Great indeed is the baptism which is offered you. It is a ransom to captives; the remission of offenses; the death of sin; the regeneration of the soul; the garment of light; the holy seal indissoluble; the chariot to heaven; the luxury of paradise; a procuring of the kingdom; the gift of adoption.
Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
from “Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: In the days of Noah,
God placed a rainbow in the sky,
sign of a covenant of God’s love for all the earth.
Voice 1: In the colors of the rainbow,
we see a hopeful sign of God’s grace for all creation.
Leader: In the days of Moses,
the words of God were written on tablets of stone,
sign of a covenant between God and all God’s people.
Voice 2: In the tablets of stone,
we see a sign of God’s hope for each
to live in peace with God and neighbor.
Leader: In these days,
God’s promise is a new covenant in our hearts,
a sign of hope to comfort us in dark times.
All: In the darkness of Lent,
we celebrate the promise of God’s abiding love.
WORD FOR THE CHILDREN
Leader: Holy One, we have a hard time
seeing ourselves as those who need
forgiveness and salvation.
Voice 1: We watch the evening news or read the paper
and decide that we are not really so bad after all.
Voice 2: All the things we may have done
are nothing compared to what other people are doing.
Leader: We will never have a true picture of ourselves
and our fallen human condition
All: until we understand
there is no sin we are incapable of committing.
INDIVIDUAL PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
Leader: God has come
to bring the knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of sins.
We are forgiven.
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: 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 God of mystery and promise,
our hearts overflow with gratitude
for your generous covenant of grace.
People: We give you thanks and praise for your Son Jesus,
who, freely giving his life, saved ours;
who, suffering and dying, draws us to you;
who, raised and exalted, calls us to your covenant.
Leader 2: We offer gratitude for your Holy Spirit,
moving, troubling, breathing, renewing,
giving us power to suffer and to serve,
People: We give you thanks for your Holy Church,
your witness throughout the world and time,
source of our baptism into your kingdom.
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: In the darkness of Lent, we stand in God’s promise.
We receive the garment of light.
We claim the gift of adoption.
We are a people of the covenant.
Let us go,
offering ourselves to a hungry and broken world.