Hope is an orientation of the heart… The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is… [Without hope] it is impossible to live in dignity and meaning much less find the will for the ‘hopeless enterprise’ which stands at the beginning of most good things.Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace, pp. 181-182
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: God of hope and wonder,
you have promised to be in the midst of your people,
to pour out your spirit on young and old,
to give us dreams and visions for the future.
People: Happy are all who live in your embrace
and are satisfied with the goodness of your gifts.
Leader: Your Spirit is present in trials and distress,
filling us with hope even in difficult, unjust times.
People: We praise your name with song and story,
with memories of past glories,
with hope for a future of peace and plenty.
Leader: You have promised to give us strength,
to prepare us to endure everything with patience,
while joyfully giving thanks in all things.
All: You, Holy One, are our deepest hope.
We will trust and not be afraid.
Leader: Holy One, you call us to be
bearers of hope in a broken world.
People: We turn away,
too burdened by our own needs
and fears to heed your voice.
Leader: Jesus showed us that each of us has a part to play
in the redemption of the world.
People: We turn away,
fearing the changes redemption will require.
Leader: We long to see as you see.
All: Forgive us when our minds cower
at the vast mystery of your creation.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God promises to enlighten the eyes of our hearts
so that we may know the deep hope
to which God is calling us.
We are forgiven and our frailties are redeemed.
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 heaven and earth,
we give you thanks for holding all creation,
all beings, and all of us in your love,
for you are our salvation and our hope.
People: Holy Source of mercy and love,
we give you thanks for your child Jesus,
who came to seek out and save the lost,
who gives us strength to live
in dignity and meaning
through the hardest times.
Leader 2: Holy Light of wisdom and truth,
we give you thanks for your Spirit,
guiding us to wells of salvation,
from which we draw water with joy.
All: Holy God of dreams and visions,
we give you thanks for your Church,
the Body of Christ in all times and places,
a cloud of witnesses to the deep hope
that moves us to work for justice.
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: As we become Christ’s Body in the world,
let us welcome the struggle,
lay down our defenses,
and follow as Love leads us
toward a new heaven, a new earth,
in a Holy City whose foundation is Love.