Friday, December 01, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for December 10, 2017 (Advent 2 - B)

Texts:  Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Call to Worship
Listen to what the Lord our God says to us:
Peace is God's hope for us;
salvation is God's gift to us.

See what the Lord our God reveals to us:
righteousness is the path to the kingdom;
faithfulness is the highway we build.

Tell what the Lord our God asks us to speak:
prepare God's way;
the Christ is coming to redeem us.

Prayer of the Day
Comfort of the ages,
you come:
so you can fill our empty places
with your hope;
so you can level our pride
with your call to servant the vulnerable;
so you can smooth our toughened hearts
with your tenderness.

Herald of Good News:
when we hunger for exaltation,
you feed us with humility;
when we trip over sin,
you gather us up in love;
when we become satisfied with our faith,
you shake us with your Messenger.

Spirit of Advent:
in this hectic season,
give us the gift of patience;
when we overflow with stress,
soothe us with your serenity;
when we are overwhelmed
with the desire for more and more,
speak to us of the needs of the outsiders.

God in Community, Holy in One,
surround us with your presence,
and fill us with your love,
as we lift the prayer taught to us by Jesus, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
God comes!  Let us prepare the way.
God comes to forgive us!  Let us prepare
our hearts as we confess our sins, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We confess that whatever our fine might have been that it has been paid, God
of Comfort, yet we still insist on earning our way into your heart.  We confess that you are beyond patient with us, but wish you would act quickly against those who hurt us.  We confess that while your word will stand forever, it is our words of pain and anger that cause long term harm to others.
   Your Messenger has come, Approaching God, crying out of your forgiveness and hope.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, you speak to us: not of punishment, but of peace; not of judgment, but of justice; not of a sentence, but salvation.  And we offer our hearts in thanksgiving and hope.

Silence is kept       

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the Good News God speaks to you:
   I love you;
        I forgive you;
            I restore you to new life.
We will not ignore the fact that God comes: not to condemn, but to comfort us; not to
scold, but to speak tenderly to us of hope, of love, of joy.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We pray, Holy God, that our gifts might smooth the path of those who walk in grief, might surround the grieving with comfort, might feed the hungry, and bring others into places of peace and safety.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
(preceded by singing verses 1 & 2 of In the Bleak Midwinter)

May God be with you.
and may God be with you.
People of God, open your hearts.
We open our hearts to the One who comes to us.
People of God, give thanks to the Living God.
We praise the One who offers comfort and peace to us.

Acclamation, thanksgiving, songs of joy
are the gifts we offer to you,
God of all the ages.
You uttered the Word
and mountains burst forth;
your Breath blew upon the waters,
and stirred life into being;
you reached down and shaped us
in your own image,
from the dusty paths you trod.
   In our impatience,
   we refused to wait for your glory,
   and rushed into sin's sweet embrace.
Yet you were willing
to outwit our foolish wisdom,
and outwait our childish tantrums,
sending the prophets to cry out
of your desire for us to return to you.

   But we continued to reject
   their inviting words of comfort.
Finally, when we continued to cling
to death's strong hand,
you clothed your Word with human flesh,
that we might meet you face to face.

So with those who have waited for you
in every time and place,
with those who seek to live faithfully
for you in these days,
we life our songs of hope to you:

(verse 3 of "In the Bleak Midwinter")    

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim Thronged the air;
But his mother only, In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved With a kiss.

All holiness is yours, Righteous God,
and blessed is your Word for whom we wait,
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace.
When we had lost our way,
he came to straighten out the path to you.
When we wept at our being lost,
he came to comfort us.
When we had fallen hopelessly
at the feet of death,
he gathered us up in his arms
to carry us home to you.

As we come to this Table,
we remember the mystery of the One
who died that we might live forever:

(verse 4 of "In the Bleak Midwinter")
What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: Give my heart.

As your Spirit moves upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
may she touch us with
unexpected hope and the power of patience.
As we wait for Christ's return,
we would fill the empty dreams of the world
with your vision of peace and wholeness;
we would feed the lost
with the bread of hope;
we would gently lead the exiled
back to your Kingdom.

Then, when the end of time comes,
and our waiting is over,
we will gather around your Table
in the new heaven and new earth,
where righteousness is our friend
and justice lives next door,
and you are our God forever and ever,
Creator of goodness,
Friend of the lost,
Spirit of joy.

As you were present with us through your Word, O God:
May we be present to others who will come to us this week.
As you fed us with peace, Bread of Life:
May we grace others with your peace in the coming days.
As you welcomed us to your Table, Spirit of hope:
May we welcome those you send us who have no hope.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman