The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
from letter #228 from Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo
written at The Hague on or about Tuesday, 16 May, 1882
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Holy Maker of sea and land,
of deserts and forests and mountains and valleys,
you call to us from storm clouds and bright blue skies,
inviting us to see you in every created thing.
People: We see you in gardens and markets filled
with squash and tomatoes,
with berries and peaches,
with fresh, green herbs,
with all the good things that you give us
to fill body and soul.
Leader: You call to us in the cries of the oppressed,
in the tears and moans of those who grieve,
in voices raised against injustice and violence.
People: We hear your voice in the worried sighs of parents,
sending their children into streets filled with danger,
wondering if they will come home alive.
Leader: In times of peace and in times of trouble,
you call us to live as your new creation:
one multi-colored family, walking together by faith.
All: In the name of Christ
and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
we sail on unknown seas.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy God, you call us to trust you in every storm, including those around us and those within us.
People: We respond with self-centered fear,
trusting only in our own efforts.
Leader: You have taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves,
People: We huddle in the bottom of the boat,
refusing to reach out our hands
to those who are drowning.
Leader: We pray to you for freedom, justice and peace,
People: We clutch the life jackets to ourselves,
defending our safety with our own weapons
of thought, word, and deed.
Leader: We forget that you can calm the stormy seas.
All: Holy Creator of all, forgive us when we fail to trust,
and when we fail to love.
Leader: The God of grace and mercy
carries us through the stormy seas.
We are forgiven even before we ask.
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
INTERCESSION AND PETITION
All: O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.
Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.
Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.
We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ. Amen.
Leader 1: This is the table of the Heavenly Feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.
Leader 2: We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once;
All: Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing,
believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.
Leader 1: God of stormy afternoons that roil the seas,
we give you thanks for your holy enlivening power
that flows in us and around us and through us,
giving form and life to all creation.
People: We give thanks
for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
who shows us how to face into the wind
and stay on course.
Leader 2: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit,
filling us anew with unexpected love and understanding,
and the commitment to walk through the storm.
People: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
the vessel that carries us, together,
to an unfamiliar shore
where you have set a table before us
in joyful celebration of your call.
BLESSING THE ELEMENTS
Leader 1: Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.
Leader 2: Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger,
You who believe in me shall never thirst.
Leader 1: On the night of his arrest, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.
Leader 2: After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.
All: O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of bread and cup
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
If you do not wish to receive the elements today you are welcome to join the circle and allow them to pass, or remain in your seat. We serve grape juice in our cups.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND DEDICATION
All: God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world.
Leader: Knowing that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible,
Launch out with courage and faith,
assured that even as the winds howl
and the waves surge,
The Spirit is beside us.
Let us greet one another with signs of peace,
reminders that Jesus is in the boat with us.
“Although this boat (the Seekers Church) is not completely formed, some members are ready to launch out. There are some who have not made a firm commitment and some who are busily striving to make it sea worthy. The sail is fully open to receive the wind of the spirit.”
April 17, 1977
Founding Member of Seekers Church