those who bow their knees to you,
we offer our prayers to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is gracious to us.
All creation trusts in your promises.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who will not desert us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Your heart was broken, Vindicator of our lives,
by the pain and suffering of your Son, Jesus.
Of one mind with you, he came
     so we might rethink our foolish choices.
Leaving glory behind in the closet,
     he became human like us,
     so we might see you face-to-face.
Without the promise of any reward,
though he felt abandoned by you,
     he willingly went to the cross,
     his life poured out for those who
     mocked him, spat on him, betrayed him.
Yet, when sin thought Jesus
was safely sealed into the tomb,
swaddled in death's tight bands,
     you did not let him be put to shame,
     but called him forth into the morning,
     with Resurrection's kiss.

As we journey with him through this holiest of weeks,
as we betray him and abandon him,
we are sustained by that mystery called faith:

Christ died, the world having washed its hands of him;
Christ was raised, your hands breaking death's strong grip on him;
Christ will come, to take us by the hand and lead us to you.

Here in this place, we gather
for that meal which signifies
brokenness as well as healing,
heartbreak as well as hope.
What should we do with the Bread?
We will let its life strengthen us
to go forth to serve those
     whom the world has betrayed
     with broken promises and hollow words.
What shall we do with the Cup?
We will drink deeply of it
so we can empty ourselves
     for those who lives are
     spent from grief and fear.

And when we drink of the
fruit of the vine with our
sisters and brothers in glory,
we will bow our knees in worship,
extolling you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

As you leave this place, go as God's children:
we will go to serve our sisters and brothers.
Go as followers of Christ:
we will find the broken around us and bring them healing.
Go as those strong in the Spirit:
we will be willing to humble ourselves for those wearied by life.

© Thom M. Shuman


Texts:  Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew

Call to Worship (Matthew 21:1-11, NRSV)
One:  When they had come near Jerusalem
           and had reached Bethphage,
           at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
          saying to them,
Two:  "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately
          you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie
          them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything
          to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he
          will send them immediately."
One:  This took place to fulfill what had been spoken
           through the prophet, saying,
Choir: "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming
            to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and
            on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
Two:    The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;
            they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their
            cloaks on them, and he sat on them.
            A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
            and others cut branches from the trees and spread
            them on the road.
            The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed
            were shouting,
ALL:     "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who
            comes in the name of the Lord!
            Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
One:    When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in
            turmoil, asking, "Who is this?"
            The crowds were saying,
ALL:     "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

Prayer of the Day
God of hopes and joys:
when our hearts ache from brokenness,
you nourish us with your love;
when the world's pain fatigues us,
you carry us in your arms;
when the loneliness of our souls
drains our very being,
you come and live with us.
You are our God.

Jesus Christ,
God's True Son:
you did not profit
from your oneness with God,
but emptied yourself
to become servant to all humanity.
You humbled yourself
to lift us out of sin's grave.
You are our Lord.

Holy Spirit,
Teacher from God:
humble us to be obedient,
even to the point of denying
all that keeps us from following Jesus;
teach us the words we need
to confess him as our Lord and Savior.
Your are our Helper.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayer to you as Jesus
has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
One day, we are crying to God, "save us," the next we are turning our backs on God and walking away.  Despite our fickle nature, God is steadfast in loving us and constant in forgiving us.  Let us confess to our God, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   With joy in our hearts, we welcome your servant, O God, only to reject him when he picks up a cross instead of a crown.  Like cloaks laid on the ground before Jesus, we pick up our faith, dust it off and put it back in the closet until we need it.  We can be as stubborn and rebellious as the city which cheers your name.
   Save us, Redeeming God, save us!  May we lay our doubts, our fears, our worries, our weariness at your feet, trusting and believing that you will forgive what is sinful, make whole our brokenness, and welcome us as sisters and brothers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Assurance of Pardon
Hosanna to David's Son!  Blessed is the One who comes in God's name, not to judge us, but to save us.
We humble ourselves in gratitude to God, and in service to others, even as Christ did.
    Hosanna in the highest.  Amen!

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could triumphantly claim that you came just for us, Holy One, but your gifts are poured out for all the broken, all the wandering, all the struggling.  So, may we be just like you, pouring out our lives and our treasures, so all might be blessed through you, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord of parades be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, open your hearts to the One who comes with hope.
We would receive the joy and grace the prophet from Nazareth brings us.
Give thanks to God, for God's love endures forever!
God is our God, the One who comes to make us whole.

Joy is indeed the highest praise
we can offer to you,
Steadfast Love.
On that first morning,
you woke creation
     from its slumbering sleep,
     to give light to chaos' shadows.
Morning by morning,
you shaped your dreams
     into everything that is true,
     turning hopes into your justice.
You asked simply that we rejoice
in your gifts and glory,
     but we chose to sing the choruses
     of sin and rebellion,
          following death as it paraded
          through the world.
Prophets struggled to awaken
our dulled ears
with whispers of peace,
     but we laughed at their ideas
     that we should return to you.
When you could have set your face like flint,
when you could have hardened your resolve,
you sent your Child, your Joy,

Therefore, we join our voices in thanksgiving,
with those who shouted "Hosanna"
and with those who ran away from you,
with those in every moment, and in this moment,
singing with all creation to your glory:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Opener of our ears.
All creation proclaims, "God's steadfast love endures forever."
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who opens the gates of righteousness.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God our Creator,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who comes in your grace.
When he could have filled your heart,
     he poured himself out for us;
when he could have remained by your side,
     he came to be a servant, raising us to glory;
when he could have watched from heaven,
     he came down to show us your heart;

when he could have taken the easy way,
     he chose to be faithful to you,
     even to the point of shameful death.
As he gathered up our brokenness
to make us whole,
you raised him to new life,
     and he stands with us in eternity,
     glorifying you forever.

As we remember the joy and excitement of the parade,
as we remember the gentle words he taught,
as we remember the spirit with which he died,
we proclaim the One who is the Bread of Life:

Christ died, emptying his life for us;
Christ was raised, defeating our old adversaries sin and death;
Christ will come, to fulfill what has been promised.

Here, at this Table,
we would receive the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and your Spirit which anoints us with peace.
Nourish us with the Bread of hope,
     that we might go into
     the brokenness of our world;
fill us with the cup of grace,
     so the weary would discover us
     standing by their side;
fill us with the overflowing joy
of the good news,
     so we might sing forever
     of your heart's desire
     for justice and peace for all people.

Then, on that final morning,
when we gather for the Feast of the Lamb,
when we are seated with those
who shouted their hosannas,
as well as those who yelled for death,
we will join our voices in eternity's anthem,
giving our thanks to you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

The One wounded by the nails in our hearts, sends us forth,
to bring healing with God's love.
The One who continues on the journey invites us to follow,
cradling the broken hearts of the world as we go.
The One whose Spirit is in the Kingdom Bearer fills us with hope,
if we but trust in the promises of this day.

© Thom M. Shuman