Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.— Abraham Joshua Heschel,
God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism, p. 3
LIGHTING THE ALTAR CANDLE
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: In the presence of our Creator
let us sing thanks and praise
to the rock of our salvation.
People: We worship the Holy One,
who inspired our faith in times past
and calls us to faithful love today.
Leader: Let us follow the Chosen One,
who said, “I am the Light of the world,”
who opens our eyes to the crisis here and now.
People: We come to worship and follow
the One who heals our blindness
and teaches us to reach out
with healing compassion.
Leader: Let us breathe in the Spirit of Love
and worship our God with vital, lively faith.
All: We come to renew our faith,
to drink from the well of living water,
to become living fountains of faith.
Leader: When Jesus was tempted
to bow down to Satan in the wilderness,
he served and worshipped only the Living God.
People: We confess that too often
we worship our customs and ideas,
rather than living in loving relationship
with God and with one another.
Leader: When Jesus met the Samaritan woman,
he told her about the living water of faith,
so that she would never be thirsty again.
People: We confess that too often
our faith becomes dry sand,
rather than an overflowing fountain
giving living water to a thirsty world.
Leader: When Jesus healed the person born blind,
he offered compassion and caring,
and did not blame anyone for some unnamed sin.
All: Forgive us when we speak in the name of authority,
rather than with the voice of compassion.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: The Holy One forgives and loves us,
filling us with the living water of faith.
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 Ground of our being,
we are thankful that you keep us
anchored in your strength
and secure in your love.
People: We are grateful for presence of Jesus
within us and among us,
our living fountain of faith.
Leader 2: With gratitude we feel
the power of your Holy Spirit,
giving us the strength to offer healing compassion
to your hurting world.
People: We offer thanks for your Holy Church,
where we renew our faith
in the loving company of the faithful.
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: Let us go out into the world,
worshipping the Holy One,
whose living fountain of faith
fills us with the caring and compassion we need
to help bring healing to this hurting world.
And as we greet one another with signs of peace,
let us remind each other that we are not alone.
It depends on faith.