Eucharistic Liturgy for a Time of Nationalism—Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany

For the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, or when Matthew 5:13-20 is read during the service (Lectionary Year A).

Call to Worship:

God of creation,
all you have made can be used for Good.
We are salt,
may our lives be pleasant spice to others,
a foretaste of your Banquet of Justice and Love.
We are candles, blown by the wind;
be our guard against all that would extinguish our life,
spark the fire within us to burn with your liberating Love.
For you come not to abolish, but to fulfill.
Fill our lives with your desire for the Good.
Create in us a new heart,
that we may seek peace in the world, feed the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
that our light might shine with the Love from which all life springs.

In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Confession and Absolution:

God of Hope, you call us to be a foretaste of a Feast we can hardly imagine. You call us to be lights even in the depths of the deepest nights. We confess that hope is hard and that without the hope you give, life might be impossible to carry on. In Christ, we know you understand our doubts and our pains. We know in Jesus we find empathy and not shame. He was shamed by those who shame. He was shamed by religious people and by political authorities. But he was Resurrected. He lives.

He did not come to give us shame, but to bring new life. Create in us that new life. Restore our hope and call us to visions of your Reign, your Garden, that our lives might be filled with your holy longing and the joy of living for you. Forgive our shortcomings. Erase our self-doubt, that we may be freed from fear and anxiety to life anew in you. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Christ comes to bring life and grace, to reconcile, to lift up the downtrodden, the hungry, the poor, and the poor in Spirit. May God free you from all that suppresses your appetite for God’s Reign of Justice and Love. May Christ free you from the shame of the past and of the judgment of others. You are forgiven, fully, wholly, through and through. You are made new, today and every day. You are freed to live into God’s desire for Creation. May you find that desire in your heart and may you know the truth of Grace: there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make God love you less. There is nothing in all of Creation that can separate you from the love of God.

In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer of the Day:

God of deliverance, bless us by your presence. Send your Spirit to stoke the fires of our souls. Fulfill in us your justice. Embolden us to embody your liberating grace. Amen.


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

Preface to Communion:

Before he was crucified, Jesus told his disciples to eat. When they gathered and shared, gathered and prayed, ate and laughed and sang, there he would be when they gathered in his name. This was his promise.

And so the disciples gathered in hope, gathered in longing remembrance, sparking with each meal their hope for God’s Reign that Christ had proclaimed.

Today, we still share this foretaste of the Feast to Come. We give to all a taste, as with any desire. We share, bread and cup, body and blood. We act out the Reign in ritual, even as we pray for the Reign to come. And we proclaim Christ’s mystery as we watch and wait for his return.

Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again.

By eating the bread and drinking the cup, we remember God’s Reign and taste Christ’s presence and we stand as one body with all who remain suffering or betrayed, inside and outside this room.