Prayer for our country

God bless our country
with humility and wisdom,
to hear your voice
not in triumph over others
but in love for one another,
for all who, for every reason,
find themselves upon this land.
May our patriotism be care for all,
not just for one family or place or kind.
Give us courage to face injustice,
to resist the powers that diminish life,
to repent of hate, and heal oppression,
for the sake of liberty and justice for all.
Bless us with prosperity of gratitude,
freedom of love and abundance of generosity.
For the land and water that so richly provide for us
we give thanks and pray for healing and renewal.
Bless us all that we may truly belong to the land,
to one another, and to you,
in a spirit of unity, gratitude and joy.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
Listen to the audio recording:

Psalm 139

A paraphrase

Holy One, you know me from inside me.
          You know me in my doing
          and in my pure Being.
                     My thoughts are transparent to you.

You are my travels and changes,
          and what in me simply is, unchanging.
                    You have shared every step, every breath.

Before my mouth forms a word,
           before my mind forms the thought,
                     you see it, you feel it, you know it.

You enclose me, my atmosphere, my body;
           you precede me, and I echo in you.
                     I live inside your embrace.

This is too wonderful for me to comprehend.
           There’s no way I can take it all in.

Where can I go that is not You?
           Where are you not present?

In the place of wonder and glory, there you are.
           In the place of abandonment and despair,
                     there you are.

If I try to be free of you
           and flee far away from you,
even there you accompany me;
           you hold me in your arms.

If I hide inside myself,
           buried in depression, wholly lost,
you see right through, clear as day:
           in you everything is translucent.

My mother, my womb, my artist,
           you handcrafted my soul and my cells—
                     wonder! awe! Gratitude!
Grandmother, you knitted me so thoughtfully,
           every stitch a prayer.
The way you made me, I am your praise,
           your masterpiece,
                     the work of your genius.

You intended me,
           you created my inner being,
                     intricately wove me in the depths of the earth.

You see clearly
           what is only yet becoming in me.
Your love already has a hold
           on all that will ever become of me
                     before it unfolds.

I want to be continually mindful
           of your wonderfulness in all things.
Your thoughts are beyond mine:
           rational thought can’t behold you:
                     only wonder.
Beyond all thoughts and words
          you are simply present.

O Love, set me free from what is not love.
          May I love that which sets me free.

Free me from all bitterness,
           my desire to control,
                     my desire to get my own way.
Purify my love, O Love,
           and my courage to stay faithful
                     in the face of resistance.

Examine me, O Truth, and know me from inside.
           Expose my true thoughts.
Confront everything that strangles my love
                     and set me free to live in the Way of Life.

Psalm 19

A paraphrase

Creation sings the glory of God;
            the galaxies utter their prayers daily.
Each day is a word of God’s story;
             each night discloses the truth.
Oh, they don’t talk with words,
             their only language is silence.
But their message saturates the world,
             and sings out to the edge of the universe.

God has set the sun at home in this world,
             and every day it comes to marry us,
             comes to dance with vigor and grace.
It comes to our world from another,
             and fills the earth with its light,
no one is left out
             from its divine, life-giving warmth.

God’s love is all that we need;
             it restarts our hearts.
God’s wisdom is as sure as gravity;
             it sustains even the unwise.
God’s ways are pure beauty,
             delighting the soul.
God’s desire allures us,
             enlightens our eyes.

Live in wonder and awe and you become holy;
             you slip into the eternal.
The voice of God is What Is;
             pay attention and you truly live.
Throw away money for this kind of wisdom,
             even what you actually need.
Abandon all your loves for this Love,
             your favorite things, your most precious.

God, your love portrays me better than I;
             when I listen I become myself.
But who can see themselves clearly?
             Save me from my hidden faults.
Cut me loose from my attachment to myself.
             Set me free from my fears.
Help me live as a servant to life,
             not hurting or destroying.

God, may all my thoughts and words and actions
             be in harmony with your delight—
my Lifeboat, my Lover,
             my Life.

Ten Commandments: Variations and Meditations

Some people want to post the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls because “this is a Christian nation.” But wait— if we were under Old Testament commandments, wouldn’t that make this a Jewish nation? I mean, Christians don’t have Ten Commandments: we have one: to love others as Christ has loved us.

If this were a “Christian nation” one might reasonably expect that some of Jesus’ teachings would have distinctly shaped the founding, history or character of America. What would that be? “Love your enemies?” “Blessed are the meek?” “Do not judge?” “You must become as a child?” “Sell all you have and give to the poor?” “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me?” Hmm. How about Jesus’ practices: feeding the hungry? Healing the sick, practicing extravagant forgiveness, associating with the lowly, or trusting in God’s abundant grace rather than our own effort? I don’t see anything distinctly Jesus-like about America. And hanging the Ten Commandments on the wall won’t change that.

But really, why bother? Of the ten commandments, we actually believe in just two: only murder and stealing are actually illegal; the other eight we don’t even believe in anyway! Idolatry, false witness, taking the Lord’s name in vain, Sabbath, coveting—who are we kidding?—breaking these commandments is part of our social and economic system!

But all this is beside the point. Sacred as they are, the Ten Commandments are not for the purpose of making people change. Listen: we have got to stop expecting other people to live out our faith by obeying our religious principles. We have to do the whole thing ourselves.

The Ten Commandments aren’t meant as a secular legal code like the speed limit that everybody ought to follow, for two reasons. One is that God’s laws aren’t rules or obligations: they’re descriptions of The Way Things Are, like the law of gravity or the laws of nature. God’s law is love. The Ten Commandments are descriptions of life lived in love. Further, they’re not universal obligations; they’re a religious practice, that sets us apart among all peoples, that makes us different. They’re the Jewish equivalent of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. They do not apply to the whole pluralistic world, but to the people of Israel. The thing is, they are not a legal document; they’re a marriage vow. The context in which they are given is not a legal framework, but a relationship: “I am your God, who brought you out of slavery.” They express how we will be faithful to the One who has given us life and set us free. I don’t post my marriage vows publicly. They’re not for others to obey; they’re for me, in my marriage with Beth. Similarly, the Ten Commandments don’t apply to others. They apply to us who have entered into God’s Covenant, who want to be close to God.

The commandments—both the ten and the one—are not rules: they’re a way to be faithful. Like marriage vows, they’re not something God imposes upon us, and certainly nothing we can impose on others, but a natural outflowing of our heartfelt commitment to what we care most deeply about. A rich, faithful marriage requires that we at least avoid adultery, murder, coveting, false witness and all that. But following the rules won’t create a loving relationship; it can only describe its outlines. We don’t follow God’s commandments because we “have” to. We do it because we want to stay close to God. We do it out of love.

But of course there are times when our fear threatens to overtake our love and what’s in our heart does not lead us toward God. In those times the rules do give us a starting place. They don’t make us love, but they keep us constrained in a place where we can learn to love. Obedience invites us to grow beyond acquiescence to passion.

This is why the prophets pleaded that instead of inscribing the commandments on our walls, we write them on our hearts. Rather than merely obeying the Ten Commandments, what might it be like for you to really write them on your heart, to live them, to honor the spirit and not just the letter of the law? What if they were the outpouring of your love, or at least your desire to learn to love? What if you didn’t just obey them, but practice them, more deeply every day? It’s something God would love to see.

So her are some variations on the Ten Commandments, some alternative ways of receiving and practicing them.

The Ten Truths of Moses

I All is One. There is only one thing, One Being. Don’t settle for anything less than The One. Have no other gods.

II The Beloved is greater than your knowing. Let go of your understanding of reality and simply behold it. Let go of your image of the Beloved and just love. Have no graven image.

III You can love God, but not use God. God is beyond your controlling or defining. “Don’t use God’s name.”

IV Life is a gift. (Let go. Stop playing God. Even God does not play God. Be nothing, powerless and empty-handed. Let God be God. Take time to stop doing and be. “Honor the Sabbath.”)

V You belong. You receive great gifts from those who have come before you, and who surround you, and all the living beings who provide for you, simply because you are here. Show gratitude. Honor your elders.

VI Life is sacred. Life itself is the presence of the Holy One. Do what gives life. Refrain from all that diminishes life. Do not kill.

VII The heart of life is faithful love. God is faithful. All of life is a Covenant. Be faithful. Don’t commit adultery.

VIII We are all in this together. Possession is an illusion. Resist the temptation to think of yourself as separate from others, or of others as a resource, or yourself as more deserving than they. Seek to bless others rather than to take anything from them. See to it that all have what they need. Don’t steal.

IX Illusion is powerful, but truthfulness is more so. To free yourself from the power of illusion, be truthful in all things. Don’t bear false witness.

X You are a source, not an end point. Relinquish possessiveness. Let go of things. Be giving instead of grasping. Share. Don’t covet.

The Ten Promises

And God spoke all these words:

I am Love, your God, who set you free. I never give you less than freedom.

I exceed your imagining.

I am too great to manipulate or control.

I give you time and space to simply be yourself.

I surround you with unconditional love and faithfulness.

I only give life, not take it.

I am faithful.

I give and do not hold back.

I reveal What Is to you.

I desire only your blessing, not for my sake, but for yours.

The Ten Do’s

Some think of the Ten Commandments
as the “Thou Shalt Nots,”
the Big Ten Don’ts.
“Don’t do this, don’t do that.”
But they’re not so negative;
they’re the way we practice faithfulness.
They’re the Ten Do’s.

1. Give your life to the One who gives life and sets you free.
2. Trust that God is greater than you can imagine.
3. Let God use you, not the other way around.
4. Take time to let yourself be, without having to do.
5. Honor the world you belong to.
6. Practice anti-violence.
7. Be faithful, and help others to do so.
8. Set your heart on sharing.
9. Be truthful.
10. Practice gratitude for all you have.

The Ten Intentions

Be mindful of God in all things; seek God and not something else.
God is mystery; beware of thinking that you understand.
Resist the urge to use God.
Trust God’s grace, not your own deserving.
Be mindful to honor those who have loved you.
Commit to nonviolence.
Honor your friends and your covenants, and especially your marriage.
Shun acquisitiveness. Let go of possessing things; renounce and enjoy.
Be truthful in all things.
Refuse to gain at other’s expense.

Praying the Ten Commandments

I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

         Holy One, you who set me free,
         I have no love deeper than you,
         nor is there anything I turn to instead of you.

You shall not make for yourself an idol.

         Knowing that you are mystery,
         I hold all my understandings of you lightly,
         lest they become more real to me than you.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of Yahweh your God.

         I love you and will not use you:
         I will not attempt to to claim your power
         or use my relationship with you to my advantage.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

I practice presence in the moment,
         trusting in your grace alone, not my deserving,
         content in being, not doing, fully mindful of you.

Honor your father and your mother

         Shaped by a community of faith,
         I honor all those who have gone ahead of me
         creating a path of blessing that I may follow.

You shall not murder.

         I extend kindness and compassion to all living beings
         and will do nothing to diminish
         the life or well-being of another.

You shall not commit adultery.

         Grateful for your covenant of steadfast love,
         I will live in faithful relationships with all,
         and honor those who trust in me.

You shall not steal.

         Knowing all I have is yours, I give freely and generously;
         I will not take or keep unjustly from others,
         or satisfy myself at another’s expense.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

         I will speak the truth in love,
         humbly honoring and respecting others,
         and speaking of them only as their belovedness warrants.

You shall not covet.

         I release myself from my desires,
         from the illusion that I want what others have,
         and instead find delight in what is.

Lent 4

March 10, 2024

Lectionary Texts

Numbers 21. 4-9. The Israelites who are escaping from Egypt complain about their suffering. To give them some perspective, God sends poisonous snakes, but also provides a means of healing, in the form of a curative bronze serpent.

Psalm 107. Thanks to God for leading the people through the desert, and feeding and healing them, with special care for the hungry, the powerless and the needy.

Ephesians 2. 1-10. You were dead through sins but God made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.

John 3. 14-21. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up…. For God so loved the world that they gave their only Son…. This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world…

Preaching Thoughts

       The story is rooted in an image of a God who, like an abusive human being, asserts control, demands loyalty, rejects criticism, prohibits disobedience and punishes it. And God doesn’t even punish people for misdeeds, but simply “speaking against the Lord.” They’re punished for feeling bad! Taking this story literally leaves us with a testy, hurtful, vindictive God. Sure, God gives the Israelites an escape, in the form of magic. But the hurt can’t be undone. Further, for God to offer a way to counteract God’s own punishment is both logically and spiritually silly. Instead, let’s find some morsel of grace in this story. Maybe God doesn’t “send” poisonous snakes. Maybe the consequences of our choices bite us. God invites us to examine our choices —to “look upon the snake.” God invites us into the painful but curative work of self-awareness.

    Here’s the gospel in a nutshell. Out of harmony with God, we’re subject to the chaotic pushing and pulling of our fears and desires. Believing ourselves to be separate from God, we cut ourselves off from life, like an astronaut cutting their lifeline to the spaceship. We’re as good as dead. But even in that mess God loves us, sets us free and gives us new life, as dramatically and miraculously and profoundly as God raises Jesus. Now we can be the true, good selves God creates us to be, and live in love. This is all God’s gift, not our doing.

   This is clearly John talking, not Jesus. In John’s gospel Jesus talks a lot about himself— in pretty high terms. In real life I bet Jesus talked about God’s love, not about himself. John really wants people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God; Jesus really wants people to love each other. This doesn’t mean we should discount these words, but be aware of the Johanine context. In John’s gospel we need to look behind the doctrinal assertion that Jesus is God’s Son to what such a belief means for our lives, our trust, and our choices. It’s not what we think, but what we do, that matters. John says in love God gives us Christ, who is like Moses’ bronze serpent: a source of healing and hope, a cure for what ails us. What ailed the Israelites in the wilderness was lack of trust in God. For John it’s lack of belief in Jesus. Publicly good old John 3.16 is used more often as a coercion to get people to be among a select group of “those who believe in him” than a promise that God loves the whole world. The implication is that God’s grace comes to us only if we “believe,” while “those who do not believe are condemned.” But a “grace” that conditional isn’t really grace, which makes it even harder to trust! I don’t trust myself to believe enough, nor God to accept me when my belief falters. And the fragility of our trust is the issue. Because we are self-aware we see ourselves as “selves,” separate from God and others. It leads us to distrust God. (This is sin: not that we’re bad people but that we are alienated from God. It’s inherent in human nature; in that way—not because Adam did it first— it is indeed “original.”)
       When we distrust God it’s not God who condemns us, but our own distrust: we cut ourselves off from God, and doom ourselves to selfishness and anxiety. What saves us from our deep, inherent distrust? A love that reaches across our distrust, that loves us precisely when we don’t trust. Like for instance when we see Jesus “lifted up”—not glorified and exalted, but lifted up on a cross: condemned, despised, abused, and still loving and forgiving us. We behold a love we can trust even when we can’t trust our own hearts. When we see Jesus “lifted up,”crucified and yet forgiving, it’s like the poisoned Israelites looking at the bronze serpent: it heals our fear and overcomes our distrust. It saves us. There is no condemnation, only salvation. We come to trust God’s love. That trust is actually what we mean by “believing.” John 3.16 means God so loves the world that God embodies God’s love, and whoever trusts it connects with real life and won’t die of loneliness, selfishness and anxiety.
       There is no condemnation, only salvation. God’s judgment is not condemnation, but light. God doesn’t issue an opinion about our lives, but simply shines the light of truth on them and reveals them as they are. Then we can see clearly and live lives of love instead of hiding in delusion and falsehood. John’s words about darkness and light are rally about delusion and self-awareness:
“This is the judgment, that the truth has come into the world. We love delusion rather than self-awareness because our deeds are evil. For when we do evil we hate self-awareness and do not come to it, so that our deeds may not be exposed. But when we do what is true we live in awareness, so that it may be clearly seen that our deeds have been done in God.”

Call to Worship

Leader: Creator God, in the beginning you said, “Let there be light.”
All: We come into the light of your glory.
Loving Christ, your judgment is the light of mercy and grace.
We come into the light of your love.
Holy Spirit, by your grace in us we are light for the world.
We come into the light of your presence.
Fill us, that we may always live in your light. Amen.

Leader: God of all being, in the beginning — Light!
All: In your light is the life of all. Praise!
The light was coming into the world.
And we have beheld his grace. Grateful thanks!
Out of hiddenness we come into the clarity of day.
You fill us with your radiance. Blessing!
We open our hearts to your grace.
Fill us with your Spirit. Make us yours once again. Amen.

Leader: God, you so love the world that you give your Beloved,
that in giving our hearts to him we might find eternal life.
All: Great is your mercy, God! By your grace we are saved.
Come, shed your light upon us, so that we may live in you.

Leader: God, you love the world so much!
You give us your deep, embodied love.
All: Help us to trust, to break free of our fears,
and receive life that can’t be taken from us.
You shine the light of your mercy in our lives,
so that we may see and live truthfully.
Help us walk in your light.
Shine your Word upon us.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Divine Beloved, you shine in all Creation, with the light of your love. Your Word shines in scripture and song. We open the windows of our hearts, to let your light stream in and change us. Fill us with the light of Christ. Amen.

God of love, we have been lost in the chaos of fears and desires, wrapped in death in our self-defined selves. But you have saved us by your grace; this is your doing, not ours. We want the faith to trust this grace. So we open our hearts to you, to hear your Word, to be filled with your light, to breathe in your Spirit. You who are eternally present within us, we give you our hearts, our minds, our souls, our bodies. In your light, we are listening. Amen.

Gracious God, you so love the world that you gave your Only Begotten, so that whoever will give their heart to him will know eternal life. And so we give our hearts to your living Christ now, to hear your Word, to be freed from all that destroys life, and to know life that is deep and holy, blessed and infinite. Bring us into the light of your truth, and give us life. Amen.

God of gentle mercy, your light has come into the world. By your Word spoken among us, and your grace working within us, bring us into your light. May it fill us, transform us, delight us, and guide us. We pray in the name of Christ, our light, who gave himself for us so that we might know your love. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

God of grace,
what is in darkness is not bad,
but only hidden.
Shine your light into our hearts’ dark places
so that we may see in the light of your grace,
both the tragedy and treasure there.
Shine the light of your mercy,
so that we may see ourselves clearly. Amen.

Loving God, we want to know your truth;
we want to trust your love.
By your grace in Christ Jesus,
shine your light on us.
Remind us of your love.
Deepen our trust.

Light of God,
shine in my heart
and transfigure my darkness,
that I may become your light,
radiant with your presence.

Prayer of Confession

Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Loving God, in your light is the life of all beings;
your judgment is light.
Out of the shadows, from dark, unseen places within us,
we come into your light.
We open our hearts, to let in your light.
Help us see what has been hidden,
the good and the bad,
and shine your mercy upon it.
May your light embrace us, forgive us, heal us,
and show us the way. Amen.
       Silent prayer… the word of grace

Gracious god,
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
what our hearts no longer can bear,
and what has become for us
a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past we cannot change;
open us to a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace
to grow more and more into your likeness and image;
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.

