Monday, October 13, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for October 19, 2014 (Pentecost 19/Trinity 18/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - A)

Texts: Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22

Call to Worship
Each morning, God's grace awakens us,
each evening, God's peace cradles us.
Compassion is our constant companion,
as we go through work, school, the day.
In every moment, God is present with us;
God whispers words which can change our lives.
Justice is our faithful teacher,
pointing to where we can carry out fairness.
When we find ourselves groping in the shadows,
God's light will provide a way home.
We turn the corner, and hope is waiting for us;
we return home, and find a feast prepared.
Prayer of the Day
Steadfast Hope:
when we want
to make all the rules
so we can win every game,
     you call us to your side,
     put your arm around us
          and whisper, 'play fair!'
When we tremble in fear,
worried that our lives
are about to crash to the bottom,
     you place us in
     the hollow of your heart,
          and give us safety.

Word of Joy:
when we would follow
those who pretend
to be our saviors
to achieve their own ends,
     you remind us that we have been chosen
     to be examples of faith to others.
When we would
fill our pockets with
the treasures of temptation,
     you ask us to empty them,
     so we can become
     servants of hope.

Crafter of Faith:
when others judge us on
our backgrounds, education, looks,
     you teach us how
     to treat all people as equal,
          to welcome each person
          as our sister or brother.
When we wonder how
our needs, our hopes, our lives
will be made known to God,
     you mention us, by name,
     in all your prayers.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we know you as
Glory, Grace, Goodness,
and lift our prayer to you, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know, despite our sincere efforts to live in God's way, that all too easily we slip off the path to the kingdom. Trusting that God will answer our prayers and forgive us, let us confess our sins, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
Great Lover of Justice, hear our prayers:
     called to treat all people equally,
          we take sides and pick favorites;
     chosen to be your children,
          we arrogantly assume others are not so honored;
      challenged to be examples of faith,
           we reveal our worst natures to our families and friends.

Forgive us, Giver of Rest.  Enable us to stop putting you to the test, so we can open our hypocritical hearts to your healing touch of compassion and hope. As Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has
given all for us, may we give ourselves to you - confidently, completely, faithfully.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news: the One who created goodness and beauty is also the One who shows no partiality, but offers grace and peace to all.
God has heard our prayers and done the very thing we asked - forgiven us, healed us, restored us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You do not choose favorites, Holy God, but pour out your blessings on all your children, trusting that we will empty our hearts, our lives, our treasure in meeting the needs of those around us.  Bless these gifts, and use them to bring healing and hope to your people.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the exalted One be with you!
And also with you!
Open your hearts to the One who knows you by name.
We offer ourselves to the One who is always with us.
Give thanks to God, all of you, in prayer and song, in silence and service.
We sing to the One who calls us to worship.
Holy and Honest God:
in establishing all that is
beautiful and joyful,
     your glory banished chaos
     and your goodness became
          the shawl which warmed all creation.
You shaped humankind in your own image
and called us, each by name, favoring us with your love.
But we could not pass by sin and death
     huddled in the cracks of chaos,
     and turned towards them,
         offering a safe place in our hearts.
Because you would bring your people back to you,
you sent the prophets
to teach us your ways,
     but we thought they were hypocrites,
     speaking insincere words.
So then you sent Jesus
to show us your hope
and to reveal your dreams for us.

Therefore, we join our voices with all your people
in every age, time, and place,
who forever sing your praises:
Holy, holy, holy! Lover of Justice and Peace!
All creation sings of your hopes,
     echoing your dreams for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to reveal your gospel,
     by word, by grace, by the Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Great Giver of Joy:
you loved the world so much
that you sent your very heart to us.
We did not welcome him
as your beloved Child,
     turning our backs as he approached us.
His faithfulness to your way
     revealed our idolatry of the world.
His plain spoken truth showed the lies
     we all too easily accepted.
He went to the cross,
defeating sin and death,
     so he could claim what is yours
     and give us back to you.
As we offer you the gift of our prayers and thanksgiving,
we remember Jesus, your Beloved,
who bequeathed to us that mystery we call faith:
We eat this bread,
     remembering his brokenness;
we drink this cup,   
     to be filled with his grace;
we wait for Jesus to come again,
     constantly proclaiming your love for us.
Holy Goodness:
pour out your Spirit of welcome
on the gifts of the cup and the bread.
Simple gifts made sacred by your presence,
may the grain which has
come to us from many fields
     strengthen your people to go out
     and serve in many neighborhoods.
May the cup which has been filled
by the fruit of many vines
     nourish us with faith and hope
     so our hearts will overflow with grace
     to those who thirst for your presence.
And when your people
have been gathered together
from every corner of creation,
we will know one another by name,
lifting our voices to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
seated upon the praises of our hearts. Amen.

Go forth now, filled with God's grace.
We will cradle others in God's peace.
Go forth now, with the words that can transform the world.
We will go to speak up for those who are not heard.
Go forth now, taking the Light of God into the world.
We will go into every shadowed corner with hope lighting the way.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for October 12, 2014 (Pentecost 18/Trinity 17/Proper 23/Ordinary 28 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

Call to Worship
Here in this place, with these people,
we come to worship the living God.
In you, O God, we hope;
in you, Creator of love, we live.
Here in this sacred space, in these very moments,
we are invited to the Table of Joy.
In you, Christ of the Way, we rejoice;
in you, dear Brother, grace is as near as your heart.
Here on this day of gentleness and beauty,
we are filled with the peace of God.
In you, O Spirit, we find our path;
in you, Teacher of hope, we learn to serve.

Prayer of the Day
When we realize how we are
blessed beyond every imagining,
     we can sing of your surprising grace
     and your steadfast presence
          to a world which has grown deaf
          from the noise of empty clich├ęs.
When we remember your love
which has no beginning and no end,
when we stand in grace's sweet waters
swirling around our hearts,
     we can rejoice in your hope
     which sees every person,
          even those we would
          never invite into our circles,
               as your beloved child.
When we remember your call
to treat every single person
with dignity, justice, and hope,
     we can share your peace
     (even when we don't recognize it)
          with a society which believes
          violence is the solution
               to every single problem.

God in Community, Holy in One,
as you live in us,
so we will live for others,
even as we pray as taught by Jesus,
(The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Called to have the same mind as Christ, we often spend too much time thinking about all those ways which then lead us astray. But, if we confess our sins, God will forgive us, and strengthen us to be Christ's sisters and brothers. Join me as we pray together, saying,

 Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     You would call us to your feast, Inviting God, but our busy lives keep us from responding. You remember every word we utter, every prayer we whisper, but we forget all the little ways you care for us. You would make your gentleness known through us, but we lash out in anger and fear towards others.
     Forgive us, God of all hope, and remember your Servant, Jesus Christ. In him, we can live in your way. Through him, we can learn the dreams you have for us. With him, we can open our arms and embrace all the people we meet.

Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
As we are forgiven by God, we can begin to reflect on all those ways in which we can live justly, act honorably, love completely. This is indeed good news for us.
At the Wedding Feast, we are fed with grace, and nourished with joy, so we may go and bring hope and peace to everyone we meet. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the One who works wonders be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, listen to the One who teaches you life.
Unlock our hearts, O God, that we might hear you.
Children of God, you are called to servanthood.
We sing praises to the One who fills us with compassion,
so we might know the deepest needs of those around us.

Silencing the noise of chaos,
God of wonder and might,
you created the heavens and earth,
     your steadfast love poured out
          into the oceans brimming with life,
     your joy flowing into every valley of hope.
Your heart melted with love
as you created us in your image,
     so we might live with you
     in that garden of peace.
But we exchanged your dreams
for the seductive lies of death,
     so we might graze in sin's fallow fields.
You longed to bring us back,
making your gentleness known
in prophets throughout the ages.
When we continued to refuse
your invitation to your heart,
you sent Jesus to us,
to round up all of your children
and lead them home to you.
So, with those who stood at the foot of mountains,
and those who continue on the journey,
we lift our hearts and voices,
praising your name forever.
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of peace and justice.
We have heard the good news of Jesus' grace;
     we have seen the service of his followers;
     we have received his hope from surprising people;
     we have learned to trust him in every moment.

Blessed is he who came to make us known to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

We praise your name, Catering God,
remembering your acts of grace.
Loving us with a passion beyond compare,
     Jesus came to fill us with compassion.
Aware of our hunger for hope,
     he feeds us with your steadfast grace.
Understanding death's grip on us,
     he came to defeat it's power,
     that we could live with you forever.
As we rejoice in the feast you provide,
as we remember the sacrifice, death and resurrection of our Lord,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:
We celebrate the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem;
we remember the life which Jesus led;
we rejoice in Christ's coming to us in glory.
In your gentleness and wonder,
God of all joy,
pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
and the gifts of your Table.
As the bread of life
not only feeds us,
but makes us one as Christ's Body,
     may we bring healing
     to our broken world.
As the cup of grace
not only refreshes us
but unites us in the Spirit of service,
     may we go forth to be
     a river of righteousness
     flowing to those who live
          in oppression and hopelessness.
And when we gather at the Table
you prepare for us in glory,
when we feast with all
our sisters and brothers
from every time and place,
we will join our voices
and praise you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for October 5, 2014 (Pentecost 17/Trinity 16/Proper 22/Ordinary 27 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

Call to Worship
From north and south,
from east and west, we come:
God's people called to the Table
where simple grace nourishes us.
From down the street to across town,
from single households to apartment dwellers:
God's people are called to community,
where we live and serve one another.
From every class, every race, every status;
from little ones with sippy cups to elders with overflowing hearts:
God's people are called to witness to God's hope,
to offer peace to a shattered world.
Prayer of the Day           
Seeing your children
in bondage and despair,
     you brought them to freedom
     by your compassion and hope.
Longing to create a people
who would care for one another,
     you spoke simple truths
     about integrity and justice.
Fill our worship
with sighs more precious than
all we value, Word Speaker.

You came,
not to build a grand scheme,
     but to be our foundation of faith.
You came,
not to choose sides like we do,
     but to be that peace
     which brings us together.
You came,
not worrying about what
lay ahead for you,
     so we could see
     your kingdom prepared for us.
Fill our worship
with your grace more precious
than our deepest fears, Word Bearer.

When we cling
to all which holds us back,
     you empty our arms,
     putting our past in a rummage sale.
When we hesitate
to stand with the lost,
     you nudge us forward
     with the wind of justice.
Fill our worship
with your peace more precious
than the brokenness we grasp, Word of Wisdom
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear the words of our hearts
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are good at rules: making them and then breaking them. Paul reminds us that, when we gain Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive exactly what we need - forgiveness, grace, hope. Let us confess our sins to God, that we might know God's healing love for us!

Unison Prayer of Confession
     If we were to name all the gods we have before you, Rock of Redemption, we would be here a very long time. We elevate politicians into saviors, though they are as broken as we are. We misuse your name so much during the day, we have trouble speaking to you in prayer at night. We are so busy, we do not notice how creation witnesses to your goodness and grace.
     Forgive us, God our Hope. Help us to let go of what we value most, so we may open our emptiness, our hearts, our lives to the healing and loving presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Persistently, patiently, lovingly, God pours out grace and joy into our lives, healing our brokenness, forgiving our sin.
Loved, we are sent to love;
forgiven, we are freed to forgive;
graced, we can offer our gifts to everyone we meet.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication 
We can hoard the gifts with which you bless us, God of generosity, or we can share them with others.  May what we offer in these moments be the very blessing, the very hope, the very peace others need.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the composer of heaven's music be with you!
And also with you!
Beloved, God has created you for faithful living.
We lift our hearts to the One who calls us to be Christ's Body.
People of God, sing to the One who cleanses us of our fears.
We will dance with joy to the Table of peace and hope.

Chaos trembled as you spoke,
not wanting to hear
your goodness breaking it apart,
Rock and Redeemer of all.
     Creation sang oratorios for you,
     while earth drummed out the rhythm.
Each day testified 'God is good';
     each night whispered 'Glory!'
All that was beautiful and true was created for us,
but wanting to know sin and death,
     we exchanged the best you gave to us,
     for the garbage they offered.
Using words and wonder,
silence and speech,
prophets came to call us back
into your covenantal love,
     but we continued to yearn
     for what we could not have.
Finally, you sent your Son,
in love, in hope, in peace,
that we would accept him
and the gift of new life.

So, with those who trembled at
the foot of your holy mountain,
and with those who press on to follow you,
we join our voices in praise to you:

Your Word opens our eyes to all creation;
your Word is the sweet taste of joy for hungry hearts;
your Word endures through every trial and triumph.

Blessed is your Word who comes in your name!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of all creation,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Yearning for us to know you,
     he came to be your face
     of love and compassion for all.
Hungering for reconciliation
between you and your children,
     he became the broken Bread of Life.
Aching for our release
from the agony of sin and death,
     he suffered on the cross,
     so we might be made well.
As we remember his goodness and gentleness,
As we celebrate his life in us,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:

Setting aside all he valued,
     Christ became our treasure;
setting aside his own life,
     Christ rescued us from sin;
setting aside our doubts and fears,
     we yearn for Christ's return in glory.

Here at your Table,
Redeemer of all creation,
pour out your Spirit
on the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and on our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Your Spirit gives us life,
     so we may go and serve others.
Your Spirit heals our brokenness,
     so we may bring healing to all.
Your Spirit graces us with peace,
     so we may be peacemakers
         for our communities.

And when we stand around your Table,
all hurtful words silenced,
all pain left behind,
with hope and grace our closest friends,
we will join our hearts and voices
with our sisters and brothers
who forever sing of your glory,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

You are a blessed people.
We will go to be a blessing in the world.
You are the face of Jesus.
We will go to be love and compassion to all.
You are the family of God.
We will go to serve our sisters and brothers
wherever we may find them.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman