Christ climbed downLawrence Ferlinghetti, from A Coney Island of the Mind
from His bare Tree
and softly stole away into
some anonymous Mary’s womb again
where in the darkest night
of everybody’s anonymous soul
He awaits again
the very craziest
of Second Comings
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Holy Creator of all that is,
has ever been, and is to come,
we gather in hopes of waking up to your glorious light.
People: We carry the mystery in our hearts:
that you are here with us,
while we wait for you to come again.
Leader: This is the moment for us to wake from sleep,
for your coming is near.
People: Born to Mary in the dark night so long ago,
you wait to be born again,
into our darkness here and now.
Leader: We await the coming of your day,
the fulfillment of your promise:
the desert blooming and rejoicing,
our eyes and ears opened,
our hearts and hands made strong.
All: Bring us through the dark night of our soul
and awaken us to the crazy reality
of your second coming.
Leader: Holy Loving Source of all reality,
we struggle to stay awake in these chaotic times.
People: We long to curl up in a cocoon, to hibernate,
until you’ve made the world a better place to live.
Leader: We tell ourselves that your return
from this dark night of the soul will
light the path to peace with justice.
People: But it is hard to live through war and weather chaos,
barraged by fear and anger close at hand,
as we wait for your more visible return.
Leader: We long for your perfect love
and fear that you will never come.
All: Forgive us when we forget
that you are waiting to be born in us.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One forgives us with perfect love,
even when we have losts ight of love’s birth in 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 Creator of all that is,
has ever been, and is to come,
we give you thanks for your enduring loving presence
among us and within each of us.
People: We are grateful that your child Jesus
is forever climbing down from the tree
and waiting to be born again
in the hearts of each of us.
Leader 2: We are thankful that your Holy Spirit is already with us,
blessing, nourishing, and sustaining
the faith that surprises us anew.
People: Our gratitude abounds for your Church,
strengthening and guiding us to be your witnesses
in a broken and hurting 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 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.
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: Even now, in the darkest of nights
your promised hope softly steals into our souls.
Filled with expectation,
we wait again for the birth
of that great impossibility,
that craziest of second comings.
Let us greet one another with signs of hope.