Sunday, January 15, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for January 22, 2017 (Third Sunday after the Epiphany/Ordinary 3 - A)

Texts: Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27:1, 4-9; 1st Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23

Call to Worship
Come out of the shadows and into God's light!
We will not play hide and seek,
but will make a pilgrimage to God's heart.

Lay down all which is a burden to you!
We will give our fears to God,
who is our help in every moment.

Follow the One who will lead you to new life!
We long to live in God's presence
every day of our lives.

Prayer of the Day

Your heart is the shelter
     for our weary souls.
You will not push us away,
     but clasp us tight in your embrace.
You refuse to abandon us,
     standing by our side all our lives.
Time Reaper,
you are our Hope!

When others try to tear us apart,
     you pick up the pieces,
     making us whole.
When we wonder what
the day might bring,
     you whisper, 'follow me,
     I will make you
          readers to little children,
          bandagers of bruised hearts,
          lovers of the forsaken,
          pilgrims who show the way
                    to others.'
Time Shaker,
you are our Dawn.

You appeal to us
to set aside all that divides us,
     so we might be one.
You send us to proclaim good news,
not with silver-tongued sophistication
     but with simple words:
     which bring light to the shadows.
Time Keeper,
you are our Joy.

From the former times to the latter,
we lift our prayers to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we offer the words Jesus taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

If we come to God with open hearts and honest words, we will not be pushed away, but wrapped in God's loving and forgiving embrace.  I invite you to join me as we confess our lives to God, praying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We admit, God our Light, that we do indeed try to tear Christ apart - a piece of him here to support our politics, a part of him to undergird our economic views, the rest of him to bolster our fears of others.  We could leave immediately to follow him, but need to wait until we see where he might lead us.  We want you to look upon us with favor always, but have no trouble turning our backs on those around us.
     Hear us, God our Deliverer, as we speak of our failures!  Have mercy on us, we appeal to you, have mercy!  May your love become the core of our hearts, may your compassion become the words we speak, may your hope illuminate the ways in which we serve others, even as we seek to follow the One who calls us to new life, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God is our help, so why should we be afraid?
God keeps us safe, there is nothing to dread!
This is good news for all of us.
Sheltered in God's gracious heart of mercy
and love, we raise shouts of joy: thanks be
to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Use our gifts, Loving God, so others might not be scared by life; so they may be sheltered in the blanket of your grace; so they might find a home with us as their family.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of all time be with you!
And also with you!
God asks one thing, that we offer our hearts.
We lift them to the One who does not abandon us.
Do not turn your backs upon the One who loves you.
We will join in glad songs of joy and wonder to our God.

In that former time, you brought
into creation all that existed
in your imagination, Dawn of Life.
The sun, moon, and stars
     illumined the shadows of chaos;
melting snow trickled into creeks
     which joined together to rush
     to the seas;
every living thing multiplied in wonder,
     increasing your joy.
You did this for us, those
shaped in your image and heart,
     but when we heard sin calling,
     we immediately left your side,
          following down death's dusty road.
Longing for us to return to you,
you sent the prophets to us,
proclaiming the hopes of your heart.
     Yet we did not listen,
     letting evil continue to tear us apart.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
proclaiming that your kingdom had come.

With those who are of the same mind,
with those who long for your presence,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Keeper of our hearts.
All creation joins in shouts of joy to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

You are holy, Shelter of our lives,
and Jesus Christ is your blessed Child of grace.
When he heard your call,
     he immediately left glory's side,
     to make a pilgrimage to our lives.
When he could have played
hide and seek with us,
     he revealed himself as
     the Dawn of our salvation.
When he could have abandoned
us to the yoke of sin and death,
     he took it from our shoulders,
     breaking it over his knees,
     shaping it into the cross where
          he broke their power forever,
as he calls us to follow him
into resurrection's new light.

As we seek not to divide Christ,
as we long to have the same mind,
we proclaim the gospel which is often a mystery:

Christ died, taking our sins upon him;
Christ was raised, casting off the yoke of death;
Christ will come, so we may live in your presence forever.

We appeal to you, God of our lives,
to send your Spirit upon us,
and upon the gifts of the Table.
As we eat of the bread,
we ask but one thing,
     that we might go forth
     to proclaim your kingdom with our lives.
As we drink from the cup,
we would make a pilgrimage
     to the broken of the world,
     so they would know they
     have not been abandoned by us,
          or by you.

