Monday, January 18, 2021

Liturgy with communion for January 24, 2021 (Third Sunday after the Epiphany - 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