Saturday, April 27, 2019

Liturgy with communion for May 5, 2019 (Easter 3 - C)

Texts: Acts 9:1-6 (7-20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

Call to Worship
Now is the time to sing!
to sing the good news of God:
who awakens us with dawn’s embrace,
who surrounds us with joy and life.
Now is the time to offer praise to God,
in every place, with every voice:
to rejoice in the One who leads us through each moment
with a gentle hand and a word of hope.
Now is the time to join all creation in extolling God,
from the depths of the sea to the farthest galaxies:
We will sing the good news of Easter!
We will rejoice in the God who loves us.

Prayer of the Day
We pile our fears and worries
on the bedside table,
tossing our dreams and hopes
into the waste can to be emptied,
tangling ourselves up in the covers
as well as our fears, spending
another sleepless, endless night.
But your joy comes
in the birds that sing us awake,
in the sun which warms us,
in blue skies that mark the way,
Holy Imagination.

The day awaits us, and
we are hesitant to step out the door,
our aging bodies wearied with illness,
memory that doesn’t seem as sharp as it once was,
bullies wait to taunt us at school,
we wonder if today we will find out
that our job is no longer needed.
But your grace comes
in the laughter at lunch with friends,
in the child who tells us a silly joke,
in the touch of a loved one,
Imagination’s Child.

The evening stretches before us,
and we sit at the table
across from the empty chair,
we dread the phone call
from the ever-forgetful parent,
we weep at the images
of pain and suffering flashing before us.
But your hope comes
in the silence of healing,
in the dog who nuzzles our hands,
in the card sent by an old friend,
Spirit of wonder.

You come to us in every moment,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so we lift our prayer to you in praise,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We can hold on to hurt until our hands begin to cramp, and keep holding.  Though they bow our back, we refuse to set our grudges down, because we don’t know what it would feel like to have that weight off us.  And we think that is the way God operates as well.  But God’s anger lasts for just a moment, while the grace, the forgiveness, and the hope God offers never goes away.  Let us dare to bring our prayers to the One who hears us and heals us, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Now that Easter is done and gone, Holy One, we no longer hear the special music, but listen to temptation’s familiar refrains.  We no longer walk those straight paths of joy and wonder, but wander the crooked streets to our old haunts.  Rather than living in the newness you bring, we do things the way they have always been done.
   Fortunately, God of seaside breakfasts, you know the way out of our messy lives, and so take us by the hand to lead us.  You wipe our busy schedules off our calendars so we may spend more time with those who need our love and attention.  You challenge us to fish from the other side of our worries, so we may pull in all the grace, wonder, and mercy offered to us by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Why should we weep?  Joy comes to us this morning, and every moment of our lives.  The Lamb of God has come, to share mercy and hope with us, so we can praise our God with joyous hearts.
We will lift glad songs of joy, for all the blessings God has given to us.  We will offer our hearts and hands in love and serve to others.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May the gifts we offer this day, Kind God, bring joy to those whose mornings are hopeless, feed those who noontimes are filled with hunger, and bring peace to those whose nights are surrounded by fears and worries.  This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of morning joy be with you!
May the God of gracious moments be with you!
Lift your hearts to God, children of love and hope!
We offer them to the One who fills us with life!
Let us sing glad praises to our God!
Our voices join all creation in glad songs!

You looked, and in the midst of chaos,
you heard the Spirit singing
creation into existence, Wondrous God:
   majestic eagles and tiny hummingbirds,
   graceful giraffes and awkward aardvarks,
   earthworms and moles,
   hermit crabs and sea horses.
Dust could not praise you, so
you gathered it up, using it
to shape us in your image
that we might enjoy the gifts found
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea,  
   but we foolishly fell into the traps
   dug by death to capture us.
You sent the prophets to us who,
through their words and actions,
reminded us that we had been shaped
to be as upright as mountains,
   but we continue to allow sin
   to form us into molehills.
Dismayed, you could have hidden your face,
but sent us your heart instead.

So with those whose nets are empty of hope,
with those whose lives overflow with grace,
we sing your praises with full voices:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who loves us
      more than these.
Creatures of heaven, earth, under the earth,
      and in the sea join in extolling you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Lamb who is worthy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who leads us
by the hands out of our shadowed lives,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, who feeds us life.
When we cried,
   he came to wipe away our tears;
when we were speechless,
   he taught us songs of praise;
when we dressed is ashes,
   he gave us grace’s garments;
though we loved sin and death
more than we loved him,
   he went to the cross,
   filling death’s nets with his spirit,
   so its power over us
   might be emptied forever.

As we remember the Lamb who is worthy,
as we come to the Lamb’s Feast this day,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, as God’s heart broke;
Christ was raised, as all creation sang in joy;
Christ will come, as we are gathered
   in the fullness of time.

Lead us by the hand, gracious God,
to the Table where the bread, the cup,
and the guests all receive the Spirit
which is poured out upon them.
As we come to eat of the bread,
may its brokenness give us strength
   to stand up to persecutors
      of the most vulnerable;
   to challenge those who love themselves
      more than the frightened and lonely.
May the cup of life
fill us with the courage
   to feed those who hunger
      for grace and hope;
   to tenderly care for those
      discarded by the world.

Then, when the Lamb gathers
those of every time and place
for the Supper of Joy in eternity,
we will fall down and worship you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now it is time to get up and go.
We will leave in order to follow God into the world.
Now it is time to enter the brokenness all around us.
We will go to bring the healing and peace of Jesus to all.
Now it is time to bring words of hope and grace to all.
The Spirit will give us the words we need in every moment.

(c) Thom M. Shuman