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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for July 6, 2014 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 9/Ordinary 14)

Texts:  Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Call to Worship
L:    Come to our God,
        all who hunger for life:
P:    for it is God who nourishes us
        at the Table of Grace
L:    Come to our God,
        all who are worn out by life:
P:    for it is God who provides
        the rest we need.
L:    Come to our God,
        all who are weighed down:
P:    for it is our God who carries
        our burdens with us.

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God:
you sing a song
of silence
to our noisy hearts,
inviting us to still
our fidgeting souls,
and find our peace
in your cupped hands
which cradle us.

Jesus Christ,
Wanderer of the kingdom:
you are called
to reveal God to us
and do so in
    the tenderness of your touch,
    the gentleness of your words,
    the goodness of your heart,
    the peace of your shared yoke.

Spirit of Rest:
your childlike presence
opens our eyes
to the wonders of the world.
As we hand you
our anger, our hurt, our sin,
may our burdens
become our songs of joy.

May we find our rest, our hope, in you,
God in Community, Holy in One
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer

Call to Reconciliation
Fretful, agitated, longing for more and more
of this and that, we spend our lives in a
never-ending, never-fulfilled search for that
which satisfies.  But Christ knows that we
will only find the end of our journey in God,
and so invites us to that peaceful place known
as God's heart.  Let us let go of our burdens
of anger, hurt and sin so we can find our rest.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We are so skilled at being in control, at taking
charge, Sabbath-Taking God, that we are not very
good at resting.  We think we have to be constantly
busy, so we have no time for you.  We are trained
to be extremely productive, and so create our harried,
stress-filled lives.
   Forgive us, Shalom Giving God.  Help us to let go
of our distractions, so you can act in us; calm our
creaturely activity, so you can re-create us; help us
to follow Jesus, not only into discipleship, but into
our rest with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    It sounds so simple, we think it is too simple.
    But which is the burden you would choose:
    hate or love; anger or forgiveness; pain or peace?
    God invites us to receive the gifts which make it
    possible to have lives of faithful obedience.
P:    This is the good news:  God forgives us and
    takes our burdens from us.  We would let go
    of them and welcome hope, joy, grace into our
    lives.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L;    The Lord be with you.
P:    and also with you.
L:    People of God, lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift them to the One who invites us
        to rest in the heart of the Trinity.
L:    People of God, give thanks to the One
        who offers you rest.
P:    We sing our thanksgiving to God,
        who sings to us of peace.

With hearts filled with joy,
we bring our praise to you,
God of Rest.
On the first morning of creation,
you whispered of peace,
and the cacophony of chaos
was stilled.
You walked softly
through the grasses of the earth
and all creation
sang of your goodness.
Created to find our peace with you,
our fretful desire to be in control
led us into a nomadic existence
of rebellion against you.
Prophets spoke and angels sang
to invite us home,
but our stubborn pride
only grew stronger.
When the burden of our sin
became too great for your heart,
you sent Jesus to carry it for us.

With those who have found their rest in you,
with those who long for their burdens to be lifted,
we join in singing your praise:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of the weary.
     All creation celebrates your name in all generations.
    Hosanna in the highest!

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

Holy are you, God of our footloose hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son,
our Lord and Savior.
Watching our restless striving
for more and more,
he modeled the life
of self-denial and service;
seeing us weighed down
with the burdens of sin and death,
he picked up his cross,
carried it to Calvary,
where he died to give us life.

As we remember his life and his rest in you,
as we celebrate the good news of lightened burdens,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

P:  Christ came, that we may have life;
     Christ died, so that the burden of death might
            be lifted from us;
     Christ was raised to new life, so grace might
            be revealed to every generation;
     Christ will return, to yoke us to God through
            all eternity.

Pour out your Spirit of rest and shalom
upon this bread and this cup,
that these gifts might nourish us.
As we find our rest in you,
may we become restless
in service to your children;
as we engage with you
in solitude,
may we build a community
of justice and righteousness;
as we listen to your silence,
may we speak out
for all whose voices
are ignored by the world.

Then, when we gather with all
who have found their rest with you
at the Table of the Lamb,
we will sing our praise for all eternity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Liturgy for June 29, 2014 (Proper 8/Ordinary 13)

Texts:  Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
L:  Sing, sing of God's unalterable love!
P:  We will rejoice as we walk in the light of our God.
L:  Tell everyone around you of God's faithfulness.
P:  We will share the stories of the One who experienced
    our life in all its fullness.
L:  Shout out loud of God's presence with us,
    on this day and in all the days to come.
P:  Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us;
    truth and love walk by our side.

