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.

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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 24, 2015 (Pentecost - B)

Texts: Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Call to Worship
The Day of Pentecost is here:
the day when the flames of faith
dance in our hearts.
The Day of Pentecost is here:
the day when our babbling speech
becomes the Good News for the world.
The Day of Pentecost is here:
the day when compassion
is seared into our souls.
The Day of Pentecost is here:
let the people of God rejoice. Alleluia!

Prayer of the Day
Spirit of the Living God,
dance with us on this day.
Come, Whirlwind of Wonder!
Sing to the groaning of creation.
Come, still small voice of Hope!
Enflame us with your passion for justice.
Come, Liberator of the Least!
Purify us of our grasping greediness.
Come, Advocate of selfless living!
Silence our gossiping tongues.
Come, Harmony of God's Heart!

Wind of God, blow through us;
Fire of God, burn within us;
Tongue of God, speak to us
on this day of renewal and birth,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Feel the Spirit of God moving in your soul. Listen to the Spirit speaking to you of hope and wholeness.  Trust the promises God has made that new life is our inheritance. Join me as we open ourselves to God's healing Spirit, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Spirit of God:
you come, aflame with new life,
     but our apathy threatens to douse your passion;
you come, on fire with love,
     yet we limit our affections to a select few;
you come, surging with new dreams and new hopes,
    but we still cling to the old ways of living;
you come, glowing with the vision of the kingdom,
     yet we close our eyes to your future.
Forgive us, Spirit of Truth, forgive us.
Come to us, anew, this day:
     to shatter our hardened hearts with your tenderness;
     to set our souls on fire with your love;
    to send us into a world which aches
for the new joy, the new hope, the new life offered in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
With a gentle breeze God enflames our spirits; with a strong wind, God reminds us of our need to forgive and be forgiven. Like a cleansing storm, God takes away our past, revealing our fresh, new life. 
Awakened, refreshed, renewed, made whole: now we can dance with the wind, singing our praises to the One who gives life to all.  Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts join your dance of healing and hope to those living in despair.  May our voices join the multitude of languages crying out for justice.  May our hearts embrace those you are bringing into our community, on this great day of Pentecost and in all the days to come.  By the Spirit's grace, we pray.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of Pentecost be with you.
And also with you.
People of Pentecost, open your hearts to the Spirit moving in our midst.
We open them to the Breath of God which fills us with hope and grace.
Daughters and sons of the Most Holy, offer your joy to our God.
We sing the song of Pentecost in the language of every heart - praise and thanksgiving to our God!

In the shadows of chaos
you breathed, Creator God,
your Spirit moving over the waters of life.
You opened your hands,
filling all creation with goodness and beauty.
You gathered up earth's dust,
shaping us in your image,
filling our lungs with Spirit's life.
But drunk on the new wine
of human arrogance and desire,
we listened to the competing voices
of evil, sin, and death,
believing they spoke the truth.
With sighs too deep for words,
you continued to call us home,
speaking through teachers and prophets.
hen we hid our faces from you,
you looked upon us in compassion,
and sent Jesus Christ
to restore us to life with you.
And so, with your people here on earth,
and with the company of heaven,
in every language, and in every heart,
we glorify your name, singing:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of spirit and truth.
All creation is made new by your grace.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes, in hope, to save us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of beginnings and endings,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
At his baptism,
the Spirit named him your Beloved;
in the wilderness,
the Spirit strengthened him
to withstand the seductions of the Evil One;
Spirit-anointed for ministry,
Jesus sang good news to the poor,
set free those imprisoned by despair,
gave sight to the blind
and fed the hungry,
blessed little children,
and ate with sinners.
When his service of tender mercies
was finished,
he went to the Cross,
suffering and dying for all humanity,
and was raised to new life,
as a promise to all your children.
As we come to this Table,
we remember his promise to always be with us.
Baptized by the Holy Spirit,
and purified in the fire of obedience,
we sing of that faith which is ours:
The Spirit testifies that Christ died for us.
The Spirit bears witness that Christ was raised.
The Spirit proclaims that Christ will come again.
As Christ promised,
you have poured out your Holy Spirit
upon your people
and upon the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we offer our thanks to you
for the gift of the Spirit
in our lives and in the world,
may the flames of Pentecost
kindle compassion in our hearts;
may the tongues of fire
ignite our calls for justice for all people;
may the good news
spoken in every tongue and every place,
unite us in service to others
and in faith in you.
Then, when the groaning of creation
is turned to hymns of praise,
and all people gather around your Table
on that great and glorious Day,
we will sing our joy to you
through all eternity:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God's glory has filled our hearts!
We will go to empty ourselves for others.
Christ has given himself for us!
We will go to give ourselves to everyone in need.
The Spirit gifts us with new life!
We go to be a blessing to everyone we meet.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 17, 2015 (Easter 7 - B)

Texts: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

Call to Worship
From comfortable pews,
from tricycle seats,
from easy chairs in front of TVs:
God gathers us in, giving us the
words with which to proclaim the gospel.
At kitchen sinks,
at laptops and blackboards,
at nursing stations:
Christ calls us to share
in serving all creation.

In communities gathered to pray,
in memories of those who served,
in families grilling in the backyard:
The Holy Spirit fills us with God's joy.

Prayer of the Day
We do not notice,
Holy God,
but you give us:
   so we can think
   about your Word;
   so it may fill
   our emptiness;
   so we may know
   the path to walk.

We do not notice,
Risen Christ,
how you have not given
   just a piece of yourself,
   or a portion of your grace,
but all of who you are:
for us  -
and yet,
you regard US
as God's amazing gift
to you!

We do not notice,
Nourishing Spirit,
how you remove our fears,
   simply by sitting with us
   and holding our hearts;
or how you swirl around us,
   pulling us deeper and deeper
   into love, grace and peace,
until we find ourselves
rooted forever in the One
who watches over us forever.

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

Call to Reconciliation
We gather as God's people, believing the promises fulfilled in Christ.  We do not need to confess out
of dread or fear, but in trust that God is faithful to forgive us and make us new.  Join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
How foolish we are, Calling God,
to think we could be happy
when we sit in seduction's comfortable seats,
    and scoff at your call to discipleship;
or run down the easy streets of sin,
    rather than following Jesus;
or idolize the celebrities and superstars,
    and not see you in those who wait on us
    in stores, restaurants, and sport arenas.

Forgive us, Author of Life.
Keep us from our silly selfishness
as we seek to become
    those branches children can climb on;
as we hope to provide shade
    for fellow pilgrims;
as we long to be continually nourished
    by the Living Water of Jesus Christ,
    our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We are no longer blown about in the winds of the world, we are grounded, yesterday, today, tomorrow in God's
forgiveness, hope and love.
Today, tomorrow, forever:  we can bear fresh fruit, sharing God's peace and joy with everyone we meet.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
As we offer our gifts, remind us that they will be used to heal the broken often lost in the systems we have created, to feed those who don’t have the forms filled out correctly, and to bring hope to those who wander the shadowed alleys of despair.  This we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of joy be with you.
And with you as well.
We are called to share the gospel with all we meet.
God fills our hearts, as well as our hands,
to bring healing and hope to the world.
Join in singing God’s praise as we gather around the Table.
As streams of joy and wonder pour into us,
so our songs of thanksgiving flood through all creation.

You stood among chaos, Ever Watchful God,
and called forth creation in all its beauty:
   rooting oak trees in the rich loam of your Word,
   watering seeds with the Spirit’s showers,
   using goodness to pave the paths
through the garden of hope and grace designed
for those you shaped in your image.
You called to us to pay close attention,
   but we chose to follow sin’s directions,
   making death our ultimate destination.
Prophets were sent to take the witness stand,
placing their hands on our hearts
to offer testimony concerning your hopes,
   but we continued to listen
   to temptations broken promises.
So Jesus came to show us how
   to walk the right paths,
   to do the right things,
   to be people of righteousness and justice.
With those who listen to your heart,
with those who stumble along the way,
we lift our praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who gives us eternal life.
All creation joins in praising your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who sanctifies us.
Hosanna in the highest!
In your holiness, Tender God, we find life,
and in that blessing names Jesus, we find our Friend.
Seeing us sitting in chairs warmed by foolishness,
   he came to pull us to our feet,
   to offer us a seat handcrafted by his grace.
Noticing how we tended to listen only to seductive whispers,
   he came singing songs composed
   in the depths of your compassionate heart.
Watching our tendencies to drift through life
like dandelion seed heads floating on temptation,
   he came to plant us deep within your forgiveness,
   watering us with the spring showers of resurrection
   he brought with him on that first Easter morning.  
As we seek to walk the paths of righteousness,
as we long to bear witness to Jesus in our time,
we speak of that mystery called faith:
Dying, Jesus destroyed the power of death;
being raised to life, Jesus destroyed death’s sting;
coming for us, Jesus will guide us from death to eternity with God.
It is here at this Table,
where the Spirit is poured out
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
that we know of your love and grace.
Made whole by the brokenness of the bread,
we would go to bring words of hope
to all who have been told they are worthless,
to strengthen all weakened by grief and loss.
Watered by the goodness of the cup,
we would offer compassion
to everyone who has been hurt,
we would carry hope to all
whose hearts are emptied by despair.
And when we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
around your Feast of the Lamb in glory,
we will bring our songs of joy to you,
planted forever and ever in the depths of your heart,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

From the comfort of this place,
to the discomfort of discipleship,
we will go to serve your people, Loving God.
Weeding community gardens which feed the hungry,
tutoring children after school,
we will go to wrap others in your grace, Jesus our Brother.
Listening to the stories of the ignored,
learning the language of our newest neighbors,
we will go to discover the truth you share in every moment, