Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Liturgy w/communion for Easter 2 - B in a time of pandemic (April 11, 2021)

Texts: Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; John 20:19-31

Call to Worship
The Word of life spoke:
reminding us not to be afraid.
The Word of life reached out:
to touch us in moments we are
almost overwhelmed with uncertainty.

The Word of life walked out of death's dread tomb:
through the days in which we live.
so we might walk with hope

Prayer of the Day

Tomb Emptier:
just as you raised Jesus
out of the shadows and fears
of that lonely grave,
so you come to call us forth
from the fears which surround us,
to fling open the doors of our hearts
which have been locked by this pandemic.

Walker through doors;
you stood in the middle
of your friends in the very place
where they huddled in worry
on the first night of Easter.
as you stood in the middle
Come among us now,
wherever we find ourselves
on this day of celebration,
to remind us that death
no longer keeps us from
our life with you.

Breather of Peace:
come and strengthen
us with you gentle grace,
so we may go into
all the places to be
with all who are afraid,
to serve all who, today,
need grief-shattered hearts mended,
to breathe peace and life
into everyone we meet this day.
God in Community, Holy in One,
be with us, call us, hear us
as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are reminded over and over of God's gracious forgiveness. But we still find it hard to believe, don't we? And however afraid we are to let go of our old ways, God continues to offer us new life. So, join me in confessing our fears and doubts, especially in these days, to the One who is eager to make us whole.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   In the brain fog of these weary days, we not only have trouble finding words of hope and life, God of Grace, we have even more trouble turning words into actions. We continue to struggle to be one in heart and soul, as we choose sides, listen to conflicting voices, and turn our backs on those who are different. And with such great grace poured out on us, we tend to hoard it, rather than sharing it with those around us.
   Forgive us, God of love. Forgive us, that we would rather stay behind the locked doors of our fears, rather than go out into the light of the future you offer to us. Fill us with healing and grace as we offer our brokenness to you, that we might be made whole. This we pray, as we proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news of old, as well as fresh as today: God comes into our lives, to lead us out of fear's shadows into the life God offers to us.
This is the word we have heard; this is the voice we hear; this is the grace which is ours: God is faithful, forgiving us, and making us whole. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

There are so many in need, so many who are afraid, so many who are lonely - so may you take our gifts, Loving God, and use them to bring food to those who hunger, hope to those who struggle, comfort to those who mourn, and peace to all. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Listen! The Risen Lord be with you!
Jesus is with you as well!
Easter People: open your hearts to God.
We offer them to the One who comes
and fills our locked hearts with life.

Children of God, sing with joy on this day of resurrection.
Songs of joy flow from our very being on this day.

Chaos huddled behind its locked doors,
listening to you fiddle with the lock,
until you burst in, breathing creation
into the shadows and emptiness,
God of peace and life.
laughter replaced lamenations
bright stars twinkled in the skies,
goodness raced down the mountainsides.
You created us in your image,
the sweet breath of the
Spirit filling us with life and hope,
but in the evening,
we chose instead to follow death
into its empty tomb, as it shut
the door tight so you could not find us.
Women and men came time and again,
speaking words of grace, trying to call us back,
but we stayed huddled with our fears.
Though we thought the doors were foolproof,
you sent Jesus with the lockpicks
of hope, life, and grace in his hands,
and songs of peace on his lips.

So, with those from every time and every place,
with whom we hold faith in common,
we sing your praises forever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of grace and hope.
All creation praises your glorious name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes that our joy may be complete.
Hosanna in the highest!

You ordained blessings, Gracious God,
the most wonderful being your Child,
Jesus our Christ.
He comes, showing us his hands,
which hold onto us in uncertain times.
He lives, walking beside us,
to strengthen us against fears and worries.
He speaks, continuing to share
the good news of hope and wonder
to those who continue to struggle
to be faithful in endless days of challenge.
He points us to the open tomb,
where he huddled in the shadows,
until your love and light
brought him into resurrection glory.

Today, when we gather around this table,
as we celebrate the resurrection of hope,
we speak of that mystery we have heard and seen:

Christ went to the cross, stretching out his hands to embrace death;
Christ was brought out of the grave, reaching out his hands to embrace your love;
Christ will come, offering us his hands so we might go home with him.

In these days of continuing uncertainty,
come to us, Spirit of God, to breathe
peace and life upon the gifts of the Table
and those who gather wherever they are.
By grace, you take this simple bread
which is broken, to transform it
into the life which makes us whole.
You take this common cup,
and sanctify it with your peace,
so it quenches our thirst for hope.
And then, you breathe upon us,
so we may go to
open the doors slammed shut
by all the prejudices and injustices,
so all may be filled with hope,
all might have life breathed into them,
all may live as one in heart and soul.

And when we have come to the end of life,
may we gather with our sisters and brothers
around that feast of grace and peace you prepare,
so we can join our hearts and voices in singing
your praises throughout all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go forth, walking in the light of God.
We go to share the good news of life
to a world which struggles with a pandemic.

Let us go forth, serving in the light of Christ.
We go to unlock the doors of fear,
to bring hope to all in the shadows.

Let us go forth, living in the light of the Spirit.
We go to share healing with the broken,
to be a community to the lonely.

(c) 2021 Thom M. Shuman