Prayer of the Day
In a world shaped by conflict,
where we seem to be slipping
back into tribal divisions,
   you call us to welcome those
   with whom we have absolutely
   nothing in common.
In a culture full of inequalities
which only seem to be widening,
   you call us to treat each person
   as our sister and brother.
In a time of intensifying injustices
which are found in every community,
if not in every neighborhood,
   you call us to yoke ourselves
   to your radical hope.
In a lifestyle which idolizes the individual
to the exclusion of all others,
   you call us to notice
      the parent who works three jobs,
      the dementia-diminished senior,
      the refugee family on the corner.

May we offer not just cups of cold water,
but all that we are and all we have
to those who are in our midst,
even as we pray to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The idol of our times is personal independence, but
in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our
poor choices, the hurts we cause to others.  Yet,
by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions,
so let us join in offering our confessions to the One
who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It seems so simple, God of compassion, to
offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person,
yet we know we worry more about how that might
inflate our bill at the end of the month.  We
are to open our hearts to others, but they may
need to be careful lest they slip on our icy
attitudes towards them.  People are looking for
places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms
continue to be the place where only the dust
bunnies sleep.
   Forgive us, Radical Hope.  You did not have
to become one of us, but you did, so we might know
your love.  You did not have to welcome us into
your family, but you do, so we might experience
unexpected grace in our lives.  You did not have
to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we
might have life with you forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are
filled with living water; longing for a renewed
relationship with God, we are welcomed with open
arms by the One who forgives us.
P:  Without a doubt, God's love never comes to
an end.  We will tell our kids and grandkids of
the grave and peace which is ours.  Thanks be to
God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We are not blessed by God so we might hoard them
for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who
are looking for a community, to feed those who
hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the
world has cast aside.  Here are our gifts, Holy
God.  We pray you will use them as well as us in
the work of your kingdom.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of constant love be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Come to the One who welcomes each and everyone
    of us to this Table of grace.
P:  We bring our broken hearts so they might be
    made whole.
L:  Join hands with your sisters and brothers and sing
    to the One who fills us with hope.
P:  Together we will praise God, who has made us one.

When chaos slammed the door on you,
God of faithfulness,
you whistled up creation and
she tagged along at your side
as your hospitality flowed forth:
   springs to refresh our wearied feet,
   sweet corn to fill our hunger,
   beds of pine needles on which to rest.
We were formed by you
so we might belong to you,
   but we let ourselves be held
   captive by lust, greed, and fear.
Prophets came, seeking to call us back
to you, fulfilling your words of welcome,
   yet we coninued to obey our passions.
Jesus came, offering us cups of living water,
words of hope and grace,
wrapping us in arms of joy.

With those who seek your peace,
with those who work for your justice,
we sing our praises to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of radical hope.
    All creation welcomes your words.
    Hosanna in the highest!

    Blessed is the One who walks in your light.
    Hosanna in the highest!

Compassionate God, you are the Voice
behind the Word who comes in Jesus Christ.
When sin would hand us
a pay envelope stuffed
with evil's crumpled bills,
   he fills our pockets
   with your gifts so
   we may be a blessing to others.
When temptation and worry
become our jailers on death row,
   he comes, with your pardon
   in his hands, setting us free
   so we may walk in
   the new light of your hope.

We remember his love and grace offered to all,
we hear his welcome extended to each of us,
as we speak of that mystery of our faith:

P:  Christ died, welcoming our death as his own;
    Christ was raised by the gift of God's hope;
    Christ will come to fulfill God's words.

Your compassionate welcome is extended
to anyone, any time, any place
as your Spirit is poured out
on the gifts of the Table of life
and on your people gathered for the feast.
Your life, which is broken in love,
becomes the wholeness which strengthens us
   to feed those for whom hunger
   is a constant companion,
   not a skipped meal.
Your grace, which is poured into us,
becomes the hospitality by which
   we welcome itinerant immigrants
      into our communities and hearts;
   we open our arms to every child
      held captive by poverty.

Then, when your glory becomes our home,
and we are gathered around your table -
con artists and poverty's prophets,
the most vulnerable and power brokers -
we will join in singing your praises
through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen  

Sending
L:  Let us go forth to walk in God's light.
P:  We will show others the way to God's heart.
L:  Let us go to bring hope and healing to the world.
P:  With a gift as simple as a cup of water,
    and as complex as our lives, we will join Jesus
    in serving those around us.
L:  Let us go forth to gather up the little ones
    of our communities into our homes and hearts.
P:  With the gift of the Holy Spirit,
    we are no longer strangers but God's family.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Liturgy for June 22, 2014 (Pentecost 3/Trinty 2/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - A)

Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10: 24-39

Call to Worship
Troubled prophets and struggling families,
you listen to our voices, whoever we are.
There is no one like you, God of the listening heart.
Those who live in fear, and those who look for signs,
you fill us with hope and surprises.
There is no one like you, God of steadfast love.
Seekers of power, as well as those who serve the vulnerable,
you challenge us to use our gifts for others.
There is no one like you, God of all people. 

Prayer of the Day
God of those empty of hope
and those who are cast out:
into the chaos of every life
you enter with the silence of love;
when we choke on bitter memories,
you hand us the cup of healing;
when we wander down lonely streets,
you bring us home to your heart.

Jesus Christ,
conqueror of sin's power:
into our deepest pain
where life has bottomed out,
you dare to enter;
when we cry out with fear,
you cradle our hearts;
when we face death,
you stride out of the grave,
pointing the way to the kingdom.

Spirit of the forsaken
and bearer of compassion:
you are the mist shimmering
over the valleys,
stirring the waters of creation;
you are the dew bathing
the flowers every morning,
anointing us with resurrection's grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as we have been taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We struggle daily with that human tendency to always do wrong, say hurtful things, turn our back to others.  But God will never hold our sins against us or our foolish nature.  Let us confess to our God, who frees us forever from judgment, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In baptism, we are promised new life, God of  grace, yet we continue to focus on those old ways which are so comfortable and seductive.  We are so good at fooling others that we are convinced we can trick you as well.  We have been called to walk with you, and run down those paths paved with foolishness and fears.
     Forgive us, God of steadfast love.  You have claimed our lives in baptism, so we might be set free from sin and be raised to new life.  Just as you save us, so give us the strength to be willing to take up whatever task you give us, and the faith to be willing to lose our lives for others, so we might find life forever with you, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news:  God hears our prayers, our cries, our hearts.  And, in Christ, we receive new life.  We are free, free to walk in the Light of the Lord.
So, this is what we will do.  We will open our hearts to God's grace; we will live as people who have died to sin and who live for Christ.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We offer our gifts to you, as well as our lives, Loving God, so they might find their way to those who need your grace, your hope, your joy, and your peace in their lives.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
Saints of God, lift your hearts to the One who saves you.
We offer them to God, who sees our hearts and minds.
Sing to the Lord; praise God's name.
We lift our voices to the One who hears our need-felt songs. 

Chaos tried to restrain you,
but failed, Glorious God,
as you cried out, "Create!"
     and gases spun into galaxies,
     rivers rushed to become seas,
     flowers danced in summber breezes.
You shaped us in your image, pointo to all
that had been crafted from your joyous imagination,
and gifting us with all your love.
     But we loved sin and death
     more than you, and followed them.
You sent prophets, those women and men,
whose hearts burned with your voice,
and called us back to you,
     but we kept fooling ourselves,
     playing our childish games with temptation.
You senet Jesus to us,
so we might once again walk with you.

With relctant prophets and fearful followers,
we draw near to you with songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every hope. 
Creation sings praises to you in every moment. 
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who delivers the needy.
Hosanna in the highest!


There is no love like you, Steadfast God,
and Jesus Christ is our hope and grace.
Seeing us going down the wrong paths,
   he showed us the streets of the kingdom;
seeing us drowning in pools of seduction,
   he was baptized, so we might be pulled to safety;
seeing us held captive by our worst selves,
   he died and was burined,
   so sin's plans would be destroyed,
   and death would fall flat on its schemes,
and he brought the gift of the resurrection
from the grave.

As we live through these ordinary days,
as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus,
we speak about that mystery called faith:

Christ put on death, to set us free;
You clothed Christ in resurrection,  so we might believe;
Christ will come, to clothe us in eternity. 


You turn to us, Holy God,
your arms full of the bread and cup,
your Spirit transforming these gifts
   into a holy feast.
The Table is made ready for your children
who will eat of your salvation
and go forth to remind
   the broken, the lost, the young, the old
   that they are of more value to you
   then the finest songbird.
We will drink of your grace
so we may turn to
   the hungry, the homeless, the fearful
   and embrace them in your love.

And when we gather with the faithful
of every time and of every place,
our sisters and brothers baptized in grace,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
As you leave this place, remember that you may be the only grace
someone will meet this week.
We go, to share God's graciousness with all.
Remember you may be the only love someone will encounter this week.
We go, to be the love of Jesus for all.
Remember you may be the only peace  someone will find this week.
We go, to share the Spirit of hope and reconciliation with all.
(c) 2014  Thom M. Shuman