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.

Sending
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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for September 28, 2014 (Pentecost 16/Trinity 15/Proper 21/Ordinary 26 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32

Call to Worship
Becoming a baby,
Christ transformed all of us into his sisters and brothers.
Telling us stories we had forgotten,
God helps us to walk the paths of discipleship.
Becoming foolish in the world's eyes,
the Spirit teaches us all we need to find our way into the kingdom.

Prayer of the Day
When we think your job
is to listen to our petty quarrels,
you lean over,
put your finger to our lips,
     whispering,
     'let me tell you a story.'
Rock Splitter,
we worship you.

When we want to ask you
all sorts of questions,
and demand to see
your background check,
you put your arms around us,
     gently saying,
     'i want you to meet
     some friends of mine.'
Self Emptier:
we follow you.

When we are burned out
by our chronic anger,
when our throats are parched
by our litany of laments,
you take us by the hand,
     inviting,
     'let's go get a cold drink
     down at Rock's cafe.'
Sharing Spirit,
we adore you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you are God, to whom we pray, as Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
All too often, we tell God we will do better, and be better, and then just go on living the same way we always have. Let this be the moment
when we tell our God of our failures and faithlessness, so we can go forth to work in that kingdom of grace and hope. Join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We would want to be fountains of hope for others, God of glory, but people find only hardened hearts. We would like to be transformed people, but our stubborn pride prevents us from bending a knee to you. We long to stand with those who are in need, but our selfishness keeps our backs rigid with judgment.
     Forgive us, God who came down to us.  Humble us, that we might be true servants to the broken and lost. Split open our
frozen hearts, that compassion might flow freely to those who are hurting.  Fill our minds with the presence of your Spirit, that we might learn how to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into
that kingdom of grace and hope.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: in Christ, God's plan for salvation was accomplished.  You are forgiven, you are made new.
We will complete God's joy, by sharing compassion, forgiveness, hope, with everyone we meet. Thanks be to God. Amen.


Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
May the simple gifts we offer this day become a fountain of blessings for others, bringing them hope, healing, joy, and peace.  Amen.


Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who comes in humility be with you!
And also with you!
Beloved, lift your hardened hearts to God.

We offer them to the One who will split them open
so grace can flow into the world.

Children of God, sing to the One who turned the world upside down.
We open our mouths, praising God who shows us the way.

Streams of water flowed forth
when you split open chaos,
God of Wonder.
     Rivers divided to create valleys and hills,
     the sun became the beacon for each day,
     the moon and stars our night lights.
You breathed your children to life,
and longed to hold us in your lap,
     telling us stories of your goodness.
But while we told you
we would always do your will,
     we went running off to join
     with sin and death
     in their quarrels with you.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of all
we had known and heard,

     but we mocked them,
     not letting them sway us.
Then you sent Jesus
to be the One
to work out our salvation.

So, with those who sing your praise,
and those who complain bitterly,
with those who wandered in the wilderness,
and those who stand in places of worship,
we lift our voices in wonder to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Transforming God.
All creation flows toward your heart.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who stands with those who have nothing.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of Imagination,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
He put on humility's garb,
     so we might be clothed
     in the garments of grace;
he lowered himself
to walk the world with us,
     so we might be lifted
     from the depths of sin;
he suffered the death
of a common criminal,
     so we might receive
     the extraordinary gift of life
          forever with you.

As we remember his willingness to give up glory,
as we celebrate his resurrection giving us hope,
we tell of that mystery we call faith:

Christ emptied himself on the cross,
   that we might be filled with life;
Christ was called forth from the tomb,
   that we might confess him the Risen One;
Christ will come again, calling us by name,
   that God's joy be made complete.

Pour out your Spirit,
Nourishing God,
upon this Table of joy
and those who gather around it.
As you transform the simple gifts

of the bread and the cup
into grace beyond all imagining,
     may we be changed
     into fellow servants
     with Jesus Christ our Brother,
people willing to offer ourselves
in service and humility
     to those who have been
     defeated by the world.

And when all time has ended,
and we are at home with you forever,
we will gather around the Lamb's Table,
joining our hands, hearts, and voices
in never-ending praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
Go forth to share God's love with all.
We will become a river of love through the world.
Go forth to share Christ's grace.
We will be a fountain flowing in the barren places.Go forth to share the community of the Spirit.
We will become a pool of peace where all may be refreshed.


(c) Thom M. Shuman

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for September 21, 2014 (Pentecost 15/Trinity 14/Proper 20/Ordinary 25 - A)

Texts: Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Call to Worship
In the prayers and the praise,
in the words and the wonder:
we are given enough joy to live each day.
In the justice for the oppressed,
in the unexpected generosity for the lost:
we are given enough compassion
to use in service each day.

In the promises made to all,
in the mercy offered to each:
we are given enough grace to share each day.

Prayer of the Day
Fresh as each morning
you come to us,
Crafter of manna.
     Your grace rests
     gently upon us,
          waiting to be gathered,
          to become the bread of life
we share throughout the day.

Fresh as compassion's justice,
you come to us,
Servant of the poor.
Choosing to give
as you desire,
you show us the last,
     so we can make them first
     in our hearts and hopes.
Doing no wrong,
     you make us right
     with God for all time.

Fresh as the water
which turns a desert
into a meadowland of flowers,
Spirit of uninterrupted grace,
you come to us.
When we would grumble,
     you give us the gospel to live out;
when we would protest,
     you teach us songs of praise;
when we would utter laments,
     you fill us with God's laughter.

God in Community, Holy in One,
refresh us with your presence

as we pray as Jesus taught, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

We continue to believe that we must earn our way into God's heart. But God's grace is given to each of us, for all of us, freely, unconditionally, always. Let us open our lives to this mercy as we pray saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     It seems we cannot decide, Cloud of Glory.  We say we will live to serve others, but end up meeting only our needs. We claim to live in a way that honors Christ, but we do not take him to work, school, home.  We believe that the gospel can transform lives, (at least, for those who need it – but surely, not us).

Forgive us, Presence of Peace.
Instead of grumblers,
     may we be ambassadors of grace.
Instead of continual complaining,
     may we carry compassion to the hurting.
Instead of whiners,
     may we be workers with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to re
ach out and bring the kingdom of God to everyone we meet.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: there is no ranking in God's kingdom. God graces everyone with the same gifts: mercy, restoration, new life.
God has kept the covenant. We have been forgiven, we have been made new people.  Thanks be to God. Amen.


Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
With hope in our hearts, we offer our gifts to you, O God, trusting that you will use them in the work of your kingdom which welcomes all, loves all, needs all, and serves all.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all mornings be with you!
And also with you!
Children of God, welcome the One who shares
grace with childlike abandon.
We open our hearts so we might savor the
sweet taste of joy and wonder.
People of God, bring your emptiness to
this Table of hope and peace.

We sing praises to One who fills us with
Christ's presence for service to others.

On that first morning,
when chaos saw your glory,
you brought out creation,
     with stars and planets
          swimming in the skies,
     gazelles and giraffes dancing
           through the fields of goodness.
You shaped humankind in your mercy,
and fed us with grace, enough for each day.
Jealous that you were so gracious to all of creation,
     we grumbled that it wasn't enough,
     and went searching for sin and death.
Prophets came, telling the stories
of your wonder and presence,
     but for us, these were foolish words.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to come looking for us,
to show us your kingdom.

So, we join our voices with
wilderness wanderers and urban dwellers,
those who, in every time and place,
sing of your glory:

Holy! Holy! Holy! Glory to God's holy name!
Our hearts will seek God,
rejoicing in God's gentleness and grace.

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

You are holy, Cloud of Compassion,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Joy, our Hope.
Child of glory and grace,
he chose to come to us,
     working in the fields of despair.
Hearing our complaints,
he came to speak
     of your dreams for us.
Firstborn of all creation,
he came to defeat
     that last enemy, death.

As we remember his life and death,
as we come to the Table he has prepared,
we sing of that mystery called faith:

This is the bread God gives us to eat.
This is the life Christ calls us to offer to others.
This is the journey the Spirit takes with us.

Pour out your Spirit
upon your children gathered,
and upon the bread and the cup
you have provided for us.
As you feed us with the bread,
so flood us with compassion,
     that we may go to serve
     all who are lost and broken.
As you open your heart
so that the cup of grace
might be filled with your hopes,
     send us out to bring the last
     home to your kingdom,
where they will be first in your joy.

And when all time has ended
and the whole family of God
is gathered around your Table,
we will join our voices together,
praising you forever:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
Now go to share the love of God.
We will share it with childish abandon.
Go now to share the grace of Jesus.
We will offer this gift, fresh every morning, to all we meet.
Go now to share the generosity of the Holy Spirit.
We will hold nothing back as we embrace each one this week.

(c) Thom M. Shuman 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for September 14, 2014 (Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Proper 19/Ordinary 24)

Texts: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
 
Call to Worship
In sacred times of word, wonder, and awe,
in ordinary days of work and play:
in every moment, God is with us.
Whether we are stuck in doubt's mud,
or standing on faith's shoreline:
in every place, God is with us.
In those who teach us
     and those who trouble us;
in those who surprise us,
     and those who forgive us:
in every person, God is with us.

Prayer of the Day
When we look over our shoulders
at fear shadowing us today,
you go before us into tomorrow,
     making a path through
     the sea of yesterday's doubts.
When our legs tremble
from the effort of standing up
for what you hope for all creation,
you are at our side,
     offering your heart's strength.
Cloud of Grace,
we offer our love to you.

When we turn our hearts
into deserts of stony bitterness,
you transform them
     into oases of joy.
When we come up
with all sorts of rules
for those who come to us
seeking to find you,
you tear up the list,
     stretching wide your arms
     in welcoming grace.
Servant of all,
we offer our lives to you.


When we would clasp
old worries to our hearts,
you open our eyes to that hope
     which paves the path ahead of us.
When we spend each day
consumed with doubts and fears,
you remind us that this day
     is the time to honor God,
     by serving God's children.
Mist of Mercy,
we offer our hearts to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
as you are all to us,
so we would offer all we are to you,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us,
(the Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
As we stand before God, we think of all the ways we bicker with others, all those times we have not shown mercy and grace to those around us. Let us bow our hearts and confess our sin to God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
It is never easy for us to confess
but deep down inside, we know that
     graced,
          we have trouble
          being grace-full to others;
     forgiven,
          we are eager to judge
          and punish all who hurt us;
     freed,
          we find ways to put restrictions
          on people we fear.


Forgive us, Servant God. You show mercy more often than we deserve; you pardon us more times than we can count.  And why? Because we are the Lord's - sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, who died and lived again, so we might live beyond death with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

God's hand of mercy is stretched out to us, making a way through all that threatens us, to touch us with grace and hope.
We stand before our God, singing praise to the One who turns our despair into joy, our fears into faith. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you!
And also with you!
God, our God, leads us through the flood of fears
into the future of wonder and hope.
We open our hearts to the One who journeys
with us, in the past, in the present, into tomorrow.
God goes before us, preparing the Table piled high
with grace and peace.
We sing songs of glad thanksgiving to the One
who fills us with goodness and mercy.


You stretched out your hand,
Cloud of Glory,
parting a way through chaos,
so your goodness might come forth.
You looked, and laughed out loud,
     as seas ran forth in joy,
     mountains played leapfrog,
     and hills hopscotched with valleys.
Creation became a sanctuary
for those created in your image.
But we decided to live for ourselves,
     every day becoming one in which
          we could turn your dreams to ashes,
     your overflowing love into
          dust bowls of despair.
Out of pity, you sent the prophets,
those pillars of faithfulness,
     but we wrangled with their gentle words.
So, you sent Jesus,
to lead us through evil's deeps,
to that freedom found only
in your kingdom of life.

Therefore, on this day,
when we stand in your grace
around your Table of life,
we join our voices with all
who offer praise to the One who saves:

Living, we serve others in God's name;
serving, we die unto ourselves;
dying, we are given life eternal with God.

Blessed is the One who comes forgiving us 
more times than we can count.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Cloud of Joy,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Servant.
When we were weak in faith,
     he came to strengthen us
     with your everlasting hope;
when we were slaves to sin,
     he came to lead us into
     the promised land of mercy;
when our hearts became like flint,
     he softened them with compassion;
when we could only focus on ourselves,
     he came to die for us.

As we gather at your Table,
we remember his love for us,
his patience with our failings,
his hope in our willingness to follow,
his trust in that mystery we call faith:

Baptized in Christ, we would live for him;
forgiven through Christ, we would emulate him;
putting on Christ, we wait for his return.
Alleluia! Amen!

Creator God,
send your Spirit in peace
upon us and these simple gifts
of the bread and of the cup.
As we share the bread,
we share the presence of Christ,
     strengthened to go out
     with forgiveness in our hearts.
As we pass the cup,
we share Christ's Spirit
with our neighbors,
     and are called to welcome all
     as our sisters and brothers,
          especially those held captive
          by the bitterness of the world.

As you gathered your children
to lead them to that promised land,
so you will bring all your children
from the very ends of time itself,
to seat us around your heart,
where we will feast on your grace,
lifting our hearts to praise you forever:
God our Maker,
Christ our Brother,
Spirit our Compassion,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


(c) Thom M. Shuman
 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for September 7, 2014 (Pentecost 13/Trinity 12/Proper 18/Ordinary 23 - A)

Texts:  Ezekiel 33:7-11; Psalm 119:33-40; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20

Call to Worship
L:  We gather here, where God would teach us:
P:  so we may learn to be more compassionate,
    so we may be taught how to be more loving.
L:  We gather here, where Jesus would teach us
P:  the wisdom to choose forgiveness over holding a grudge,
     the language of hope so we may speak to all.
L:  We gather here, where the Spirit imparts wisdom,
P:  so we might know how to share grace,
     so we would learn to welcome all to this Table.

Prayer of the Day
Liberating God:
you set us free from our loneliness
by the touch of another's hand;
you deliver us from our selfishness,
so we may be of service to others;
you break the chains of our pride,
so we might walk with you in humility.

Christ of love,
when we would cling to our anger,
you send forgiveness to take us by the hand;
when we would snack on our bitterness,
you share the Bread of heaven;
when we would drink from sin's fountain,
you pour out the Cup of salvation.

Spirit of new life:
you gather us together in God's school
to teach us how
     to live together,
     to love together,
     to serve together,
so that those around us might know
that you are in their midst.

God in Community, Holy in One,
fill us with your wisdom as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
In worship and at work, in life and in loss, now
and in every moment, Christ is among us: loving
us, teaching us, and hoping to lead us.  But we
focus on those needs, on those desires that keep
us from recognizing him.  Let us confess all that
we have done against God and others, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     All you ask of us is to love one another, God of
our lives, and you are more than willing to teach us
how.  Yet we find this simple request so hard to carry
out, this easy lesson so difficult to learn.  Someone
cuts us off in traffic, and we curse them.  Another buys
something we want but cannot afford, and we overflow
with jealousy.  A friend gets the acclaim we wanted, and
we whisper about them behind their backs.
     Forgive us, Merciful God, and unclasp our hands from
our grudges.  With Christ in our midst, we can become the
people your dream about: loving, merciful, gentle, and
compassionate people of God.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  2, 3, 30, 300  - we have gathered as God's people:
          broken, we are made whole;
         alone, we are welcomed into a family;
         forgiven, we are sent to serve.
P:  Fed, forgiven, restored, loved.  This Table is our constant
reminder of God's presence in our lives, of God's grace which
makes us new in every moment.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Offertory/Prayer of Dedication
May our gifts go forth into our world, so that where people
hunger, they may be fed; where there is war, peace might be
welcomed; where families are broken, they made be made whole.
Then others will be as blessed as we have been by your love, grace,
and compassion.  In Jesus' name, we offer our gifts and this prayer
of gratitude.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May God our Teacher be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Now is the moment to offer your hearts to God.
P:  Now, we turn our hearts to your grace.
L:  Join in songs of thanks and praise to our God.
P:  We join with all who are here and throughout the world in praise.

We praise you, Holy God:
Shaper of the Bread of life,
Pourer of the Cup of salvation.
Face-to-face with chaos,
you spoke that Word that taught
     elephants to blow water out their trunks,
     monkeys to swing from trees,
     leaves to swirl gently to the ground,
     gases to form into planets.
All that was light and wonder and hope
was offered to those crafted in your image,
     but we wandered through the shadows of sin,
     following the teachings of death.
You sought to bring us back to you
by sending prophets with your gracious words,
     but we could not hear you
     above sin's siren songs.
Taking on human form yourself,
you came to live among us,
so we might see your face-to-face
and know your forgiveness firsthand.

With our sisters and brothers at our side,
with those before us and those behind us,
we sing the songs of the gathered faithful:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, Teacher of your children.
     All creation sings the praises learned from you:
          creatures roaming the earth,
          dolphins splashing in the sea,
          eagles soaring through the sky.

     Glory to you forever and ever,
     Hosanna in the highest!

God, our righteousness,
you take pleasure in your people and so
     in love, you became human;
     in hope, you came to us;
     in joy, you gave yourself to us
through your Child, Jesus our Brother.
Clothed in light,
     he came to lead us out of the shadows.
Filled with your wisdom,
     he came to teach us your ways.
One with you forever,
     he came to gather us into your family.
Humble enough to take on our death,
     he carries us into your kingdom.

As we come to this Table
which you have prepared for us,
we remember the faith which was his:

P:  Christ died, facing death one-on-one.
     Christ was raised, bringing new life for all.
     Christ will come, when the time is right.

Move over these gifts of the Table,
Breath of God,
and on those gathered for this meal.
As the bread of hope heals our brokenness,
may we go forth to be reconciled
to those we have harmed.
As the cup of grace quenches our thirst for hope,
may we reach out to those
whom the world has forgotten.
As your peace fills our empty souls,
may we bring that peace to our world.

And when that day comes when
all brokenness is made whole,
all barriers are torn down,
all people live at peace with one another,
we will gather at your holy feast,
singing our praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Go now to the people who are overwhelmed by despair.
P:  We will take the hope which has been given to us
     and share it with all.
L:  Go now to those who are at odds with neighbors.
P:  We will offer the peace and reconciliation which God
     has poured into our lives.
L:  Go now to those who are the most vulnerable in our world.
P:  We will bring the healing, the grace, the love of our God.

© 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, August 25, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for August 31, 2014 (Pentecost 12/Trintiy 11/Proper 17/Ordinary 22 -A)

Texts:  Jeremiah 15:15-21; Psalm 26:1-8; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Call to Worship
Even when we encounter folks who
are mean, dishonest, hateful,
we are called to respond with
that love which is true and sincere.

God calls us to love all people as if
they were our sisters and brothers,
for God seeks to weave us into one family,
tearing down all the barriers between us.

No matter how weary we become
from our loneliness, our struggles, our service,
God challenges us to be patient,
to rejoice, and to never stop praying.

Why should we do all things?
Because we are God's people,
called to lives which are different,
and which make a difference!


Prayer of the Day

God our Creator,
you are alive:
     in the singing of geese flying south,
     in the leaves gently stirring in the breeze,
     in the stars that dance at night.

Jesus, Brother to the poor,
you are in our midst:
     in the lap of a grandmother,
     in the cries of a newborn,
     in the stillness of dawn.

Spirit of God,
you make all our places holy:
     the classrooms where we fidget,
     the sidewalks where we meet neighbors,
     the grass in our backyards.

God in Community, Holy in One,
make us aware of your presence in every moment,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If God is in every person we meet, what does that say about the harmful words we speak, the hurt we cause to others in our lives?  We are invited to bring our faults and foolishness, our brokenness and bitterness to our God, confessing such lives, so we might be made new.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     You know us, Watching God.  You know who we are, people who find it easier to hold on to all we do that is wrong, rather that clinging to goodness.  You know what we do, when we ignore the poor, or refuse to live at peace with others.  You know why we do all these things, for we continue to set our minds on all those temptations which insinuate themselves into our lives.
     You do indeed know us all too well, Steadfast Love.  Yet, you continue to be patient with us and forgiving towards us. Yet, you would embrace as we turn towards you in repentance, rather than washing your hands of us.  Yet, you would continue to call us to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, so we might find our life with you.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news for us, my friends.  God remembers us and forgives us, so we might live as people of love and hope.
We will sing our praises to the One who has made us whole.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
May the gifts we offer, Loving God, feed those who are hungry, as you have fed us with your Word.  May these gifts give those who thirst for hope a cup which is overflowing.  May our gifts be used to welcome all those who are your children, our sisters and brothers in this life.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May our God of goodness be with you.
And also with you.
Offer your hearts to God and rejoice in hope.
We bring them to the One who blesses us with love.
Join in singing thanksgivings to the One who calls us to this feast.
We praise our God who feeds us with peace.

Reaching into your imagination, God of wonder,
you wove that community we call creation:
     your steadfast love swimming in the waters,
     your joy teaching songs to the birds,
     your peace placing stars in the skies.
You made ready your guest room
for those shaped in your likeness,
     but we set our minds on sin's things,
     wanting to walk down the road to death.
You sent prophets to offer us your words
so that they might delight our hearts,
     but we would not even try a taste,
     preferring to party with hypocritical temptation.
You would not wash your sins of us,
but sent your Child into our world,
to be with us, to save us.

With all those who cling to goodness,
with those who long to live in harmony,
we sing aloud our thanksgivings:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who knows us.
All creation rejoices in your hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in integrity.
Hosanna in the highest!


In Jesus, you walked faithfully
toward us, God of holiness,
     so we might see your love
     wherever and whenever we looked.
In Jesus, you sat down with those
considered worthless in the world's eyes,
     so we might feast on your words
     of mercy and hope.
In Jesus, your reached out
     to pry us out of Wicked's hands,
     to break Ruthless's grip on us.
In Jesus, you showed us the cost
of delivering us, as he lost his life
so we might be saved by grace.

Because we want to follow Jesus,
because we want to be your people,
we would proclaim our faith:

Taking up his cross, Christ died for us;
overcoming death with life, you raised Christ from the grave;
Christ will come with the angels, to reveal your glory.


Pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the Table,
and on the people being woven
into your community in this place.
As we eat of the bread,
may we find that life of serving
     the poor, the hungry,
     the lost, the hopeless.
As we drink from the cup,
may we find the strength
to lose our selves
     in sharing your peace,
     in giving water to the thirsty,
     in becoming friends with the oppressed.

When this journey through life has ended,
and we gather in your house around your table
with those of every place, and of every time,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Take the love of God into the world.
We will be genuine in sharing this with everyone we meet.
Take the grace of Jesus into your communities.
We will share the joy of those who rejoice, we will mingle our tears with those who weep.
Share the Spirit's community with all this week.
We will welcome everyone, especially those who feel alone and afraid.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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

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

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

Prayer of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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


Silence is kept

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

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman