Sunday, February 24, 2019

Liturgy with communion for March 3, 2019 (Transfiguration - C)

Texts: Exodus 24:29-35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2; Luke 9:28-36 (37-43)

Call to Worship
From a cloud, and in a crowd, God speaks to us.
Calling us to be lovers of justice, to share hope with the broken.
On mountaintops, and in neighborhoods, Christ calls to us.
With a word, and with wonder, molding us into who we are.
On the playground, and at the workstation,

the Spirit whispers in our hearts.
Gathering up our fears, as well as our dreams,

and offering them to God.

Prayer of the Day

Listener of our souls,
when we would
become adept at chicanery,
     you hand us the rule book
     on fair play you have written.
When we would brag
about all our achievements,
     your glory silences our prattling
     so we can hear your
     soft whispers of wonder.

Listener to our hearts,
when we memorize all
the goals and objectives
taught to us by sin and death,
     you become the nemesis
     of our mismanaged lives.
When we become so
hard-headed we butt at grace,
     you soften our pride with
     the warmth of your grace.

Mirror of God's love,
when our lives are veiled
with pride and ignorance,
     you turn us inside out
     to reveal who we truly are.
When we turn our hearts
this way and that,
thinking that God's glory
resembles some abstract art,

     you pull out a snapshot
     of Jesus from your purse.

God in Community, Holy in One,
with you we never lose heart,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Sometimes we wait for God to astound us with whirlwinds of wonders, while God silently offers us grace. God waits to forgive us, so let us hold nothing back, but place our trust in the One who listens to our prayers and answers us with mercy.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We admit that we are often afraid to come near you, Glorious Creator. For if we do, you might see how our faces darken with anger as we speak hurtful words, or whiten with fear of those who are different, or redden from the depths of our desires. We can spend so much time gazing in the mirror of our longings, that we are unable to see the faces etched with loneliness, hollowed by hunger, overshadowed by hopelessness.
     You reveal the mystery of your grace, Holy One, by pouring out mercy upon us. As you bend down to listen, may we speak your love to all those around us.  As you call us into your presence, you send us out to do your justice which brings hope to the world.  This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, our Love, our Justice.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
On mountaintops and in valleys, in our hopes and in our hearts, God knows us better than we know ourselves, and God forgives us when we cannot forgive ourselves!
By God's mercy, we are forgiven; by God's mercy, we are made whole; by God's mercy, we are equipped to serve others. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We have stood on the high crests of hope, and wandered through the valleys of loneliness.  And so, we know what peace, hope, grace, and wonder can mean to others.  As we offer our tangible gifts to you, we would also share these blessings with those we will meet in the days to come.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of mountaintops be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, lift up your hearts to the One who calls to you.
We open our hearts to the One who invites us to listen.
Beloved of God, offer praise to the One who is with you in this moment.
Our voices unite in thanking our God who loves us.

Overshadowing chaos, you spoke,
Awesome Creator,
     and mountains were topped with mist,
     singing brooks meandered through fields.
Created in your image, we had
the audacity to demand our way,
     tempted by sin and death who came
     to us masked as life and joy.
You did not turn your face away,
sending the prophets into all
those ordinary places we lived
to call us back to you.
Though they spoke boldly of your hope,
     we did not listen to a single word.
So you sent Jesus, your glory,
to become flesh and blood

so we might be reshaped
as your beloved children.

With those in every time and place,

with those gathered here,
at this moment, we sing of our joy to you:

Holy, holy, Holy! God who listens to our cries!
All creation trembles with hope and joy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with words of life.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Wonders of wonders,
and your Beloved reigns in peace.
He set aside his glory
     to load us down with the riches*
         of your grace and peace.
He silenced our silly complaints,
     so we might hang on to every
          word of hope, of joy.
He went to the cross,
ripping the mask off death,
     so we could see the face
          of an empty threat.

As we celebrate your naming him your Chosen,
as we prepare to listen to him with our lives,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, to pull aside the curtain of d
Christ was raised, to reveal the promise of new life;
Christ will come, to show us the face of God.

As we gather around your Table,
pour out the blessings of your Spirit,
transforming the simple gifts
into that grace which changes our lives.
As we feed upon the Word
which is broken for us,
we would go forth to speak boldly:
     reading a story to a lonely child,
     advocating for the voiceless,
     telling your good news to those who wander in despair.
As your Cup of peace fills us,
we would go out into the world,
learning that where we do justice
     for the oppressed and rejected,
     we find ourselves in your presence.

So then, when all time comes to an end
and we are gathered in your glory
with our sisters and brothers
around the Feast of Grace and peace,
we will sing your grace forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go forth now, as lovers of the justice of our God.
In cyber clouds, and in crowds of those searching for grace,
we will offer the hope of the One who cares for all.
Go now, as those who have been with Jesus on the mountaintop of wonder,
to serve others in the broken valleys of life.
With words of life on our lips, with the wonder of laughter in our hearts,
we will follow Jesus to all who seek healing and love.
Go now, as those who would offer the Spirit's peace to those around us.
Teaching games of cooperation and not competition to kids,
listening to the lonely whispers of those with whom we work,
we will bring reconciliation to those who are strangers to hope.

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

* - kabod, the Hebrew word for glory, literally means
"to be loaded down with riches."