Sunday, April 12, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for April 19, 2015 (Easter 3-B)

Texts: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Call to Worship
When fear and doubts stroll through our doors:
God stands beside us, whispering of peace.
When we toss and turn late at night:
God sits by our beds, singing lullabies of love.
When we stumble through the shadows of sin:
God illuminates the paths of goodness and joy.

Prayer of the Day
When we are blinded by anger,
you pour out your love
for all to see;
when we wonder
what tomorrow will bring,
you call us to trust in you;
when sadness fills our hearts,
you plant gladness in our hearts.
God of Easter:
touch us with your grace.

You show us your hands,
so we may reach out
to mend the broken;
you show us your feet,
so we may walk with
those the world passes by;
you show us your face,
so we may know who our
sisters and brothers look like.
Risen Christ:
touch us with your compassion.

You open our eyes,
so we may see God's love;
you open our minds,
so we may welcome God's Word;
you open our lips,
so we may be God's witnesses.
Spirit of Hope:
touch us with your peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
open us to your presence,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If our actions mirrored our words, if our hands were mentored by our hearts, if we walked the talk - we would be God's children.  But too often, it is our silence, our doubts, our fears which tell others who we truly are.  Let us confess to God how we have not been as faithful as we hope, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   God of empty tombs: Peter speaks with power and clarity of his faith, while we remain silent.  The psalmist speaks of trusting in you, while our doubts overwhelm us.  Jesus is read to come and grace us with peace, but our fears keep our hearts shuttered and locked.
   God of full hearts: your love can change us from scared people to children of grace.  You can weed doubts from our hearts and plant seeds of joy in their place.  You can silence the panic of our souls with the peace Jesus offers to each of us.  Transform us into Easter people, through the power of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
What marvelous love, what wondrous grace, what abundant mercy God offers - to us!  We really are God's people - that is exactly who we are!
We are God's children - those whose lives have been changed by the One who loves us and forgives us.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
What will be done with the gifts we offer in these moments has not been revealed to us, Holy God, but knowing you through Jesus, and trusting in you by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do know they will be used to bring hope, to bring healing, to bring justice to all those people and places who long for these blessings.  And so we offer these gifts with gratitude to you, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of mornings be with you!
May the God of evenings be with your!
See what love God has for us, as we open our hearts to Easter's joy.
Our hearts overflow with peace and grace.
Let us sing praises to God, Children of Easter.
We join our voices in songs of gladness and wonder.

     Birds building nests in fresh-blooming branches,
     snow glistening on mountain ridges,
     little children splashing in autumn's leaf piles,
     sipping hot tea in front of a roaring fire:
we see what love you have for us, Ingenious God,
for you reached into the hollows of chaos
and brought forth goodness, beauty, and wonder.
All these gifts were shaped and given to those
who were created in your image, so we might trust in you,
     but we were frightened of your gentleness
     and doubted your graciousness, and so
     acted in ignorance as we chased after sin's lies.
Through the voices and hopes of the prophets,
you continued to offer us your heart as a guest room,
     but we did not fear their words
     and continued to make our beds in death.
So your sent Jesus to us, to stand among us
and to offer your peace to our discordant natures.

With those children who trust in your promises,
with those who have known your joy in shadowed moments,
with our sisters and brothers in this place,
we offer our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who hears our deep longings.
Creation joins in glad songs of resurrection joy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who stands in our midst offering peace.
Hosanna in the highest!

We see what love you have for us, God of Holiness,
in your Child, Jesus, who reveals you as you are.
He could have stared at our foolish lives
shaking his head in disbelief at our choices,
     but opened our eyes so we might see
     your hopes for us in his gentleness.
He could have turned a deaf ear
to our angry voices and hurtful words
hurled at our friends and families,
     but heard the unspoken cries of our hearts
     for forgiveness and healing.
He could have wondered if it was worth it,
the struggle, the pain, the death, the grave,
but as your resurrection love reached out
and brought him from death's grasp,
     gladness filled his heart as he rejoiced
     in all that you had done for us.

As we have this hope made known at the Table,
as we seek to trust you in all moments,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Walking to his death, Christ entrusted his life to you;
raised from the grave, Christ glorified in your love for him;
standing in our midst at the end, Christ will gather us at your Table.

See what love God has for us
as we are gathered around this Table of grace,
and the Spirit of joy is poured out upon us
and the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we come to the feast of reconciliation,
we stand among our sisters and brothers,
seeking to live out this hope that
we are indeed God's children.
As we take the broken bread and share it,
we would go to be with the oppressed around us,
seeking to make justice our sacrifice
as we offer our trust in God to them.
As we pass the cup of community to one another,
we would go to stand beside the lonely and the longing,
to pour God's gladness into their hearts.

And when all is revealed to us, as we are gathered
with our sisters and brothers with the One
whom we will be like for all time to come,
we  will sing our songs of thanksgiving to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go now, to be God's children in the world.
We will open our minds to understand the needs around us.
Go now, to be Christ's servants in the world.
We will open our hands to share our blessings with all.
Go now, to be the Spirit's hope for the world.
We will open our hearts to welcome those who have no one to care for them.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for April 12, 2015 (Easter 2 - B)

Texts: Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; John 20:19-31
Call to Worship
The Word of life spoke:
so we could hear the 'Alleluias!' of the angels.
The Word of life reached out:
so we could touch the hope which heals us.
The Word of life walked out of death's dread tomb:
so we could follow him into life forever.


Prayer of the Day
Emptier of Tombs:
you raised Jesus
from the grave
so all fears might be banished;
so the locked doors of our hearts
could be flung open;
so our quivering lips
could declare what
we have seen and heard.


Bright Glory of God:
as you stood in the middle
of your friends
on that first Easter night,
come among us now,
in this time and place,
showing us that death and sin
no longer stand in the way
of our life with you.


Breath of Peace:
strengthen us
so we may stand
with all who fear life;
take our hands in yours,
so we may serve all
who are broken with grief;
inspire us to share
the grace which has been breathed
into our very souls.


God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)


Call to Reconciliation
How often have we heard the good news of forgiveness and restoration? Yet, we are still reluctant to believe. God offers us new life, yet we are afraid to let go of the old. Let us confess our doubts and fears to the One who waits to make us whole.


Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We use a lot of words, Gracious God, but do little to turn them into deeds. Instead of being of one heart and soul, we choose sides and form groups of folks just like us. Blessed with great grace, we have trouble sharing it with those who need it the most.
   Forgive us, God of love. Forgive us, as we step out of our shadows into your light. Restore us, as we reveal our brokenness.  Hear us, as we proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God.


Silence is kept


Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news we have to declare: God leads us out of the shadows to walk in the light of Christ.
This is the word we have heard: our faithful God forgives our sins
and raises us to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.


Prayer of Dedication
As we offer our gifts to you, Loving God, remove any doubts about how they might be used, as you offer food to the hungry, hope to the despairing, joy to the grieving, and peace to the broken.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.


Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Risen Lord be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to God, Resurrection People.
We lift our glad hearts to the One who gives us new life.
Children of God, sing with joy on this day of resurrection.
Songs of joy flow from our very being on this day.




How good and pleasant
it was, Joyous God,
when creation sprang forth:
great power flinging stars
into the blue-black skies;
precious goodness dripping down
the mountains into the valleys.
We were created in your image,
your breath filling us with your Spirit,
but in the evening on that day,
we followed sin and death
on the journey away from your grace.
Your prophets came with great grace,
declaring what they heard and saw,
but we remained determined in our rebellion.
Though the doors of our hearts
were locked for fear you would condemn us,
Jesus came into our midst,
with words of peace on his lips.


So, with those from every time and every place,
with whom we hold faith in common,
we sing your praises forever:


Holy, holy, holy, God of grace and hope.
All creation praises your glorious name.
Hosanna in the highest!


Blessed is the One who comes that our joy may be complete.
Hosanna in the highest!


Holy are you, Ordainer of blessings,
and gracious is your son, Jesus our Christ.
He came, showing us his hands
which were full of your healing.
He lived, to stand by our side
when pain and anger assail us.
He spoke, proclaiming your good news
of salvation for rebellious children.
He died, going deep into death's shadows,
that we might walk in your light.


As we gather to bear witness to his life and death,
as we celebrate his resurrection and new hope,
we declare that mystery we have heard and seen:


Christ went to the cross, stretching out his hands to embrace death;
Christ came out of the grave, reaching out his hands to embrace your love;
Christ will come, offering us his hands so we might go home with him.


Breathe on us, Spirit of God,
as we gather around your table.
Transform this simple bread
into that gift of life which, broken,
can make us whole once again.
Sanctify this common cup
that it might become the grace
for which we thirst in this and every moment.
And when we have been nourished,
may we go forth into the world,
pushing aside the doors locked tight
by the forces of prejudice and oppression,
that all might receive your hope,
that everyone might feel your Breath
bringing them back to life.


And when we have come to the end of our journey,
when we gather with our sisters and brothers
around that feast of wonder and grace you prepare,
we will join our hearts and voices in singing
your praises throughout all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
Go now to walk in God's light.
We will tell of what we have seen in the glory of creation
and in the goodness of those who love us.
Go now to serve in Christ's light.
We will share what we have heard in the parables about grace
and in the laughter of little children.
Go now to live in the Spirit's light.
We will touch the broken places with healing,
we will stare down injustice until it changes its ways.


(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for April 5, 2015 (Easter - B)

Texts: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8

 
Call to Worship
This is the day:
when tears are wiped away;
shattered hearts are mended;
fears are replaced with joy.
This is the day the Lord:
rolls away the stone of fear;
throws off death's clothes;
goes ahead of us into God's future.
This is the day the Lord has made:
death has no fear for us;
sin has lost its power over us;
God opens the tombs of our hearts
to fill us with life.
This is the day - Easter Day!
Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!
 
Prayer of the Day
Very early on that first day
you caught chaos unawares,
Astounding God:
planting grace in a garden,
setting love loose on creation,
flinging joy into the air.
 
Very early on that first day
Jesus, Son of Justice:
you staggered sin,
throwing its weight off the world;
you confounded death,
leaving it alone in the grave;
you opened the gates of the kingdom,
so all could follow you into life.
 
Very early on this first day of the week,
while we were washing sleep from our eyes
and trying to make sense of our lives,
you sang glad songs to us,
Scarred Spirit:
rolling away fears from our hearts
so we can see the Risen Lord.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
very early on this first day of the week,
as we do on every day of our lives,
we lift our prayers as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Very early in the morning, God created all that is good and beautiful. Very early in the morning, a mother placed her newborn in a manger. Very early in the morning, the good news was shared with frightened friends, that Jesus was risen and alive in our midst. Let us confess the fears and the amazement we bring this morning.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     On this morning of hallelujahs, we must confess how  human we are, Emptier of tombs. We haven't done any great evil, but we have failed to do good when we had the chance. We have not intentionally hurt anyone, nor have we offered healing to the broken.  We easily accept the witness of the angel in the tomb, but find it difficult to share this good news with our friends and neighbors.
    Bring us new life, Dazzling God. Where we are tired and stressed, give us the energy to serve your creation; transform our hardened hearts into fountains of grace; forgive us of all the damage we have done, and fill us with the joy of your Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, who gives us new life, we pray.

 Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon:
God, our Creator, gives us new life;
Christ, our Redeemer, prepares a Table for us;
Holy Spirit, our Joy, calls us to service.
This is the good news: the tomb is empty, sin is powerless, death is defeated forever.
On this very first day, and every day, we walk as God's people, forgiven and made whole.  Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May we not keep our gifts hidden behind the stones rolled across our hearts, but let them burst forth to bring life, to bring hope, to bring the good news of Jesus alive and among us!  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The God of every morning be with you.
And also with you.
People of Easter morning, lift up your hearts!
We lift them to the One who has raised Jesus from the grave.
People of Easter's joy, give thanks to the One who raises us to new life.
We sing our hallelujahs to the God of everlasting love.
 
On this day of joy and hope,
Redeemer of the lost,
we sing our praise to you.
Very early in the morning,
your Word shattered the silence of chaos,
and grace flowed forth like a river.
You reached down
and gathered up the dust of creation,
forming us into your image,
and breathing life into us.
Yet the day came
when we chose to turn from you
believing our wisdom was superior
to your will for us.
You sent us the prophets,
to speak of your gracious hope,
but we refused to listen.
When you could have let us remain
in the clutches of sin and death,
you sent Jesus to be one of us,
so we could come home to you.
 
Therefore, we join our voices this morning
with those who stood at the empty tomb,
as well as those of every time and place,
singing our Easter joy to you:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of the empty grave.
Glad songs of resurrection joy are offered to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes bearing your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of every day,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
Bright Morning Star.
Creator of all that is good,
he entered the shadows of hell
to lead us into hope's light;
Beloved of your Heart,
he embraced our sin
so we could be forgiven;
Glory beyond imagination,
he welcomed death
so we could enter life eternal.
 
Even as we believe
what we may not understand,
we trust that mystery we call faith:
 
On the first day, Christ shaped all that is good and beautiful;
on the first day of the week, Christ swallowed up death forever;
on the last day, Christ will call us to the Table of the Lamb.

It is here at this Table,
Resurrecting God,
that we are fed by your love.
As you pour out your Spirit
upon the Bread and the Cup,
fill us with the spirit of Jesus,
so we may go forth to be your people.
Feed us with the Bread of Heaven,
so we can fill the hunger of the world.
Touch our lips with salvation's cup,
so we can proclaim the good news
of this day to everyone we meet.
 
And when the morning comes
when we are united with all the saints
gathered around heaven's Table,
we will lift our voices to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
forever and ever. Amen.

Sending
This is the day!  Go and share what God has done!
We will go to tell the good news to all!
This is the day!  Go and show that Jesus is alive and among us!
We will go to live the good news in our world!
This is the day!  Go to join the Spirit in rolling away the stones of fear!
We will go to be the good news to everyone we meet!

(c) Thom M. Shuman
 

 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for March 29, 2015 (Passion/Palm Sunday - B)

Texts: Isaiah 50:4-91; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 11:1-11

                                   
Call to Worship
We come to prepare for the holiest of weeks.
We will journey through praise, with joy on our lips;
we will travel through betrayal and death,
cradling hope deep in our hearts.
Jesus leads us through this week, and we will follow,
for he is the life we long for,
he is the Word who sustains us.
We wave palm branches in anticipation,
we lay our love before him, to cushion his walk.
Setting aside all power, glory, and might, he comes:
modeling humility and obedience for all of us.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who brings us
the kingdom of God.

Prayer of the Day
Steadfast Love:
you hand us the palm branches,
so we can wave them in hope;
you steady us in the days
when pain is stuck
to the bottom of our lives,
when fear is our constant companion.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with joy.

Humble Healer:
When our mouths turn numb
and we cannot speak our dreams,
you tenderly caress our cheeks,
leaning over to hear our faltering words.
When our arms have grown weak
from the burdens we carry,
you take them from us,
and strengthen us with your mercy.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with grace.

Voice of Wisdom:
when death hovers so close
we can feel it's cold breath,
you come to us,
the warm breath of resurrection
pushing aside our fears.
When we hesitate to walk into
the unknown stretching before us,
you tightly clasp our hands
and teach us the first step.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer).

Call to Reconciliation
When the parade is over, do we pick up our lives, brush them off, and live in the old way? Do we toss our palm branches aside, so we can grasp the seductions of the world? As we begin the journey through the
holiest of weeks, let us speak the truth, as we confess to our God, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Ever constant God, mixing love and hope together, you pave the way to the kingdom, but we prefer to stub our toes on the potholed roads of temptation. You will touch the cup of grace to our parched lips, but we seem to hunger for the ashy taste of bitterness. You beg us to learn the songs of salvation, but we hum along with the chorus death plays in the background of our lives.
     Have mercy upon us, God of Holiness. As you come to us, you bring healing for our brokenness, peace for our troubled lives, hope for our doubting minds. May we empty ourselves of everything which keeps us from following you, so we may receive these gifts, and more, from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered.

Assurance of Pardon
Laying aside judgment, God offers us redemption; setting aside anger, God embraces us with love; letting go of grief, God pours living water upon us.  This is the good news, my friends: God's steadfast love endures forever.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who brings us
the kingdom of God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

As we offer these tangible gifts, Holy One, remind us of those who could use the clothes hanging in our closets unworn, those who could be feed by the food stored in our pantries, those who could be healed by the grace and hope we keep locked away in our hearts.  May we be as generous with others as you are with us, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hosannas be with you.

May the God of this holy week be with you.
Lift your broken hearts to our God,
who will fill them with hope in these days.
Remember to sing laments during this holy time,
we do so, that we may know the reason for glad songs of joy.

Morning by morning,
creation's voices join in praising you,
God of every goodness.
The forests form a festal procession,
the heavens reflect your glory's light.
Though we were formed by you,
we looked around at everything
sin and death had to offer,
and followed them through the world,
thinking they could protect us.
You gave prophets
the tongues of teachers,
to comfort our weariness
and teach us the way back to you,
but we turned our back on them.
When judgment did not
lead to redemption,
you sent Jesus to reach out in love,
to bring us home to you.

So with those who spread cloaks before you,
and those who are sustained by your love,
we join our voices, singing,

Holy, holy, holy, God of enduring love.
From every part of creation come glad songs.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes in humility and hope.
Hosanna in the highest!


Holy are you, Sustainer of the weary,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Love become human.
He emptied himself of glory,
to be filled with our broken hopes and hearts.
He chose the path of suffering love,
so that we could run through
the streets of the kingdom
waving branches of joy.
He walked the sin-cold stones
into the tomb which could not hold him,
so we could join our voices together,
'Hosanna! Hosanna! He is risen!’

As we journey through Jerusalem and beyond,
as we struggle with death, loss, and grief
we would ponder that mystery we call faith:

In trust, Christ died.
In joy, Christ was raised to new life.
in hope, Christ will come again.


Here at the Table graced
with creation's gifts,
we discover the world you intend.
Here where you love enlivens
the bread and the cup
we are given more than enough
of everything we need.
Sharing deeply in the Spirit,
we can give hope its wings,
as it carries us to serve
the broken all around us.
Strengthened by the grace
with which you feed us,
we can join together
to sustain the weary of the world.

And when the gates of joy
have been opened to us,
we will spend moment by moment,
every knee in creation bending,
singing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
Go out into the world in as God's people.
We will journey with praise on our lips.
Go out into the world as followers of Jesus.
We will join the parade of the broken, the lost, the hopeless,
for that is where Jesus may be found.
Go out into the world as the Spirit's peace.
We will share the warm breath of reconciliation with all we meet.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for March 22, 2015 (Lent 5 - B)

Texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:30-33

Call to Worship:
This is the day God has promised: the day of the new covenant.
We are here, because our hearts are filled with love for our God.
No longer carved on cold stone, this covenant is engraved on our hearts.
Our hearts are open so God's Word can shape us.
We will reach out to our neighbors, our friends and family, even to strangers.

Our hearts are ready to serve God and all of God's people.

Prayer of the Day

You have forgotten more
than we will ever think of;
you have forgiven more
than we will ever do;
you have shattered
the cold stones encasing our hearts,
so your could write
your name on them.
Redeemer of all,
we praise you.

You plant the seed
of grace and hope
deep within us,
watering them with your love;
you call us to follow,
so we may join you
in serving the broken
of our world.
Jesus of the tears,
we praise you.

You journey with us,
leading us closer to the cross;
you center us
on the One we would follow,
so we can see Jesus clearly;
you point to your watch,
so we know the hour
for faithfulness has come.
Generous Spirit,
we praise you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our mouths to sing your praise,
even as we pray as we have been taught:
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If we would see Jesus, we must open our eyes to the ways we have not followed him as disciples.  If we want God to create new hearts within us, we must speak of the old ways in which we continue to live.  If we seek God's mercy, we must confess all that keeps us from living as God's children.  Join me, as we come to the One who will forgive us.


Unison Prayer of Confession
   O Heart which seeks our own:  we yearn for your presence in our lives, yet turn away from you time and again.  We want to serve others, but become obsessed with our own desires.  We need your Word to fill our emptiness, yet let it be silenced by the noise of our world.  Our hearts are clogged with the foolishness of our lives, and often struggle to beat in rhythm with your own.

   In this silence, and in the depths of our hidden souls, come to us and make us whole, Steadfast Love.  Write grace upon our hearts, so we might be more forgiving people; write mercy on our hearts, so we might become more welcoming people; write hospitality upon our hearts that we might become more like Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who came for all people, even us.

Silence is kept

 
Assurance of Pardon

A new heart, a generous spirit, a fresh start: these are the gifts our God gives to us.

Through Christ, we are cleansed; through Christ, we are healed; through Christ, we become new people.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As you write upon our hearts, soften them with your compassion.  As you soften them, open us to the needs of those close to us, as well as those in every corner of your world.  As you open us to the hurts and heartaches of your children, give us the grace to be as generous with our gifts as you are in blessing us.  Take these gifts and use them to share peace, love, grace, and joy with all of your people.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord of Lent be with you.
May the Lord of Lent be also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift our hearts to the One who writes a new covenant upon them.
Give thanks to the God who makes you new.

We open our lips to sing praises to the One who sustains us with a generous spirit.

Our hearts are filled with joy
as we lift our glad songs to you,
Covenant Maker.
You created us in your image,
planting seeds of your love
deep within us.
But they could not bear fruit,
for we preferred death's darkness
to the light of your grace,
and the barren dust of the world
to the deep richness of your peace.
Despite our sin and arrogance,
you remained steadfast in your love,
calling to us through the prophets
to return to your side.
When we loved our way
more than your heart's desire for us,
you sent Jesus to restore us to your joy.

And so, we open our lips
to join our songs of praise
with the faithful
of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Writer of our hearts.

All creation is drawn to your side.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with mercy for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, Master of the Universe,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Baptized as your Beloved,
he became one of us,
sharing our life in every way.
When the hour had come
for him to be glorified,
he went to the cross to be broken.
He who called life into being at creation
suffered death for us,
planted like a seed
in the cold, friendless tomb,
so you could save him.
You raised him from the grave,
so we could follow him
into the life everlasting with you.

As we come to this Table,
remembering all that he has done for us,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:


Christ died, the One lifted up for all people.
Christ was raised, the One called forth from death for all.
Christ will come, the One who is the source of eternal life for all.

You provide the gifts
of the bread and cup for us,
so that we might taste
your grace and hope.
As we come to the feast
you have prepared for us,
plant the seed of your Spirit
deep within our hidden hearts,
so we may serve
without expecting recognition;
so our generous spirit
might ease the poverty of the world;
so the good news we have heard
may be proclaimed to all we meet.

Then, at last, when all people are free,
when all brokenness is made whole,
when all creation is once more new,
we will gather around your Table of joy,
singing your joy forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
God sends us forth as people of the covenant.
Our hearts are filled with compassion which we will share with others.
Jesus call us to share hope with all we meet.
Our hands will bring food for the hungry and build shelters for the homeless.
The Spirit of hospitality is engraved upon our spirits.
We will welcome everyone we meet with the grace which is written large upon our hearts.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for March 15, 2015 (Lent 4 - B)

Texts:  Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

Call to Worship
In this place, the community of faith
is reminded of the promise:
God's love endures forever!
In spite of our impatient grumbling,
despite our attraction to the shadows:
Christ's light shines in us!
When we think our hands our empty,
when we have no music in our souls:
the Spirit fills us with glad songs, 
and creates us for good works!

Prayer of the Day

You reach deep
into your pockets
stuffed with mercy
and fill our empty souls;
refusing to be in
the condemnation business,
your rebuild
our shaky foundations
with your everlasting love;
you hear our cries
of loneliness and lament,
and reach down
to lift us into your presence.
Good and Generous God,
we give you thanks!

You save us by your grace,
so we may joyfully serve
our sisters and brothers;
you slide over
to make room for us
at your Table;
you step into
our shadowed lives
to take us by the hand
and lead us
into the light.
Healing Word:
we give you thanks!

You calm our impatience,
so we may tell of
God's presence in our midst;
you silence our grumbling,
to teach us joy's anthems;
you shower us with kindness,
so we may overflow
with love.
Spirit of Obedience,
we give you thanks.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we give you thanks for your steadfast love,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
By nature, we are impatient, irritated, grumbling, disobedient children, always demanding our way. But God, who is good and kind and gentle, comes to transform us, by grace, into the people we are meant to be.  Let us open ourselves to the One who overflows with love for us, as we confess our sins to God.

Unison  Prayer of Confession
   The Light of the world has come, Ceaseless Creator, but we admit we love the shadows all around us.  For there, we can boast of our achievements, rather than point to your grace; there, we can grumble of our unhappiness with you, instead of singing your praises; there, we can give into our natural anger, and not be touched by your call to be agents of peace and hope.

Forgive us, Eternal Love:
    lead us from the shadows of sin
        into the light of your joy;
    raise us up, as your children,
        so we may knell in service to others;
    shower us with the grace, the hope, the peace
    you have brought to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Let the community of faith say so:
God's love endures forever!
Let those gathered in grace say so:
God's love endures forever!
Let those gathered from all parts of the world say so:
God's love endures forever!
This is the good news for us:
God's love endures forever. 
Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

As we have been gathered in this place because of the faithfulness of those who have gone before us, so we pray that the gifts we offer in these moments might be used to reach out to those in all corners of the world who need hope, who hunger for food and justice, who yearn for peace, and who long for your graceful presence in their lives.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the Lenten pilgrimage be with you.
And also with you.
Offer all you have and are to your God.
We bring our hearts, our hopes, our minds, our bodies.
Sing praises to the One whose love is constant and true
We sing joy, life, and peace to our God. 

Bypassing the emptiness of chaos,
you set out be way of creation
to bring beauty and goodness
into being, God of every moment.
You offered us the immeasurable riches
of your gracious and joyous heart:
   brooks rippling over stone paths,
   crocuses blooming in snowy fields,
   songbirds melting the winter of our mornings,
but we were impatient,
   speaking against your dreams and hopes
   and in favor of sin and death.
Through the prophets, you sent your word
which could heal us and bring us back to you,
   but we refused to give up
   living among our foolish passions.
So then you sent your Child,
to deliver us from all our distress,
and to gather us home.

With those who are rich in your mercy,
with those who long to draw near to you,
let your redeemed sing your praises:

Holy, Holy, holy are you, Steadfast Love.
From every corner of creation, your praises are sung.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to save everyone and everything.
Hosanna in the highest! 


Though you are holy, you set out
by way of Bethlehem, God of wonder,
to redeem us from all that separates us from you.
Though we spoke in anger and rebellion,
constantly opposing you,
   your Word came speaking of grace.
Though we chose to follow the course
of the world which lead us the wrong way,
   your Light came into the shadows
   to show us the way to the kingdom.
Though we ignored his teachings and life,
and were complicit in his suffering,
   your Life broke the power of death,
   your Weakness broke the strength of sin.

As we remember how Jesus was lifted up on the cross,
as we celebrate how Jesus was lifted up from the grave,
we speak of that mystery that by grace we are saved:

Christ died, calling us back to you;
Christ was raised, so all the world might be saved;
Christ will come, lifting us up to bring us to you. 


Pour out your Spirit upon this Table
and the gifts of the bread and the cup,
that they might bless those you have gathered here.
It is by your grace that the broken bread
is able to strengthen us to serve;
it is by your peace that the cup
nourishes us to pray for others.
As we are made new by these simple gifts,
send us out by way of
   the broken, that we might bring healing;
   the oppressed, that we might offer freedom;
   the hungry, that we might feed them;
   the lonely, that we might offer a family.

And when, by your grace, we are gathered
from north and south, and from east and west,
not by anything we have done, but by your love,
we will join our sisters and brothers,
the saints and sinners, the complainers and the committed,
in singing our songs of thanksgiving to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
As you leave this place,
remember you are God's community in the world:
for God's love endures forever!
As you leave this place,
remember you are alive with Christ:
for Christ's light shines
in the deepest shadows!

As you leave this place,
remember the gifts God offers to you:
for the Spirit fills us with good works to do,
and glad songs to sing to the world!


(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for March 8, 2015 (Lent 3 - B)

Texts: Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22

Call to Worship
The morning stars profess God's glory:
the waking birds harmonize a refrain a grace.
The sun warms us with God's hope,
the night sky whispers peace to our sleepy souls:
creation's voice echoes continually in our hearts,
reminding us of God's steadfast love.

Our wisdom is shattered by God's absurd love;
God's vulnerability strengthens our feeble faith:
God's words place joy in our hearts;
we follow them to peace and hope.

Prayer of the Day

You saw your children
as slaves in Egypt,
and brought them to freedom;
you see creation
held captive by our desire
for more and more,
and weep;
and so you pour out
your foolish love on us
from day to day.

All that we have learned
and think we know
has not brought meaning
to our lives;
the brokenness
of our world
needs your peace;
our pain-shattered hearts
need your healing:
and so you speak to us
through the mouth
of your Servant, Jesus.

All creation weeps
with grief,
and cries to you for comfort;
all the broken of our world
long for your wholeness;
all who hunger for hope
long for the sweetness
of your grace and joy;
and so you fill us with
the Wisdom of your Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we tell of your glory from day to day,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
At the center of the law is God's love  -  that divine nonsense shown in becoming human for our sake; that weakness for us which defeats the strongest powers.  This love, this grace is of more value to us than all the stocks in our pension funds.  Let us open ourselves to such love as we open our hearts to confess our sins to God.

Unison Prayer of Confession
     You give us your commandments, Holy One, so we may have new life, but we continue to make the same old choices.  Your love can anchor us when life threatens to overwhelm us, but we choose to cling to the slippery rocks of anger and bitterness.  Your Word can strengthen us for every moment, but we listen to the foolish promises of the world.
     Forgive us, Redeemer of our lives: may every word be shaped by your Word; may every thought be refined by your grace; may every deed be inspired by your Spirit, so we may tell everyone we meet of your work in us, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
When brokenhearted prayers replace piety, when we seek wholeness through the One broken for us, then we remember we are saved by God's powerful love.
We are healed, to bring healing to our world;
we are strengthened in faith,
     to become spent for others;
we are set free from our bondage to sin,
     so we may become servants of Christ.
Thanks be to God.  Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Make us foolish enough in our generosity, O God, that we might become wise enough to know that our gifts will bless others - the hungry, the lonely, the searching, the weak.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of holy words be with you.
May the Meditation of our hearts be with you.
People of God, open yourselves to the One who is your rock.
God fills us with foolishness, so we may be wise.
Children of God, sing songs of thanksgiving with all creation.
Our voices are lifted to the One who makes all things.

You spoke those words of creation,
God of faithfulness, and
   set the sun to run its daily course,
   filled the seas with imaginative creatures,
   planted fruits and vegetables in the earth.
All that is good and generous was intended
for your children shaped in your image,
   but we bore false witness against you,
   honoring sin and death more than you.
The prophets came to warn against our foolishness,
but we did not find their words acceptable,
   and continued to covet everything
   which did not belong to us.
So you sent your Child to us,
so we might find strength in his weakness,
we might find glory through his humiliation.

With those who have great faith,
with those who have very little,
we sing our thanksgivings to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of mountaintops.
The heavens join all creation to tell of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is foolish for our sake.
Hosanna in the highest!

Day to day, you are holy, our God,
and Jesus Christ declares your wisdom to us.
The Word of your mouth,
   he came, to tell us of your work
   of grace and hope.
The Meditation of your heart,
   he came, to quiet our frantic spirits
   so we might rest in you.
Your foolishness,
   he was wise enough
   to take our sins to the cross.
Your weakness,
   he was strong enough
   to endure death for us,
until you brought him out of the grave.

As we remember his zeal for your heart,
as we remember his passion for us,
we would speak of that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, the rock which broke sin's power;
Christ was raised, death conquered by our redeemer;
Christ will return, desiring us more than anything in all creation.

Here at this Table, God of love,
we set aside our power to feast
on the weakness found in the broken bread;
we let go of our wisdom,
to drink from the cup of your foolish grace.
Your Spirit blesses these gifts, as well as us,
so when we have feasted,
we will look at the world with its
injustices, oppressions, wars, and fears,
saying, 'take these things out of here!
Stop making God's creation a house of horrors!'

And when the sun has finished its course,
when the moon and stars shine no more,
we will be given the words from your mouth
so we can sing from the deeps of our hearts to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
God speaks, and sends us forth.
We will go to proclaim God's grace and glory.
Jesus speaks, and lives are changed.
We will go to set free the oppressed,
to be the voice for those never heard.
The Spirit speaks, and the world is turned inside out.
We will become as foolish as a trusting child,
as powerless as those overlooked by everyone around them.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman