Sunday, June 26, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for July 3, 2016 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper9/Ordinary 14 - C)

Texts: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30; Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Call to Worship
Sing praises to our Lord:
who heals us and makes us whole.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God:
whose joy rises in our lives each and every day.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God;
give thanks to God's holy name:
God's Kingdom is near to us; God's peace resides in our hearts.

 Prayer of the Day
With songs of thanksgiving on our lips,
we come before you, Helping God.
While your anger may last only a moment,
     your grace rests upon us until the 12th of never.
When we find ourselves knee-deep
in the muck and mire of life,
     you provide a way out for us,
     if we but trust enough to serve you.

Glad choruses of praise greet you,
Jesus, Companion of pilgrims in this life.
You take us by the hand to waltz up past
     the outstretched arms of sin and death.
You send us out into the world,
teaching us not to boast about
ourselves or all that we have done,
     but to point out to others
     the path to the kingdom,
          if they but trust enough to follow you.
 
We offer a harvest of praise to you,
Spirit of joy and wonder.
You pour out your gentleness upon us,
     so we might be energized to do what is right.
You patiently sit down to teach us,
     using bold print so we might learn
     lives of service, gratitude and humility,
          if we but trust enough to listen to you.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
may we trust always in you,
even as we pray as we have been taught, saying,
(Our Father) . . .
 
Call to Reconciliation
Unlike ours, God's anger does not last. But God's favor, God's grace, and God's forgiveness are for us, not just in this moment, but forever. How can we not want to confess to such a One who is ready to heal us? Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     Holy One, why is it that we can grow so weary of doing what is right, yet always energetically do that which we know is harmful to us and others? We sow seeds of hurt and anger, and wonder why we harvest so much bitterness. We spend too much time comparing ourselves to those around us, and too few moments in following Christ's example.
     Rather than letting our sins gloat over us, Healing God, we would open ourselves to your mercy and grace. As you reach out to heal us with your forgiveness, may we embrace your love, your mercy, your grace for our lives. As you pour out your Spirit of gentleness, may we bring the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to all the world.

Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
Sing praises to our God, faithful children. God has heard our prayers and made us whole.
We will not be silent, but will sing our joy to the One who has forgiven us and made us a new creation. Thanks be to God. Amen.
 
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
In the offering of our gifts, as well as the living of our days, may we not grow weary of doing what is right, but commit to speaking up for the voiceless, healing the broken, feeding the hungry, and all those mercies which are such a part of your heart and hopes for all your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord our God be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift our hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals us at the Table of brokenness.
Children of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
We will sing our praises to the One who restores us to life.
 
We do not bring silence to you,
Holy One of all people,
but shouts of praise and laughter
for your gracious love.
Your healing river flowed through creation,
bringing life and joy to all who drank from it.
     But we preferred to splash
     in the sewers of the world,
          rejecting all that you intended for us.
Yet, you never grew weary
of bearing the burdens of your children.
When you could have shaken
the dust of our sin from your feet,
you chose to lead us out of the Pit
of our rebellion and sin.
 
Joining with those who sing your praises,
lifting our voices with faithful ones of every time and place,
we sing of our thanks to you forever:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
the mountains sing your praises, the valleys echo your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
We welcome the One who comes in your name, who calls us to life.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Holy are you, God of compassion,
     for when death threatened your children
     and sin vowed to turn the universe back to chaos,
you sent your Son, our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenness fo the world.
He did not grow weary
of doing the right things,
     but confronted the wrongs of the world;
he endured the violence of sin,
     that we might receive the gentleness
          of life with you forever;
he carried our sins to the cross,
     that we might bear the burdens
          of our sisters and brothers;
he went ahead of us into death,
     that we might walk in the Kingdom.
 
As we dance to the Table to be filled with hope,
we remember all that Jesus has done for us,
and all that we have been called to do in his name.
Great is the mystery of faith:
 
Christ died, bearing our burdens.
Christ arose, mocking death’s power.
Christ will return, for the good of all.
 
Flow through us, Healing Spirit,
as we drink deeply of Christ's cup.
You never grow weary of feeding us
with the Bread of Life,
or refreshing us
with the Cup of Grace,
for you use these simple gifts
to transform our brokenness.
 
And as we turn from the Table,
send us forth:
     to bring healing to the sick,
          freedom to the oppressed,
     to speak peace
          to the human household,
     to carry the Kingdom with us
          wherever you would lead us.
For we will not keep silent,
but praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.
Amen.
 
Sending
Let us never grow weary of doing what is right!
We will go to seek justice for all of God’s children.
Let us not grow weary of leading others to the kingdom!
We will go to follow Jesus’ example of gathering all into grace.
Let us not grow weary of speaking of hope and peace.
We will go to sow the Spirit’s seed of life and hope.
 
Alternate Great Prayer of Thanksgiving for Independence Day
L:    May the God of freedom be with you.
P:    And also with you.
L:    Children of God, lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift them to the One who sets us free
         for lives of service and hope.
L:    God's children: let us give thanks to
        the Lord our God.
P:    We will sing our songs of freedom
        to the One who calls us to new life.
 
Starry nights that stretch across the sky,
waves of every grain shimmering in the sun:
these are the gift you gave to us,
God of wonder and joy.
Mountains tower above plains
overflowing with abundant fruit;
land stretching from sea to sea
where we could live with you.
Freely, you offered the abundance
of all that is good and beautiful to us,
but we mocked your hopes,
choosing to be deceived by sin.
you appointed prophets, sending them
to every town and place we lived,
sharing your peace with us through them.
But we would not welcome them
into our homes, or into our hearts.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
to share with us that freedom
which calls us to follow in obedience.
 
As we sing of those who have gone before us,
as we remember how they lived as
sisters and brothers as you called them to live,
we proclaim our thanks to you:
 
   Sanctus
 
The One who could heal our brokenness,
the One who could teach us self-control,
the One who could lead us out
of all the places our feet have strayed,
Jesus came to live among us,
leaving the starry band of glory behind.
Loving your mercy for us
more than his own life,
he willingly chose to go to the cross,
that we might receive your gracious gift
of life forever with you.
 
As we remember the freedom he offered to all,
as we celebrate the gift of life which comes to us
here at this Table of love, we speak of that mystery called faith:
 
   Memorial Acclamation
 
As you pour out your Spirit
upon this Table abundant with the gifts
of the Bread and of the Cup,
shed your grace upon your children
gathered in this place.
Gorged on the moldy meals
offered to us by sin and death,
we forget those who hunger for freedom.
But eating the Bread of life,
we can go, carrying a harvest of hope to them.
Intoxicated on the world's sour grapes,
we forget the injustices imposed
upon our sisters and brothers.
But drinking from the Cup of grace,
we can go where you intend to go,
inviting everyone we meet to join us
in your new creation of peace, mercy, and wonder.
 
And when all that holds us back is gone,
when the freedom of your eternity is given to us,
we will gather with brotherhood and sisterhood
of believers of every time and place,
who have been crowned with your goodness and love,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for June 26, 2016 (Pentecost 6/Trinity 5/Proper 8/Ordinary 13)

Texts: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Call to Worship
On days when we think God has nothing to do
with work or family or the world:
The Book tells us of One who was a carpenter;
who wandered the streets;
who upset his family.
On days when we think the purpose of life
is to make more money and fewer friends:
The Book speaks of a life of giving away of ourselves
and finding a community as we do so.
On days aching with loneliness and empty of love and laughter:
The Book draws us into the embrace of God's open heart.

Prayer of the Day
Inspiring God,
Giver of words:
     you speak
          and chaos is transformed
          into the starry skies of night;
     you whisper
          and the wind leaps
          to caress our cheeks on a summer's evening;
     you smile
          and all creation rejoices in delight.
 
Jesus Christ,
Uncomfortable Word:
you stand with society's castoffs
     outside the halls of respectability;
you break bread with sinners
     and give them the seats of honor at your Table;
you walk the darkened hallways of death,
     comforting those who are taking their last steps;
and you call to us, saying,
      "Follow me."
 
Holy Spirit,
Word sifter:
by your touch
     our anger can dissolve
          into gentleness;
by your presence
     our enemies
          can become lifelong friends;
by your joy,
     our envious spirits
          can become generous hearts.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
set us free to be your servants,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Christ has set us free from everything that might detain, oppress, derail us. But we should not confuse this with the right to do whatever we wish. No, we are called to serve others, to share God's hope and joy with everyone we meet. Let us confess how we have misused this wonderful gift of grace, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Redeeming God, how easily we say we would follow you, but how often we live as if we don't have a clue as to what that means. We choose to gossip about our friends, rather than surrounding them with love. Our competitive nature wills us to win at all costs, when we could be engaged in costly service. We expect others to do for us and rarely ask what we might do for them.
     Forgive us, High and Holy One. Set us free to serve in love and compassion; help us to feast on the fruit the Spirit offers to us; put us on the path of faithful discipleship, as we walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Friends, call to mind what God has done for you; think about how God's love comes in fresh and surprising ways; reflect on the fruit of the Spirit poured out upon you.
We will remember all the wonder, all the joy, all the mercy which is ours. From the rich abundance of the Spirit's fruit, we will serve others. Thanks be to God! Amen.
 
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Free to indulge ourselves in every luxury,
   we would share our abundance with those in need;
free to gratify every desire that comes along,
   we would serve those who have so little;
free to hoard all that we have and are,
   we would give ourselves away to everyone we meet,
   risking our good names and reputations with our families and friends, 
   to welcome those who are lonely and afraid.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the wonder-working God be with you!
And also with you!
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We offer them to the One who gifts us
with abundant fruit of the Spirit.
God's children, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
We sing songs of joy, love, and peace;
we praise God for the gifts of patience, kindness, generosity;
we lift our thanks for faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control in our lives.
 
Your voice thundered, Holy One of Creation,
and silenced the fractious voices of chaos.
As the sun, moon, and stars
light our days and nights,
     so your love illumines our souls.
When our fears
threaten to flood our lives,
     you make a path for us
          to your heart.
All this you do,
out of your love for us,
but we forgot all your wonders,
     and stretched out our hands
          to pluck the rotten fruit of the world.
You sent the prophets to help us
to remember your great acts,
     but we dismissed their words
          as having no value for us.
Then, to keep your promise
never, never to forsake us,
you sent Jesus Christ to
put our feet back on
the Holy Way.
 
Therefore, trusting that you will hear us,
we join our voices with the chorus of heaven,
and with our sisters and brothers around us,
sing our glad songs to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
The mountains sing your praises, the valleys echo your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
We welcome the One who comes in your name, who calls us to life.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Holy are you, God of all generations,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior.
When he could have remained safe
by your side in glory,
he took the risk to follow your call
When he could have remained safe
by your side in glory,
     he took the risk to follow your call
     to become one of us.
When he could have ignored
our cries for help,
     he opened his ears and his heart,
     to bring us words of healing and hope.
When he could have pointed
to his miracles and wonders,
     he spoke of your grace,
     and called us to service.
When he could have ignored sin
and death to return to you,
     he picked them up
     and carried them to Calvary,
          turning and renouncing them forever,
as he strode out of the empty tomb
into the new life waiting for each of us.
 
So, as we remember what God has done for us
in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
we speak of that faith which is a mystery:
 
Lord Jesus, you call us:
     open our eyes that we may see you,
     open our souls that we may long for your presence,
     open our hearts that we may follow you.
 
Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of the Table
and upon your children
who have come to feast.
As we tasted the Bread of life,
     may we be filled with that generosity
          which makes us servants.
As we drink from the Cup of grace,
     may we be nourished by
          the fruit of the Spirit found there.
Then, we will go forth
to follow where you lead us:
     to bring justice and mercy
          into communities crumbling by hate;
     to bring hope into those neighborhoods
          where despair sells its wares on the street corners;
     to bring peace to a broken world
          governed by violence and war.
 
And when all time has come to an end,
as we gather with our sisters and brothers
from every moment and every place,
we will sing our glad songs to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
 
Sending
Let us go to wander the streets with God:
for God has everything to do with work, family, our lives, our world.
Let us go to give ourselves away as Jesus did:
for Jesus calls us to upset those around us,
as we accumulate less stuff and make more friends.
Let us go to find the lonely, the empty, the searchers:
for the Spirit would embrace each and every person,
drawing them into the open heart of divine love.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 13, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for June 19, 2016 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - C)

Texts: 1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a; Psalms 42 and 43; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 8:26-39
 
Call to Worship
When we long for the special effects we think life should offer:
it is enough, for us, that God comes in a soft, summer shower.
When we our hearts are cracked by the drought of doubt:
it is enough, for us, that God opens up the fountains of faith for us.
When our senses are deadened by the sales pitches of our culture:
it is enough, for us, that God wraps us in the silence of grace.

Prayer of the Day
When we feel compelled
to push everything to its limits,
especially you,
it is enough, Holy One,

     that your grace
     can slow us down.

When we stand naked and exposed
to the buffeting winds
of our doubts and questions.
it is enough, Healing Servant,
     that you clothe us in your peace,
     and put our minds at ease.

When we are entangled
in that legion of worries and fears
which consume our lives,
it is enough, Spirit of Silence,
     that you untie the knots
     and set us free.

It is enough,
God in Community, Holy in One,
that you are with us
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We long to be set free from those 'powers' which control our lives; to let go of our fears of 'them;' to stop trying to build fences between us and those who are not like us. That is why our longing brings us to the living waters offered by our God, who allows us to fill our parched souls with a refreshing drink of forgiveness.  Let us confess our sins, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Like children, we fear that if we tell you what we have done, God of Justice, you might not love us anymore.  We can kill the dreams of those around us with a word, spoken or withheld. We can make the lives of our friends miserable, instead of sharing a miracle. We are filled with that legion of temptations which only leave us empty and wanting more.
     Forgive us, Gracious Father. Remind us that we are no longer sinners, but your children.  Baptized, we are clothed in the graciousness and faithfulness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who came that we might be set free of all that imprisons us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God forgives us, so we might be new people. God equips us, so we might serve others. God sends us forth, so we might be a witness to everyone we meet.
No one is the same: enemies are now our friends; those we could not trust now become our confidants; those we could not hear now speak to us of God's hope and joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.

 
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You have given us more than enough, Loving God, and so we take from the abundance which is ours, so that others might be blessed: with grace which cools fevered souls, with love which melts frozen hearts, and with hope which can feed and house and renew so many.  In Jesus’ name, we give and we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God who makes us one in Christ be with you!
And also with you!
God speaks to us in the still, small whispers of grace.
May our hearts resound with the thunder of God’s hope.
Heirs of wonder and peace, rejoice in the One who sends you out to serve.
Our voices echo the glad songs of those
who are our sisters and brothers in faith.

You split the emptiness of chaos,
Living God, breaking it into pieces
used to shape the foundation of creation.
Your spirit moved upon the waters,
     carving flowing streams where deer could drink,
     your words crafting those calm pools
          where your longing children could be baptized
          in your love, your joy, your grace.
But sin called to sin, catching our imagination,
the waves of death carrying us away from you.
Our help, our hope, our essence,
you continued to call to us,
     but we responded to your words
     with the sheer silence of stubbornness.
So, rather than sending great storms,
earthquakes, fires, or floods,
Jesus came, to invite us to return
and discover how much you do for us.

As we stand before the Table of grace,
as we greet our sisters and brothers in Christ,
we lift our voices in songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy, God of sheer wonder and joy.
All creation praises you, our help, our Maker!
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to justify us by his faithfulness.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of delight and beauty,
and your Son, our Brother Jesus Christ, is blessed.
When we felt forgotten and on our own,
     he came to stand beside us,
          so we are never alone.
When the bullies of our lives
taunted us and made us miserable,
     he came to wrap us in the mantle of compassion.
When our souls were down in the dumps,
     he lifted us up, so we might
          behold your face in glory forever.
Imprisoned in the tomb,
his guards, sin and death,
had no power over him
     as he arose from the dead
     striding forth into resurrection's dawn.

As we come to the feast he shares with friends,
as we celebrate the joy which is ours through him,
we would speak of that mystery called faith:

Christ died, emptying himself for all people;
Christ was raised, so we might empty ourselves for all around us;
Christ will come again, to lead us home to you,

     where we will be filled with life forever.

You are our help and hope,
God of silence and sacrament,
so we pray that as you pour out
your Spirit upon the gifts of the Table,
that your gathered people might hear hope
     in the breaking of the bread into pieces,
that we might listen for your grace
     in the sheer silence of the cup.
And when we are transformed
in the strength of the bread and the cup,
may we go to serve your people as well as all creation,

      working for justice, peace,
     joy, and life until there is no longer
          the haves and the haven't-anything,
          the insiders and the thrown-away,
          the know-it-alls and the drop-outs,
          the legalists and the libertarians,
but only your children, equal in your sight,
clothed with the compassion and life of Jesus Christ.

And when we are gathered with the legion of the faithful,
the saints and sinners from every age, and from every place,
around the festive Table which awaits us in eternity,
we will join our voices in forever singing your grace,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

 
Sending
God gives us enough grace,
so we may go to stand with all rejected by the world.
Jesus gives us enough hope,
so we may fill those emptied by despair.
The Spirit gives us enough peace,
so we may set free all imprisoned by fears and hate.
 
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman