Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone… much less upon one’s own mind. It is like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves. Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety, moving deeply into the tumult, diving into the waves, where underneath, within, peace simply is.
Gerald G. May, Simply Sane: The Spirituality of Mental Health
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Friends in Christ, we’ve come together
to remind ourselves that we are God’s people.
Voice 1: We hunger for a place of quiet
in the midst of crowds and blinking lights and ads,
a place where we can settle gently
into waiting for the coming of the Holy One.
Voice 2: And yet, we’ve brought with us squirming armloads
of hopes and fears, gifts and needs.
We dig through catalogs and e-mails
Anxiously looking for answers that are not there.
Leader: Let us walk hand in hand
into the chaos of these hectic winter days
to find the quiet point of peace deep within the tumult.
All: O Holy One,
we reach out for the steady presence of your Spirit
lifting us above the chaos of the season, inviting us
to claim the Good News that is already here.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: The prophet says, prepare the way of the Holy One,
build a path where the glory of God
can shine forth to all the world.
People: We want to sit in silence and solitude,
to contemplate the glory of God
as our own possession.
Leader: The apostle says, as far as it depends on us,
live in harmony with one another,
overcoming evil with good.
People: We yearn to control the waves of disorder,
unwilling to dive deeply into the chaos of the world,
reluctant to live in authentic relationship with all beings.
Leader: Jesus says, blessed are the peacemakers,
for those who bring peace are the children of God.
All: Holy One, forgive us when we try to force
the coming of your peace,
when we struggle against the tide
of your unfathomable love.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: As we surrender to the tumultuous waves of life,
the peace of Christ surrounds us,
the spirit of God is upon us,
and we are forgiven, anointed, and blessed.
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 that is,
we offer gratitude for the world that you have made
and for its magnificent complexity.
People: We give you thanks for your Holy Spirit,
our comforter in the chaos,
our guide to the peace within.
Leader 2: We give you thanks for your Holy Child, Jesus,
who through his life, death, and resurrection
showed us the way to peace.
People: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
the bearer of your message,
the fragile vessel of your peace.
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: Let us go forth from this place
giving up the struggle to quiet the ocean,
opening fully to the chaos of the world.
Surrendering to the turmoil of this season,
let us greet one another with signs of peace.