In the struggle to become Christ’s Body, we have only one weapon and one alone: Love…. Love is what first softened your heart and mine. Love brought us into the struggle. Love alone has the power to break hearts open so that we will all lay down our defenses and join in the cosmic movement toward a new heaven, a new earth, in a Holy City whose foundation is Love.Gordon Cosby,
Seized by the Power of a Great Affection: Meditations on the Divine Encounter, p. 41
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come, all who long to know
the healing power of God’s amazing love.
People: We hear that God is with us and in us every moment.
Leader: We are sustained and held in existence by that Presence.
No matter where we are,
the loving Presence that is God
knows us, cherishes us, delights in us.
All: We are here,
yearning to become faithful by the power of God’s love.
Leader: Holy One, we bring to you today the same old problems,
which keep coming up, again and again.
People: We cling to our separate selves.
Even with good relationships,
we feel lonely deep inside.
Leader: We are haunted by past failures,
by all the times we missed the mark
and did not hear your call.
People: Our lives fall out of balance.
We long for peace within and among all the things we do.
Leader: The choices we make, moment by moment,
change our lives and the lives of others.
All: Our struggles are personal, yet shared by all.
We need your forgiveness, mercy, and love.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: Holy One, you have searched us and you know us.
You find us on the journey and guide our steps.
You forgive us and surround us with your love.
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 Maker of all creation,
we give you thanks and praise
for nurturing our faith in these dark times.
People: Holy Wisdom, we give you thanks for Jesus,
a steady, loving guide shining the light of hope
on the path we walk together in faith.
Leader 2: Holy Fountain of Faith,
we give you thanks for your Spirit,
pouring out love on all creation.
All: Holy faithful and loving God,
we give you thanks for your Church,
a fragile, earthen vessel where your love is gently held.
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.