Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Liturgy with communion for January 31, 2021 (Fourth Sunday after Epiphany - B)

 Texts: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28


Call to Worship
We gather in this sacred space,
to offer our thanks to God with all our hearts.
We gather with this community of faith,
to follow Jesus, who longs to lead us into life.
We gather in these moments,
to learn all we can of grace from the Holy Spirit.

Prayer of the Day
You pull on your work boots,
   crafted from love;
you hang justice and peace
   on your tool belt;
you take on rebuilding neighborhoods
   when we would walk away.
What have you to do with us, Holy God?
You model compassion for us.

You take us by the hand
   to lift us to our feet;
you show us the path
   which leads to humility;
you leave a trail of grace crumbs
   so that we might follow.
What have you to do with us, Brother of the poor?
You call us to serve by your side.
 
You plant words of peace
   deep into our hearts;
you raise up little children
   to whisper hope to us;
you stand by the side 
   of all who look for life.
What have you to do with us, Spirit of grace?
You teach us how to build up others with love.
 
What have you to do with us,
God in Community, Holy in One?
Everything it turns out, everything,
as we lift our prayer to you,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
Though we think we know it all, our lives reflect how little we respect others, how often our words and actions damage those around us.  Let us come to our God, with our prayers as ell as our hearts, so we may be healed with forgiveness.
 
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We come on this holy day, God our God, to speak of how we live.  Politicians, celebrities, talk show folks have become our so-called gods.  Our choices often cause those around us to trip over our anger and slip on our pride.  The words we speak to others show how we really want nothing to do with you.
   Forgive us, Holy God, and have mercy on us.  May we silence our fears, so words of hope may be spoken.  May we give thanks not only with our hearts but with the grace we can share with others.  May justice and peace be the tools we use as we serve beside Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We know who God is – the One who comes to love us, to forgive us, and to save us.
Thanks be to God.  We will spread this good news, and share this grace and hope, with everyone we meet.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Gather our gifts, our hearts, our very lives, Loving God, and use them in your work of reconciliation, grace, and hope for all your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
In this gathering of God’s people, lift up your hearts.
We offer them to our God who fills us with hope.
In this sacred space of joy, sing glad songs.
We join in giving thanks to our God.
 
You are indeed to be praised, O God,
for you poured your Spirit into chaos,
and with your Word raised up
   towering peaks kissing the sky,
   snowflakes blanketing the meadows,
   little birds flitting from bush to bus.
All was formed and offered to us,
your children shaped in your image,
   but we listened to sin and death,
   imposters calling themselves gods.
Because you knew us,
you continued to send prophets to us,
to call us back to you,
   but we said, ‘what do you have
   to do with us?’ ignoring their words.
So, you sent your Child to us,
so that we might know who you are.
 
With the upright and faithful,
with those who stumble along the way,
we will give wholehearted thanks:
 
Holy, holy, holy, are you, Awesome God.
All creation delights in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who teaches us with grace.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
You are holy indeed, Majestic God,
and you astounded us by sending Jesus,
your very Self, to be with us.
By his humility,
   he teaches us 
   to serve others;
by his weakness,
   he models the strength
   to challenge injustice;
by his silence,
   he helps us to listen
   to hearts, not just words;
by his death,
   he shows us how
   to trust in resurrection hope.
 
As we come to the Table,
we proclaim the mystery 
that Jesus came, not to destroy us,
but to save us:
 
Raised up on the cross, he died as he lived,
   trusting in you;
raised from death he points us 
   to your resurrection love;
raising us from our fears, he promises 
   to have everything to do with us.
 
As you pour out your Spirit
on those gathered in this place,
you provide the bread and the cup 
from the simple gifts of creation,
blessing them with your love.
As we eat of the broken bread,
may it bring us closer to all
we are called to serve:
   the hungry, the hurting,
   the cold, the oppressed.
As we drink from the cup,
may its grace raise us up
to go out and become
   carers of the forgotten,
   workers of justice,
   builders of shelters.
 
And when we gather in the company
of our sisters and brothers of every 
time and place around your table,
we will give thanks with our whole hearts,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.  
 
Sending
Now, let us go from this sacred space,
to be with the homeless on the streets,
with the lonely in the hospitals.
Now, let us leave this family of God,
to care for those who have been forgotten,
to lift those shoved aside by the world.
Now, let us set aside this holy time,
to go into the moments of hunger for little children,
to be with those whose days seem to have no end.
 
© Thom M. Shuman