Sunday, June 28, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 5, 2015 (Pentecost 6/Trinity 5/Proper 9/Ordinary 14 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13

Call to Worship
You awaken the sun, O God,
to guide us into the new day:
Your name, O God, like your praise,
sings in every person.

You speak your Word, O God,
to guide us into your kingdom:
Your hope, O God, like your joy,
echoes in every soul.

You guide us to those who are
looking for you:
Your love, O God, like your name, 
fills the emptiness of every heart.

Prayer of the Day

The rumbling of thunder in the distance,
the shade of an oak tree in the back yard,
the laughter of children splashing in the pool,
the stars glittering on a moonless night:
all the gifts of the universe
fill us with delight in every moment.
Great is your imagination,
Creation's Joy!

Broken,
you touch us to make us whole;
tear-stained,
you share our pain and struggles;
gifter of peace,
you replace our bitterness with hope;
teacher of gentle words,
you transform our unbelief into service.
Great is your love,
Christ, Companion of all people!

Making hardened hearts
as soft as a baby's breath;
turning stiffened necks
so we can see the poor;
placing wandering feet
back on the path of discipleship.
Great is your compassion,
Spirit of grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers to you this morning
in praise and wonder.  Amen.

Call to Reconciliation
When we look at the relationships we hope to have with one another, and with God, we must admit how broken we are. But, as we gather in the presence of God, we are promised forgiveness and healing, if we will confess our sins.  Please join me, as we pray to the One who never ceases to love us, 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   You know how stubborn we can be, Holy God.  You call us to serve others, and we stay in the coolness of our own homes.  You would send us to where the hopeless live, but we are reluctant to leave the comfort of our complacency. You would feed us on the peace and joy of your word, but we pull our chairs up to the tables of those who serve false promises.
  Forgive us, Guiding God.  Transform our defiance into discipleship, and our rejection of others into the resurrection of welcoming all people as sisters and brothers in Christ.  Help us to love as faithfully as you have always loved us, and send us forth to take the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We open our lips and confess our hearts.  God hears our words and make us new, sending us out to bring hope and joy to all the world.
We hear the good news, we believe the good news, we will live out the good news.  Thanks be to God.  Amen!

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

As we have heard, so we have seen God's compassion in our lives.  As we have seen, so we will live, offering our gifts to God, so others might know God's steadfast love is present with them in every moment.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, offer your hearts to God.
We open our hearts to the One who fills them with grace.
Children of God, sing your praises to the One who has gathered us here.
Our songs of joy travel to the very ends of creation. 

It was you, Imaginative God, who whispered
and the rumble of creation shook the rafters of chaos.
Mighty trees graced valleys with shade,
stars glittered in moonless nights,
children splashed in the pools of hope.
Every delight was crafted so we might know
of that love which would last forever.
When we could not have our way,
we took offense at your hopes for us,
throwing tantrums as we took flight
to follow sin and death through the world.
Amazed at our crafty rebellion,
you continued to love us,
longing to shelter us in your heart.
When we continued to dishonor your prophets,
when we would not welcome their words,
you sent Jesus to become that weakness
strong enough to destroy sin and death.

So, we join our voices with all
who have wondered at your steadfast love,
singing your name to the edges of the universe:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of enduring love.
All the gifts of creation delight in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One whose weakness is our hope.
Hosanna in the highest! 


Holy are you, God of all goodness and truth,
and blessed is Jesus, your Child, our Savior.
It was he who came,
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
with words which could transform our foolishness,
with weakness which could strengthen
our fatigued faithfulness,
with wisdom which could teach us
the way of life in all its fullness.
Yet, we were offended by
his life, his ways, his humility.
He continued to listen to you,
going wherever you sent him -
no glory, no wealth, no honor -
even to that place called Calvary
where sin's thorns crowned him.
Your grace was enough for him,
even in the cold shadows of the tomb,
and he walked forth into your steadfast love,
leaving death behind in the dust.

As we remember his calling us to follow,
as we seek to be sent forth to serve,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Christ came, to shape our lives like his;
Christ came, to be our Guide forever;
Christ will come again, to gather us in glory. 


So now, in this place
where we have heard your promises,
among these people
in whom we have seen the Christ,
pour your Spirit upon the gifts of your Table.
The broken Bread of life
is all we need of hope for
filled, we can go forth
to anoint the lost and hopeless
with the oil of your compassion.
Your Cup of grace overflows,
more than we will ever need,
and more than enough to bring healing
to those who have known only
hardship, rejection, and loneliness.

And when at the end of all time,
we discover that it was you who
had led us all along the way
and brought us to the Table in glory,
we will join our voices as one,
singing our praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we unite in praying as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Sending
We will go to let the Joy of creation lead us into this new day.
We will sing glad choruses of hope to a world in despair.
We go to walk with our Heart's Love beside those whose hearts are broken.
We will touch boastful tongues with peace, 
we will offer compassion to those frozen with fear.
We will go with your gentle wisdom, Spirit of grace,
to walk the streets of the kingdom.
We will bring healing to grudges held far too long, 
filling those who grieve with the laughter of hope. 

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for June 28, 2015 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

Call to Worship
Come among us, Healing God; we wait for you.
We come, hungry for your Word to bless us.
Come among us, Compassionate Christ; we hope in you.
We come, hungry to be filled with the Bread of Heaven.
Come among us, Restoring Spirit; we wait and hope in you.
We come, eager to rest in your peace.

Prayer of the Day

With you,
God of Wholeness,
those who work the graveyard shift of life
find the dawn of resurrection;
those who look for healing
are led to the living waters.

Christ our Companion:
richer than Gates or Buffet,
you chose to become
as poor as Mother Teresa,
to touch us with hope;
you set aside Glory's robe,
to wear the servant's towel,
so we might touch you
and be made whole.

Spirit of Grace:
you encircle us
with love which never ends;
you touch us with grace
which mends all brokenness;
you pour out mercy,
which heals any wound we cause.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift the prayer Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
There is nothing, nothing, which can divide us – in life and death - from God.  So let us confess our worst faults and eager failings, so we may be touched by the healing power of God.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We want to touch the hem of your garment, O God.
   Forgive us for being afraid to touch
   those who come to us for hope;
we want to love the whole world:
   forgive us for ignoring our neighbor;
we long for peace:
   forgive us for the pain we inflict
   on our families and friends;
we want to share with those we love and like:
   forgive us for walking past
   those who need you most.

Forgive us, Loving God, for we do not excel
in everything you call us to do.
Give us grace:
   to touch those who frighten us;
   to carry the Bread of Life to the hungry;
   to offer the blessings of the kingdom
       to everyone we meet,
even as you have graced us in Christ Jesus,
our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Listen to the Good News!  Hope in God, for God's love has no ending; God fills us with grace and hope, this day, and forever.
God hears our voice, and listens to our prayers, redeeming us from all our sins.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
From our present abundance, we offer our gifts to you, Generous Heart, so that the hungry might be fed, so that the broken might find healing, and so the grieving might be comforted.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to God.
We open our hearts to the God of healing and joy.
Lift your songs to God.
We offer glad songs to the One who brings us wholeness.

Hear our voices
as we sing our joy to you,
God of the listening Heart.
You reached out
and touched chaos
with your imaginative Spirit,
proclaiming goodness and wholeness
as Creation burst forth.
Shaping us in your image,
you breathed life into us,
so we could be united with you.
But grasping the hem of sin,
we chose to be dragged through
the mud of despair and death.
Your steadfast love
would not forsake us,
singing to us in the prophets' voices.
When you could
no longer wait
for us to turn back to you,
you came to us
in Jesus Christ,
Companion of the broken.

So we lift our voices in praise,
joining with those in heaven and earth,
who forever praise your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who hears our voices.
More than those who watch for morning,
   all creation waits for you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with healing grace.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Listener to our deepest longings,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
He emptied himself of Glory's riches,
so we could be filled with grace and hope;
he endured our suffering,
so we could be healed;
he was broken,
so we could be made whole;
he died,
so we would live with you forever.

As we remember his life for us
as we seek to grasp the hem of your grace,
we tell of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, so we might be made well and live;
Christ was raised, death overcome with amazement by the resurrection;
Christ will return, calling to us, ‘children, get up!’

Come among us, Source of healing,
your Spirit gracing the bread and the cup,
and nourishing your children
gathered at your Table.
Mend our broken hearts,
so we may love all your children;
touch our wounded souls,
so we may embrace all those
cast out by the world;
fill us with your gracious gifts,
so we may overflow in generosity
to those in need.

Then, when that Day of Joy comes,
and we are all made new,
and we see completely,
we will fill your Heart
with joy and praise,
singing to our
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
Go now to where you find friends and neighbors,
as well as family and strangers.
We will share that never-ending love of the Healer of all.
Go now, with that faith which dares to touch the outcast,
with hearts that break for the pain of others.
We will share the compassion of the Friend of the broken.
Go now, carrying word and wonder to a weary world,
waiting in silence for the songs of hope to sing to all creation.
We will follow the Dryer of tears wherever we are led.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

 

 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for June 21, 2015 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - B)

Texts: 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49; Psalm 9:9-20; 2 Corinthians 6:1-3; Mark 4:35-41

Call to Worship
We gather in this place to worship our God:
calm Presence in our times of confusion,
Comforter in our nights of struggle.
We gather with fellow pilgrims,
as we seek to follow Jesus:
Brother to those swamped by fears,
Friend to all overwhelmed by loss.
We are brought together by the Spirit
who lives in the depths of our souls:
the Serenity who travels with us
on this up-and-down journey we call life.
 
Prayer of the Day
You lay the foundations of the universe,
building a shelter for our battered souls;
you create wonders which are priceless,
yet you always remember the needy.
We open our hearts to you,
God of Graciousness.
 
When evening comes and fears
prowl the shadows of our days,
you whisper, 'Peace! Be still!'
to our hammering hearts,
so we know that you are always with us.
We open our hearts to you,
dearest Friend of life.

Doubts and despair may
swamp our lives,
but you calm us with a word;
illness and death struggle
to control our futures,
but you comfort us with peace.
We open our hearts to you,
Spirit of hope and grace.
 
We open our hearts to you, now and forever,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We let fears control us, we let doubt become the way of life for us. If we but look, we will see our lives, and our world, cradled in God's loving hands.  Let us confess our lack of faith, even as we trust the One who has promised to listen to our words, as well as our hearts. Join me as we confess together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     They can be such giants in our lives, God of Grace. Each day, our fears, our doubts, our worries wash over us, until we come to believe that you do not care for us. There seems to be so much wrong in the world, we are convinced that there is nothing good we can do. The storms of sin and temptation batter at us, and we cower, unable to find the faith to withstand them.
     Forgive us. God of Hope. Remind us that if we but open our hearts, you will heal us. If we but listen to your words, we will hear peace and joy.  If we but open our lives to you, we can go forth to serve our sisters and brothers, even as we have been served by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
With calming words, with a peaceful Spirit, with overflowing love and hope, our God forgives us and fills us with faith.
Our God affirms us for who we are - those whose brokenness is made whole, whose sin is forgiven, whose lives overflow with faith. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Now is the acceptable time to offer our gifts to you, Holy God.  Now is the time to pray that they may be used to remove any obstacles which keep others from knowing your grace, experiencing your healing, or being filled with your hope.  Now is the time to give thanks for your blessings, praying they will be used to bless others.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Calmer of our storms be with you!
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, all whose fears threaten you.
We open our hearts that God might touch them with peace.
People of faith, join in glad songs to the One who is with you.
Our voices join in praise and thanksgiving to God.

You poured the foundation of grace
over the emptiness of chaos,
Caretaker of the Cosmos,
so that creation would find firm footing
for all the gifts your imagination provided.
You formed the seas and filled them with life,
you created the morning stars to sing your praises.
You created us in your image, calling each of us by name,
but we defied your dreams and hopes for us,
choosing to live in the valleys of despair and sin.
Refusing to forsake us, you sent prophets
who urged us to embrace your grace,
but it was never the right time for us to listen,
and we opened our hearts wider to temptation.
But you would not let us stay
in the pits of suffering and death we had dug,
and sent Jesus, creative Word of life for all,
to remove all the obstacles in your way.
 
So as we prepare to come to the Table of joy,
we join our voices with those who open their hearts to you
in every time, and in every place, forever singing your praise:
 
Holy, holy, holy, God of grace and glory.
All creation declares the wonders of your hands.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes bringing salvation for all.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Holy are you, Bulwark of the oppressed,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, who calms our troubled hearts.
When we were mired in the quicksand of our sin,
he came to pull us to safety.
When we treated him as an imposter,
he came to show us his true nature.
When we sat at death's door,
waiting for it to open and welcome us,
he went inside, in our place,
coming out to take us by the hand
and lead us into life with you.
 
As we sing praises for his life and ministry among us,
as we remember his death, as well as his resurrection,
we declare that mystery we call faith:
 
We declare that Christ has died for us;
we proclaim that Christ has been raised from the dead;
we believe Christ will come again in glory.
 
Here at this Table of life and hope,
you pour out your calming Spirit
upon the gifts of the Bread and the Cup,
and on your children gathered for this feast.
As you feed us with that brokenness
which can restore us to wholeness,
remind us that our lives are not empty,
but filled with every blessing which
can bring hope and joy to the poor.
As our hearts overflow with your grace,
let us hear the cries of the afflicted,
so we might go to stand with them
until all people are transformed
by your justice and righteousness.
 
And when our journeys have ended,
and the storms of life have been calmed forever,
we will gather around the Table in glory,
singing praises to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
Go now into a world beset by storms of worries and fears.
Let us go to the far side of despair,
bringing God's hope to all huddled on that shore.
Go now into all the places where people are afraid.
Let us set out from the shore of our comfortable lives,
bringing the good news of Jesus' grace to all.
Go now to the distant shores torn apart by violence and oppression.
Let us set out with the Spirit as our guide,
crying out to all, "Peace! Be still, wars and terrors!"

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for June 14, 2015 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 6/Ordinary 11 - B)

Texts: 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13; Psalm 20; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17; Mark 4:26-34

 Call to Worship
The church is the place where the broken gather:
let us worship the One who reconciles us
to one another and to God.
The church is the place where sinners are welcome:
let us worship God who, with forgiving hands,
shapes us into new people.
The church is the place where the lost, the least,
the forgotten, the ignored gather:
let us worship God who looks at us with the eyes of love.
 
Prayer of the Day
Holy One:
you anoint us with living water,
so we may go to serve the world
in these troubled days.
You open our eyes
so we will see everyone
s our sisters and brothers.

Seed Planter:
you place faith
deep within us,
so we can bear witness
to your just and loving kingdom.
Your love regulates our hearts,
so we can welcome all
in your name.

Gentle Spirit:
when we cannot see the way,
you take us by the hand
so we can step forward,
in faith,
into the kingdom.
You fill us with hope,
so we can sing God's joy
all of our days.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
Why is it so easy to boast of our achievements, yet so hard to humbly come to God with the mistakes we make? This is the place where we stand in the presence of the One who longs to shape us into new people. So, let us ask our loving God to forgive us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We confess, God of Faith, that we ask about someone's background to see if they are like us, while you look at where their heart is grounded. We examine another's good looks or athletic prowess, while you take notice of how they reach out to those who are different. We gaze at the size of another's house or car or portfolio to judge how successful they are, and you observe whether or not they have faith the size of the smallest seed.
     Forgive us, Anointing God, for looking at those around us with human eyes, and not seeing them as created in your image. As you shape us into new people, give us new eyes, new hearts, new lives to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: no longer must we walk the old paths of sin and death. Christ has come to take our old ways on himself, and to fill us with new life in God.
Now, we know we are forgiven;
now, we know we are at peace;
now, we can step forward in faith,
to live with our God forever. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
How does God answer the cries of those facing difficulties?  With the gifts we offer.  How do we remember those who worry about feeding children, finding medical care, or being filled with hope?  By sharing from the abundance of our blessings, so all might know that God cares for them.  We pray, Holy God, that you will multiply the seeds we offer that they might become the greatest good for all your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table
The Table has been prepared - for us!
This is not my Table, it is not the church's -
this is the Table offered to us by our God.
So, come to this Feast.
Come, if your faith is blossoming and full,
and come, if it is but a tiny seed planted in your heart;
come, if you always show up for this Meal,
and come, if this is the your very first taste;
come, if you have always walked with Christ,
and come, if you have stumbled along the way.
But come - for our God awaits to serve you
with joy, with affirmation, with hope, with peace.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Planter of seeds be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts, people of God, to the One who fills them.
May God place grace, hope, and joy deep within us.
Let us sing our praises to our God.
We join all creation in songs of laughter and love.
 
We do not know when or how it happened,
Holy Gardener,
but you planted the seeds of your imagination.
The Spirit gently nurtured them
with the waters and warmth of life;
the Word whispered their names
and called them into being.
All that is good, all that is true,
all that is beautiful sprang forth
in that wonder we call creation.
You shaped us in your image,
breathing hope and life into us,
that we might enjoy your good gifts.
But, tasting the temptations of sin,
our growth was stunted, as we became
a rich harvest for death.
But you do not see us as we do,
and so sent the prophets to sow
the words which call us back to you.
When we continued to follow
only what we could see,
you sent Jesus to be among us,
so we might recognize your love for us.
 
So, with those who walk by faith
in this time and in this place,
and with those who are at home with you,
we offer our hearts' desire to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy, Lord of grace and glory.
All creation is filled with the tapestry of your love.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes with your new creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who fulfills all your plans,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the Seed of salvation.
From the beginning of creation,
your Word sang of your hopes for us;
until the end of time,
your Child will urge us on to love you.
He set aside his glory, to become one of us,
so that we might discover your grace
which overflows from your heart upon us.
No longer living for himself,
he died, once and for all, for us,
so that, as he was raised to new life,
so we might become the new creation,
walking by faith into your kingdom.
 
As we now see him through the eyes of redemption,
as we now remember him through hearts of hope,
we speak of that mystery we call our faith:
 
In death, Christ became our life;
in life, Christ shapes us into new creatures;
in glory, Christ will come to fulfill all God's plans.
 
To what can we compare this Feast,
and the simple gifts you have transformed
into the Bread of life and the Cup of grace?
As you poured out your Spirit into all creation,
pour out your blessings upon those
who gather around your Table of life.
As the bread fills us with those seeds
of hope and peace for all people,
may we go forth to offer the harvest
of justice and righteousness to all
who have been mistreated in our time.
As the cup touches our lips,
may we shout for joy of your love,
calling out to all the lonely and lost,
no longer regarding them from
the world's point of view,
but recognizing them as
our sisters and brothers of the kingdom.
 
And when we have risen and stand around
that Table of blessing and life,
we will join our hearts and our hands,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
 
Sending
Now go as God’s seeds of reconciliation.
We will plant reconciliation in all the broken places and people.
Now go as Christ’s hands of forgiveness.
We will embrace everyone we meet with mercy and hope.
Now go as the Spirit’s eyes of love.
We will see each person as our sister and brother.
 
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Liturgy w/Communion for June 7, 2015 (Pentecost 2/Trinity 1/Proper 5/Ordinary 10 - B)

Texts:  1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15); Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Call to Worship
On this day, we gather with thanksgiving in our hearts.
For God's love is ever constant in our lives.
On this day, we would talk of all that is ours.
Grace upon grace has been poured into our lives.
On this day, we would speak of what we believe.
We will sing glad songs for all that God has done.
 
Prayer of the Day
When we are too weary
to take another step
on the road to the kingdom;
when our hearts are worn down
by the pain always rubbing
against our lives;
when we are wasting away
because of fears and worries,
you come, Soul Strengthener,
stretching out your hand
to hold us in your love.
 
When everyone else has turned
their backs on us and walked away;
when we cry out in the night
only to find the world has
turned a deaf ear to us;
when folks think we are crazy
because we believe that
good can overcome evil,
love can conquer hate,
hope can replace despair,
you do not forsake us,
but stay at our side,
Brother to all people.

When our doubts rub
a callous on our souls;
when we wonder if we
are able to see your kingdom
emerging all around us;
when others seem to want
only the worst for us,
you pull us out of harm's way,
Spirit of faith and hope.
 
Grace upon grace are the gifts
we have received from you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we give you our thanks
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know what it is like to be rejected, but we also remember turning our backs on others.  We have experienced conflict, as well as caused pain to others. Let us confess our foolish lives to the One who seeks to forgive us on this day, and every day.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Everybody else does it, Watching God, and we confess that we do as well. We listen to those whose promises are sold to the highest bidder.  We idolize celebrities as if they were teachers of ethics. We long for that one person who will make everything right, once again, once and for all.
     Is it any wonder we are a disappointed people, God of Hope? Forgive us for turning our backs on you, even as you continue to stretch out your arms to us. Forgive us for trusting in those who prove to be false, rather than having faith in your love.  Forgive us, and fill us with the spirit of faith which is given to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 Silence is kept

 Assurance of Pardon
Do not lose heart! God seeks to strengthen our souls, filling us with forgiveness, wonder, and joy!
Glory to you, God of mercy and grace. You want only the best for us, and so we sing praises to you.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We believe, and so we will speak.  We speak, and so we will live.  We will live, and so we will be generous, because we know that, by your grace, these gifts we offer will extend hope, peace, and life to more and more people.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you!
And also with you!
Sisters and brothers of Christ, lift your hearts to God.
We open ourselves to the One who fills us with grace.
Beloved of the Lord, sing glad praises to God.
Songs of wonder are offered to our God.

Catching a glimpse of goodness and beauty,
you shattered the stillness of chaos
with your imaginative Word, your Spirit of faith
moving, transforming, shaping, creating.
What had not been seen before sprang forth:
suns and moons spinning in the galaxies,
rivers racing one another to the seas,
gentle grains whispering in the breeze.
This garden of wonders and hopes
were shared with those you created in your image,
but we wanted to do things our way
and forsook you for the temptations
offered to us by sin and death.
You would not forsake us
and sent the prophets to us
with words of hope and grace,
but we rejected their words
as having no meaning for us.
Your love was steadfast
and your faith for us did not diminish
as you sent Jesus to call us
back to your heart.

With those whose faith is strong and firm,
with those who struggle to believe,
with all of every time and place,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of our hearts.
All creation praises you with words of hope.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes to strengthen our souls.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
You are holy, God of hope and forgiveness,
and Jesus Christ is your love made human.
He could have come to divide us,
but came that we might be one with you
and with our sisters and brothers.
He could have come to judge us,
but came to pull us out of harm's way.
He could have come to defy us,
but came to reject Death and sin's claim on us,
defeating their power once and for all.
 
As we remember how we have turned our backs on him,
as we hear his invitation to this Table of grace,
we speak of that faith in which we believe:

Christ died, showing us the way of obedience;
Christ is raised, showing us the way of new life;
Christ will come, showing us your glory.
 
You surround us with your care,
stretching out your hand upon
those gathered in this place,
your Spirit transforming ordinary gifts
into sacred grace and hope.
We taste the bread and drink from the cup,
and notice what we have not seen:
the hunger of the world,
the loneliness of those around us,
the child with no hope,
and we do not lose heart,
trusting that you will use us
to serve these needs around us
so that grace upon grace
might be shared with our sisters and brothers.
 
And when you stretch out your hands to lead us home,
and we are gathered around the Feast of the Lamb
which we can only glimpse in this moment,
we will sing of your steadfast love and faithfulness
forever and ever, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
On this day, let us leave with thanksgiving in our hearts,
going to share God's love with everyone we meet.
On this day, let us go to speak of what Jesus has done,
pouring grace upon grace into all the lives around us.
On this day, let us go to share what we believe,
singing glad songs of the Spirit to our silenced world.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 31, 2015 (Trinity Sunday - B)

Texts: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29: Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17

Call to Worship
God, who flung the stars into the night sky,
rejoices over all creation, especially us!
Come to us, Laughing God, and gladden
our hearts with your goodness and grace.
Christ, the Word of joy and life,
fills all creation with hope, especially us!
Come to us, Brother and Savior, and reclaim
our hearts as your own.
The Spirit, who breathes life into emptiness,
gives all creation the gift of peace, especially us!
Come to us, Spirit of Gentleness, and refresh us
with the dew of delight.
 
Prayer of the Day
You bind us to yourself
this day, God of seraphim and sinners.
You reach out to draw us ever closer,
that we might feel the brush
of your grace soft upon us,
that we might feel the healing touch
of your compassion resting gently within us.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Heir of Glory and Grace.
You keep us by your side,
that we might walk with you
through the streets of the kingdom,
bringing hope to the despairing,
offering consolation to the brokenhearted,
sharing love with those tossed aside by the world.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Spirit of Justice.
You fill our hearts with living water
that they might overflow to parched people,
you teach us how to give ourselves away,
so we might take on the burdens of others.
 
We bind ourselves to you this day,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray the words Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Called to be God's people, we know how often we act as spoiled and petulant children. Yet, like a mother, God looks past our mistakes to see our hearts. Like a father, God lifts us to our feet to put us back on
the path to life. Let us bring our prayers to the One who listens, and then forgives us with unceasing grace.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In the mystery of creation, Imaginative God, you shaped beauty and goodness, yet we damage it by our selfishness and anger. In the mystery of life, Child of Hope, you became one of us, yet all too often we turn our back on you. In the mystery of peace, Breath of Life, you would gentle our natures, yet we cling tenaciously to our bitterness and hurt.
     In the mystery of grace, Holy God, you forgive us our sins, that we might embrace others. In the mystery of mercy, you touch our lips, that we might speak gently to others. In the mystery of hope, you claim us as family, sisters and brothers of the One who brought new life for all, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Here, in this moment and in this place, the Spirit of gentleness moves in our midst.  Mercy, hope and joy are the gifts of God to each and every one of us.
No longer lost, we have found our way home, surrounded by God's peace, by God's grace, by God's love. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.  

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Use our gifts, Holy Community of Love, as you reach out to heal the broken, as you take the hands of the lost, and as you pull out a chair to welcome the outcast to your Table of wonder and hope.  This we pray, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God the Life, God the Hope, God the Peace be with you.
And also with you.
Children of the most Holy, open your hearts
to the One who has created you.
We open ourselves to the mystery
we know as the Community of God.
Heirs of salvation and joint heirs of grace,
give thanks to the One who loves you forever.
We lift our praise to God, crying out with all creation,
'Glory! Glory! Glory!'

You shattered the silence
of chaos, Majestic God,
as you spoke creation's language
with your voice of power and patience.
Your Word sang in the morning,
sending lambs skipping across
pastures lush with life,
young colts pranced through
valleys overflowing with wonder.
Your Spirit breathed life
into those shaped in your image,
filling our souls with joy and grace.
When we wandered far from you,
you remembered the soft touch
of our hands in yours,
and sent the prophets to call us home.
When we got in over our heads
in debt to sin and death,
Jesus came, to redeem our lives.
 
Therefore we lift our voices,
with those who worship you
in every time and place,
singing your glory forever and ever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of glory and grace.
All creation dances in joy before you.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

You are holy, God of all life,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Word of creation.
Filled with your glory,
he emptied himself to become one of us.
Knowing the heartache of loneliness,
he became the friend of all;
walking the streets beside us,
he became the guide we need;
recognizing the power of sin and death,
he followed them to Calvary,
leaving them behind in the empty grave,
as he was raised to new life.
 
So, here in this holy time of celebration,
here at the sacred feast prepared for us,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:
 
We remember Christ's death;
we remember Christ's resurrection;
we remember Christ will come again in glory.
 
Here in this place of gentleness,
here at the Table of goodness and grace,
pour out your Spirit, Eternal Love,
upon the gifts of creation made holy for us,
and upon your children adopted into your heart
through the life and joy of your Child, Jesus.
In the broken bits of the bread,
may we be made whole once again,
so we might bring healing
to the deepest sufferings of our time.
In the taste of salvation's joy,
may we be renewed in our calling
to justice and righteousness,
so we might go forth to be companions
for all those who have lost their way.
 
And when, in the mystery of your heart,
it will come to pass that we are gathered,
with our sisters and brothers of every time and place,
around the feast prepared for us in eternity,
we will join our hands and hearts,
crying with one voice, 'holy, holy, holy!'
to you forever, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
Let us go now, crying 'Glory!' to our God.
We will go to rebuild the world with justice and hope.
Let us go now, to bring others into Jesus' presence.
We will go to bring them to the Gateway to grace.
Let us go now, to play the music of the Spirit to those around us.
We will go to invite others to join in the dance of the Beloved Community.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman