God our creator, Jesus our friend, Christians have awaited your arrival for millenia. We, too, await the day when “steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” We long for the New Jerusalem in which you will “wipe every tear from our eyes; death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” Give us patience in our waiting, resilience in our suffering, and oil in our lamps to keep the light of love burning bright. Amen.
God in heaven, we thank you for saints who show us the way of Jesus. Give us eyes to see the light of your love shining from every corner of your vast world. Give us the ears to hear your call from each bird chirp and breath of wind. Give us hearts to sense your blissful presence even in times of distress. We call on the saints who have gone on before us to inspire courageous action today. Amen.
Holy God, you call us to make disciples, but how can we invite others to follow when we ourselves have such a tendency to stray from your way of love? Tune our hearts to your call to return to the boundless embrace of your never changing love. Amen.
Invitation to the Table
Jesus said: “I am the bread of life; anyone who comes to me shall not hunger; anyone who believes in me shall never thirst.” Nevertheless, we hunger; nevertheless we thirst. We hunger for justice on behalf of Black lives lost and Black bodies broken under the crushing weight of systemic racism. We thirst for righteousness that is necessary for all to live in peace.
This table is open to all who hunger and thirst for God. Come to this sacred table not because you must but because you may. Come not because you are fulfilled but because in your emptiness you stand in need of God’s mercy and assurance. Come not to express an opinion, but to seek a presence and to pray for a Spirit.
Come to this table, sisters and brothers, as you are. Partake and share. It is spread for you and me that we might again know that God has come to us, shared our common lot, and invited us to step past the bonds of hatred and fear into God’s boundless embrace.
The Great Thanksgiving
Holy God, we praise and bless you for creation and the gift of life and for your abiding love which brings us close to you, the source of all blessing. We thank you for revealing your will for us in the giving of the law and in the preaching of the prophets.
The prophet Amos called on the ancient Israelites to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Centuries later your prophet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called on the people of America to do the same.
We thank you for the prophets of this moment who call us to once again examine our hearts, to shake free of our complacency, to open our ears to the cries of those suffocating in the grip of racial hatred. We thank you for calling us to be the healing hands and passionate heart of Jesus to our world.
With the faithful in every place and time, we praise with joy your holy name:
Holy, holy, holy God of love and majesty, the whole universe speaks of your glory, O God Most High. Amen.
God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we are not alone. Though we may find ourselves in a trackless and frightening wilderness you provide the necessary resources to see us through. You raise up leadership from unexpected places. Give us the courage to lead and the willingness to follow. You show us the way to get through this. The way we get through this is together. Amen.
Holy God, in times of comfort we forget you. In times of distress we question you. Teach us in every moment to trust in you. We confess that at times we’re impatient. When our bodies are stressed our moods get depressed. Lift us up. Save us, O God, and see us through. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
O God, you provided us life-giving water in the desert of despair. We make our offerings in humble gratitude. Amen.
O God our help in ages past. Our hope for years to come. Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home, we lift our eyes to you. We look to you for help in our time of need. Teach us to look to you always and at every moment, not only in times of distress, so that when need arises we can be your hands and heart for others. We confess at times we forget you. Remind us even now. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
In gratitude for your ever present help, O God, we offer you our gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Amen.
Holy God, trust is difficult. Day after day we suffer insults to our ego. Reality refuses to bend to our will. We suffer setbacks, endure disappointments, fear failure, weather the storms of shame and self-doubt. The voices of our culture that tell us our value is in producing and consuming, competing and vanquishing, branding and marketing ourselves are so insistent. Sometimes those voices are our voices. Teach us to trust in our ultimate value, which nothing, not even death, can diminish. Teach us to drop our small, fragile ego and embrace the great adventure of living for you. Amen.
*Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, only your irresistible grace will enable us to completely trust in you. Nevertheless, even with incomplete faith we offer you a portion of our finances, trusting that you will complete the good work you’ve begun in us. Amen.
You made us light. You made us for love. Nothing can change that. Sometimes we lose touch with who we are. Sometimes we forget why we’re here. Teach us simply to open. Scrape away the layers of anger, doubt, and bitterness so that our light can shine before others. Amen.
Unspeakable God our words fail us. We go about our ordinary lives mostly unaware of your presence. Then suddenly you shine through, and we are dumbstruck. We’re embarrassed by our confusion, but you respond with love. This is how it is. This is our confession: you come to us, share our common lot, and invite us to join the people of your new age. Our trembling hearts answer “Yes.” So let it be.
Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, we dedicate our lives and our offerings to your glory. Amen.