The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it. … What I want is so simple: … Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. … Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallways and touching the walls on both sides. I can’t tell you how good it feels.
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams. Quoted in Inward/Outward January 9, 2008.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come now,
step into the circle of God’s unexpected celebration.
Voice 1: We’ve brought some heavy burdens to the circle.
Voice 2: There’s a lot to do, but Christ is with us.
Leader: The Holy Spirit is a loving source of hope.
All: We have enough to celebrate and share.
Thanks be to God.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy One, you call us to be
bearers of hope in a broken world.
People: But 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: But we turn away,
fearing the changes
redemption will require.
Leader: We long to see as you see.
All: But our minds cower
at the vastness of your creation.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God promises,
I will enlighten the eyes of your heart
so that you may know
the hope to which I have called you.
We are forgiven
and our frailties redeemed.
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
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: Holy and Loving God, we give thanks
for the hope that you place within us,
sustaining us through the darkest days.
People: We give thanks for the changing seasons,
for the lengthening nights
that reveal our deepest fears and longings.
Leader 2: We give thanks for the power of the Holy Spirit
who gives us courage
to look at wrongdoing and trouble
and see a path towards healing and hope.
People: We give thanks for your Holy Child, Jesus,
who stretched out his arms on the cross,
pulling the broken edges of the world
towards a future of wholeness and 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.
SHARE THE ELEMENTS
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: Your life will have a kind of perfection,
although you will not be a saint.
You will not be perfect, but you will love.
Hand your life over to love
and be poured out as a libation
in loving service to the world.