Service #1 – This service was originally created for the ordination of Rev. Brooke Scott in the PC(USA).
Service #2 – This service was originally created for the ordination of Rev. Rich Vreeland in the DOC.
Author adrienne maree brown writes that “we are never i. We are of lineage. Of collective. Of era.” The past is always here, wrestling with God and us over what future we will create. In this space, on this day, we choose to honor this fact – that those who came before us are here – with their dreams, their sins, theirs joys, and their questions. They are here in our flesh, our institutions, our rituals, our choices.
On this occasion, we wrestle with the past by telling the truth about the barriers and burdens born from this institution and religion. We tell the truth about all it has taken to bring days such as this one about. We tell the truth about how urgently the future calls us to push farther still, and to disrupt patterns of domination that continue.
In eagerness to build together a future worthy of generations to come, we choose to worship in the company of those who came before us.
[Name], we welcome into this space the saints who shaped and made you. The ones without whom you would not be. [Naming of those who shaped ordinand’s life and faith]. We welcome the presence of all those who have loved you into your calling.
We welcome, too, the saints who labored against barriers of white supremacy, sexism, queerphobia and other systemic sins within and beyond the church. Those who suffered, those who pushed, those who relentlessly loved their people into better days, and those whose lives call us to do the same.
We welcome the saints of our faiths, our families, chosen and given, and those of our earthy relations – God’s creations and creatures who make life possible.
We pause to remember, and let the choirs of our honorable ancestors usher us into worship.
Lineages – Shorter version:
As we honor the intentions of this day, we pause to remember that we do so in the presence of ancestors. Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, we welcome the memories of our honorable ancestors of the faith, our given and chosen family, and all who joined the lineages of liberation, within and beyond the church. We pause to remember those who made us – their struggle and love and offerings – to welcome them, not as distant relatives but as those still present who hold us accountable to past and future. May their witness challenge us as we heed God’s call to push farther, love deeper, and build together a future worthy of generations to come.
Call to worship
Beloveds, the Holy One gathers us together with purpose:
To dream of futures yet imagined.
To bolster our courage before powers and principalities.
To nurture our love for one another.
God’s blessing is upon us as we come to wrestle:
with meaning and justice,
with questions of love,
with the calling upon our lives.
The Spirit is moving! Let us worship together.
Call to Confession
We confess our shortcomings, not for shame nor in guilt,
but to wrestle honestly with the impact we have on each other.
We share in collective confession to bear witness to the struggles
of learning and unlearning under systems of domination and exploitation.
In so doing, we remember that grace and accountability are healing friends,
not divisive foes. In this spirit, let us join together in confession.
God of the mighty prophets, humble teachers, and gentle companions,
You equip each of us to join in the lineage of the saints,
to support the labors of collective liberation,
but we confess, we struggle to take our place.
We deny our own power or overestimate it.
We accept the way things are and the patterns we inherit.
We commit to institutions over people.
We confess that though we pray for your kindom to come,
we support conditions that keep it at bay.
Pour out your grace among us,
and build us up in community.
Tend the wounds that keep us from our sacred potential
and deliver us from temptation to find our safety and security
in any power but yours.
May your Spirit embolden us, as disciples of love,
each willing and ready to risk with and for each other
and all the flourishing of the earth.
Through the love of God, we are being transformed.
As we search our hearts and take account,
God’s mercy is with us.
In the knowledge of our inherent and eternal belovedness,
may the peace of God’s forgiveness encourage us all.
The Holy One be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to God, in whose image we are made.
To the Creator of all, we give thanks and praise.
Divine Protector, Defender of Life, your love for this world is everlasting. As oceans burn and species go extinct, our children are made vulnerable at school and our neighbors are denied at our borders, there is so much reason to despair. But you, O God, refuse to abandon us to destruction. Christ takes on flesh. In the midst of struggle, you are glimpses of hope, encounters of freedom, tastes of what satisfies when so much leaves empty. In these incarnate moments, we sense the closeness of your Kindom.
Holy, Holy, Holy One
God of justice and love
Heaven and earth are full of your wonder
Hosanna, among us
You, O God, reorder the world into right-relationship.
You lift high those made low.
You humble the arrogant.
You hear the earth groaning under capitalism and consumption
and your fire burns in the hearts of your prophets.
With this hope and assurance, we turn to the witness of Jesus whose teachings reveal the way to liberation. We seek his wisdom. We practice his courage. We remember his radical commitment to love.
On the night of his arrest, Jesus shared a meal with his companions.
He took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said:
“This is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
After the meal, he took the cup, blessed it, and shared it saying:
“This cup that is poured out is the new covenant.”
In remembrance of the love that saves us,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ was birthed among us.
Christ was executed among us.
Christ rises again among us.
May the Spirit come and settle upon these gifts. Making this bread and this cup be for us a Holy Encounter. Reminding us that Christ is with us. That Resurrection is a promise granted to us. That the Kindom is always closer than we can imagine.
May we be nourished, that we might nourish others.
[Invitation to Table]
Prayer after receiving
Beloved One, if we grow weary in love, may this meal live on as a reminder of what sustains us. In seeking the flourishing you intend for us, our neighbors, and this planet, keep our hearts tender, our spirits alive, and our senses attuned to the beauty that surrounds. With gratitude for your abiding presence, we pray. Amen.
Charge and benediction:
Go and take your place in the lineages of love and liberation
that we might midwife God’s future
into the here and now.
Our Creator equips us.
The Spirit sustains us.
Christ will lead us.
With joy, let us rise and follow.
Call to worship
The Spirit of the Living God beckons our attention.
With hope of freedom and flourishing, all the earth groans.
Inciting imagination, God points us to a future of justice.
A world free of hatred and hoarding, an end to greed and destruction.
Listen with your whole heart.
Hear the Holy calling.
Faithful people, rise up!
Come, and take your place.
God who calls and sends, you have poured out your Spirit upon us all. You raise us as prophets, healers, teachers, artists, companions, and seekers. With courage and humility, you ask us to live faithfully to these gifts and to one another. May we encourage and be encouraged in living our deepest truths. Amen.
Prayer of illumination
God, we are gathered here to be transformed. May your wisdom deepen our understanding of love’s strange ways and free us from the ordinary confines of evil. In the Spirit of Christ, we pray it be so.
God of Holy Insistence, you teach us of love that is adamant, that is hospitable, that is more than words alone. Always calling us more deeply into freedom, we bring these gifts with gratitude for your grace that sustains us. Bless the journey, bless our labors in love, bless all who are unwavering in seeking your Kindom.
Hope is our divine birthright.
The Creator of all that is
believes in us,
dwells within us.
Made in the image of love,
we are called to live in the directions of collective flourishing.
Go in the assurance that the Spirit will companion us
as we companion one another.