Cultivate Liturgy

Opening

(Liturgist) Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence here.

(Together) We are gathered in Your name

and know You among us.  We are one in You.

Help us to be fully present here,

attentive to your word and Spirit,

alert to one another,

awake to the needs of Your world.

As we meet with You,

transform us to be more like You.

As we experience Your rest,

Make us a renewed people.

As we see Your hope,

make us a hopeful people.

As we see Your courage,

make us a courageous people.

As we see Your mercy,

make us a merciful people.

As we see Your passion,

make us a passionate people.

As we see Your creativity,

Make us a creative people.

As we see Your love,

make us a loving people.

As we see Your vision,

make us a visionary people.

Amen.

Silent Reflection

  • In what ways have I objectified God, myself, others, and/or creation this week?
  • When have I replaced God with another or myself this week?
  • When have I turned a blind eye to brokenness & injustice this week?

Prayer of Confession

(Liturgist) Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.

(Together) We acknowledged our sin to You, and our iniquity we have not hidden. We confess our sin to You. Lord God, have mercy on us.

Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.

We acknowledged our sin to You, and our iniquity we have not hidden. We confess our sin to You. Lord God, have mercy on us.

Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Amen.

Reading: Psalm 103:8, 10-12

Movement 1 :: Rooted in Christ

Reading :: John 15:1-8

(Liturgist) In a vivid word picture, Jesus exposes the Father as the Soil-Maker & Great Gardner, the Son as the Vine, and humanity as mere branches.  The Spirit, whose presence & power is implied, can be understood as the sap that carries the life of the Vine into each branch.

(Together) “Abide.  Abide!  ABIDE!”

(Liturgist) Through repetition, Jesus makes clear the most important activity for the Jesus Follower.  Just as branches flourish when they remain rooted in the Vine, so to do Jesus Followers when we remain rooted in Christ.  As we do, the life of the Vine grows into us, the sap flows freely and, quite naturally, fruit emerges: fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self control.  Over time, as we remain Rooted in Christ, the thoughts, words, & actions of Jesus become our thoughts, our words, & our actions.

Silent Reflection:

  • What’s the impact on me & others when I abandon my place & role as a branch and try to assume the role of Soil-Maker, Gardner, & Vine?
  • What are the Rooting Practices that I’m engaged in that are causing me to become more confident in my belovedness by God and producing delicious & permanent fruit in my life?
  • What is Jesus saying to me about “the most important activity” of a branch?  What am I going to do about it?

Rooted Liturgy (Liturgist) Father, (Together) You are the Soil-Maker & Great Gardner.

Jesus, You are the Vine: our Start-Point and Source of life.

Spirit, You are the Sap that carries the life of the Vine into us and causes fruit to emerge.

You invite us into the posture and practice of Rootedness.

We will follow.

We will obey.

We embrace our vocation as Branches.

When we’re Rooted in You, we grow and discover our belovedness.

Jesus, you are our Source, our Start Point, and our Authority.

Our lives pour out of your life.

When we’re Rooted in You, we produce delicious and permanent fruit.

As we bear the fruit that Your Spirit produces,

Make Yourself famous in our lives.

Movement 2 :: Woven Together as Family

Reading :: Genesis 1:26-27

(Liturgist) In the beginning, God began to author a Story, an epic narrative about Himself.  Before creating the pinnacle of His work…humanity…God said, “Let us create” and so exposed the great mystery that while God is One, God is simultaneously community composed of Father, Son, & Spirit.  When God, who is the perfect picture of Community, created humanity we understand that we were created in Community, by Community for Community with God and one another.  That is, we were created to navigate life in a submitted relationship to God & mutually submissive relationships with one another.

Reading :: Genesis 3:1-8

(Together) Our choice of our own fantasy…our sin…caused the relationship between us and God and us and each other to disintegrate.  We became the main character;   there was no room for anyone else.  Independence replaced humble submission & isolation replaced community.

Reading :: John 17:20-23

(Liturgist) Christ came to repair the severed relationship between God and humanity, to re-integrate the community into the rhythm of the Father’s heartbeat, and to re-member the Body for the sake of the watching world.  The family that is woven together as Family puts on display who God is.

Silent Reflection:

  • What are the fears and obstacles that interrupt oneness between me & God and me & others?
  • What are the woven practices that I am engaged in that are reinforcing my identity in Christ, forming me into His image, and equipping me for mission?
  • What is Jesus saying to me about being Woven together with others as family?  What am I going to do about it?

Woven Liturgy

(Liturgist) Tonight, we reject the myth that independence is better.

(Together) Strip away our preference to hide.

We leave behind the stagnancy of the familiar Shrug off the fig-leaves that conceal who we really are.

Rid us of the stench of our selfishness Turn us from ourselves to You and others.

Tear down the isolating walls we’ve built for ourselves. Direct our gaze to You and others.

Let Your presence flow between us, making us One

That the world might know Your love.

Movement 3 :: Extending Sacrificial Love

Reading :: John 3:16; John 13:34-35

(Liturgist) Even in our rebellion, God loves us with an unbiased, non-prejudiced, costly, self-pouring out, whatever-it-takes-for-as-long-as-it-takes kind of love.  In Christ, God extended sacrificial love to us that He might be made famous among the nations again through our flourishing. The death and resurrection of Jesus brought life and repaired the severed relationships, but it also served as an example to us for how we must live.

Reading :: Philippians 2:5-11

(Liturgist) Extending sacrificial love happens when we lay down our lives, our preferences, our agendas, our reputations, even our hopes and dreams for the sake of others’ flourishing. This is a costly way of life that generates the kind of joy and fullness that Christ displayed.  It’s when we give our lives away for the sake of others that we truly discover what this life is about.

Silent Reflection:

  • Who is one person that has extended themselves sacrificially on your behalf?  Take a moment to ask God’s blessing on that person.
  • Are you more committed to preserving & hoarding or sacrificing & generosity?
  • What has reinforced your understanding of God’s extravagant spending of love on your behalf?  What has interrupted it?
  • To whom is Jesus inviting you to give yourself away?  What are you going to do about it?

Extending Liturgy

(Liturgist) God is Love

(Together) God is Love

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

God is Love

God is Love

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of God’s unfailing love.

God is Love

God is Love

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies.

God is Love

God is Love

We will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with our lives we will make Your faithfulness known through all generations.

God is Love

God is Love

Let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God, because God is love.  This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.

God is Love

God is Love

 A new command I give to you: that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

God is Love

God is Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly beloved children.  And walk in love as Christ loves us and gave Himself up for as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

God is Love

God is Love

Movement 4 :: Cultivating Others to Be & Do the Same

(Liturgist) So committed was God to the flourishing of all things that, having put flesh on, He invited a community to apprentice Him.  They had no idea what they were getting into, where they would end up, nor whom they would become.  They had no idea that everything about Jesus…His teachings, compassion, wisdom, life, death & resurrection…would shape the rest of their lives.  Completely unprepared, they said “Yes!” to following Jesus and, immediately, their cultivation began.  On a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, He explained who they would be becoming as they followed Him.  Navigating them through unjust power structures, He demonstrated a life of justice, reconciliation, peacemaking, healing, & hope-giving.  Believing that they could be like Him, He sent them in twos to go & live, by the power of His Spirit, what they’d heard & seen.  Committed to their ongoing development, He listened to their stories, celebrated with them, challenged them forward, offered perspective, and prayed over them.  His cultivation of them was slow, organic, relational & intentional.  He experientially trained them to live Rooted in Him, Woven together as family, and as Extenders of Sacrificial Love.  But it didn’t end there because all things were not yet flourishing.

Reading :: Matthew 28:16-20

(Liturgist) The Kingdom of God is an outward-moving entity that is fixated on the flourishing of all creation.  According to Jesus, heaven & earth will be woven together again through men, women, & children who live in the Rooted, Woven, Extending, Cultivating Way of Jesus.

(Together) Our mission is to join the Holy Spirit in reproducing the life of Jesus in the lives of others.

Silent Reflection

  • Jesus, what are you saying to me about being cultivated by another?
  • Jesus, what are you saying to me about cultivating shoulder-to-shoulder with others?
  • Jesus, what are you saying to me about joining the Spirit in cultivating others?

Cultivating Liturgy (Liturgist) Jesus, because of your life, death, & resurrection, You are our Authority.

(Together) We are an incomplete community of worshipping doubters sent, empowered, and guided by Your Spirit, to fix a broken world.

We embody Your restoring presence in spaces here, near, and far.

We embody Your reconciling mission in spaces here, near, and far.

You call us to humbly move throughout the globe, to announce your Reign, and to immerse with others into the God-Life.

We will follow.  We will obey.

We will embrace our vocation as bearers of Your image & bringers of Your Kingdom.

For You are with us always.

You are more faithful to us than we are to You.

Your grace precedes us, accompanies us, and follows our obedience.

You Spirit gives us eyes to see, courage to move, wisdom in cultivating, and fruitfulness in mission.

Amen.

Sending (Liturgist) The Word became flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood;

(Together) We are His embodied presence in our neighborhoods, work spaces, and play spaces.

It’s time for us to put flesh on your word, That we might be Your tangible presence in the spaces outside of these walls.

We will worship the Lord and serve him only. We will embrace our identity as salt seasoning and illumination in our world.

That the world might see, and be transformed And praise our Father in heaven.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord makes His face shine upon you,

and be gracious to you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen.