Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for August 24, 2014 (Pentecost 11/Trinity 10/Proper 16/Ordinary 21 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:23-30

Call to Worship
Give thanks to God with all your hearts.
We will hold nothing back from our God.
Sing full-throated praises to our God.
We will join in the chorus of thanksgiving for God's abiding love.
Glorify God's and and that Word we know as Jesus Christ.
We will worship our God with wonder and joy. 

Prayer of the Day

There are days
when we proclaim you
   a pest,
constantly prodding us
to reach out to others.

There are days
when we say you are
   a fool,
to imagine we
might take up crosses
to follow you.

There are days
when we lament you
   as BrokenHeart,
as your world
grows more violent,
more hurtful,
more hateful.

So, this day,
let us start over
and simply say you are
   our Hope,
   our Peace,
   our Comfort,
   our Guide,
   our Joy,
our God in Community, Holy in One,
to whom we pray as we have been taught
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are so much like Peter.  Jesus tells us what it will take to follow him, and we want to argue.  Jesus shows us the way to the Kingdom and we look for another path.  Let us put down all that keeps us from following Jesus, as we confess our lives to God, praying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We confess our struggle to be transformed into disciples, God of mystery.  The desires of the world would shape us into people you would not recognize.  The demands of our society pull us away from your heart.  Our culture values the rich, the powerful, the successful, but you are on the side of the weak, the poor, the outcast, and the oppressed.
   Forgive us, Merciful God, for looking for you in all the wrong places. Reawaken us with your voice that calls us to service; revive our weary hearts with your vision of creation; refresh our fatigued spirits that we might boldly proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and go forth to serve your people, in Christ's name. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It is so easy to think like the world, that money will give us happiness, that power will earn us grace.  But Paul reminds us that if we think like Christ, and live for others, we will find true freedom.
Not only our minds, but may God transform our hearts and spirits into the likeness of Christ, so we may be faithful disciples.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen. 

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

We will not proclaim our faith with our words only, but with our lives and these gifts we offer to you, O God, we pray that others might be transformed by your grace, your hope, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Rock of our lives be with you.
And also with you.
I appeal to you to offer your hearts to God.
We lift them to the One who heals their brokenness.
Sing your songs of praise to our God.
We join in choruses of joy and wonder.

You came into the district of chaos,
Innovative God, calling forth
to creation and in the listening
     rivers flowed from the mouths of cisterns,
     coastlands watched for sunrises,
     wild animals looked up into night skies
       as stardust drifted down upon them.
You invited those made in your image
to participate in all this goodness and beauty,
     but we listened to the lies filling sin's mouth
     and chose to conform to those desires.
You sent prophets to teach your ways
     but we chose death's gifts:
     greed, cruelty, fear, and gossip.
You sent Jesus to us
to walk through our troubles
in order to bring us back to you.

With our hearts as well as our voices,
with our hopes as well as our worries,
we will sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of endless love.
All creation joins in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to comfort us.
Hosanna in the highest! 


You are holy, Mighty God,
yet because you worry about the lowly,
your beloved Child came into our midst.
Into those places where lives are wasted,
     he came, to bring hope;
into those barren place that bleach our souls,
   he came, pouring the waters of life
   over us;
into the cold emptiness of death,
     he went, coming forth bearing
     the warmth and life of your
     resurrection promises.

As we would seek to know your will,
as we would consider his life as the model for ours,
we would tell everyone of that mystery called faith:

Christ died, a living sacrifice for all;
 Christ was raised, as you fulfilled your purpose for him;
 Christ will come, even as we wait. 


You reach out your hands to us,
Steadfast Love, offering us the
bread and the cup blessed with
your Spirit of life.
As we eat of the bread,
may we seek to bring healing
to all the broken places of our world:
     Ferguson,
     Gaza,
     Erbil,
     and (local places may be named).
As we drink from the cup,
may we go to all the barren places,
     bringing water to the thirsty,
              food to the hungry,
              community for the lonely.

Then, when all that is finally wears out
and all our fears vanish like smoke,
your redemption will be as fresh
as it was on that first morning,
and we will gather around your Table,
God in Community, Holy in One,
praising you forever and ever.  Amen.

Sending
Go out as God's people,
willing to do God's work in the world.
Go out as Christ's disciples,
ready to serve wherever we have the chance.
Go out as the Spirit's hopes,
eager to proclaim peace to all. 

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, August 11, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for August 17, 2014 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 15/Ordinary 20 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: 10-28

Call to Worship
In the gathering of school supplies,
in the harvesting of backyard gardens:
God blesses us beyond imagination.
In the simple acts of daily chores,
in the kindness shared by a stranger:
God is gracious to us.
In the rapture of a child watching a firefly,
in the inquisitive look of a senior
wondering where they left their keys:
God's face shines upon us.
We praise you, O God!
We praise you!

Prayer of the Day

Welcoming God:
you gather everyone,
especially the outsiders,
to worship you, for
you are not an image or idol,
   but protector of the helpless,
          parent to the poor,
          friend of the lonely.

Accepting Christ:
there is not any place
you will not go to bring
God's grace to others.
In you,
   the enemy is made a friend,
   the broken are made whole,
   the orphan finds a home.

Embracing Spirit:
your gentleness falls upon us,
and our fears of rejection disappear;
   your truth is whispered in our ears,
   and our arms embrace strangers;
your peace is poured into our souls,
and we are reconciled to all we hurt;
   your love throws open our shuttered hearts,
   and we see our sisters and brothers all around us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in you we have life and hope forever.
Hear us as we pray together saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We may praise God, but we prefer to live our way, becoming captive to our foolish choices.  But God longs to set us free, so let us confess to our God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In every opportunity, God of this day, we choose not to follow you.  From our hearts to our mouths flow words that hurt others, come thoughts that lead us away from you.  We are richly blessed, but think others should be grateful for the crumbs we offer to them.  Our claims to have great faith are disputed by our inability to trust you in all things.
     We come to you, Helper of the weak, for you are gracious and forgiving.  You offer us the fullness of your love, not just a few dollops.  You refuse to let us go, but sweep us up with arms of joy.  You send Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to lead us into your kingdom.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
I ask you, has God rejected us?
No!  By God's grace, God's gifts and God's calling are never taken back.
I ask you, again, has God rejected us?
No!  That Love we know as God will never let us go.
This is good news, dear friends, believe it.
Thanks be to God.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
May we not offer you the leftovers of our resources and our lives, Blessing God, but let these gifts be but part of what we give back to you, as we seek to serve your people and your creation.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the gathering God be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to the One who welcomes you.
We offer them to God whose face glows when we do what is right.
Sing glad songs to our God.
We rejoice, for our God will not reject us.

You called creation to your Self,
Gathering God, saying, "Listen and understand:
     let waters fill the rivers and seas,
     let the trees sing for joy,
     let the fields yield fruit and grains,"
and all the ends of the universe praised you.
to those shaped in your image, you gave everything,
hoping we would understand your dreams,
     but sin and death kept shouting
     after us, and we listened only to them.
Prophets came, to make your ways
known in all the world,
     but we only wanted the temptations of sin.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to be our guide to your heart.

With those whose faith is great,
with those who cling fast to your covenant,
we sing a song of joy to you:

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.


Your holiness is poured out on all,
and Jesus Christ comes to make
your way know to all people.
When we listened only to foolish words,
     he spoke of your dreams
     so we might understand.
When we were imprisoned by
our all too willful rebellion,
     he came to set us free with that love
     which will never let go of us.
When death would devour
the very crumbs of our lives,
     he gathered us up
     and carried us out into
     that resurrection morning.

As we gather with our sisters and brothers,
with neighbors and strangers, at the Table,
we sing of that mystery known as faith:

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high,
how passing thought and fantasy:
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake.


Help us to listen to your welcome
to your feast, God of the gathered,
as your pour out your Spirit
on the gifts made ready for us.
May we understand that it is
not just crumbs, but all of your justice
offered in the bread so, as we eat,
     we may go to bring wholeness
     to all shattered by the world's fears.
Help us to recognize that it is
not just a few drips, but all of your grace
poured into the cup so, as we drink,
     we will go to do what is right,
     opening doors to outsiders,
     gathering outcasts into our family.

And when at the last you call to us,
gathering us around the Feast of the Lamb,
we will join all peoples in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Now go, to serve as God's people.
We will work to remove all that divides us from others.
Now go, to share the grace of Jesus.
We will love others just as we are loved.
Now go, to be the Spirit's community.
We will invite everyone to join us in this life of faith and service.

© 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for August 10, 2014 (Pentecost 9/Trinity 8/Proper 14/)rdinary 19 - A)

Texts: 1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalm 85:8-13; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33

Call to Worship
We gather to worship our God,
who speaks the words of peace we need in chaotic times.
We gather to follow Jesus,
who encourages to never fear, for he is near.
We gather to be filled with the Spirit,
who anoints us so we can go to serve our world.

Prayer of the Day
You come as a great wind,
splitting our fears into fragments,
breaking our prejudices into
tiny pebbles that hurt no one.
   You are a summer's breeze
   that stirs the growing grass;
   you are the soft breath
   which makes us more caring.

You come as an earthquake,
knocking all our doctrines
off their neat shelves,
smashing them beyond recognition.
   You are the gentle touch
   that wakens us from
   our nightmares, whispering,
   'it's just me; don't be scared.'

You are the fire that rages
against the injustices visited
upon the poor, the broken, the vulnerable
(often in your name).
   You are the spark that lights
   the passions for your people
   so we feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
   free the oppressed, visit the sick.

As you pass by us in so many ways,
may we take notice of you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The deepest longing of our hearts is to be forgiven and embraced by our God. As we confess our sins, God speaks peace to us and makes us whole.  Join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   In truth, God of silence and seas, we are more adept at making waves than calming storms.  We find it easier to push people out of the boat,  rather than make room for those who are different from us.  And our lives are such a whirlwind of  activity, that we do not notice your presence or hear your sheer silence singing your shalom to us.
   Have mercy on us, God of patience.  Grab hold of us to keep us from drowning in our oceans of temptations.  Give us the words to speak of your hope to others.  Fill our hearts with the love of Jesus Christ, which is nearer to us than we dare to imagine.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Immediately, immediately! your sins are forgiven, your life is restored, and grace becomes your guide through this life.
Thanks be to God!  We are not left alone, but take heart in the forgiving love of our God.  Amen.

Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
Not only with our lips, but with our lives and with our treasure we will proclaim that you are in our midst, Loving God.  Take these gifts, and use them so all might know that your love, your life, your hope, your healing is near to them.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open your hearts to God,
so they may be filled with grace.
Speak of the Word of life which is near you.
Glad songs of praise are on our lips.

At the corner of disarray and emptiness,
you came, Ingenuous God, passing by
as creation sprang forth out of the sheer silence:
   splitting valleys to push up mountains,
   breaking planets into moons,
   pouring waters into seas.
All this was for those shaped in your image,
   but we threw down your hopes,
   leaving you alone as we
   forsook you for sin and death.
Prophets came proclaiming your word
so we could hear, that in hearing
we might believe, and in believing
we could call on you,
   but we refused to listen.
Unwilling to give up on us,
you sent Jesus to us,
coming into all our broken places.

With those who confess you with their lips,
with those who believe in their hearts,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God who does not forsake us.
All creation worships and praises you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

At the corner of justice and kindness,
Jesus came, your child of holiness,
our brother of hope and grace.
When the world would dismiss us,
   he would put us to work
   in your kingdom.
When others would toss us overboard,
   he reaches out
   to pull us to safety.
When the forces of sin and death
threaten to overwhelm us,
   he has already overcome their power
   once and for all, by dying
   and being raised to new life.

As we gather at this Table,
we will find him in our hearts,
even as we proclaim our faith:

Christ died, following God to the very end;
God raised him, restoring him to wholeness;
Christ will return, to guide us to God.

Here at the corner of fears and doubts,
we come to your Table,
where the Spirit blessed the bread and cup,
and all those who are in this place.
The bread is the gift of life, sending us
   to plant gardens in
      craters made by bombs;
   to offer a bouquet of
      faithfulness to the ostracized.
The cup is the promise of hope,
   which we would share with all
      who wander in despair.

And when we gather in that place
where you pass by us on the way
to prepare the great feast of the Lamb,
we will sing our songs of joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
We will go into the world as God's people,
telling of God's hopes for all.
We will go to serve the world as followers of Jesus,
showing with our lives that all are part of the kingdom.
We will go to share the Spirit,
to bring peace where there is war, to share love where there is hate.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 28, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for August 3, 2014 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 13/Ordinary 18 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Call to Worship
All who are thirsty, come!
God is the fountain for our lives.
All who are hungry, come!
Jesus feeds us with goodness and grace.
Rich and poor, young and old, neighbor and guest, come!
The Holy Spirit gathers everyone around the Table.

Prayer of the Day

We try to distance ourselves from you,
Loving God, and you spread a picnic of grace,
waving us over, with a big grin on your face.
We whisper our worries in the night,
and you say, "You don't have to shout!"
Your compassion is spread over our brokenness
like we spread nutella on toast.

When we are tempted to spend
our lives on all the luxuries offered
to us by the world, Brother of the hungry,
you set up a table piled high with
grace, hope, peace, joy, and wonder
under a big sign which reads
"Clearance!  Everything 100% off!!"

When we get all in a sweat
over whether or not we can meet
all our self-imposed expectations,
you take your bandana out
of your back pocket, Spirit of peace,
wiping our faces, and handing us
a cup of cool water, whispering,
"Relax.  I've taken all that
off your shoulders."

We rejoice in your gifts which are ours,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The Lord is not mean-spirited or vengeful.  God is gracious and merciful, always willing to listen to Our prayers, and to hear our hearts. Let us join in the prayer for forgiveness, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We are sure we do not have enough
to end hunger in our communities, Holy God.
     Forgive us that we forget that, by your
     presence and power, very little can do
     so much.
We believe we are the only ones
who carry heartache around with us.
     Forgive us, Compassion's Heart,
     that we do not see, or embrace
     the despair of those around us.
We think we do not have the words
with which to offer hope and healing to strangers.
     Forgive us, Welcoming God, for not having
     the courage to run up to them with your grace.
We convince ourselves that we need to devote
all our time, our energy, our resources, our lives
on keeping up with others.
     Forgive us for not living that joyful,
     gracious life modeled for us by you,
     Jesus our Brother.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Listen!  Come to the One who covers us with compassion, who feeds us on grace and mercy.
What good news!  Everyone who thirsts is given water; everyone who hungers is fed; everyone Who sins is forgive.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
May our gifts quench the thirst of those who desire hope; may our lives by spent in feeding those Whose hunger is all too real; may we always give away the blessings you have given to us, God of The Compassionate Heart.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Table-setting God be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hungry hearts to our God.
We offer them to the One who feeds us with grace.
God gives us all we need in every moment.
Our mouths will sing God's praise in these moments.

When the hour was late,
you spoke, Steadfast Love,
and creation sprang forth in newness:
     tadpoles stretching into bullfrogs;
     caterpillars crystallizing into butterflies;
     raindrops plopping on broad leaves;
     thunder rolling through the valleys,
and you shaped us in your image.
If we had listened to you,
we would have feasted on Eden's delights,
     but we hungered for sin's moldy bread,
     and drank death's sour wine.
With great love and unceasing hope,
you sent the prophets to us,
     but we sent them away for
     the hour was too early to follow you.
Then, in overwhelming compassion,
you sent Jesus to us.

With those who have been fed by your love,
with those who drink deeply of your joy,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of gracious love.
All creation rejoices in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One filled with great compassion.
Hosanna in the highest!


You are gracious and merciful, Holy God,
and Jesus Christ is your heart made flesh.
He, who had everything,
     came to fill those who had nothing.
He, who lived in glory,
     came to the deserted places
     of our hearts to love us.
He, who is over all,
     came to submit to death's power,
     being cut off from you, until
     you raised him to new life.

We need not go away empty,
but are fed at the Table,
where we speak the truth in Christ:

Christ died, the witness to obedience;
God raised Christ, the witness to the resurrection;
Christ will come, the witness to the promises to us.


Here a this Table, God of abundance,
you feed us with that grace and peace
which is offered at no cost to us.
The Holy Spirit blesses the bread,
breaks it, and gives it to us
     so we might have the strength
     to hold those whose knees wobble
     from fear and despair.
The Holy Spirit blesses the cup,
pours it, and gives it to us
     so we can go to lift up
     the hopes which the world
     has dashed to the ground.
The Holy Spirit will gather up
the broken people to create
a community of wholeness.

And when the final hour is now,
when we are gathered with
our sisters and brothers of every time and place,
we will eat and be filled at the Lamb's Supper,
and rejoice with one voice
as we praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Go now, to find the thirsty.
P:  We will show them where the living water flows.
L:  Go now, to find the hungry.
P:  We will share from our abundance to feed them.
L:  Go now, to find the stranger.
P:  We will embrace them as sister and brother.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 21, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for July 27, 2014 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - A)

Texts:  1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Call to Worship
L:  Come and worship, proclaim God's ways
     of faithfulness and steadfast love.
P:  We will tell of God's love,
     which unfolds in our lives.
L:  Come and worship, for we are God's
     people, rejoicing in his graciousness.
P:  God is always with us, there is nothing
     which can keep us apart.
L:  Come to the One who tells stories;
     worship our God who keeps promises.
P:  We rejoice with God
     who is with us always.

Prayer of the Day
In this kingdom
where the hopeless
are thrown into
Lake Forgotten forever,
   you cast your net,
   drawing them
   into your embrace,
   cradling them in your heart.

In this kingdom
where folks turn anorexic
gorging on greed,
while the poor scratch
in famine's fallow fields,
   you wander in,
   offering top dollar
   for the pearls of grace
   they uncover.

In this kingdom
where hope and faith,
patience and peace
have been sold as showpieces
for fancy museums,
   you come,
   purchasing them back,
   polishing off the dust,
   handing them back to us
   so we can see the reflection

of that kingdom
your forged for us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray, saying
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
It is not our past which keeps us from God,
for that is behind us.  It is not our present,
for God is with us on this day.  And our future
is held tight in God's hands.  It is true - there
is absolutely nothing which can separate us
from God.  Whatever sins we have committed,
God's forgiveness and love take them away
forever.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     What can we say about our foolish lives, God
of Love?  Too often, we choose to worship power
when we could serve others in humility.  We toss
and turn at night, all those things over which we
have no control keeping us wide awake, when we
could turn them over to you.  No matter how many
times we hear the news that death has lost its power
over us, we dread that day and try everything we can
to postpone it.
     For believing that our sins are more powerful
than your mercy, forgive us, Grace of the world.
You cast out your net of grace so that all might be
gathered into your kingdom.  Your Spirit carries
the whispers of our hearts to you, and we are
embraced with your hope, blessed with your love
through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Who has the right to judge us?  Only Christ.  Yet
     Christ died for us, Christ was raised for us, Christ
     reigns in power over us - Christ even prays for us!
P:  This is the love which binds us to god forever.  There
     is nothing is this word, or beyond, which will keep
     us from being God's children.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts to you, Steadfast Love, not because
you need them, but so others might be as blessed as
we are by your presence, your power, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God whose life is stronger than death be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Come to the One who searches your hearts.
P:  We open them to God, who justifies us.
L:  Let us give thanks to God who shows us steadfast love.
P:  We sing to the Lord, whose grace is kept in our hearts.

What then are we to say, God of creative thought?
You carved mountains out of valleys,
     poured rivers to the seas,
     created galaxies so numerous they cannot be counted,
     and shaped us from the dust of the stars.
You walked before us in righteousness,
inviting us to follow in your footsteps,
     but we bought fields filled with fools' gold,
     and threw out our nets until they
          overflowed with temptations.
Prophets came, to impart wisdom to us,
but tears ran down their cheeks as
we continued to be conformed to sin.
Turning to us, you were gracious enough
to send Jesus to us, to help us in our weakness.

With those who listen and understand,
with those who seek a discerning mind,
we sing our thanksgivings to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God who justifies us.
All creation rejoices in your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who reveals your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest!

What then are we to say,
Searcher for God's most precious possessions?
Like a farmer,
     you plant seeds into insignificant people,
     watching them grow into servants.
Like a baker,
     you mix the least with the mighty,
                    the poor with the rich,
                    the weak with the strong,
     to shape your inclusive kingdom.
Like a lover,
     you withhold nothing from those
     you carry in your heart,
          even dying so that we might
          have life forever with God.

As we rejoice that Jesus gave us everything,
as we remember nothing stands between us and God,
we speak of that mysterious faith which is ours:

P:  Christ died, giving up his own life for us;
     Christ was raised, God's treasure brought forth
          from the potter's field;
     Christ will intercede for us, with joy and hope.

What then are we to say,
Spirit of the Sights?
In the bread shaped for the healing,
you unfold the Word to us,
     feeding us on God's hopes
     until we seethe over
     the injustices of our time.
In the cup prepared for the pouring,
     you fill us with light,
     so we can journey into
     the shadows of our world,
     searching for those thrown
     aside by our society.

And when time ends,
when there is nothing more to say,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Go forth to proclaim God's constant love.
P:  We will live out that love for everyone we meet.
L:  Go forth to unfold God's Word to the world.
P:  We will gather up the tears of those around us,
     as we offer the healing grace of Jesus.
L:  Go forth to tell stories of hope and peace.
P:  We will spread the Spirit of life all around us.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 14, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for July 20, 2014 (Pentecost 6/Trinity 5/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 86:11-17; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30,  36-43

Call to Worship
From the moment we open our eyes each morning,
until we close them at night, God is with us.
There is no one like you, our God!
In times when we are surrounded with struggles,
in all the surprising places we find hope, Jesus is with us.
There is no one like you, our Brother!
When we feel orphaned by the world,
when we are welcomed into faith's family,
the Holy Spirit is with us.
There is no one like you, Witnessing Spirit!

Prayer of the Day
You we praise, Steadfast Love,
for your presence never abandons us,
but is at our side in all of life.
There is no cobwebbed corner
that is not claimed by your grace.

You we praise, Teller of parables.
Your words challenge us in moments of doubt,
as well as in our times of great faith.
When we run around in circles
chasing our worries and fears
like a dog after it's tail,
you whisper hope to us.

You we praise, Spirit who calls to our hearts.
Your voice is that gentle whisper
in a world filled with angry shouts;
your joy is that refreshing shower
when despair parches our souls;
your wonder opens our eyes and ears
to the gifts which surround our lives.

You we praise, God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we fail to live as God's people, we are like flowers which give way to weeds.  But God seeks us out, not to condemn us, but to comfort, to forgive, and to bring us home.  Let us stop playing hide-and-seek with our God, as we confess our sins together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Insolently we turn against you, God of truth.  When we follow those desires that control us; when we live for ourselves, shutting off the gifts of those around us; when we think we do not need to share love, hope, peace with others, we show how we have joined that league of hooligans who ignore your way of life.
     Yet, you have chosen to adopt us as your children, God-who-stands-with-us, forgiving us and making us inheritors with Jesus of your grace and joy.  So lead us by the Spirit, that we might follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into creation which groans for love and healing.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In sorrow so deep we cannot find our way out,
      God cradles us in comfort;
in moments so shadowed we trip over our fears,
      God lights the way for us;
in joy which cascades into our souls,
      God fills us with healing.
Even when we cannot see it, God's hope is all around us, surrounding us with peace and healing.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven !  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

Your steadfast love is but one of the many gifts you pour into us.  Our offerings are but a part of the ways in which we can serve you and your people.  Bless them, and bless us, to ministries of healing and hope.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift your hearts to your Creator.
We offer them to the One who fills us with wonder.
Children of God, join in glad songs of praise to God.
We join the psalmists and prophets, the disciples and the doubters in glorifying God.

Who is like you, whimsical God?
You could have kept creation for yourself,
but instead you
     poured light into the shadows of chaos,
     planted seeds for crops to strengthen all,
     shaped companions to journey with us.
You freely give these gifts to those
who are made in your loving image,
     but from old, we choose over and over
     to trust in sin and death,
     believing their tangible temptations
     to be of more value than your unseen hope.
Prophets come along to teach us your way,
so we might walk in your truth,
     but we consider them to be a
     troupe of troublemakers
     and chase them away.
Finally Jesus came, to gather up your children,
so we might shine like the Son in your kingdom.

With those who remain indebted to the flesh,
with those who owe their life to the Spirit,
we join our voices in praising you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
All creation groans, awaiting your redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gives us listening ears.
Hosanna in the highest!


Who is like you, Story Teller?
You left the crowds of angels
and came into our world.
With parables and simple truths,
you opened our ears so we could listen
     to words of joy and comfort.
Grounded in that hope no one can see,
you opened our eyes so we can glimpse
     touch, taste, and live in the kingdom.
You suffered on the cross to break
the hold sin and death have on us,
     so by the grace of your resurrection,
     we become your sisters and brothers,
     joint heirs of God's constant grace.

As we wait with eager longing for you,
as we celebrate this feast of heaven,
we declare that faith which is a mystery:

Christ died, refusing to fall back into fear;
God raised him, revealing glory to us;
Christ will come to gather us into the kingdom.


Who is like you, Spirit of Creation?
You plant the seeds that become
the grain which is turned into bread;
you warm the vines that nurture
the grapes which are for the cup;
you transform these simple gifts
into a meal set at the children's Table.
May the broken bread give us strength
     so we may go to serve
     the vulnerable with our whole hearts.
May the cup offered to us open our ears
     so we may listen to the oppressed
     with attention focused only on them.

Then, when all creation is gathered up at the end
and all your children from every age and place
gather around that Table prepared from your hope,
we will spend all eternity forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will greet everyone as one of the family.
Go forth as followers of Jesus.
We will serve everyone we meet, especially those who have been thrown aside by the world.
Go forth with the gifts of the Spirit in you.
We will be that hope which everyone longs to see.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 07, 2014

Liturgy for July 13, 2014 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65:1-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Call to Worship
Fresh corn dripping with butter,
juicy peaches topping our cereal:
praise is due to you, God of the harvest!
Children chasing fireflies in evening's shadows,
families picnicking in the backyard:
Praise is due to you, God of summer days!
Mothers tightening training wheels on bikes,
fathers teaching kids to bait a hook:
praise is due to you, God of our lives!

Prayer of the Day

You open our hearts, O God,
as you put a sail on your hope
so it may reach the furthest
shores of our despair.
Your showers of grace
fall softly upon the loose soil
of our dried-up dreams.

Your words do not return
empty to you, Story-teller.
They take root deep within us,
blossoming into gentleness
which can comfort a broken heart,
into compassion which can transform
a cold shoulder into an embrace,
into kindness which can make
a curmudgeon break into laughter.

You move into our lives,
Spirit of life,
quietly taking those fears
which trip us in the night hours
and putting them out in the trash;
gently watering the seeds
planted in our inept souls
until they become bushels of grace.

We join all in coming to you
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We could offer seeds of hope, but don't.  We could help a friend with a difficult problem, but won't.  We could smooth the way for someone stumbling through life, but can't.  Let us confess our harvest of sin to our God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We know the seeds we have sown, Harvesting God: anger which springs from our flinty hearts; bitterness which flows like a rushing river into another's heart; hurtful words which wrap their thorny briars around a friend's kindness; passion which poisons an innocent relationship.
     Forgive us, Loving God, and have mercy.  Your grace can turn our fallow hearts into rich fields of love.  Your hope can smooth the rocks in our way, so we can go to be reconciled to another.  Your love for us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, can untangle the thorny mess we have made of our lives.  Bless us with these gifts, we pray.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
No ifs, no ands, no buts.  Now there is no condemnation - period!  God answers all our hurts, our wrongs, our sin with salvation.  Believe this good news, my friends.
We are stunned by your grace, and embraced in your love, Forgiving God, and lift our thanks to you.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

What we offer may not seem significant in a world of so much, Caring God, but we pray they may become seeds of hope, of grace, of change, of life to all those around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Sower of grace be with you!
And also with you!
Seeds of hope and joy are planted in you.
May our hearts yield a rich harvest for God.
Join your voices with the valleys and mountains in praise.
We rejoice in the One who welcomes us at this Table.

You cast your seeds upon chaos,
Sower of creation, and
     pastures overflowed with flocks,
     valleys brought forth flowers to welcome you,
     mountains sang out their praises to you
          as trees clapped out the beat.
We were shaped in your image
to enjoy all these generous gifts,
     but we chose to walk the rocky paths
     of sin and death, their thorny temptations
     choking us off from your hopes for us.
Prophets came to us with joy,
hoping to lead us back to you in peace,
     but we sent them away empty-handed,
     scattering their words on our sinful paths
     like bread crumbs left for birds of prey.
Yet you would not leave us condemned,
and sent Jesus to accomplish your hopes.

With those whose ears are wide open,
with those who struggle to walk with you,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Presence.
All creations is stunned by your deeds.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Sower of the good news.
Hosanna in the highest!


Your holiness fills the earth with hope,
and Jesus Christ is the everlasting sign
we will not be separated from you.
He walked the dusty paths,
     picking us up from where
     the world had cast us aside.
He  gathered up all the rocks
which fill our lives,
     so your word might take root
     deep within us.
He prunes all the twisted briars
of sin and death
     so that your resurrection
     might bloom for us all.

As we gather for this memorial feast,
as we seek to hear and understand his words,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, condemning sing to death;
God raised Christ, giving him new life;
Christ will come for us again, refusing to return to God empty-handed.


The Sower casts out the seeds
and the grain comes forth
to provide substance for the Bread.
The rain and snow refresh the vines,
the plump grapes ripened
to fill the Cup of life.
Your Spirit gathers us these gifts
and prepares the Table for your people
who, blessed with your presence, go forth
     to bring hope and life to others;
and who, set free from sin and death,
    go to release neighbors and strangers
    from hunger, fear, doubts, and loneliness.

Then, when time has ended,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
around your table of grace and peace,
and satisfied with your goodness
we will join all creation in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will sow seeds of love and joy in the world.
Go forth as Christ's true friends.
We will sow seeds of justice and hope in oppression-strewn paths.
Go forth as the Spirit's love.
We will sow seeds of peace and reconciliation in every corner of creation.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman