Friday, April 12, 2019

Liturgy with communion for April 21, 2019 (Resurrection of the Lord - C)

Texts:  Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; John 20:1-18 

Call to Worship 
This is the day 
angels bring light into our shadows, 
and gardeners harvest good news. 
This is the day the Lord 
awakens us with unexpected grace, 
and the sun breaks out in song. 
This is the day the Lord has made! 
The day when life triumphs over death, 
when love pushes aside fear, 
when hope walks with us in every moment. 

Prayer of the Day 
On this Easter, 
as on that very first day, 
you come, Steadfast Love, 
walking with us to discover 
the good news of the empty grave, 
so that we can run to tell 
everyone we meet. 

On this Easter,  
as on that very first morning, 
you wait and watch, 
Gardener of our hearts, 
as we seek to understand 
this mystery which leaves us 
scratching our heads, until 
we turn to you for answers 
and discover all we need to know 
when you call us by our names. 

On this Easter,  
as in these first moments, 
you whisper to us, 
Spirit of broken hearts, 
of love which rolls away fears, 
of hope which folds grave clothes, 
of grace which overturns every assumption. 

On this Easter, as on all days, 
you are our grace, our hope, our peace, 
God in Community, Holy in One, 
and so we pray as we are taught, saying, 
(The Lord’s Prayer) 

Call to Reconciliation 
On this day, as on every day, we know the ways in which we have denied God’s presence in our lives, with the words, the actions, the harm we offer to others.  Yet on this Easter, as on the first, God heals us, God fills us with grace, God calls us by name.  Let us bring all we have done, so God might forgive us.  Let us pray together, saying, 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
     We think this story is so old, Imaginative God, that we cannot hear the astonishing news of triumph over death.   We are so afraid of our own shadows, that we cannot see the Light of life which is streaming all around us.  Convinced that there is nothing beyond these days we call life, we cannot sense your resurrection hope which is calling to us by our names. 
     On this day of new wonders and everlasting grace, God of our lives, may we be glad that you have not forgotten us.  May we rejoice in the ancient promises which are proclaimed afresh this morning.  May we turn with our questions, our doubts, our hearts towards Jesus, the Gardener of grace, who call us by name and pours resurrection love into us. 

Silence is kept 

Assurance of Pardon 
On this Easter, as on the first; on this day, as on every day; God turns to us, calls us by name, and plants forgiveness and hope in our lives.   
Alleluia!  This is the good news! 
Christ is our peace,  
the peace we need, 
the peace which will heal the world. 
Alleluia! Christ is Risen.  Amen. 

Prayer of Dedication/Offering 
As we turn to you, God of this morning, may we rejoice in our communities, even as we pray you would use our gifts to bring healing and new hope to them.  May we delight in those around us, even as we pray you would fill them with the grace, the peace, the life for which they are longing.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen. 

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving 
The Risen Lord welcomes all to this Table. 
We come to be fed by grace and hope. 
Here, empty hearts are filled with resurrection joy. 
We offer them to the One whose love is ever constant. 
Here, we are taught songs of praise and wonder. 
We rejoice in our God who has defeated death. 

While there was only chaos, God of all time, 
the Spirit breathed, waters began to flow, 
and life began to stir in their depths; 
the Word whispered, mountains began to tremble, 
meadows rippled with grass, creatures began to migrate, 
and creation burst forth into beauty and wonder. 
Everything was formed and shaped 
for those who were made in your image, 
that we would rejoice in your good gifts, 
   but we placed our hope in temptation, 
   and wandered into death’s clutches. 
Women and men came to us, 
speaking, calling, hoping we  
would turn towards you, 
   but we heard sin continue to call our names, 
   believing it knew us best.   
Before you called, your Child  
was willing to become one of us, 
knowing our thoughts, our temptations, 
experiencing our death and fears. 

With those who hope in Christ, 
with those who come with questions, 
we join in our songs of praise to you: 

Holy, holy, holy are you, Steadfast love of all. 
All creation joins in Easter’s glad songs. 
Christ is risen!  Alleluia! 

Blessed is the One who has destroyed our last enemy. 
Christ is risen!  Alleluia! 

In your holiness, God who listens to us, 
you chose to forget the former things we did, 
and in your love, your Child became fully human. 
When our lives were crumbling around us, 
   he came to rebuild us as your people; 
when we were wandering aimlessly, 
   he took us by the hand to lead us home; 
when we were alone and afraid, 
   he wrapped us in your constant love; 
when everyone forgot who we were, 
   he remembered our names; 
when we knew that life ended  
when we took our last breath, 
   he challenged the power of death itself,          
   shrouded and placed in grave’s embrace, 
   so that he could come forth, and fill us 
   with the new life in the resurrection. 

As we remember his death, and hope in his resurrection. 
as we sing glad songs, and whisper of our doubts, 
we would proclaim that mystery we call faith: 

The One we thought was dead 
   is alive; 
thOne we thought was lost 
   has found us; 
the One we thought we would never see again 
   recognizes us and calls us by our names. 

On this Easter morning, pour out your Spirit 
upon this ordinary bread that it might offer life, 
and on the cup that it might overflow with grace, 
and on your people gathered in this place, 
people with great faith, and those who struggle with it; 
people who understand the mystery, and those who question; 
people who have tried to follow Jesus, and those who have failed. 
With the broken bread, you transform us 
into new people who will rejoice by 
   welcoming the stranger, 
   listening to the ignored, 
   offering hope to those who grieve.  
With the cup of grace, you nourish us 
so that we may delight in your people by 
   learning from those  
      whose stories have never been told, 
   holding the hands of those  
      whose only companion is loneliness, 
   walking with children who know 
      the forgotten trails to joy. 

And when that morning comes 
when there will be no more weeping 
but only glad songs of joy and wonder,  
we will gather with those of every time,  
with sisters and brothers from every place,  
to rejoice in the meal of grace and life,  
which you serve us in love,  
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.  

We could just return to our homes and go back to life, 
but we will go to rebuild neighbors,  
and share the light we have received.   
We could just stand around and wonder where Jesus has gone,  
but we will turn and, as he calls us by name,  
follow to bring hope and healing to our world.   
We could just keep quiet and not whisper a word to anyone,  
but we will go to tell others of the good news  
that Jesus is alive and in our midst.      

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman