On Mondays I am sharing liturgical writing focused on the Luke passages for each Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary. This week there are two contributors, Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy of Rochester, New Hampshire and Jocelyn Gardner Spencer of Arlington, Massachusetts.
Gift of: Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Rochester, New Hampshire
Call to Worship (Luke 7 and Galatians 2):
Let us gather to worship our God.
In love, God took on our form,
our pains and our joys, our strengths and our weaknesses.
Let us worship the one who knows us better than we know ourselves.
From God’s love, nothing can be hidden.
From God’s love, nothing can be separated.
Let us worship the one who sets us free.
Let us give ourselves entirely to God,
that by faith we may be made worthy of God’s eternal and abiding love.
Prayer of Confession:
Gracious God, Love incarnate, we long for closeness to you. We long to be worthy of your notice, of your tender care, yet we hold ourselves back. We whisper our prayers, hoping, yet afraid to be heard and noticed. For what should we do, O Christ for whom we yearn so deeply, if you were to look at us, and see us as we are? Our fears, our shortcomings: all that distracts us and keeps us separate from you are too present before us, and we fear that you should know us for the fallible humans that we are. Holy Christ we love you: help our failure to love. Remind us that we need fear nothing with you. For you know us intimately, and love us still. Our distance does not hide our sin, but keeps us from experiencing the grace that you offer. Grant us courage, we pray, that we might not only approach but embrace you; that our tears may fall upon you as embodied testimony to our repentance and trust. Forgive us, that we might know and reflect the awesome power of your unending love. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
God does not judge us according to our sins, but according to the power of God’s holy love and grace. In love we are forgiven, by love we are redeemed, through love we are made whole. Amen.
Responsive Scripture (Psalm 32 and Luke 7)
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
A woman in the city brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.
Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
The Pharisee who had invited Jesus said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is – that she is a sinner.”
While I kept silence, my body wasted away, through my groaning all day long.
Jesus said to him, “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them.”
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Jesus said, “When I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet.”
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Jesus said, “Therefore, I tell you, her sins have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
Gift of: Jocelyn Gardner Spencer, Arlington, Massachusetts
Litany of Confession
When we turn our faces, our hearts, our minds away from you,
Forgive us, God, and turn us around.
When we make decisions that separate us from you,
Forgive us, God, and draw us near again.
When we hurt ourselves, when we hurt others,
Forgive us, God, and grant us your healing grace.
When we judge people by the labels we have placed on them,
Forgive us, God, and give us eyes to see.
When we assume we know another’s story,
Forgive us, God, and give us ears to listen.
When we try to hide our imperfections, our wounds, our mistakes, our broken places,
Forgive us, God, and give us the courage to be vulnerable.
When we hold back our love to maintain decorum,
Forgive us, God, and make our hearts bold and extravagant.
When we convince ourselves that your love is a zero-sum game,
That in order for there to be enough for us, there must be less for someone else,
Forgive us, God, and blow our minds open with the wideness of your embrace.
Come to us now, Gentle One, and change us by your presence,
For we love you, and we would love you more.
Assurance of Grace
Over, and over, and over again in the Gospels, Jesus says to those to turn to him: “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Just as surely as he said it long ago and far away, he says it to us, right here and right now. Can you hear him? This day you are forgiven, healed, made new, set free to live in the way Jesus taught us: the way of love and mercy and peace. Thanks be to God.
Luke for Sharing – A Community Resource
A Collaboration of Forty-four Writers on the Scriptures from Luke
June – November, 2013
edited by Maren C. Tirabassi
All of these resources were given freely and they may be used in worship contexts. They may be adapted to fit your context. Please cite the original author when you reprint them or share them orally. For any other use please contact me so that I can put you directly in touch with that particular author.