When we can identify the kingdom of heaven sown around us it’s not just an FYI kind of thing; it’s a subversion. It’s God peeking through the curtain and letting us know that there is a deeper reality present in the world – a reality in which God gets God’s way.
Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, Denver, Colorado. From a sermon titled “The Kingdom of Heaven is like . . .” Aug. 8, 2011
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God has come near.
Voice 1: Come and see what our God has done.
Voice 2: We proclaim the amazing mystery
that the Holy One became human, like us.
Leader: Jacob dreamed of a ladder between earth and heaven,
and the angels of God were going up and down on it.
Voice 1: Jesus said, “You will see heaven opened, …
Voice 2: … and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of Man.”
All: Jesus, the Holy One become human,
is the bridge – the way, the truth, and the life.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy One, we’ve heard the news that heaven is open,
and yet so often we’re too busy to notice.
Voice 1: I have my teeth and fists clenched,
frustrated by so many things.
Voice 2: I want the world to be a better place,
better in ways we all can see,
but I’ve shut my eyes to avoid the bad news.
Voice 1: We catch glimpses of your Holy presence,
peeking through the curtain of reality
in stories of hope and justice and peace.
Voice 2: And yet, the cries of anger and greed,
of hunger and need drown out the whispers
of your Good News.
All: O holy maker of this reality,
we’re pulling back from your invitation
to find heaven open here and now.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One,
the loving maker of all creation
who has known us and loved us since the beginning,
is ready to welcome us home.
Look, the curtains are blowing in the wind:
the heavens are open.
We are forgiven.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
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: God of love and hope
we are grateful that you let us know
there is a deeper reality present in the world.
People: Our hearts are thankful that the heavens have opened
and that Christ’s presence in the world is renewed.
Leader 2: Our spirits are refreshed as we know,
with awe and wonder, the power of your Spirit.
People: Our lives are enriched
as we come together as your church,
the place where the reality of your presence among us
touches our pain and our joy.
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.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
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: The curtain of heaven has parted;
Jesus our savior reveals
the kingdom of heaven around us.
to be subversive doing God’s work.
Go forth, knowing Christ is with you.