Sunday, February 19, 2017

Confession and Call in a Time of Nationalism: For the Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany

Friends, I've been writing some liturgical things, and editing others the last few weeks. Thought I'd share this week's (again) in case you'd like to use. This is not the whole service, but pieces that "fit in" to the movements of Gathering, Word, Meal, Sending. Use freely. Please just write in a footnote: From a liturgy created for the community of First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in Chicago by Rev. Tom Gaulke. Thanks, all! Peace. -tom

For the Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany, 2017
Written to be said with the Gospel According to Matthew, 5:38-48.


God of Love, we need you now.
Teach us to love those we have learned to hate.
Teach us to pray for our enemies
To love you even in those we despise.
God of Peace, we need you now.
Teach us how to reconcile.
Teach us to speak when we are silenced.
Teach us to give up power when our power renders others powerless, or mute.
God of Joy, we need you now!
Receive our burdens, they are many.
Lift our spirits, they are weighed down.
God of life, we need you now,
Grant us grace where shame restricts us,
Grant us life where pain takes hold,
Grant us wisdom where we would settle for easy answers,
Grant us love, rooted in the eternal, the living, in you!

God bless us as we gather, in the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

God of Love, on occasions, we have desired revenge. We have rejoiced in the punishment and pain of those we have seen as enemies. We have resisted not with the nonviolence of a turning of the cheek, but instead, with a twisted pleasure found in causing your children injury and harm. Loving enemies seems an impossibility to us, especially when they speak and spit criticisms and insults and shame, especially when they have hurt us or our families. We take the easy way out. In our pain and fear, we come to believe that your Love is a myth, an impossibility, an unreachable pie in the sky. “They are bad,” we say. But you say, “they are you.” This is confusing. How can we love our enemies? How can we be “One?” How can we bless those who would do us harm? We confess our bondage to fear. We need your wisdom in the depths of our hearts. We need your freedom in our bones. Forgive our fear. Free us to Love. Teach us to walk with you on the path to reunion, reconciliation, and Resurrection. AMEN.


In Christ, we find God dwelling among us, walking with us on our way. In flesh, Christ knows our struggles. On the cross, God knows our pain. Christ is within you and among you. “Greater is the one who dwells in you than the one who dwells in the world (1 John 4:4).” “Cast your burdens unto Jesus (1 Peter 5:7).” May your shame be removed. For your guilt is replaced. Receive in its stead God’s grace and love, and a desire for God’s call to the Reign of Love. In the name of Christ, all your sins are forgiven. In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.  


God of deliverance,
We pray for our enemies. We bless those who persecute us. Give the whole human family, the whole of creation, your peace. Lift up the lowly. Feed the hungry. Give us hearts that overflow with your love, beyond boundaries and bloodlines. Teach us to look, communally, toward your vision of a restored Creation where lions and lambs nap together, and humans learn not simply to coexist, but to love in word, in deed, and in truth. AMEN.

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