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The Parish Gathering – March 22, 2020

Series: Community Amidst the Coronavirus

Audio Only:


To all who are weary and need rest,
To all who mourn and long for comfort,
To all who feel worthless and wonder if God cares,
To all who fail and desire strength,
To all who sin and need a Savior,
The Church opens wide her doors
With a welcome from Jesus Christ,
The Ally of his enemies,
The Defender of the guilty,
The Justifier of the inexcusable,
The Friend of sinners.

Call to Worship

Are any among us suffering?
We will pray.
Are any cheerful?
We will sing songs of praise.
Are any sick?
We will call on the name of the Lord.
Have any walked in the way of sin?
We confess our sins to each other.

Father God, Creator & Sustainer of all things,
we turn our hearts to You.
Lord Jesus, Author & Finisher of our faith,
we fix our eyes on You.
Holy Spirit, Comforter & Counselor within,
we open our hearts to You.


(A moment to breathe, still our hearts, and loosen the tightness in our chests)

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth will proclaim Your praise.
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Opening Song: “We Will Feast in the House of Zion”

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

We will not be burned by the fire
He is the Lord our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

The Psalter

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.
He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
he leads me to restful waters;
he keeps me alive.
He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff— they protect me.
You set a table for me right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will live in the Lord’s house as long as I live.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Prayers of the People

The Lord be with you
And with your spirit.
Let us pray.

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

O God, in view of the great love and mercy you have shown us,
We pray for our world.

You hear us calling,
You hear us calling, O Creator.

We plead before you Jesus,
for all today who are in need of Your merciful love and protection:

For our families, friends, neighbors, and world,
For those celebrating new life, and for those grieving loss,
For newborns who, because of social distancing, cannot yet see their family,
For the elderly who fear they may never see their family again,
For those concerned for their financial future,
For those who fear or grieve the loss of health,
For children who need the food, support and stability found in their classrooms,
and those now stranded in homes that are not safe places,
For single parents who are under-supported and over-worked,
For health care workers putting themselves at risk that the world might be healed,
For those on the margins of our society who suffer silently, invisibly, in fear of being known,
For our neighbor who is not reacting to this moment in the way we think they should,
For all of these we pray.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.

We plead before you Jesus,
for life in this world sometimes feels like shifting sand around us:

For the many things we assumed were anchored, but now have broken loose,
For routines we trusted that are now untethered,
For that which we relied on and that which we took for granted,
For that which was readily available yesterday, yet scarce today,
For these things we feel acutely powerless, and out of control.
So we pray:
Lord, be with us. Hear our cry. Come to our aid.
Send Your Spirit, full of comfort.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.

We plead before you Jesus,
for Your Church to remember and put flesh to its significant calling in times like these:

For all we miss when we cannot gather together in Christ,
we ask for comfort.
For mothers, fathers, leaders, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, and health care workers who rely on Jesus,
we ask for faithfulness.
For the pull we feel toward self-gratification, self-reliance, self-provision, and self-protection, even when at the expense of our neighbor,
we ask for mercy.
For Your Church so satisfied with food that we forget to offer our lives as bread,
we ask for a new beginning.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

The Good News

Matthew 11:28-30

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You, Lord Christ

Confession & Assurance

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name.

Silent confession (space to confess our sins and wait in God’s presence).

The Lord has already shown you mercy.
The Lord has already had compassion on you.
The cross of Jesus has turned mourning into dancing,
And washed clean the ashes of repentance.
Jesus strengthens our weak knees
When we still have a long way to go.
Be free! We are forgiven.
Laugh out loud! We are forgiven.
Love God with everything! We are loved.

Silent assurance (space to receive God’s merciful love and say “thank you” in response)

Sacrament of Desire

There are many times and places in Church history where participating in Communion was not possible (times of persecution, martyrdom, imprisonment, famine, sickness, and warfare).

While our gatherings are always intended to reach their apex at the Lord’s Table, God is not limited to the physical partaking of the elements as a means of mediating grace into our lives.

In times when communion cannot be taken physically, a Sacrament of Desire is made available instead. The Book of Common Prayer describes this sacrament, saying:

…anyone who “truly repents and steadfastly believes that Jesus Christ has suffered death upon the cross for him . . . remembers the benefits [of the cross] . . . gives thanks . . . doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Savior . . . even though he does not receive the Sacrament with his mouth” (1928 BCP, p. 323).

In keeping with this tradition, we’ll engage now a Liturgy of the Table culminating in a prayer which expresses desire to receive God’s grace.

The Great Thanksgiving

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.

We praise you and we bless you,
holy and gracious God,
source of life abundant.
From before time you made ready the creation.
Your Spirit moved over the deep and brought all things into being;
sun, moon, and stars; earth, winds and waters;
and every living thing.

You made us in Your image, and taught us to walk in Your ways.
But we rebelled against you, and wandered far away;
and yet, as a mother cares for her children, you would not forget us.
Time and again you called us to live in the fullness of Your love.

And so this day with join with Saints and Angels
in the chorus of praise that rings through eternity,
lifting our voices to bless you we say:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty
heaven and earth are full of Your glory,
Glory to you, O Lord most high.

Is the Father with us?
He is.
Is Christ among us?
He is.
Is the Spirit here?
He is.

This is our God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are his people.
We are redeemed.

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Now, in union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church,
where the Great Thanksgiving is celebrated,
I desire to offer my praise and thanksgiving too.

I present to You my soul and body
with the earnest prayer that I will remain united to you.

And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
I pray that you would come to me spiritually.

I unite myself to you, and embrace you with my soul’s affection.
Let nothing separate me from you,
that I may live and die in Your love.


The Our Father

And now, as our Lord taught us, we are emboldened to pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name,
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Closing Song: “The Way”

I believe You are the Way
the Truth, the Life

I believe through every battle
through every heartbreak
through every circumstance
I believe You are my fortress
You are my portion
You are my hiding place

I believe You are the Way
the Truth, the Life

I believe through every blessing
through every promise
through every breathe I take
I believe You are provider
You are protector
You are the One I love

I believe You are the Way
the Truth, the Life

It’s a new horizon and I’m set on You
and You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts they can all come too
Because they can’t stay long when I’m here with You

I believe You are the Way
the Truth, the Life

The Cross of Christ

All our problems,
We send to the cross of Christ.
All our difficulties,
We send to the cross of Christ.
The trials of the desert,
We send to the cross of Christ.
All the devil’s works,
We send to the cross of Christ.

Benediction & Sending

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever he may send you.
May he guide you in the wilderness,
protect you in the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
once again into our doors.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God

3 Good Minutes (Optional)

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