Serve

Something cracks open in me
when I give to you.
My heart feels larger,
my hands gentler,
my eyes softer.
I no longer think of my own pain;
my attention is riveted on you:
your needs,
your feelings,
your world.

I am transformed by this giving.
I am Christ’s hands ministering to His children.
I am Christ’s feet moving among His people.
I am Christ’s heart loving His beloved.
I am who God meant me to be.

The door flings open
between God and me.
No barriers, no walls, no excuses.
Only the desire to serve –
to give what I have,
to give who I am
to you.

Welcoming

Welcoming
Demands an open heart
Suspension of fear
Striping away of the protective barrier
Commitment to vulnerability

Welcoming
Encourages kindness
Generosity
Unencumbered motivation
Visions of potential

Welcoming
Embraces all that I am
All that you are
All that we can be
Together

Communion Liturgy II

Invitation
Jesus gathered his followers together round a table and they ate the Passover meal as a family, not related by blood but by faith. Each person there brought to the gathering talents and growing edges. They had hopes and dreams, disappointments, and fears. Sometimes they all got along, and sometimes they didn’t, but they were bound together by their love and belief in Jesus.

Look around you…today we are the family Jesus has gathered together for this meal. We are the people who bring all that we are, and all that we hope to be, to the table. We are brothers and sisters by faith, the Body of Christ, children of God. We have all received Jesus’ invitation to share the bread and cup so Come! Eat! and know that we have found a common home and family in Jesus Christ.

Hymn “Who Is My Mother, Who Is My Brother” BH#2225 v.1
Who is my mother, who is my brother?
all those who gather round Jesus Christ:
Spirit-blown people, born from the Gospel
sit at the table, round Jesus Christ.

Prayer of Confession
Dearest Lord, we come to this table bringing all parts of ourselves: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We confess that we are not perfect. We carry within us both goodness and shame, compassion and contempt, holiness and idolatry. We lay the worst parts of ourselves at your feet and ask for forgiveness. Fashion for us an open and loving heart, an unbiased mind, and a willing spirit. Widen our circle to include all of your people, even those we do not like, we do not understand, or we do not agree with. Transform our stubbornness, unclench our fists, and give us the eyes and heart of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, forgives you and reminds you of his love.

Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, forgives you and reminds you of his love.

Hymn “Who Is My Mother, Who Is My Brother” BH#2225 v.2
Differently abled, differently labeled
widen the circle round Jesus Christ:
Crutches and stigmas, cultures’ enigmas
all come together round Jesus Christ.

In the beginning, God took a blank canvas
and painted our world.
Light filled the universe; colors streamed out:
the blues of the sky and water, the greens of the
trees and grass, the yellow of the sun, and reds,
purples, oranges, and every color in-between of
the flowers.
People whose skin reflected every hue filled the earth,
our beautiful, amazing, wondrous
God-given home.

“Dominion…over every living thing that moves upon the earth”
was given to men and women by God. We now had
responsibility for the future of our planet and everything
that inhabited it, including each other.
God’s hope for this future was for us to make a
heaven on earth:
a place of harmony and peace,
equity and compassion,
tolerance and positive regard,
a home that was safe for all its creatures.

But humans, with a taste of both good and evil in our mouths,
made homes for our own pleasure.
“Mine, mine, mine!!”
became our cry and our greed and selfish desires overshadowed
God’s kingdom and the needs of our planet as well as our neighbors,
both human and non-human.
And so God swept the earth clean and life began again
with a rainbow and a promise.
Two by two new homes were made,
a new earth was born, and God
crossed God’s fingers.

Despite God’s best efforts through men and women,
prophets and kings, however,
human failings made necessary God’s most
heart-felt intervention:
Jesus Christ was born,
God’s own Son, sent to resurrect the original vision
of God’s peaceable Kingdom.

Hymn “Who Is My Mother, Who Is My Brother” BH#2225 v.3
Love will relate us –
color or status can’t segregate us,
round Jesus Christ:
Family failings, human derailings
all are accepted, round Jesus Christ.

And so,
with your people on earth
and all the company of heaven
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus came as teacher, full of stories and lessons
meant to change our ways.
Jesus came as prophet, to testify to the truth of
God’s love and presence in our lives.
Jesus came as a revolutionary, eager to challenge
the thinking and practices of the leaders.
Jesus came as a man: a man who ate and drank
with the outcasts, who loved and forgave his enemies,
and who suffered and died an excruciating death
on a cross.

But Jesus left us gifts to help us through the ordinary
and the extraordinary.
His spirit lives within us, guiding, comforting, challenging,
forgiving, and loving us each moment of every day.
His life example inspires us to live the life he lived
even when it seems difficult and sometimes impossible.
And he gave us this meal we are about to eat:
a reminder of his love, his faithfulness, his hope
for our salvation, and his wish that we serve each other
the bread and cup as a covenant to the community that
binds us to him.

We offer ourselves as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Hymn “Who Is My Mother, Who Is My Brother” BH#2225 v.4
Bound by one vision, met for one mission
we claim each other, round Jesus Christ:
Here is my mother, here is my brother,
kindred in Spirit, through Jesus Christ.

So we take this bread and juice,
Jesus’ body and blood,
into our own bodies, hearts, and minds.
May these elements change our thinking
and way of relating to each other,
to our family and friends,
and most of all, to those we have
difficulty relating at all.
As Jesus has made a home in us,
let us make a loving and nurturing
home for others.

(Consecration and serving of the elements – consider having the members of the congregation serve each other)

Prayer of Thanksgiving
We are grateful, Lord, for this food of your body and spirit, reminding us of your deep love of us and your desire that we live in harmony and peace with our neighbors. Show us the way as your people to make our church a home for those who need love, attention, nurturing, and a sense of belonging. Break open our hearts and extinguish any resistance we might have so all will truly be welcome as one of our family. Encircle this family as well as all the families of our community, nation, and world so that every person might feel safe and cared for. We ask all these things in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Communion Liturgy I

Invitation
The sacrament of Communion is one of those “thin places,” where we might see and know God in a more intimate way. Jesus invited his disciples, just as we are invited in this moment, to “remember” through the sharing of the bread and cup: remember the love poured out for us, remember the sacrifice made for us, and remember the gift of the Spirit given to us. These elements are taken into our bodies, minds, and spirits so we might experience our Creator in new and transformative ways. Everyone is welcome to the table. Come and eat and feel the presence of God!

Confession and Pardon
On this Communion table, O God, I place all that I am. With humility, I acknowledge the me who is gentle and kind, slow to anger, and easy to please. With honesty, I admit to the me who is short-tempered and defensive, wanting my own way, and difficult to please. With true self-reflection, I recognize the me who was not Jesus for my neighbor, refused to be who You made me to be, and ignored Your call to act. For these things and in all the ways I fall short, I am truly sorry. Say the Word, Lord, and your grace and mercy will wash me clean. With Your help, I will choose to have the heart of Jesus and be his hands and feet in my family, my community, and in my world. Amen.

Hear the Good News! Jesus, who knows you and loves you, forgives all your short-comings and embraces you.

Hear the Good News! Jesus, who knows you and loves you, forgives all your short-comings and embraces you.

The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

In the beginning, God danced through the universe,
bringing light to the darkness, form to the void,
and separating the water
into earth and sky.
Divine life was breathed into the plants and creatures;
Man and Woman received God’s touch and
love was born between the Holy One
and humans.
The Garden held only joy and delight if the
couple surrendered to God’s will for them.

But temptation slithered into their hearts
and the freedom to choice
became their undoing.
Rejected from God’s kingdom,
a life of toil and sweat,
pain and suffering for all of humankind
was the cost of their decision.

And so cast out, but not abandoned by God,
the couple became a family,
and families became clans,
and clans tribes;
People trying to survive amid turmoil, jealousy, and murderous rage.
Time and again humans turned from the way of God
until God destroyed creation by the waters,
save one family.

Noah, listening and obeying God’s instructions,
built an ark, a floating Eden, another chance to
experience God’s kingdom.
Humans are a stubborn lot, however, seeking the goal of their
own happiness and pleasure,
while ignoring the desires of God.
Despite all of God’s attempts to save humanity from themselves,
peace and harmony seemed out of reach
for God’s people.

Never giving up, God became human.
Born into humble beginnings,
God, through Jesus,
experienced the fullness of earthly life.
He knew the glory of a sunset,
the relief of laughter, the deep sorrow of loss,
and the frustration of being misunderstood.
He told stories of compassion, forgiveness, and justice;
he loved his enemies,
ate with sinners,
healed minds, bodies, and souls,
and gave completely of himself
to all who believed in him.

And so,
with your people on earth
and all the company of heaven
we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Fear and anger, however, once again stilled the voice of God.
Betrayal put in motion events
that would end the life of this
man of God.
Knowing what was ahead, Jesus gave his
disciples, and all who followed, a gift:
a celebration of remembrance,
a way of experiencing Jesus
in the here and now.

At that first table, Jesus took bread,
the food that had feed so many
during his ministry,
and he broke it, just as his body would
be broken,
and he gave it to his friends, saying,
“Take and eat;
this is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

Then he took the cup,
full of the sweet and sour juice of the vine,
and made the ordinary into the
extraordinary by saying,
“Drink from this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for many for the
forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”

At this meal, Jesus surrendered his heart.
In the garden, Jesus surrendered his body.
On the cross, Jesus surrendered his soul.

And now, we surrender ourselves
as a holy and living sacrifice,
in union with Christ,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Through the mystery of faith,
we eat this bread
and drink this juice,
keeping alive the spirit of Jesus
within us,
and remembering his love
poured out for us.

With our Creator God,
our friend, Jesus Christ,
and our Comforter, the Holy Spirit,
We honor the covenant to love
those difficult to love,
to forgive
those difficult to forgive,
and to act with kindness
even when not inclined to do so.

May God’s peace make a home in you
now and forever.
Amen.

Call to Worships

  1. Nothing seems to be special about this Sunday; it is an ordinary day.
    No surprises, no ahas – just ordinary worship.
    A time to pray, to sing, to greet friends and visitors, to hear God’s Word…
    Maybe today will not be ordinary…
    We worship an extraordinary God,
    Who is made known in extraordinary ways!
    We need to wake up, watch, and listen.
    We are in God’s presence – anything can happen!

2. Come into this sacred space; you are welcome here.
This is God’s house and we are God’s children.
God greets us with open arms and a heart full of love.
We know we belong here, that we are a family.
We are the Body of Christ, full of his Spirit.
Let us worship together with joy!

3. The noise of greeting is hushed.
We prepare our hearts and minds for worship.
Lay aside the troubles and burdens of the world.
We expect to encounter God here in this place.
May this experience bring you peace.
And may the peace of Christ fill you also.

4. Look around! See the beauty of this sacred space.
The light and colors reflect the wonder of God.
Hear the music of the organ and choir.
The melodies and harmony ring forth the beauty of God.
Speak the ancient words of Scripture.
The text resounds with the wisdom of God.
We are here to find God…
God is all around us!

5. Come in! Welcome to this house of worship!
We rejoice to be in the presence of God.
What are your hopes for this hour?
To meet God face-to-face in the Word, in
the music, in prayer, and in my neighbor.

May you find what you are looking for!
We are open and willing to experience God.

6. You are the invited guests of God.
We are humbled by God’s invitation.
In the singing, praying, and preaching,
God waits for you.
We are ready to meet God, fully open
to receive God’s love and grace.

What will you give in return?
We will offer these gifts to our neighbors
and seek to make a difference in the world.

Journey

Life is a path,
not right or wrong,
just a path
given to each of us.

We are born to a
mother and father,
neither of them chosen.
Raised in an imperfect family,
we carry the burdens and
blessings of the past
that shape the present
and the future.

Decisions and events
created by us and thrust upon us
make the journey beautifully wild…
and scary.

Our path zigs and zags, weaving through
mountains of wondrous joy
and deserts of bleakness and pain,
gardens of bright colors and
forests of confusion and fear.

Loneliness envelopes us
broken only by moments of realization
that God walks with us
and our hearts sing.

We are indeed a lump of clay
fashioned into a life.

Sorrow


This feeling is like
no other

A shattered and
broken heart
pieces laying
at your feet
wonder that something
this retching
has happened
to you

Each day
waking up
immobilized
frozen with grief
tears making an
exit passage for the
sadness
tears that come
and come
and come

How does one
survive
this tearing of the
soul
the searing pain of the
body and
spirit?

God provides
hands that
catch you
as you fall
a safety net
of people
hope
to keep on
living
love stitching
the shreds
into wholeness

Achingly

slowly

you are
mended
not into who
you used to be
but changed
changed in ways
yet to be
discovered

Another chapter
revealed
born out of the ashes