Thursday, September 23, 2021

World Communion Liturgy in a time of pandemic (October 3, 2021)

 Call to Worship

L:         From where we are sheltering in place,

from sacred spaces where

folks are socially distancing themselves,

P:         we are gathered as God’s people,

called to the Table where brokenness

nourishes us with simple grace.

L:         From virtual communities from all over the world,

with families gathered in living spaces,

P:         we are gathered as God’s faithful community,

serving, living, caring wherever we are.

L:         From neighborhoods made up of those

of every class, every race, every branch of faith,

P:         we are gathered as witnesses to God’s hope

and peace which have not disappeared 

in every place, in every person in this uncertain time.


Prayer of the Day 

Once, you saw your children

held bondage by fear and despair

and gathered them up to journey

with them into freedom and hope.

In these days of worry and uncertainty,

continue to walk with your children

who feel captive by a virus we cannot see

Fill our hearts and souls

with sighs more precious than

all we value, Word Speaker.


Once, you came,

not with blueprints under your arms,

but with grace cradled in your hands.

You came,

not to force us to choose side

as so many these days try to do,

but to be that voice which calls us together.

You came,

so that we would not have to worry about

what lies ahead of us on these days,

but so we could see that community

of gentleness, of justice, of life you have prepared.

Fill our hearts emptied of hope

with your grace more precious

than our deepest fears, Word Bearer.


When we long to trust those promises

offered to us by those who do not care

for anyone but themselves.

when we are tempted to believe those

who say there is nothing to worry about

and no reason to look out for others,

when we hesitate to put our trust

in those who would have us care

for the forgotten, the most vulnerable,

may we be nudged into seeking 

to live out our calling to live in unity.

Fill our uneasy, shattered spirits

with your peace more precious

than the brokenness we grasp, Word of Wisdom


God in Community, Holy in One,

hear the words of our hearts

as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,

(The Lord’s Prayer)


Call to Reconciliation

In these confusing days, it is easy to think that there are no rules we need to follow, but we can live, act, do whatever we want. But Paul reminds us that, when we gain Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive exactly what we need - forgiveness, grace, hope. Let us confess our foolishness to God, that we might know God's healing love for us!


Unison Prayer for Forgiveness

If we were to name all the gods we have before you, Rock of Redemption, we would be here for a very long time. We elevate politicians into saviors, though they are as broken as we are. We misuse your name so much during the uncertain and terrifying days, we have trouble speaking to you in prayer at night. We are so busy being worried and fearful, we do not notice how creation witnesses to your goodness and grace.


Forgive us, God our Hope. Even in our uncertainty, may we trust that your love never abandons us. Even in our fears, may we know that your presence never leaves our side. Even when our faith falters, may we know that your grace is the most valuable gift we have, and we can open our emptiness, our hearts, our lives to the healing and loving presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen


Silence is kept


Assurance of Pardon

L:         Persistently, patiently, lovingly, 

God pours out grace and joy into our lives, 

healing our brokenness, forgiving our sin.

P:         Loved, we are sent to love those who have been forgotten. 

Forgiven, we are freed to offer mercy 

to those who are cruel to us. 

Graced, we can offer our gifts to everyone we meet. 

Thanks be to God. Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offering

We can join in hoarding all the gifts with which you bless us, God of generosity, or we can share them with others. May what we offer in these moments be the very blessing, the very hope, the very peace others need. This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

L:         May the composer of hope be with you!

P:         And also with you!

L:         Beloved, God has created us to live faithfully in these times.

P:         We lift our hearts to the One 

who shapes us into communities of grace and peace.

L:         Join in singing to God, who takes away all our fears.

P:         We will dance with joy to the Table of peace and hope,

even if it is the table in our kitchen or living room.


L:         We tremble in these moments

of uncertainty, of days which seem endless,

wondering if there is any word for us.

So, remind us that you spoke

into the trembling emptiness of chaos,

and your goodness and wonder

began all those days and nights

when hope raced across the sky,

when grace bubbled up from springs,

when peace wandered the meadows.

All these gifts were, and still are,

crafted for those made in your mage, 

even when we grumble in wildernesses

or live in the exile of fear and worry,

or seek to have our way, not yours.

In every moment when your people

were alone, afraid, felt abandoned by all,

you sent prophets - women and men,

to remind us of your promises and point us

to all the ways you continue to love.

Even in these months of isolation,

even in these days which seem the same,

even in these moments we are alone,

you are with us, in the life, the promises

made known in the Child you sent

to point us to the way home to you.


So, with those who trembled at

the foot of your holy mountain,

and with those who press on to follow you,

we join our voices in praise to you:


P:         Your Word opens our eyes to all creation.

Your Word is the sweet taste of joy 

for empty hearts.

Your Word helps us to endure through every

moment which seems unbearable.

Blessed is your Word who comes in your name.

Hosanna in the highest!


L:         Though others mock us for such trust,

we continue to believe that we know

your holiness in the hope you share, God of our hearts,

and we realize how blessed we are

by the grace we have received in your Child, Jesus.

In these times when we wonder

if anyone really cares about us,

he is the One who is your love

poured out for us, each of us.

In these days when bitter voices

would seek to seduce us with anger,

he is the gentle voice which calls

us to trust in your heart broken for us.

In the moments when people seem 

not to care for the most vulnerable,

for those most at risk from this virus,

he is the living demonstration 

that death has no ultimate power

but that your resurrecting love

is the final word spoken about us.


As we would seek to model his gentleness

and grace in these overwhelming times,

as we try to let his light be revealed in us,

we would speak of that mystery we call faith:


P:         Setting aside all he valued,

Christ became our treasure,

so we might know how precious we are to God.

Setting aside his own life,

Christ rescued us from all foolishness

so we might know the One who loves us.

Setting aside our doubts and fears,

we yearn for the promised of the return

of the grace, love, and hope of Christ. 


L:         Now, around table and altars

in sacred spaces which echo with silence,

around nicked and initialized wooden tables

and glass topped tables in homes,

we pray, Redeemer of all creation,

that you would pour out your Spirit

on each and every place,

and on each and every person.

Whether it is bread that is broken,

or crackers that are split apart,

may these gifts remind us

that it is moments when we least expect,

for those people we usually do not notice,

that we are called 

to share your grace

to listen to the lonely

to welcome the heartbroken

to embrace the vulnerable.

Whether it is a mug of tea,

a glass of wine or juice,

or even a glass of water,

may this be your grace poured into us

so that we might become

people who will not give up on justice,

people who will not let go of hope,

people who will not hoard life,

people who will trust in you always.


And when this pandemic comes to an end

and we can gather once again 

with our sisters and brothers around the Table,

we will know what your promised Feast

in that place, that time, that life beyond this,

where all hurtful words silenced,

where all is pain left behind,

where hope and grace are our closest friends,

and we will join our hearts and voices

with our sisters and brothers

who forever sing of your glory,

God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.



L:         Even in this time of pandemic,

we are a blessed people.

P:         We will go to be a blessing in the world.

L:         Even when there are so many angry people around us,

we are the face of Jesus.

P:         We will go to be love and compassion to all.

L:         Even when we are isolated, quarantined,

living in lockdowns, we are the family of God.

P:         We will go to serve our sisters and brothers

wherever we may find them.


© 2020 Thom M. Shuman