Friday, January 12, 2018

Liturgy w/communion for January 21, 2018 (3rd Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary 3 - B)

Texts: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

Call to Worship
The Word of the Lord came,
hope for all people cradled in his arms.
the Word of the Lord comes,
calling us out of our comfort zones,
to go where grace is needed most.

The Word of the Lord will come,
gathering all the outsiders and insiders
into one community of the kingdom.

Prayer of the Day

When we try to ward off
your call to proclaim
the kingdom's good news
to those we would never
welcome into our tight circle,
you remind us that we can never
set boundaries on how far
your mercy, your love, your hope
will extend, God of persistence.

Looking at your watch,
you announce, 'it is time,'
opening your arms to welcome
all the outlanders we build fences
to keep out of our lives,
opening your heart to draw
all the odd ones out
into the safe shelter
of your heart, Calling Jesus.

Each morning,
you break your fast
with those for whom
we have no place at our tables;
each day,
you set out
to meet those who stand
at the edge of our narrow-mindedness,
to show them the path home;
each evening,
you take our foolish fears
and gently blow them away
from our hearts, Companion of Grace.

We wait and trust in you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Now is the appointed time.  Pour out your hearts to God, bringing those harmful words you spoke, the chances to help you turned your backs on, and the foolish choices of your lives.  Offer them to the One who longs to hear us, trusting that God will forgive us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Our comfortable lives convince us we do not need to follow Jesus, Steadfast God.  Our work provides for our wants, so we have no need for your grace.  Our friends are found through social media, so we do not need your community.  Our fear of the beliefs and cultures of others makes us sure that we do not need to share your grace with them.
   Forgive us for dragging our feet as Jesus' disciples, Compassionate God.  May we get up from our comfort zones and step out in faith.  May we go to all the uncomfortable places to bring hope.  May we proclaim with our lips, but especially with our lives, that the kingdom of love is near, brought by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Now, after we confess, we hear the good news proclaimed: God hears our words, God sees our changed hearts, God's steadfast love is poured out upon us! 
We will trust in God, in whom our salvation rests.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

May these gifts we offer show we recognize your claim upon us, Holy God.  Use them so your grace, your love, and your hope may be shared with everyone who needs them.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the outsiders be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to God, dear friends.
We pour them out to the One who redeems us.
Sing songs of gladness to our God.
We join in the chorus of all who believe. 

Into the swirling mist
of chaos and destruction,
you tossed the seeds of creation,
Persistent God:
   whales that power through the seas,
   puffins that gather on rocky islands,
   gases which coalesce into stars.
All your wonders were gifts for your children,
   but we chose to stew in sin's acid.
You longed to rescue us from death's belly,
sending even the most reluctant prophets
to proclaim the nearness of your compassion,
   but we refused to change our minds,
   sure we could bribe our way out of sin's grasp.
Persistent to a fault,
you sent Jesus to proclaim your good news.

With the intimates who prove to be unfaithful,
with the interlopers who trust and believe,
we sing songs of joy to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
All creation waits in trust for you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who brings the kingdom near.
Hosanna in the highest!

Leaving that safe place which
is your holiness, Gracious God,
Jesus came at the time appointed by you.
He set aside all he possessed,
   so we might have the riches
   of your merciful heart.
He refused to let our fears
prevail against his life of grace,
   continuing to draw us
   near to your kingdom.
He went a little farther
than we dared imagine,
   walking for three days
   in death's cool shadows,
before coming forth into
the bright joy of the resurrection.

As we would faithfully follow Jesus,
going a little farther with him each day,
we proclaim that kingdom called faith:

Christ died, claiming the promises of hope;
 You raised Christ, claiming him from death;
 Christ will return, claiming us for you. 

Now is our time fulfilled, Blessing God,
as we gather at this Table,
the bread and the cup made sacred
by the presence of your Spirit.
We eat of the bread,
praying that its grace might strengthen us
so we would become as persistent as you
   in confronting injustices,
   challenging oppressive actions,
   reaching out to lift the fallen.
We drink from the cup,
trusting that its hope will spill
out from us upon
   the lonely and he lost,
   the hungry and the homeless,
   and especially on the outsiders.

Then, when the appointed time comes
and you gather us with our sisters and brothers
around the Supper of the Lamb in glory,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now, take the word of God into the world.
we will place hope in the arms of others.
Now, take the word of Jesus into the world.
We will follow to serve beside him in all the broken places.
Now, take the word of the Spirit into the world.
We will bring others near to the kingdom where all are welcome.

(c) Thom M. Shuman