Monday, December 27, 2021

Liturgy w/communion for January 2, 2022 (Christmas 2 - C)

Jeremiah 31:7-14;  Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:(1-9), 10-18

Call to Worship
However far we have wandered from God:
God comes to find us, and to gather us in generous love.
However broken we have become:
God comes to heal us, and make us whole in hope.
However empty our spirits may be:
God comes to feed us, until we are filled to the brim with grace.

Prayer of the Day
Mirror of Abba:
by light and word,
you come to us,
    so we can hear well enough
    to see your songs all around us.
Through grace and truth,
you teach us,
    so we come to know
    how graciousness is the gift
          we can offer to others.
In promise and hope,
you call us,
    trusting that we will
    accept the joy delivered to us
and count on the fulfillment
    of your dreams for us
    and for all creation.

All this we pray,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we speak the words
Jesus teaches us to say together,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Our words, our actions, our silence may make it seem that we are on that path which only hurts others and harms us. But God has destined
us for healing, for hope, for joy. Let us pray to the One who loves us beyond compare. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession.
    In the winter of our lives, Tender God, our passion for following Jesus wilts in the chill of indifference.  We could walk in the light, but tiptoe through the shadows of missed chances. We could look for your glory in others, but gaze instead in the mirror of selfishness, seeing our desires staring back at us.  We could gather the broken of the world to our side, but hold them at arm's length from us.
    Forgive us, Redeeming Grace. Jesus was bringing life and hope to all people. With grace and truth, he calls us to follow. Filling us with peace, he gathers us up and brings us home to you, serving as our Brother, our Savior, our Friend.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Grace upon grace; mercy upon mercy; hope upon hope: these are the gifts God pours out on us in this moment, and all the moments of our lives to come.
Thanks be to God! We are filled to overflowing with God's tender love and peace. We are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of new days be with you.
And also with you.
People of Christmas, lift up your hopes.
We lift them to the one who comes bringing new life to us.
People of hope, offer your thanksgiving to God.
Joy bubbles from our hearts, 

praises dance from our lips to our loving God.

Into the emptiness of chaos,
Blessing of Imagination,
the Word carried all your hopes,
scattering the seeds of goodness
    throughout the universe,
flinging light into the shadows of night,
    planting life in the watery deeps.
You offered us grace upon grace,
    tending to your garden with joy.
But we chose to dance
to the mourning dirges
    played for us by sin and death,
          shutting the doors of our hearts
          in your face.
Prophets came, singing your praises,
telling us of your hopes for us,
    but we would not listen
    to a single word they spoke.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to gather us from the far corners
of despair and loss,
to bring us home to you.

So with those in every place,
and with those through every time,
we join our voices singing to you:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God of all creation!
Before the foundations of the world were poured,
    you prepared every blessing for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Word who comes to bear witness to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you in every moment, Joyous God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Light and Life.
In the beginning,
    he was your Word of creativity,
and at our end,
    he is your Word of hope.
He came among us,
    gifting us with grace and truth,
    whispering of your great love.
Though we rejected him,
he continued to embrace us,
    knowing we were destined for adoption,
    to be his sisters and brothers.
He carried your light
    into the shadowed recesses
    of our lives;
he was filled with
the emptiness of death,
    that we might receive
    the promise of the resurrection
into life with you forever.

As we begin this new year with hope,
we remember his promise to be with us always,
even as we tell of that mystery we call faith:

At the beginning, Christ was your imaginative Word;
at the right time, Christ was the Word of salvation;
at the end, Christ will be the Word of fulfillment.

As your Spirit rests upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup,
    we pray that you would fill us
    with every spiritual blessing.
As we taste of the life
in the Bread which strengthens us,
    we would be made aware
    of the hunger of our world -
          real, daily hunger for food
          as well as yearning for you -
    and go to bring everyone
          to the feast you offer.
As we drink the sweet
richness of your grace,
    we would reach out
    and take the hands of all
    who are despised and rejected,
          drawing them into your dance of life.
As we are filled at your feast,
    we would go to empty ourselves
    of pride and selfishness,
          as we humbly serve
          that great company of the broken.

And when all things
come to an end in your Word,
as we are gathered in the true Light,
sitting with our sisters and brothers
around the kitchen table
in that life we will have
with you forever,
we will join our voices
singing your praises through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman