Liturgy for a Time of Nationalism—Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany
Call to Worship:
Holy Spirit, Source of Life,
by your strength,
the flower blooms in the dust puddles of parking lots,
through the cracks in the concrete life stretches toward the sun.
Flames become embers, suffocating, without breath.
You breathe into our nostrils, bring forth new flame.
Hearts grow calloused. Love becomes numb.
You transform our hearts. You infuse us with love.
Worlds grow dull. Worlds grow dim.
You call us salt. You call us light.
Teach us to plant, to water.
Teach us to tend all your beloved creatures.
Teach us to care for one another.
Help us to trust that, in you, our love will bear fruit unimaginable.
Nothing we have and hold is our own.
But you are our Way and our life,
our Source and our Anticipation.
By your grace may we live.
In Hope may we move.
In the freedom of Love may we find our being.
Give us Power, give us Grace, give us Love.
In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Hymn: Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying, by Ken Medema
Confession and Absolution:
Holy Spirit, wellspring of life, you are our source and from you we receive life and grace. We confess our forgetfulness. We forget that, in you, we are called to life. Alive, we are called to strive for a just peace, whose fruit is unity. We are called to care for one another, to feed one another, trusting that nothing is ours, all is from you, and that, in you, the world will be at peace and will be fed. We have come to love wealth more than your vision of the Banquet of Life. We have come to love personal security more than the ties of the human family. We have come to love the quiet of isolation more than the joy of the Beloved Community, more than the playground that is born from justice and harmony. We become dismembered in our fear. We cut one another off. We find ourselves believing that some deserve to eat and others deserve to die. Remind us that this is not true. Transform us. Renew our minds. Remind us that in you, together we are all called “good.” Re-member us, that we might become one body. Remind us that, in you, all of creation is good. Remove our fears of change and fears of Others, that we might embrace you, the eternal Other in flesh, in us, with us, and for us. Amen.
In Christ, we become One. The Body is restored. Each one of us is a member united in Love: “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8 NRSV) and “Perfect Love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 NRSV). Our fear, our division, our complacency are forgiven. In Christ you are restored. May the Spirit of Life replace your guilt with a renewed Love for the human family, a Love for Creation, and a longing for the Beloved Community. May your days and your minutes be marked by a passion for God’s Reign. May you see visions and dream dreams. And may you know that this moment you are freed to begin again!
In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. 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 at 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. All eat. All drink. All are fed. We share, bread and cup. We become one body, one blood. We act out God’s Reign in ritual, praying in earnest for that Reign to come. And together we proclaim Christ’s mystery until all Love is fulfilled:
Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again.
Eating and drinking, we long for God’s fullness and taste Christ’s presence.
We stand with all the Crucified, with all who still look in the deepest night
for the Resurrection of the dead, for all who remain suffering or betrayed, inside and outside this room.