In the Empire of God, the means to life are offered to all freely, as a gift, regardless of what has been earned.
The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning
Stephen J. Patterson, p. 145
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: People of the way,
all who seek God’s empire, come!
People: We come to worship the Holy One,
whose empire is not of this world.
Leader: All who thirst, come to the waters;
all who hunger, share in the feast.
People: We come, following the way of Jesus the Christ,
who gives us the good news of God’s empire.
Leader: In this season of Lent we are following Jesus
on the road to Jerusalem.
All: We are citizens of the Empire of God,
who makes all things new.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
SONG AS THE CHILDREN LEAVE FOR CLASS
Jesus loves us as we grow,
meets us on the paths we go,
keeps us safe and keeps us free,
helps us learn who we should be.
Yes Jesus loves us,
Yes Jesus helps us,
Yes Jesus shows us,
the best way we can go.
Leader: Holy One, you call us to live in your empire
where the means of life are freely offered to all.
People: We live in a competitive world
where winners take all and losers get scraps.
Leader: You invite us to walk with Jesus,
resisting temptations to power, wealth, and sloth.
People: We live in a world
dominated by strength, affluence, and comfort.
Leader: You have shown us how to be fully human.
All: Forgive us, Holy One, for we have turned away,
following our own wishes and inclinations.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One knows and forgives our weakness.
The Spirit guides us toward the Empire of God, where Jesus the Christ walks with us.
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 Giver of all that we need, we give you thanks
for placing us in a world of beauty and delight,
showing us how to live in your eternal empire.
People: We give you thanks for the good news of Jesus Christ,
who taught us to share whatever we have,
trusting that you will provide whatever we need.
Leader 2: We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit,
the breath of life that joins us to all things,
giving and receiving without counting the cost.
All: We give you thanks for your Church,
where we learn to live in your eternal empire,
where all are welcome in love and peace.
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 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. The bread is gluten-free.
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: Claiming our citizenship in God’s eternal empire,
let us be ambassadors of God’s love and grace,
proclaiming the good news
of God’s abiding presence.