Saturday, January 05, 2019

Liturgy with communion for January 13, 2019 (Baptism of the Lord - C)

Texts: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Call to Worship
Like the soft whisper of a little child singing
to herself before anyone else in the house is awake,
ever so gently, God's voice cradles us

with songs of wonder and awe.
With the persistence of teenagers and young adults,
heady with the newfound freedom of questioning everything,

God's voice rumbles like a river through our lives,
sweeping away all the boundaries between us.

Like the grandpa who passes on the secret to his bread,
like the nana who teaches her grandkids how to drive,
God's voice is always reminding us

that we are precious, esteemed, beloved.

Prayer of the Day

When we baptize ourselves
in the frigid waters of fear,
     you come to gather us up,
     drying us off with grace,
     wrapping us in the warm,
     fluffy towel of the Spirit.

When our faith becomes
as threadbare as the
carpet beneath our feet,
     you come, your work boots on,
     your tool belt around your waist,
     building a new foundation for us,
          whistling, 'my hope is built
          on nothing less . . .'

When we worry that someone
else has taken our place in your heart,

you show us where our name is etched,
     so you can always feel us
     with every beat.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers of joy to you,
even as we pray together saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Broken? God promises to make us whole.  Lost? God promises to come and find us, gather us up, and bring us home. Confused about  tomorrow? God promises our future is grounded in love. Let us confess that, though we have heard the promises over and over, we have trouble believing them, as we pray together saying, 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We know what it is like to be singed by the flames of our lives, Holy God. We look for ourselves in all the wrong places - success, power, adulation. We carve our names in the granite walls of work, hoping we will be remembered when we are gone. We have gone through the waters of baptism, but live as if they have not changed us.
     We need to hear your sure word, 'do not fear,' Shaper of our lives. Our failures do not cause you to quit loving us, for you continue to claim us, gathering us up in your compassionate arms. In our baptism, we discover not the end, but the first step of our journey with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God's words of comfort and restoration are more powerful than any foolishness, any mistakes, any sins we commit. This is good news: we 
are God's people!

Thanks be to God! By water and word, by the Spirit of God's redeeming grace, we are marked and sealed as God's beloved children. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts in recognition that we are baptized people, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, we will hold nothing back but will share our lives, our hearts, our energies, as well as our efforts, in ministry to the world around us.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of glory be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, offer your hearts to God.
We give them to the One who comes to redeem us.
Sing songs of praise and joy, Children of God.
We lift our voices to the One who journeys with us through the waters of baptism,
and who feeds us at the Table of hope.

With the water of baptism
reminding us of your love for us,
Voice of Heaven,
we lift our praises to you.
Before you breathed the Word
which tamed chaos,
you named us your children,
     heirs of all the goodness
     you desired for us.
You sang to us in Eden's fields,
inviting us to glorify you forever.
     Yet, we walked into the shadows
          of the world, leaving the songs behind us.
You persisted in your hopes for us,
knowing that where
     no life is anticipated,
      no hope is expected,
      no future is seen,
it is in those barren and desolate places
that you gather your children up
to carry us into your kingdom.

So, with angel choirs in every region,
with shepherds who caroled a homeless family,
with those who came home singing from exile,
we lift our voices in joy and hope:

Holy, holy, holy, Awesome Voice of life and hope.
All creation resounds with your wondrous love.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to be baptized
      with water and the Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Bearer of grace and Singer of truth.
When we lost our voice to sin,
     you sent your Word to teach us
     new songs of joy and praise.
When our feet became muddy
from playing in life's puddles,
     he stepped into the Jordan,
     so we might be cleansed of sin.
When our ears were filled
with the lies of the world,
     he spoke the truth of
     your everlasting hope for us.
When we were about to die,
     he came running to us,
     defeating sin and death,
          marking us as your own
          with the kiss of the Holy Spirit.

As we remember Christ's baptism,
as we recall his life and ministry,
as we follow him through death
into the resurrection of the new life,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Baptized, Christ was called your Beloved;
dying, Christ was your heart broken for us;
risen to new life, Christ is the Voice which shatters all our fears;
coming to gather us up, Christ will bring us home to you.

Holy Spirit,
fill us with the bread of forgiveness
and with the cup of hope.
Flow through us like baptismal waters,
     so we might become
     a river of reconciliation.
Grant us your peace,
     so we might carry this gift to the world.
Set our hope on Christ,
      so we might build such hope
     in our neighbors and communities.

And when the river of time stops flowing,
when we gather as one around your Table,
we will join our voices as your children,
singing to God, Child, and Spirit,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Baptized, we will go to share God's love with others.
We will welcome those the world rejects as our sisters and brothers.
Baptized, we will become the grace of our Lord Jesus.
We will share the waters of life with everyone we meet.
Baptized, we will become the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
We will be a community of justice, not judgment;
we will be a household of hope, not an exclusive club for just a few.

(c)  Thom M. Shuman