When Jesus talked about the kingdom of God, he was not prophesying about some easy, danger-free perfection that will someday appear. He was talking about a state of being, a way of living at ease among the joys and sorrows of our world…. This state of being is not something alien or mystical. We don’t need to earn it. It is already ours.
The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 11
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Jesus calls us to join him,
to live with him in the promised land,
to rejoice in the realm of God.
People: We long for a future of ease and perfection,
we yearn for a time of justice and peace.
Leader: Jesus tells us that the realm of God is already here,
flowing among us and around us and within us.
People: We want to live in that promised land.
Leader: Jesus calls us today to be with him,
to join with him in joyful participation
in the sorrows of the world.
All: We are ready to answer his call.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy God, you call us to live in your promised land.
Voice 1: We want to be your people,
but it feels like too much work.
Voice 2: We’ve learned to love the life we have,
and look for ways to hold it fast.
Leader: Living Christ, we want to hear your call,
Voice 1: but the noise of war and violence
has filled our ears with fear and dread.
Voice 2: We work and save
to take good care of those we love,
and don’t have much to give away.
Leader: Jesus shows us how to love
with all our body, mind and spirit.
All: When we love, we ask “What’s in it for me?”
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God loves us unreservedly,
forgiving all our fears and failures,
offering us new opportunities
to live and love in the promised land.
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 Source of all that is,
you offer us the gift of your realm,
a way of living at ease in this world.
People: We give you thanks for Jesus,
the messenger of hope,
proclaiming that your realm is here and now.
Leader 2: We praise you for your Holy Spirit,
your ever being with us,
your gift of comfort and challenge.
People: We give you thanks and praise for your holy Church,
the people who gather to call your name
and to serve you in our broken 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 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: Let us go forth from this place
forgiven and renewed,
seeking to walk with God
amid the joys and sorrows of each day;
seeking to know and follow God’s Call for us
into the promised land.
In the name of God who leads us,
Jesus who challenges us,
and the Spirit who empowers us from within,
Let us let us greet one another with signs of peace.