Call to Worship:
One: A shoot shall grow from the root of Jesse.
All: In creeping winter we wait for this shoot to grow and blossom.
One: Seeds of hope sprout into blooms of joy.
All: Praise the God of new life and growth.
One: Let us worship the God who brings life.
All: Let us worship God.
Prayer of the Day:
God of all that blooms and sprouts and grows, show us your hope in the unexpected. We seek the signs of your presence with us even as we wait in hope for the day of peace. We look for signs of life in our dry and dreary seasons. We pray for your coming to us as we await your Son, and long for the presence of you Spirit, Three in One, One in Three, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
One: Holy God, we confess that we have sinned against you.
All: We have lived in despair when you call us to hope.
One: We see a shoot of green in a world of gray,
All: But we stamp it out or pull it up.
One: We live in a lush, prolific and plentiful world,
All: But we spoil it, befoul it, pollute it, exploit it, and degrade it.
One: You give us Enough, as you are Enough,
All: But we trample one another to get More.
One: We plead for mercy for our sins against you and your world.
All: Forgive us, gracious Lord, and set us against our old ways of fear and exploitation.
Assurance of Pardon:
Hear this good news: hope still blossoms. The Advent of Christ still springs forth as a new sprout, growing into full and gracious life in God. For this new sprout of hope, know that in Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Amen.
Prayer for Illumination:
Holy God, break into our dreary world like new springs of green, growing and taking nourishment from your earth, that we might see and hear you aright in the words of scripture before us today.. Amen.
Hear these words from Scripture: (Romans 15:4-6)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the midst of a dark, sad world, hope gathers us around this table. We come to partake of the gifts of God’s earth because shoots of hope sprout up in our lives despite our best efforts. We come because God welcomes us, without walls or bars, to God’s own table, to share in God’s bounty.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Creator God, maker of all that is, your provision for us is displayed throughout your creation. The fertile soils, rushing waters, and gleaming rays of the sun you created bring forth our sustenance and nourishment since humans first worked the ground. You have sprung forth hope in dry places, springs of water from rocks, manna from the heavens to provide for your people. Your people found not just drink and cleansing, but deliverance in the waters, when they crossed through the Red Sea.
Yet we continue to live in despair and apathy and ignorance of your graciousness to us. When we fail in hope you call us back in the promises of prophets, the songs of psalmists, the preaching of disciples, in the renewing of your creation in seasons and growth.
Good Lord, renew in us the hope to sing with all of your creation:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, 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 the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
We thank you for Jesus Christ your son, who burst into this world live a living green shoot from a dry and dead stump. Living as one of us he felt our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our despair. He plunged into the waters of baptism, made the wine of celebration out of the water of life, and from bread made from the grains of the earth he gave us yet a new sign of hope. In his living, dying, and rising, he banished death and despair, and set new life into us.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Give to us, O Lord, your Holy Spirit, blooming forth with new life and hope. Set us right in your Spirit, binding us to all that you have made, and teaching us the peace and harmony of your holy mountain where lamb and lion lie down together and a little child leads them.
In your Spirit us to live in justice in your creation, to welcome the unwelcome, to lay aside the weapons of enmity and take up the banner of love.
Glory to the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer, Three in One, One in Three, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
The Bread and the Cup:
Jesus took bread, once a new sprout out of old ground, and broke it and gave it to his disciples, giving us a new sign of hope in him.
Jesus took wine, pressed from vines once growing and twisting their way towards the sun, and poured it and gave it to his disciples, giving us a new sign of hope in him.
The table is ready; Jesus bids us come and eat.
Prayer After Communion:
God of growing things, we are grateful for your gifts to us. Teach us to lay aside despair, to live in hope, and to share that hope with all of your creation. Amen.