There are a few places that I typically turn for inspiration – the favorite of mine being Thom M. Shuman (TMS). Another favorite haunt is the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Discipleship and the Worship Planning Helps there. I use hymns and turn them into responsive readings. We sing. We pray. We make liturgy happen.
But sometimes, those pieces need to be all woven together. Sometimes a bit of this and a chunk of that speaks to me.
So, here it is… in its fullness. The cut and paste liturgy of JOY!
Prayer of Confession
Ever Present Peace, you came to save us, but that is so hard to remember in this hectic season. Our impatience for Christmas to arrive gets in the way of listening to our children singing in their rooms. We let the blinking lights blind us to your quiet presence in a noisy world. We get so caught up in the stories of violence, we cannot hear your voice reminding us not to be afraid.
As you poured out your mercy on all who have gone before us, shower us with grace and forgiveness. Then, our eyes will be opened to all your wonders, our ears will echo with the anthems of the angels, and our emptiness will be filled with the life gifted to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. (TMS)
Words of Assurance
Dear ones of God, this is the good news: God comes to us to bring the healing of hope, the joy of justice into our hearts.
We need wait no longer. We will go and tell everyone what we have seen and heard! Thanks be to God. Amen. (TMS)
In Christ, your head, you then shall know, shall feel your sins forgiven;
The Great Thanksgiving
The God who is coming to us be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to the One who turns barren deserts into seas of grace.
We lift them to the Lord!
Beloved of God, let us come to the table with songs of joy on our lips. (TMS, adapted)
O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace!
It is right to give you thanks and praise,
Great God of the Coming Dawn,
for in each new day you surprise the earth with splendor.
Your Spirit moves across the face of the waters and brings forth life.At the dawn of all things in a garden you worked the earth.
Elbow deep in mud you fashioned us, gifted us, gave us work to do.
Made from the earth, Made by your hand,
We forgot who we wereand we tried to remake ourselves.We rejected your love and fell into sin and death.Yet even in our darkness you continued to speak light and life.…And so we come to live on the edge of your new and promised day.[We come to wait for your Son Jesus Christ our Lord]
[His] coming was announced by wilderness prophets
and [he] arrived to the song of angels
in the choir stall of a manger.
In Jesus you not only took our name but our flesh.
He was the One promised
He announced the new day and the acceptable year
When blind folks would see
And poor folks would rejoice
When captives would be set free
And the oppressed would once more walk upright in liberty.
In stories he spoke of waiting bridesmaids and prodigal sons,
With tears and compassion he brought a dead man to life
and gave a woman at a well the living water she sought.
With anger he overturned tables and challenged the powerful.
On the cross he revealed the power of weakness
and in the emptiness of the tomb
he gave us a glimpse of your tomorrow
that does not end in death. (AJ – see note at bottom)
He speaks, and listening to his voice, new life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice, the humble poor believe.
He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me.
On the night when he was betrayed
he sat at a table with his friends.
He took bread, blessed it, broke it, served it to them, and said,“Take this. Eat it. It is my body, given for you. Do this to remember me.”
In the same way he took the cup,
Blessed it, served it to them, and said,
“Drink from this every one of you.This is my blood poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin.Do this to remember me.”
And so we remember.
And so we offer our praise and thanks and our very selves
As a holy and living sacrifice in union with Christ’s offering for us.
[We offer our lives as he remembered that he offered his for our own.] (AJ)
I felt my Lord’s atoning blood close to my soul applied;
Me, me he loved, the Son of God, for me, for me he died!
May the gift of your Spirit, Advent’s Hope and Peace,be poured out on the simple gifts of the bread and the cup,and on those who come simply to find healing and hope.
And when we have been fed by your surprising grace
and filled with your peace, may we go forth to the world,
where our weak hands will become calloused by compassion;
where we will bend our feeble knees, reaching down to lift up the fallen;where we will become fountains of living water for those parched by the wilderness of their lives.Then, when sorrow and sighing have been chased away from us,and we gather with all generations around your Table in heaven,everlasting joy will be our song, and gracious hope will be our refrain,
as we sing to you through all eternity, God in Community, Holy in One. (TMS)
By saints below and saints above, the church in earth and heaven.
The Lord’s Prayer
Sharing the Bread and the Cup
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease;
‘tis music in the sinner’s ears, ‘tis life, and health, and peace.
My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.
(AJ – Written by Alex Joyner. Advent Great Thanksgiving – Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission.)