Holy and loving God,
you have created me to live in harmony with you and with all Creation;
but I have not always lived in harmony.
Some of my sin I can see; but some only you know.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask you to forgive my disharmony,
and deliver me from the forces that distort my life;
heal the fear that leads me away from you.
and change my heart,
so that I may truly live in harmony with you and all Creation,
in the love of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pastor: The grace of God be with you.
All: And also with you.
Dear friends, the sin in our hearts hides in the darkness of unseen places.But by the grace of Christ we may let them open to the light of God’s mercy, confessing our sin before God and one another.
Eternal God, we confess that we do not love you perfectly, nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that our sin is hidden from us, and that only by your grace do we see truly. Forgive our sin, heal our hearts, and bring us into the light of your Spirit, that by your grace we may see ourselves clearly and live honestly, so that we may be light for the world in the name of Christ.

         Silence for reflection and self-examination… The Word of Grace


Ephesians 2.1-10. A paraphrase.
        [Click here for a paraphrase of the entire book,
        including an alternative of this passage.]

Once you were drowning in a chaos of fear and desire
that sucked all the life out of you.
You were tyrannized by voices outside of you,
enslaved by the Prince of Expectations,
indebted to The Corporation,
obediently oblivious.
All of us have been there,
slaves to our ego’s fearful desires,
children of anxiety, shards of ourselves,
desperate for our own lives.
But the Loving One, who is pure tenderness,
with this huge, heartbreaking love
gets beneath us in our mass graves
and rises to life in us,
and pushes us out and makes us alive,
arm in arm with Christ,
restoring our belonging at the heart of life
us as part of God’s great, holy presence on earth.
By pure gift—no reason but love!—you’ve been salvaged,
pulled right out of the wreckage of your life.

God’s gentle kindness—you get a taste of it in Jesus—
blossoms within us with blessings beyond our knowing,
blessings that outlast everything you see.
God has saved your life—trust it.
And be grateful, not smug:
this is not your doing, but God’s.
It’s pure gift, unconditional and absolute;
nothing you do can influence it.

God created you good, and nothing can undo that.
You are part of God’s love made real in this life:
that’s your true self.
Who you are, and the reason you exist,
is beautiful love.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1. [Ephesians 2.1-10, a paraphrase]

We were dead in our sin, cut off from life
by the tangle of fears and desires and forces that strangle everyone.
But God, rich in mercy, out of the great love with which God loves us,
even when we were dead in our sin, made us alive together with Christ.
By grace we have been saved!
God raised us up so our lives shine with power and purpose alongside God.
We are a part of Christ Jesus!
This will be evident forever: the immeasurable riches of God’s grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
By grace we have been saved, through faith!
This is not the result of our doing or believing; it is simply a gift from God.
We are who God made us, not who we make ourselves out to be:
we are created in Christ, for lives of love,
which God laid out like clothes for us to step into, all our lives
Come, let us live in the light!

Eucharistic Prayer

[After the introduction, the body of the prayer may be read responsively with the presiding leader(s) and congregation, or by the leader(s) alone.]

God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

Creating God, in the beginning you said, “Let there be light.”
And still your light shines in us.
You are present in the darkness of the unknown,
a pillar of fire in the night of our wandering.
You come among us in Jesus, light of the world, to illumine our darkness.
In this meal we take your light into ourselves,
that we may shine with your love.
We come, singing your praise.

            [Sanctus, spoken or sung:]
        Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and might,
        heaven and earth are full of your glory.
        Hosanna in the highest.
        Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
        Hosanna in the highest.
               [or alternate version]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ,
who embodied your love.
He brought not condemnation but salvation.
The people who had been pushed into the shadows
he brought into the light.
The thoughts of people’s hearts he exposed with his truth.
When he was crucified, still he forgave us
with your infinite love.
When we look upon him we are healed of our fear.
The light of his love is our truth;
the light of his grace is our judgment.
In this meal we come again to receive your grace
and renew our trust in your Covenant of love.

     (The Blessing and Covenant)
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ—
your Beloved, the light of the world,
in whom we see our salvation.

In this meal Jesus draws all people to himself.
In this meal love casts out the powers of the world.
In this meal Jesus brings to light the grace that is hidden in our lives.
In this meal Jesus heals and teaches us,
feeds the hungry and lifts up the heartbroken.

In this meal we remember Jesus’ life and ministry,
his self-giving love, and his death.
And in this meal Christ is raised from the dead in us.
So we proclaim this mystery of our faith:

             [Memorial Acclamation, spoken or sung:]
        Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
        Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restores our life.
        Christ will come again in glory.
             [or alternative]
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
Eating this bread we enter into the darkness of death;
drinking this cup your light is poured out into us.
This is your judgment: that your light has come into our hearts.
Bless us that we may live in your light,
and all our deeds be done in you.

     [Spoken or sung]

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

[Adapt as needed.]
Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) You have filled us with your light. Send us into the world to live truthfully, to see clearly, to bear your light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, in the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) We have looked upon the miracle of your love, and it has broken the fever of our fear. We have seen the light of your mercy, and it has given us new life. Send us out into the world in trust and gratitude, to walk in your light, to live with your mercy, to love in the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) Grant that in our hearts we may always feast upon your immeasurable kindness toward us. Send us into the world in the power of your Spirit, to live lives of grace reflecting your love, to share your good news with others, and to be people of healing in a world that yearns for redemption. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.

God of love, bless us that we may live with the love of Christ, so that those who look upon us may be healed of their fear. Bless us that we may live with such light that others may see and rejoice. E pray for the sake of your delight and the healing of the world in the name and the Spirit and the company of Christ. Amen.

Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) You have filled us with your light. Send us into the world to live truthfully, to see clearly, to bear your light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, in the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

Kyrie, Six Versions (Six original versions. Some are part of Eucharistic settings.)
Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.
(Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.)

In Your Light       (Tune: What Wondrous Love Is This

What wondrous love is this O my soul, O my soul,
what wondrous love is this, O my soul!
that you so freely give the bread by which we live,
that you revive our soul, by your Word, by your Word,
and by your life in us make us whole.

Our lives we give to you, by your grace, by your grace,
our lives we give to you, by your grace.
Lord, use the gifts we give to help your children live,
that all may come and feast by your grace, by your grace,
the greatest and the least, by your grace.

O, Savior, let us live in your light, in your light,
your mercy’s gentle light from above.
May we live by such light that we give others sight
to see your wondrous love for the world, for the world,
to trust with deep delight your great love.

Into the Light
     (Original song)

God, I come into the light of your mercy and grace:
may I receive your forgiveness, your loving embrace.
You know my brokenness better than I, and my sin.
You love me perfectly, setting me free once again.

All of myself I now humbly bring into your light:
wash me, renew me, forgive me and set me aright.
God, I surrender myself to your life-giving love:
may I be born by your Spirit, anew, from above.

God, you have loved us so much that you even would give
Jesus, your Son, the Beloved, so that we would live.
Help us to live so we bring your good news into sight.
Help us to trust in your grace and come into the light.

Shine In Me      (Tune: Breathe on Me Breath of God)

Shine in me, light of God: into my shadows shine,
all that is dark and hidden, show; reveal with your light divine.

Open the window, Love, into my heart’s abyss:
fears and desires, all wants and wounds bring into your light and bless.

What is unseen reveal; give me the gift of sight,
lighten the shadows deep within and, Love, make my darkness light.

Shine in me, light of God, your mercy gleaming bright.
I am the lantern, you the flame. Love, let me live in your light.

Wake Us From Our Sleep (Original song)

God of mercy, wake us with your light.
Rouse our sleeping hearts and give us sight.
Raise us up from death; fill us with your breath.
Wake us from our sleep to live new lives in you.

Life comes only from the Word you give.
You alone have power to make us live.
Seeking what is True, Love, we turn to you:
springs of living water flow, and so we live.

Christ, you touch our hearts and heal our fear.
Even in our pain your grace is near.
Spirit, you who save, raise us from our grave.
Born again, dry bones who rise, we live in you.

Christ, light of the world, your radiance bright
wakens us to day out of our night:
shining in, it heals; shining out, reveals.
Help us all to live as children of the light.

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