a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

great prayer of thanksgiving: maker of covenants

L:    May the Lord of Lent be with you.
P:    May the Lord of Lent also be with you.
L:    God’s people: lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift our hearts to the One who has
       engraved them with love.
L:    God’s people:  offer thanks to the One
who creates new life in you.
P:    With our lips, and with our lives, we
       will praise the God who sustains our spirits.

Hearts overflow with joy,
Maker of covenants,
as we lift our songs to you.
In the midst of that creation
filled with bright stars and blue skies,
you shaped us in your divine image.
Cradling our hearts in compassion,
you planted those seeds of hope and joy
which could bring us the life you envisioned.
But we hardened our hearts,
preventing them from blossoming,
and we chose to live in the shadows of sin,
rather than dance in the light of your grace.
Yet even our arrogance and anger
could not keep you from loving us,
as you called to us through prophets’ voices,
inviting us to come back to your side.
And when we continued to love our way more,
your steadfast love became even more abundant
as you sent Jesus to restore our brokenness.

Therefore, we will join with all those
of every age and every place,
our mouths singing your praise:

P:    Holy, holy, holy!  God of compassion and grace!
      Heaven and earth overflow with your goodness.
      Hosanna in the highest.

      Blessed is the One who comes with a willing spirit.
      Hosanna in the highest.

Only you are holy, Engraver of our hearts,
and blessed is the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ.
Your Beloved, he was baptized
and chosen by you to share our life.
He came, to melt our frozen hearts
with the warmth of your mercy.
He came, to be broken
that we might be mended.
He came, to suffer death for our sake,
that seed of new life planted
deep in death’s cold tomb,
so he could be raised to newness,
your glory and hope made known
to all who come seeking him.

Here, at this Table of forgiveness and life,
we remember his life of humility and service,
even as we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

P:    The Word that spoke creation into being
       has become the Voice which shattered death,
       and will call us home at the end of time.

Here at the Table of peace,
we find the gifts you provide,
the bread and the cup drenched
with the Spirit of hope and life.
As we are fed by the bread
created from creation’s goodness,
may the seed of your compassion
which has been planted deep in us,
bloom forth in service to your children.
As we drink from the Cup
which is filled with your righteousness,
may our spirits overflow with justice,
as we bring your good news
and generous presence to all
who are oppressed in our world.

And when, at last, all people are free,
when creation has been restored once more,
when we gather around your Table in glory
with our sisters and brothers from all time,
we will join in singing your praise forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

call/confession/assurance: we cannot see Jesus

Call to Reconciliation
We close our heart’s eye, and wonder why we cannot see Jesus. We wander down the same old paths, and are amazed that Jesus is not ahead of us. We speak and live in ways which keep us from being God’s children. Ler us come to the One who offers us grace and mercy, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Love that knows no boundaries: we crowd our lives with so much activity, that it is hard to find time for you. We become so focused on ourselves, we can overlook those around us who are searching for hope. We fill our spiritual emptiness with junk, rather than feasting on your Word.

Abundant Mercy, forgive us. Open our eyes, that we may see your new covenant written in plain sight on our hearts. Open our hearts, that we may join you in serving the broken of the world.  Open our love, so we may pour it out as abundantly and graciously as your love is given to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Like a parent tenderly washing her child, God bathes us in the warm waters of forgiveness, cleansing us, and restoring us to new life.
Through Christ, we are made whole;
through Christ, we are loved;
through Christ, we become new people.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

CTW: each day

Each day is a gift from God:
each moment is that opportunity 
to reach out in service to all creation.
Each day is a reminder of the new covenant:
not written on stone tablets easily broken,
but inscribed on our hearts filled with joy and hope.
Each day we draw closer to God:
who has forgotten more than we ever learn;
who has forgiven us more than we ever acknowledge.

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

Lenten communion: covenant keeper

L: May the God of Lent be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: People of God, open your hearts.
P: We open them to the One who calls us ‘Beloved.’
L: Beloved of God, give thanks and praise to the One
who loves you forever.
P: We sing our hymns of joy to the One
who leads us into the kingdom.

Hearts overflow with you, Covenant Keeper,
as we lift our hearts to you.
When there was no time as we know it,
you crafted day and night,
so we could wait for you in every moment,
tasting the savory goodness of grace.
You imagined those moments
of gathering us to your side
to teach us all the wonder of your ways,
but we turned our ears towards
the whispered invitations of the Evil One,
running off to play in the wilderness
with rebellion and death our guides.
You recalled the promises you had made
to Noah, to Sarah, to Joseph, and to Hannah,
and so sent the prophets to remind us
of the good gift of your covenant
and to point out the ways to your heart.
When we continued to ignore their words,
you sent Jesus to be with us,
to set us free from the imprisonment
we had created for ourselves.

So, we lift our voices with those who waited patiently,
and with those who trust your covenantal promises,
joining the choirs of heaven and earth,
who forever sing of your hope and love:

P: Holy, holy, holy, Everlasting God of grace.
Every living creature in heaven and earth sing your praises.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who sits as your right hand of mercy.
Hosanna in the highest.

Faithful and holy are you, Creator of all,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Steadfast Love and Hope.
When he could have stayed at your side
during the days of our rebellion and pride,
he came to be our friend and guide.
When he could have feasted on your power,
in those days of glory with you,
he came to prepare a Table for us
where our hardened hearts might be softened,
and our broken lives might be made whole.
When he could have the angels waiting on him,
he came to serve us your forgiveness and grace,
enduring death on the cross
so we could have life forever.

As we begin once more our Lenten journey,
as we seek to follow faithfully, remembering
the life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus,
we tell the story of that mystery we call faith:

P: Christ died to set us free from sin;
Christ rose to break the power of death;
Christ will come again, to bring the kingdom
as close to us as God’s heart.

Pour out your Spirit of imagination
upon this bread, and this cup,
gifts of your good and wonderful creation.
As we are embraced at the Table
by the One who has prepared it for us,
may we open our hearts to welcome
our sisters and brothers.
As we have been set free by your love,
may we proclaim freedom to the prisoners
confined by fear and oppression;
as we are filled with the Bread of life,
may we never cease feeding
the hungry of our world;
as we are nurtured by compassion’s cup,
may we go out into the wilderness around us,
to take the lost, the last, the least, the little
by the hand to walk together
into that kingdom prepared for all your children.

And we we are gathered around the Table
with your beloved children of every time and place,
our songs will join together as our tears of joy mingle,
singing your praises forever and ever to you:
God of David and Rebecca, of Mary and Noah;
Jesus of the outcast and lonely;
Spirit of those who seek peace and reconciliation:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen and Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: forgotten covenant

Prayer of Confession

There are times O Spirit that we forget all that you have given us.   Our sight has become obscured.   We have forgotten that rainbows which still grace the skies are reminders of your Great Love.   Your covenants take on infinite number of colors and shapes, and in our confused nature, we want to push everyone and everything into one box, one shape, and one size thinking that this is how You would want things.  How wrong we have been.   Remind us that your creative genius cannot be boxed up, that your covenants cannot be controlled.   In this time of worship send your Spirit to disrupt and then renew our troubled souls.   Restore in us the hope of your promises.  We pray all these things in the name of the One who came to redeem all of Creation.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield NJ

CTW: a promise for all time

One: God has made a covenant with us, a promise for all of time.
All: A promise that began with Noah,
A ribbon of vibrant color in the sky.
One: God has made a covenant with us, a promise for all of time.
All: A vow that continued with Abraham,
The uncountable stars in the heavens would all be gifts from God.
One: God has made a covenant with us, a promise for all of time.
All: With Moses and the refugees who crossed the Red Sea,
Words to order life in peaceful community.
One: God has made a covenant with us, a promise for all of time.
All: For David and those who would come after him,
That they would inherit it all.
One: God has made a covenant with us, a promise for all of time.
In Jesus, the Christ,
Price of Peace—who calls us to New Life,
Invites us to live the promise and the covenant
With our lives, without fear, with total abandon.
All: We gather today to worship
To remember the promise of the covenant
And to go out into a world where rainbows still grace the skies.

Submitted by Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, North Plainfield, NJ.