There are certain hours which give a new heart and a new spirit. They are hours when the veil between the spiritual and the material world seems to be rent and one knows that if all of life could be lived on the basis of what is seen in those moments, it would be closer to what God intended. … They are the moments when we see a picture of a starving child in a distant country and know that we cannot live our lives as we have lived them; or when we read a book and have the horizons of our little world pushed back. They are the times when we look into the heart of a friend and find that friend acceptable though unacceptable and God lets us see every person as a brother or sister. They are the times of reality in which to make commitment—a commitment which will be lived out in the valleys, over long stretches when the vision is gone, but the memory alive nonetheless.
Elizabeth O’Connor, Call to Commitment: An Attempt to Embody the Essence of Church,
Servant Leadership Press, 1994, p. 167-8
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: God of wholeness and love,
you invite us to see the world
as you intended it to be.
People: We catch glimpses of your vision
and know we can no longer live our lives
as we have lived them.
Leader: God of call and vision,
you ask us to change our ways,
to rebuild the world even when it is hard.
People: We see faintly a world
where every person is part of one family
and we long to fulfill that vision.
Leader: God of hope and promise,
strengthen our hearts and minds
as we commit to fulfilling
your vision for the world.
All: Help us remember your vision for the world
so it may sustain us through hard times.
Leader: Holy One, we confess the commitments
we have made or broken unwisely,
without waiting for a vision of life as you intend us to live.
People: We confess our failures to live out a commitment
when the vision Is gone.
Leader: We confess the times we question and doubt our commitments
when the work is hard and unrewarding.
People: We confess the times we focus only on the struggle
and neglect the joy that is present even in hard times.
Leader: We confess that we have closed our eyes to your vision
and our hearts to your in-breaking Spirit.
All: Holy One, we pray for an in-breaking of reality
in which to make commitments,
centered in your gifts of a new heart and a new spirit.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One loves us unconditionally
and guides each of us toward a new heart and a new spirit.
We are forgiven and free
to love and serve in authentic commitment.
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 call and vision,
we give you thanks for moments of clarity,
putting a new heart and a new spirit within us.
People: We give you thanks for Jesus,
who shows us how to look into the hearts of others,
and calls us to commitment as the Body of Christ.
Leader 2: We give you thanks for the Holy Spirit,
who tears aside the veil that obscures our kinship
with the world around us.
All: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
where we learn how commitment
to your vision for the world
can sustain us through hard times.
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.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
Please use what you have at home as you eat the bread and drink from the cup today.
If you do not have grape juice, use whatever is convenient.
As a sign of gathering in spirit while scattered,
you may want to lift your bread toward your camera as we break bread together.
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: Responding to the call of the loving Creator
to stand together in hard times,
let us go out into the troubled world around us,
ready to deepen our commitment
to be lively parts of the body of the risen Christ,
greeting those we meet with signs of peace.