And when the last moments come,
and we are gathered around
that great feast of the Lamb,
our hearts will rejoice in you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Let us take God's light into the world.
We will go to join others in pilgrimage of trust.
Let us go to gather the burdens of others.
We will take away their fears and offer them to Jesus,
who helps everyone in every moment.
Let us go to live in the Spirit's presence.
We will follow the Spirit into the peace
which is offered to all of God's people.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for January 15, 2017 (Second Sunday after the Epiphany/Ordinary 2 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1st Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42

Call to Worship
We wait patiently for our God.
We will sing, we will sing new songs
of the One who calls us here.
We will not chase after other gods.
We will sing, we will sing new songs
of the One in whom we can trust.
We will tell of all God has done for us.
We will sing, we will sing new songs
of the One whose salvation is for all.

Prayer of the Day
There is none like you,
God of infinite patience.
You promise to listen to us,
You speak more words
     of hope and grace
and offer more acts
     of mercy and hope
then we can count
on the fingers and toes
of every person who ever lived.

There is none like you,
Shaper of servants.
Gathering up all the words
     we should never have spoken,
  you rearrange them into
     stories of peace and reconciliation.
Sweeping up the messes
      we leave littered behind us,
   you recycle them into gifts
      which soften the hardest hearts.

There is none like you,
Ever-listening Spirit.
You gather up all our cousins
      scattered throughout the earth,
   bringing us to the Table of life.
You point the way to Jesus
      when we have lost sight of him
   on the fog-filled days of our souls.

There is none like you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and our hearts will sing new songs
even as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
It is clear that God wants to hear our prayers and forgive us, for God is willing to lean close to our hearts to listen to our failures, our poor choices, all the things we have done wrong.  Please join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   You are faithful, Patient God, even as we continue to live in the shadows of life.  We could delight in your hopes for us, but choose to do things our way.  We could serve the most vulnerable around us, but long to pal around with the powerful.  We could share the glad news of deliverance, but prefer to swap stories and gossip.
   There is none like you, Redeemer of all your children.  You lean over to listen to our prayers, and whisper forgiveness to our souls. You lift us out of the holes we dig for ourselves, and set us on hope's solid ground.  You strengthen our weak faith with the life, grace, and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Come, dear friends and receive God's grace; see all the God is doing for you; follow Jesus, as he leads you closer to God.
I will sing of God's love for me;
I will sing a new song of hope and wonder.
Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May these gifts we offer, God of new ways, bring comfort to those who grieve; hope to those who live on the streets of despair; peace to all the broken places; and grace to all who long to draw closer to you.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of patience be with you.
And also with you.
Offer your hearts to the One who waits for you.
We open them to God, who is our Life.
Come and sing new songs to our God.
We will praise the One who dwells in our hearts.

You saw the emptiness of chaos,
God of before-time,
and so the Spirit and Word came
bearing the gifts of creation:
   coastlands lapped by ocean waves;
   goats playing king of the mountains;
   children laughing in summer showers.
You shaped us in your image, hoping
we would see you wonders,
and stand up to walk with you.
     But we chose to follow
     those false gods, sin and death.
Women and men came trying
to call your children back home,
     but we would not listen to them.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
the Faithful One pointing
out the way for us.

Together with all around us,
with those in every place, from every time,
we will sing our songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Redeemer of all.
Creation joins in praising your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who invites us to 'come and see.'
Hosanna in the highest!

You are the Holy One of all time,
and Jesus is the Lamb who takes
     away the sins of the world.
He would not remain in glory,
     but came to gather us up
     and bring us home to you.
He would not hoard,
     but poured out your grace
     on everyone he met.
He would not remain silent,
     but told us of your kingdom
     in our midst.
Despised by evil, abhorred by death,
     he defeated their power
     by dying on the cross and
     being raised to new life for us.

Called to be faithful as he was,
sanctified by his grace and love,
we sing a new song of the mystery called faith:

Christ died, blameless in God's eyes;
Christ was raised, honored in God's sight;
Christ will return, so we will be seen as without fault.

Here your children are gathered, where
the gifts of the Table are offered for all.
Here  you bring us together
from every place on earth,
where the Spirit transforms
simple gifts into sacred us.
Here where the bread is broken,
     we are strengthened to go
     and bring the good news to all.
Here where salvation is poured out,
     we are called into fellowship
     with those despised by the world,
     with those who live in the shadows,
     with those who long for someone
          to listen to their pain.

And when you have brought all time to an end,
when you gather your children home,
seating us around the great Feast of the Lamb,
we will sing that new, new song of praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Having learned new words from our God,
we will go to warm others in the bleak midwinter of life,
to whisper to them of grace and hope.
Having learned new ways to serve from Jesus,
we will go to clear paths for those lost in oppression,
to wait with those in hospital rooms and job lines.
Having learned new songs from the Spirit,
we will go to sing of peace in all the broken places,
to light the way out of the shadows of injustice.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for January 8, 2017 (Baptism of the Lord - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matthew 3:13-17

Call to Worship

Baptized to begin lives of faith,
we would witness to all you do
in our communities, in our midst, in our world.

Baptized to serve,
we would speak up for the voiceless,
we would bring justice to those who have none.

Baptized to speak,
we would heal, and not hurt;
we would bless, and not curse.

Baptized to do what is right,
we would not play favorites,
but treat each as your Beloved.

Prayer of the Day

Your voice thunders in the night,
     and sings love songs
     in the morning.
Your voice tumbles raging rapids,
     and ripples pools of peace.
Your voice snaps trees in two,
     and can mend broken hearts
     with a sigh.
We give glory to your name,
God of our lives.

Guided by grace,
     you became the champion
     of justice.
Beloved of the sightless,
     you release those
     we would shackle.
Broken for our sake,
     you shape our souls
     into silhouettes hanging
     in the Hall of Servants.
We give glory to your grace,
Child of the waters.

You cup your hands
around our flickering faith,
     breathing us to new life.
You call us to work for justice,
     teaching us intentional
     acts of service.
You immerse us in courage,
     daring us to speak
     words of hope.
We give glory to your love,
Spirit of wonder.

We give you the glory now and always,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Can you imagine a God who would rather forgive us than punish us, who calls us 'my delight,' rather than chiding us for being so foolish and wayward?  This is why Jesus came, so we might know of God's tender mercy toward us.  Let us confess our lives to the One who fills us with hope, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We try to stop Jesus from coming into our lives, Patient God, for we know how disruptive he can be.  He wants us to preach the gospel with our lives, but we prefer to complain how hard that is to do.  He wants us to do what is right, yet wrong-doing comes so easily for us.  He would like us not to give up until justice is done, but we just don't seem to have the time.
     We confess because we know we need to be forgiven by you, Glory and Grace.  Bathe us in the life giving waters of your mercy so we can come up from the water, ready to do good for others, to give you all the praise, to learn justice, grace, and hope from your Servant, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
You are God's Beloved.  You delight God's heart. Believe this good news, my friends!
The Spirit of God rests upon us, anointing us with mercy and peace.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We leave the waters of baptism to offer grace to others;
we give from our abundance to bless others with hope and healing;
we offer our lives to you and others in serving with love and mercy. 
In Jesus' name, we pray you will bless these gifts and us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the impartial God be with you!
And also with you!

Lift your hearts to the One who anoints you with the Spirit.
We come to God, our hearts' true delight.

Sing praise to God, who calls you to the waters of life.
Songs of thanksgiving are lifted to the One who prepared this Table for us.

In a wild whisper
you spoke to chaos,
God of the waters of life,
and your Spirit raced forth,
playing tag with the Word,
     mountains shook with thunder,
     whales whispered in the oceans,
     hawks floated lazily in the skies,
     and kittens chased butterflies in fields.
You created us from the dusty earth,
placing us in your garden on wonders
so we might delight in you, and in each other.
But we wandered away from you,
     as sin and death took us by the hand,
     teaching us to do all that is wrong.
Prophets came in every age
to testify about your hopes,
     but we did not want to be
     set free from our captivity.
So Jesus was sent, your future
coming over the horizon to us
to be baptized as your Beloved.

With those who bend but do not break,
with those who long to do what is right,
we lift our thanksgiving songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of impartial love.
All creation gives you the glory
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is your heart's true delight.
Hosanna in the highest!

We glorify your name, Holy God,
and bless Jesus, your Child, our Savior.
Lord of all,
     he came, not with shock and awe,
     but with gentleness and patience.
Light of the world,
     he came to fan the spark of justice
     until it ignites throughout the world.
Bearer of our sins,
     he died on the cross,
     snared in death's embrace
     until the tomb opened up
     and the Spirit came down,
     lifting him up, as you proclaimed,
'here is my Son, the Resurrected One.'

As we remember our baptism
into the life and death of Jesus,
we speak of our faith as a mystery:

Christ came, to show us God's love;
Christ was baptized, inviting us into the waters of life;
Christ died, to fulfill all righteousness;
Christ was raised, to set us free from death;
Christ will come to take us by the hand
     and never let go.

You spread the Table before us,
the Spirit anointing the bread and the cup
and those gathered in this place
of water and of the Word.
We take the broken bread,
it's healing grace strengthening us
     to open eyes blinded by hate,
     to free all imprisoned by fear,
     to feed those who hunger for justice.
We share the Cup of salvation,
it's tender love nourishing us
     to offer balm to the hurting,
     to bring light to those who lose their way,
     to not give up on the oppressed
          until justice is served.

Then, when all righteousness is fulfilled
and we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
from all times and from every place,
we will join our voices to give you the glory,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Baptized, let us go to live in faith.
We will bring healing to the broken
and offer God's joy to those who grieve.
Baptized, let us go to serve.
At the side of Jesus, we will serve the hungry,
we will give shelter to the homeless.
Baptized, let us go to be a voice.
We will echo the Spirit of calling for peace,
we will never stop speaking against injustice.
Baptized, let us go to do what is right.
Finding you, God in Community, Holy in One,
waiting for us to join you beside all your Beloved children.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 25, 2016

First Sunday after Christmas - A

Texts:  Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23

Call to Worship
All creation, all people: praise the Lord!
stars shooting across the sky,
sing glad songs to our God!
Snow clouds approaching, birds sitting on a branch:
praise the Lord!
Sleeping cats and barking dogs,
sing new choruses of praise!
Rich and poor, leaders and followers:
praise the Lord!
Old and young, families and singles,
we will lift our joy to our God!

Prayer of the Day
On that not so silent night,
you came to us, Mothering God,
     like a night nurse
     on the pediatric floor,
     to gather us in your arms
     and swaddle us in your hope.

On that not so silent night,
you came to us, Child of humanity,
     to be cradled with the lost,
     to share a stable with outsiders,
     to confront the bullies who
          threaten our children.

On that not so silent night,
you came to us, Spirit of joy,
     to lift us up and carry us to salvation,
     to help us persist in praising God,
     to share our lives with us.

Be with us in all the nights and days to come,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as you taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know all that God has done for us, as well as all we could have done for others.  Let us confess to God our failures and foibles, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We could proclaim your name, God of this holy season, but we spend too much time talking about celebrities.  We could tell others about all your gracious deeds, but are comparing notes about the exploits of our favorite athletes.  We could let your Word guide our lives, but instead we do what the politicians think is best.
   Why?  Because we forget who we are called to be.  But you remember, Faithful God.  You
remember that we put our trust in others, not you; you remember how we chase after idols,
not follow you; you remember to save us in our distress, which is why you sent Jesus to
us, our Lord, our Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In the silence, in the dreams, in the wonder, in the words, God comes to save us and have mercy on us.
It is fitting that we offer our thanks and praise to the One who forgives us.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
As we offer our gifts to you, Holy One, may they join all creation in blessing and serving your people.  Called to be your people, may we notice those who are forgotten and offer our lives and hearts to them.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of Christmas be with you!
And also with you!
Put your trust in the One who has come.
We offer our hearts willingly to our God.
Join all creation in praising God.
We join in the chorus of glad songs to God.

In that not so silent
moment, you spoke to creation,
God of our dreams and hopes,
     and birds warbled in the morning,
     thunder rumbled over the waters,
     cows lowed in the meadows.
For us, those shaped in your image,
were these gifts imagined and formed,
     but we took up after death,
     getting up to follow sin.
Prophets came to praise your name,
and to bring us back to you,
     but we thought they were
     trying to trick us.
Then you sent Jesus, Pioneer of salvation,
to proclaim your name to us.

With those who are shy and silent,
with those who persist in glorifying you,
we offer our thanksgiving songs:

Holy, holy, holy are you, ever-loving God.
All creation praises your name.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who put his trust in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

In the silence of the night,
your holiness became human, our God,
and you blessed us with Jesus, Child of grace.
When he could have stayed with you,
     he came to offer us help.
When he could have remained in Nazareth,
     he got up to bring us the good news.
When he could have played it safe,
     he shared his flesh and blood on the cross,
     so we might have life through the resurrection.

As we celebrate the gift of his life,
as we remember his death and rising to new life,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Christ died, putting his trust in you;
Christ rose, taking on the resurrection life;
Christ will come, to carry us home to you.

Into these moments of silence
and sacrament, send your Spirit
upon those gathered in this place,
and on the gifts of the Bread and Cup.
As we eat of the Bread,
send us out to serve
     the hungry and the homeless,
     the lost and forgotten,
     the broken and battered -
all whose hopes have disappeared.
As we drink from the Cup,
may we see the
     lonely and forsaken,
     the hurting and ridiculed,
     the oppressed and imprisoned -
all whose dreams have become nightmares.

And when we are gathered to your side,
we will proclaim your glory to
our sisters and brothers around the Table,
our praises being offered to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Praising God is not enough.
And so we will go to offer practical help to our sisters and brothers.
Joyful noises do not feed those around us.
And so we will go with Jesus to the food pantries and shelters,
to care for those forgotten by our society.
Songs of thanksgiving do not replace service.
And so we will go to share the peace of the Spirit
with a broken, yet hopeful world.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

New Years Day - ABC

Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25:31-46

Call to Worship
We wake up in the morning
and see the sunrise:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We are warmed by the sun;
the rain cleanses all creation:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We watch the moon light up the night,
we fall asleep to the lullabies of the stars:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Prayer of the Day
You call us
     to be Your children;
You gift us
     to serve all people;
You send us to proclaim
     Your good news to all:
Glory to You,
Creator of all that is new!

When you are lonely,
     we have a chance to visit you;
when you are hungry,
     we can share our food with you;
when you are naked,
     we can give you
          the clothes off our backs;
when you are sick,
     we can nurse you back to health:
Glory to You,
Savior of the world!
You whisper in our ears,
     so we may praise You;
You fill our souls,
     so we may serve You;
You lead us into the kingdom,
     so we may live with You:
Glory to You,
Spirit of Gentleness!
Glory to You,
God in Community, Holy in One!
Hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Will this year be a time of new life, new ways for us - or will we continue to live the same old way? Let us confess to our God our failures, as well as our hopes, as we begin this year.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We admit that we always find the time to fill our stomachs, God of every moment, but not our souls. We spend hours watching television, but not the wonders of Your creation. We arrange outings with our friends, yet ignore Your invitation to sit and talk. We make resolutions to change every aspect of our lives, except for that which pertains to You.
Forgive us, God of Glory, and make us new. In the moments to come this year, remind us that if there is a time for everything, than we do have those moments for grace, for hope, for joy, for a relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It's over - last year is gone. Our words, our thoughts, our deeds are in the past. Today, we begin anew. Today, and every day, God offers us life and hope.
Here, now, forever - we are forgiven and healed. This year, let us live as such people. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May we not keep our blessings, but give them away, so that others might learn new dance steps, so children might be fed, so bridges might be built, and so grace may flow to all in Your world.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of new beginnings be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who makes all things, including us, new.
Children of God, sing praises to the One who gives you new life.
We praise the One who continues to surprise us with hope and grace.
Before there was time,
Hope of Eternity,
You took a moment
     to bring creation out of chaos.
You took time to create mountains,
     and carve deep canyons;
You made the time to fill the oceans
     and to plant food for all creatures;
You found the time to plow rivers
     to water a Garden,
     and to shape us in Your image.
But we did not have time for You,
          preferring to spend our days chasing sin,
     and our nights seeking death.
You always made time for us,
speaking of Your hopes
     through the prophets,
sharing Your dreams
     through the angels.
Then, one day You decided
to do a new thing,
becoming one of us
as Jesus become human
to bring hope and grace to us.
So we join with the saints in heaven,
and our sisters and brothers on earth,
who sing of Your glory:
Holy, holy, holy, God of every time and space.
All creation sings of Your majesty and glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who gives us the water of life.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are You, Keeper of our days,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who is with us in every season of life.
He comes, not to judge us,
     but to forgive us;
He comes, not to cast us out,
     but to gather us into
     the new Jerusalem;
He comes, not to watch us suffer,
     but to die on the cross,
           that we might live with You.
As we give thanks for his life,
and remember his death and resurrection,
we would talk of that mystery which is our faith:
Christ died, so sin would have no more power over us;
Christ rose, destroying death's grip on us;
when the new heaven and new earth come,
     Christ will make all things, including us, new.

In these sacred moments,
send Your Spirit
to sanctify the bread and the cup,
and to open the hearts
of those who approach the Table.
As the Bread of life touches our lips,
     may we be strengthened to serve
     those whom the world has forgotten.
As the Cup of salvation quenches our thirst for You,
     may we be enabled to bring relief
     to those who wander
     the desert wastes of our society.
And when all time ends,
and all people are gathered
around Your Table in Heaven,
we will rejoice in Your presence,
and sing your praises forever:
One God, Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Let us go from this time of silence and song, to be God's voice,
to speak out for the oppressed of our communities and world.
Let us go from this time of community, to be Jesus' faithful,
to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, to be a friend to the prisoner.
Let us go from this sacred space, to share the peace of the Spirit,
to work for reconciliation in our neighborhoods,
to put an end to violence and death as solutions for fear.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Holy Name of Jesus - ABC

Texts: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 2:15-21

Call to Worship
We come, in need of blessings;
we come, seeking closeness with God.
Let us go, to find our God.
We come, from the shadows of our lives,
seeking light and hope.
Hurry, let us go to find the One we have heard about.
We come to God, seeking peace
for our lives, for our world.
Come, let us go, believing the Word we have seen.
Prayer of the Day
Majestic God,
we cannot begin to imagine you,
     yet you have made us in your image;
we wonder why you notice us,
     when we are surrounded by creation's glory;
we have been made stewards of life,
      and you choose to share your own with us.
Name above all names:
you call us 'sister' and 'brother'
     claiming us to share in your work;
exalted above all creation,
     you humbled yourself for our sake;
able to do all things,
     you choose to work through us.
Spirit of Grace:
when we look for majesty,
     you bring us to a manger;
when we yearn for glory,
     you hand us a mop;
when we want to exalt ourselves,
     you point us to the Cross.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray to you as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We've been to the stable, and met the Babe.  But tomorrow, when we go back to work, or school - will others know where we have been?  Let us admit to God our reluctance to reflect transformed lives.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God of Bethlehem:
you bless us richly,
forgive our reluctance to share;
you hold us close to your heart,
forgive us for keeping others at arm's length;
you shine in the shadows of our soul,
forgive us for not sharing the Light;
you lift us from where we have fallen,
forgive us for not offering a helping hand;
you grace us with Joy,
forgive us when we worship fear.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
If we believe the songs of the angels, and have seen the Child in the manger, we must go out and tell others this good news.
We will go: glorifying God, praising the Lord, and confessing to everyone we meet how God has richly blessed us. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts to you, Namer of Jesus, may we empty ourselves in service to all who are lonely, all who are hungry and homeless, all whose names have been forgotten by a world which no longer cares for them.  We pray this in the holy name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to our God.
Sisters and brothers of Christ, give thanks to our God.
We lift our songs of praise to the One who loves us.
We will indeed sing your praises,
God of Blessings,
creator of heaven and earth.
You brought forth all that is good and beautiful,
     so chaos could not keep hold of us.
You lifted up the dust of creation,
shaping it into your likeness,
     breathing your life into our lungs.
When we fell into sin,
you did not turn away from us,
     but kept your promises.
You sent prophets to remind us
of our covenant with you,
     but we continued to bow down
          to death's idols.
Finally, you sent your Beloved,
Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem,
to become one of us,
so we could be made one with you.

So, we join our voices
with the angels in heaven and the beasts in the field,
with those who have gone before us,
and those who will follow,
glorifying you forever:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of blessings.
All creation glorifies and praises you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to redeem us.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Shining God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
Emptying himself of glory,
     we are filled with grace;
reviled and cursed by coarse humanity,
     he is given the Name above all names;
dying a criminal's death
and cast into death's cold arms,
     he is lifted to your Heart
          to rule over all creation.
As we come to this Table,
we speak of that mystery
we cannot explain:
Christ was obedient to God, even to death;
Christ was exalted by God, raised to new life;
Christ will be proclaimed by all as Lord and Savior.
Come, Spirit of Blessing
upon these gifts of the bread and cup,
and those who come to receive them.
As we bow to receive the Bread of Heaven,
     we would stoop to lift up the fallen;
as we bend to take the Cup,
     we would kneel to comfort your children;
as we worship you,
     we would serve your people.
Then, when all are gathered for your Feast in heaven,
we will sing our glory to you:
God in Community, Holy and One,
now and forever. Amen.
The One who blesses you will keep you close:
we will go,
not keeping the blessing for ourselves, but to share it with others.
The One who is gracious to you, shines the Spirit upon you:
we will go,
to reflect the Light of Christ in gracious words and deeds.
The One who turns towards you gives you peace:
we will go, turning to everyone we meet, saying,
"The peace of God be with you."

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman