Monday, March 27, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for April 9, 2023 (Easter - A)

 Texts:  Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 18-24; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18

Call to Worship
This is the day
hope tiptoes us awake;
light guides us through the shadows.
This is the day the Lord
plants joy in our winter hearts;
drowns out despair’s cries with laughter.
This is the day the Lord has made
the day grace does cartwheels in graveyards;
resurrection wonder outshines the brightest sun;
an empty tomb fills us with good news.

Prayer of the Day
Each morning,
we put on those
   comfortable garments
   of burdens and worries,
but now they are gone!

Each day,
we walk through life,
our good and faithful
friend, death, at our side,
   constantly whispering
   in our ears,
but now he has disappeared!

Each evening,
empty our fears
out of our pockets, leaving
   them on top of the dresser,
but now, they have been taken away!

We could continue to live
in the same old ways, the same old days,
but now, resurrection life is ours,
and we can sing, dance, and rejoice with you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are Easter people, yet we also know how often we live in the shadows, afraid to follow the light.  We wander in the gardens of the world, looking for you, never noticing you at our side.  Let us confess how we have failed to be God’s people, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We come on this day, Dispeller of fears, walking through the shadows of our lives.  Too often, we believe our foolishness is hidden from you; too often, we stand before the open door of hope, wondering if we dare enter.  Uncertain of the good news offered to us, we would rather return to the comfort of our familiar ways rather than trusting in you.
   Yet you come, as persistent as Mary at the tomb,
   Joy of our hearts,
   to open the gates of hope,
      so we might walk in the gardens of hope;
   you come, to open the gates of grace,
      so we might plant peace in the wilderness of the world;
   you come, to open the gates of resurrection,
      so we might know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the day of resurrection and new life.  This is the day God offers us steadfast hope and love which will never end.
We will sing and dance on this day!  We will rejoice and give thanks to the God who saves us.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts on this joyous morning, may the bring light to those in the shadows, laughter to all who mourn, and hope to those longing for life anew.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May resurrection’s God be with you!
And also with you!
This is the day to offer yourselves to God.
We open our hearts to the One who fills them with grace.
Join in the glad songs of all creation this day.
Our voices praise the One who opens wide the gates of life.

When only emptiness stretched out,
you spoke at that time, Joyous God,
and goodness and beauty sprang forth:
   swallows darting in the skies,
   young rabbits scampering in the grass,
   hippos splashing in rivers.
All this wonder and joy was your gift
to your children created in your image,
   but we ran to play with death,
   when sin opened the gates of seduction.
Time after time after time,
you sent the prophets to remind us
of your never-ending love, but
   we chose to remain in sin’s tomb,
   the stone of our rebellion locking us away.
So you sent your Hopeful heart,
your grace made flesh so
we might not be given over to death.

With those who see and believe,
with those who stand and question,
we lift our Easter songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who has made this day!
All creation celebrates your constant love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is revealed on this morning.
Hosanna in the highest!

When he could have clung to your glory,
God who alone is holy,
Jesus chose to become human at that time,
so we might be filled with your grace.
When we stood against the wall
wondering if anyone noticed us,
  he came to take us by the hand
   to teach us new dance steps.
When our lives crumble around us
and we lie scattered on the ground,
   he gathers us up, reshaping us
   into your beloved community.
When we were unable to break
the power of evil over us,
   he allowed sin to toss him
   aside like a pebble in a shoe,
   until he was raised from the tomb
   because you refuse to give us
   over to death.

As we stand before the empty tomb,
celebrating the great news of this day,
we would have that faith which is a mystery:

Christ died, so sin could not hold on to us;
Christ was raised, so death could not hold on to him;
Christ will come, to hold us in steadfast love and hope.

At this time, in this place,
pour out your Spirit upon your people
and on the gifts of the feast of the resurrection.
May the bread which is broken open like the tomb,
strengthen us so we may go
   to rebuild shattered hopes,
   to bind up the hurts of the world.
May the cup which is filled
with the fruits of your steadfast love,
nourish us to leave the shadows
of our fears and doubts
   to stand with the lonely and forgotten,
   to listen to the cries of the world.

And in that time to come,
when we will be gathered
with all our siblings
of every place and of every moment,
we will sing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you hold on to us forever.  Amen.

Let us go with God into the world.
We will offer healing and hope to all
who wander in the shadows of life.
Let us go with Jesus to serve others.
We will listen to the ignored;
we will speak out for the forgotten.
Let us go with the Spirit to share steadfast love.
We will hold on to the fallen;
we will rebuild shattered communities.

© Thom M. Shuman

Liturgy w/communion for April 2, 2023 (Palm Sunday - A)

Texts: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 21:1-11

Call to Worship
L: Here in this place, with these people,
we begin that week we call Holy.
P: We crane our necks to see the parade,
we will bow our heads as the funeral
procession winds through the streets.
L: We have been with Jesus on this journey;
we long for courage to go to the end.
P: In one hand, we clutch the palm branches;
in the other, we cradle our broken hearts.
L: As children dance excitedly around him,
Jesus humbly enters our lives.
P: Hosanna! We welcome the kingdom
bearer into our midst. Hosanna!

Prayer of the Day
Our hearts are wounded
by the nails we carry in them,
yet you would heal us
with your love.
We are worn to the quick
by the struggles of our lives,
yet you carry us in your heart.
Our souls are emptied
by the loneliness of our lives,
yet you would fill us
with our siblings.
Blessed are you,
who comes to live with us!

You could have remained
in Nazareth, caring for your family,
but you journeyed through our lives
to bring us home.
You could have stayed
at home in glory,
but you vacated God's heart,
to serve us with grace.
You could have come
clutching unbearable power,
but you filled your pockets
with humility's wealth
to share it with us.
Blessed are you,
who comes to save us!

When we would puff up with pride,
deflate us with your gentleness.
When we would go home,
after the parade has ended,
walk us to the foot of the cross.
When we would put
our "Hosannas" away
for another year,
teach us to sing
our gratitude for new life.
Blessed are you,
who comes to help us.

God in Community, Holy in One
we bless you, as we lift our prayer, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

We sing, we wave our branches, we shout 'Hosanna.' Then, we turn away, to go back to our old ways, our old lives, our old sins. But God is in the business of granting forgiveness and filling us with new life. Let us confess to the One who comes to fill us with grace,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   With eager hearts and open hands, Holy One, we welcome Jesus, until he refuses the power we offer him, choosing to become our servant.  We pick up the faith we had laid on the ground before him, and put it back on the shelf where it belongs. Our pride keeps us from being able to follow him all the way to Calvary.
   Hosanna, Steadfast God, save us! Help us to let our fears, our doubts, our faithlessness slip from our lives to fall at your feet, so we may stand with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who comes in your name, in your glory, in your grace to save us.  Amen. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

L: Tell the daughters of despair, proclaim it to the
sons of sadness: Christ has come to save us!
P: Hosanna! We will give our thanks to God,
who comes to bring us grace, hope, life.
Hosanna in the highest. Amen!


Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We are pretty sure we have nothing to offer to others, but when we begin to think like Jesus, we see the blessings we have, and the opportunities we are given to be your grace, your hope, your love in the lives of those around us, as we care for all your children in these days. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: The Lord of parades be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: People of God, open your hearts
to the One who comes with hope.
P: We would receive the joy and grace
the prophet from Nazareth brings us.
L: Give thanks to God,
for God's love endures forever!
P: God is our God, the One who comes
to make us whole.

Joy is indeed the highest praise
we can offer to you,
Steadfast Love.
On that first morning,
you woke creation
from its slumbering sleep,
to give light to chaos' shadows.
Morning by morning,
you shaped your dreams
into everything that is true,
turning hopes into your justice.
You asked simply that we rejoice
in your gifts and glory,
but we chose to sing the choruses
of sin and rebellion,
following death as it paraded
through the world.
Prophets struggled to awaken
our dulled ears
with whispers of peace,
but we laughed at their ideas
that we should return to you.
When you could have set your face like flint,
when you could have hardened your resolve,
you sent your Child, your Joy,

Therefore, we join our voices in thanksgiving,
with those who shouted "Hosanna"
and with those who ran away from you,
with those in every moment, and in this moment,
singing with all creation to your glory:

P: Holy, holy, holy are you, Opener of our ears.
All creation proclaims, "God's steadfast love endures forever."
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who opens the gates of righteousness.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God our Creator,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who comes in your grace.
When he could have filled your heart,
he poured himself out for us;
when he could have remained by your side,
he came to be a servant,
raising us to glory;
when he could have watched from heaven,
he came down to show us your heart;
when he could have taken the easy way,
he chose to be faithful to you,
even to the point of shameful death.
As he gathered up our brokenness
to make us whole,
you raised him to new life,
and he stands with us in eternity,
glorifying you forever.

As we remember the joy and excitement of the parade,
as we remember the gentle words he taught,
as we remember the spirit with which he died,
we proclaim the One who is the Bread of Life:

P: Christ died, emptying his life for us;
Christ was raised, defeating our old adversaries sin and death;
Christ will come, to fulfill what has been promised.

Here, at this Table,
we would receive the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and your Spirit which anoints us with peace.
Nourish us with the Bread of hope,
that we might go into
the brokenness of our world;
fill us with the cup of grace,
so the weary would discover us
standing by their side;
fill us with the overflowing joy
of the good news,
so we might sing forever
of your heart's desire
for justice and peace for all people.

Then, on that final morning,
when we gather for the Feast of the Lamb,
when we are seated with those
who shouted their hosannas,
as well as those who yelled for death,
we will join our voices in eternity's anthem,
giving our thanks to you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

L: Now we will set aside our palm branches,
P: to go and serve at God’s side
in a broken and fearful world.
L: Now we will pick up our cloaks
and follow Jesus wherever he leads,
P: to learn from those the world ignores,
to be touched by the grace within them.
L: Now we will sing songs of wonder,
P: as we work alongside the Spirit,
sustaining the weary with peace and hope.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for March 26, 2023 (Lent 5 - A)

 Texts:  Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

Litany for Lent
In the buds on the trees eager to burst;
in the flowers poking their heads out of the dirt;
in the children chalking spring on the sidewalks:
we see how you love us, God of steadfast love.
In the tears of a worried father over his son's illness;
in the weariness of a mother facing a long shift at work;
in the woman who anoints her grandbaby with talcum powder:
we see how you love us, our Resurrection and our Life.
In the touch of a wife on her husband's papery skin;
in the birds which rush into the sky before spiraling down;
in the words we are given to offer to the empty-hearted:
we see how you love us, Breath of our souls.

Silence is kept

Creator of life:
bring us light, we pray.
Mourner of the dead:
take away our grief, we pray.
Refresher of dry lives:
bind us to God forever, we pray, as we say together,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If it is true that God has recorded our failings, we hope it will never be published.  But in truth, if the book was opened, every page would be blank, for God forgives us of everything we have done, or failed to do.  So, let us wait for God's mercy and grace, as we come with our prayers for forgiveness, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are set free by your saving grace, Generous God, yet we must confess how we are still bound by our pride and arrogance.  We seem unable to throw off the grave clothes of our habitual sin, finding them too comfortable to wear.  We cling to our fears, for they are so familiar and make such good companions.
     Yet, there in every corner of our lives, in every shadow we fear, into the cold embrace of death itself, you come, Steadfast Love.  You break the bonds of sin and terror, giving us new strength and hope for the journey, and calling us to new life through the love and sacrifice of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
You can put your hope in God, dear friends, for God offers us that love which never fades, that life which never ends.
We wait for God, and God does not fail us.  God's hope, God's love, and God's grace are forever.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
For all left by the side of society, for all whose strength has vanished, for all whose bones are brittle with despair, may our gifts bring hope and healing, peace and plenty, in your name and in your love.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of tears be with you.
And also with you.
Offer your hearts to the One who calls us out of death into life.
Unbound, we bring our hearts to our God of new mornings.
People of God, sing songs to the One in whom we hope.
We rejoice in God, who dwells in our souls.

In that first moment, God of wonder,
you cried out, 'Unbind creation and let her go!'
      and flowers grew in the cracks of chaos,
     blustery winds played talk through the forests,
     lambs leapfrogged one another in the meadows.
Your hand came upon the dry dust of earth,
and your Spirit breathed life into us.
You longed for us to be with you,
     but we allowed sin and death
     to lead us around by the nose.
You called to women and men,
'Prophesy!' urging them to call us back.
     but we did not believe their words.
So you sent a certain man named Jesus,
to cause new life to come upon us.

With those who have stood beside graves,
and those who wait for signs of hope,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of our shadowed valleys.
All creation hopes in you and waits.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who calls us to new life.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, Caresser of our souls,
and Jesus is our Child, our Friend.
Seeing that those he loved were sick,
     he brought us healing.
Finding us wandering in despair,
     he showed us that our hope
     need never turn to dust.
Believing that you loved him,
     he went to the cross, for us.
And when he was in death's cold arms,
you stood at the door of the tomb,
crying out, 'unbind him, and let him go!'
and our Resurrection and our Life
came forth for us.

Believing that he is the One who calls us to new life,
trusting that, by his tears, he takes away our pain,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, taking away the sins of the world;
Christ was raised, taking away the power of sin and death;
Christ will return, taking us by the hand to lead us home.

In the bread and the cup,
you give life to us,
as the Spirit comes to dwell
in every room of our souls.
You bless the bread, breaking it,
so it might heal and strengthen us
so we can say
     to the barren, 'here is your life;'
     to the despairing, 'here is your hope!'
As the grace-filled cup nourishes us
we would go into the world
     to visit those who are sick,
     to wait with the expectant,
     to share tears with the broken.

And when you call of us to your side,
we will join Lazarus, Mary, Martha,
and all our siblings
in forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now go forth with God's hope!
We have put flesh on our faith and will go to serve others.
Now go forth to fill others with Christ's Light!
We will go to call others to new life, wiping away their tears.
Now go forth with the steadfast love of the Spirit!
We will go to share that hope for which all people long.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for March 19, 2023 (Lent 4 - A)

 Texts: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Call to Worship
Early each morning, God waits to greet us with joy and wonder.
We awake to find ourselves enveloped in grace.
During the day, Jesus comes to invite us to serve.
We rise from our work and leisure to bring healing and hope to others.
In the shadowed evenings of our fears and worries, the Spirit is with us.
The Light of life is shines on us in every moment of every day.

Prayer of the Day
One thing we know,
Listener to our hearts:
     you are the One
     who sends us on journeys
     and waits for us at
     the final destination.

One thing we know,
Healer of our lives:
     when we find ourselves
     in valleys veiled in shadows,
     you are walking alongside us
     even though we may never notice.

One thing we know,
Comforter of our souls:
     when we are weakened
     by the burdens of our lives,
     you come to us, to rest
     your strengthening peace upon us.

One thing we know,
God in Community, Holy in One:
once we could not see you in every moment,
but now our eyes are opened wide,
and so we pray together, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
God longs for us to sit by the still waters of love, but we are too busy stirring up trouble with our actions, with our words, with our inability to be God's children.  Let us bring our prayers to the One who will restore us with goodness and mercy, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Like Cinderella, Loving God, we sit in the ashes of our hopes, but you see us as your beloved children.  We pay strict attention to all who break the rules, but ignore the grace which is poured out upon us.  We try to box you in with boundaries we can manage, but you continue to burst forth to bring newness into the world.
     Have mercy on us, God of forgiveness, and open our eyes to your presence among us.  As you look at our hearts, may we see others in a different way, not as enemies or strangers, but sisters and brothers of the same family, kin to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The Spirit of the Lord has come upon us, bringing hope, life, and forgiveness for each person.
Now we will go forth as God's children, sent to bring the good news to everyone we meet.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
With you as our shepherd and by sharing our gifts, we can indeed anoint others with grace, prepare feasts for the hungry, welcome the stranger, and love those we consider to be our enemies.  Bless these gifts, and use our lives for others, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of still waters be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to the One who gives you rest.
We open ourselves to God, who restores us.
Join together in glad songs of praise to God.
We rejoice in the One who is our comfort and hope.

You prepared a feast of wonder
for us, Imagination beyond power,
when creation burst forth:
     green pastures radiant with sunflowers;
     cool, still pools for rest and renewal;
     paths formed by antelopes up mountainsides.
Your heart overflowed with love
as you showed us what to do
that we might live with you in peace.
     But looking at sin and death,
     we said, 'surely these are the
     ones we should follow,' and
     trailed after them.
You would not reject us,
but sent prophets to pursue us,
calling us to return to you.
     But we did not know
     where they came from
     and so ignored them.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
providing a Savior for yourself,
and for those who wander death's valleys,
so we might be brought home to you.

With all who once lived in the shadows,
but now walk in the light of grace,
we sing glad thanksgivings to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Shepherd.
All that is good and right and true sings your praises.
Hosanna in the highest!

 Blessed is the One who prepares this Table for us.
 Hosanna in the highest!

You are goodness, God of pastures and pools,
and Jesus Christ, your Son, is our mercy.
He came peacefully,
     so our differences might be reconciled.
As he walked along,
     he brought light to those
     who could not see the way.
Seeing the foolish choices we made,
     he decided to look at our hearts,
     so we might be drawn closer to you.
Your anointed One,
     he went into death's deepest valley,
     coming forth as the Risen One,
     bathed in resurrection's life.

Once we were children of the shadows,
but now we are heirs of the Light of Christ,
and so we speak of that faith we know as a mystery:

Christ died, his spirit broken on the cross;
Christ was raised, the Spirit of God coming upon him with joy;
Christ will come, the Spirit shining upon us.

Here is the Table prepared for us,
God of still waters and deep love,
your Spirit transforming the simple gifts
of the bread and the cup into
that goodness and mercy which is always with us.
We take the bread, broken for our healing,
and share it with one another
so we may go forth and do all
that makes your heart race with joy:
     bringing hope to those who suffer,
     listening to the voices of the hopeless.
We take the cup which overflows with grace,
and take it to pour out on
     all who have lost their way,
     all who long for community.

And when our journeys have ended
around the Table prepared for us in glory,
we will join our hearts and voices
with those from every age and time
and forever sing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now go to take the love of God into the world.
We will show others the way to God's fields of grace.
Now go to take grace of Jesus into the world.
We will seek to bring others to the still waters of peace.
Now go to take the community of the Spirit into the world.
We will work to restore the lives of all whom we meet.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 06, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for March 12, 2023 (Lent 3 - A)

 Texts:  Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Call to Worship
Come and see the ambassador of God's friendship for us.
We will find Jesus waiting to meet us:
in classrooms, at a shopping center,
in all the common places and moments.
Come and hear the One who speaks of God's joy in us.
We will listen to Jesus, whose words of grace and peace
raise the rafters of our hope.
Come and know how much God loves you.
We will discover Jesus, who offers us the gift of reconciliation.

Prayer of the Day
When we were determined
to remain at war with you,
you sent the Prince of Peace.
When our relationship with you
was laying in pieces on the floor,
you offered the broken Bread
to restore us to wholeness.
When petty pride
stiffens our necks so much
we cannot bow down
in your holy presence,
you massage our souls
with grace's tender touch.
We worship you in joy,
God, our God.

When our ears become stuffed
with our selves,
you open them with songs
of grateful praise.
When our mouths overflow
with rich, sweet whine,
you wash them out
with living waters of hope.
When all we can say
is 'Give me! Give me!'
you challenge us
to submit to servanthood.
We worship you in sprit,
Jesus, Water Giver.

When our souls are empty,
you fill them with living water.
When we are reluctant
to follow Jesus,
you steer us in the right direction.
When we are tempted to boast,
your whispers of grace silence us.
We worship you in truth,
Comforter of our hearts.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our joy, our truth, our spirit,
we worship you, as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Walking the dog, reading a bedtime story, recycling newspapers - in every moment, in every place, God is there.  Let us confess how often we do not see God in our lives, especially in how we live them.  Join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   God of eternity, you know how often we travel down the rocky roads of doubt and fear.  We pester others with our worries; we hurl bitter words at those we love.  We have chances to offer ourselves in service, but only give our contempt to those in need.  We could share the living waters with the world, but want to store it in jars for safe-keeping.
   Fountain of Grace, you turn towards us, to meet us wherever we are.  You break open our rock-hard sin, so we might be made whole.  In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, our thirst for hope and joy is quenched.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God does not disappoint us.  Our sins are forgiven, our lives are made whole, we are sent forth to serve.
In Jesus Christ, living water breaks through the roof of our hearts, in such abundance that we don't have enough buckets to hold it all.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We pray, Gracious God, that our gifts may provide nourishment to those who thirst for justice, strength to those who hunger for hope, a community to those living in loneliness.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The God of wilderness and wells be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to the One who comes bringing life.
We offer them to our God of hope.
Make a joyful noise to Salvation's Rock.
We will sing songs of praise each day.

With the Spirit,
you struck stony chaos,
and creation gushed forth,
to fill the hollows of heavens,
to seed the mountains
you cradled in your wisdom.
You longed to sit by Eden's well,
telling us stories of the world
you were shaping for us.
But we tested you
with our quarreling ways.
Hearing the boasts of sin and death,
we bowed down and
worshiped at their altars.
Prophets came to lead us
through despair's desert
back home to you,
but our ears were clogged
with temptations seductive songs.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to meet us in our brokenness,
to save us by your grace.

Therefore, we join our voices
with saints and sinners,
with testers and pesterers,
who forever sing your praises:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Rock.
All creation sings glad songs to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to ease our thirst
        for salvation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Grace-giving God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
the Fountain of our hope.
When we were too weak to resist,
Christ came to take on sin and death.
When we are unfaithful,
Christ shows us your constant love.
When our fears and failures
stain our souls,
Christ cleanses us.
When our hopes for life had faded,
Christ died that we might live forever.

As we remember his gentle touch,
as we recall his words of hope and grace,
we speak of that mystery called faith:

Christ died, pouring himself out for us;
Christ was raised, pouring God's love into us;
Christ will come, pouring hope into us.

Pour out your Spirit
upon your children
gathered in this place,
and on the gifts
of the Bread and the Cup.
May they be the grace
which nourishes and sustains us.
As we come to reconciliation's table,
may our broken relationships
be made whole again.
As we see you in these gifts,
may we go and proclaim the good news.
As we open our hearts
to your never-ending love,
may we offer our selves
to everyone we meet.

And when all time is ended.
when hunger and thirst is no more
as we are fed at the Lamb's feast,
we will join our hands and hearts,
bowing down to worship you forever:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Let us go now, to meet all thirsting for God.
We will share the living water with everyone we meet.
Let us go now, to listen as Jesus does with us.
We will hear the stories and hearts of all
who are considered voiceless by our world.
Let us go now, to bring the Spirit's wholeness to others.
We will bring peace and healing to the broken and lonely,
even as they offer us hope and grace by their lives.

(c) Thom M. Shuman