There is a hard truth to be told: before spring becomes beautiful, it is plug ugly, nothing but mud and muck. I have walked in the early spring through fields that will suck your boots off, a world so wet and woeful it makes you yearn for the return of ice. But in that muddy mess, the conditions for rebirth are being created.
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, p 103
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: You call us out of the mud and muck of our lives,
to gather as your people.
People: We come to be re-formed in your image,
re-formed by your love.
Leader: Although we yearn for the familiar past,
we step up with courage to the promise of the future.
All: We welcome the opportunity for rebirth.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy Maker of ice and snow and mud and muck,
you call us to love all of your creation,
even as you love us to the end of time.
People: We confess that it is much easier
to love the flowers and the fruit,
than to love the mud which feeds their roots.
Leader: You call us to look inward,
to confess that none of us lives up to our own ideals;
and to look outward,
to confess our participation in the evils that surround us.
People: We confess that it is easier to blame others,
than to see how we are part of the problem.
Leader: You call us to be a new creation,
to become the Body of Christ
for the healing of a broken world.
All: Forgive us when we resist becoming re-formed,
preferring to stay frozen in our accustomed ways.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One is in the ugliness of our struggles,
feeding our hidden roots with patient, unseen love.
In God’s forgiving embrace, we become re-formed.
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 Chris. 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 shaper of this rich reality,
we give you thanks
for the way you form us
into vessels of your healing.
People: Holy light of new beginnings,
we give you thanks
for your presence among us as the Christ,
who helps us share your love.
Leader 2: Holy comforter of those in pain,
we give you thanks
for the unfailing power of your Spirit,
pruning us to bear the fruits of hope.
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 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: As we walk through the mud and muck of early spring,
bearing in our hearts the wet and woeful world,
let us remember the new life beneath our feet.
Rooted in the Holy Source of life,
enlivened by the love of Christ,
and nourished by the Holy Spirit,
let us greet one another with signs of peace.