You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, p. 206
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come, open yourself to the possibilities of this present moment.
People: We come, not knowing what is going to happen next.
Leader: Come, open your senses to the newness all around us.
People: We come, not knowing where Jesus will lead us.
Leader: Come, open your hearts to the presence of the Holy One.
All: We come, trusting God’s promise to be with us, always and everywhere.
Leader: God, our Creator, loves all creation, including us, and says we are “very good.”
People: We believe we’re not good enough; we don’t trust in God’s unconditional love.
Leader: God calls us to move forward with courage, faith, and hope.
People: We keep busy with the things we know, even though they will not last.
Leader: In our fear of future hardship,
we close our hearts and minds to the possibilities offered here and now.
All: We stop short of following Jesus all the way to Jerusalem.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God forgives all our failings and imperfections
and loves us just as we are.
We can go forward trusting God’s promise to be with us always.
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: Holy Maker of this challenging reality,
we give you thanks for the trust you bring to life in us
as we seek to be vessels of your healing.
People: We give you thanks
for your presence among us as the Christ,
who shows us how to watch for the opportunities
growing in the challenges around us.
Leader 2: Holy Comforter of those in pain,
we give you thanks for your Spirit,
nurturing our faith and hope as we trust your presence.
All: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
a place where we can stand together
as a sign of hope and healing in this fractured world.
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 he gave himself up,
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 grain and grape,
and work of human hands
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.
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. Amen.
Leader: Trusting in God,
who is present in all of our challenges and opportunities,
let us go forth into the world,
greeting one another with signs of peace.