Worship Elements: April 15, 2018

March 15th, 2018

Third Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White 
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Call to Worship:
L: Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Christ, our Redeemer—

P: Who was anointed by the spirit of God to bring good news to the poor.

L: Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Christ, our Redeemer—

P: Who was crucified by the keepers of order for heeding the summons of God.

L: Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Christ, our Redeemer—

P: Who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit for bringing the reign of God to earth.

A: Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Christ, our Redeemer!

Invocation:
O God, who chased the gloom of the disciples with the gospel of Easter and drowned their desert of despair in a sea of grace, surprise us this day. Take from us the presumption that leans on our strength instead of yours, that mistakes our wisdom for yours, and equates our will with yours. Assure us once again that our Lord's promise to be with us always still holds good. And be present with us now, as in the days of Jesus, to make us whole and to make us holy.

Litany:
L: O God, who through your power at work in Jesus made the old feel young and the young feel mature, we pray for the outpouring of your power upon our generation.

P: Baptize our generation in the spirit with which Jesus baptized his.

L: Instead of lamenting our inability to work miracles of healing, make us supporters of the medicine that can make the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see.

P: Baptize our generation!

L: Instead of lamenting our inability to turn children into geniuses, make us backers of the education that can inspire the gifted to care, the average to think, and the slow to try.

P: Baptize our generation!

L: Instead of lamenting our inability overnight to rid the world of poverty, make us shapers of the programs that will provide food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and clothing for the deprived.

P: Baptize our generation!

L: Instead of lamenting our inability to tame hardened criminals, make us designers of plans that can turn anger into resolve, despair into hope, and aimlessness into ambition.

P: Baptize our generation!

L: Instead of lamenting our inability to make our neighbors take notice of us, make us doers of deeds that will turn their attention to you.

A: Baptize our generation in the spirit with which Jesus baptized his. Pour out your power upon us!

Prayer for One Voice:
O God, who in Jesus revealed the love that endows life with significance, the purpose that gives direction to humanity, and the power that spells death for evil, you are our Lord and a great God above all gods. We worship you, for your revelation in Jesus will not permit us to offer you anything less than our worship.

For this manifestation of your grace, we thank you, dear Lord. From this storehouse of riches we have continually drawn, yet the treasury has not been depleted. For like all the spiritual capital with which you have entrusted us, it is something we can lose only by failing to use it. This truth you have written deep into the heart of us all. We thank you, gracious Lord, for thus ordering our existence. Not only does it mean that we can find purpose for our life. It also demands that we respect the lives of others.

Yet we cannot ponder your gift without asking forgiveness for its abuse. We may be quick to hail the power of Jesus' name, but we are slow to spread our trophies at his feet: we are as apt to expect him to crown us as we are to crown him. He has opened our minds that we may understand the Scriptures, but we have hardened our hearts against his interpretation of them. He has enacted the role of the Lord's suffering servant, but our faith becomes skeptical when "bad" things happen to "good" people. We sing that there is a cross for everyone, but we wait for Jesus to carry not only his but ours.

Paul proclaimed "Christ and him crucified," but we proclaim a gospel of ecstasy without agony. Whereas for Jesus Calvary was a way of life, we have turned it into a way of death. And whereas Easter marked your stamp of approval on Jesus' way of life, we have reduced the resurrection to a proof of the immortality of the soul. Forgive us, O God, for thus mocking the meaning and message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We pray, O Lord, that you will so rule our hearts that we will make you known not only in the breaking of the bread but in the sharing of the bread: that we shall shoulder the cross you carried for the poor and oppressed; that we shall recogruze that repentance, like charity, must begin at home; that we shall accept the forgiveness of Christ, not merely as a revelation of the divine character, but as a model for human behavior; and that we shall bring into being the fellowship of kindred minds for which Jesus prayed.

O God, let us not lose sight of the connection between Easter and Good Friday. Let us remember that, if Easter demonstrates your ability to work the divine will without our help, Good Friday confirms that your victories do not come without cost to us. Deliver us from the lure of cheap grace. Make us as willing to pay the cost of your victories as we are to claim them for ourselves.

Benediction:
O Lord, as you have made disciples of us, now you send us into the world to make disciples of others. Go with us and be our guide, that the witness of our lives may confirm the testimony of our lips.


From "Litanies and Other Prayers: Year B." Copyright © Abingdon Press

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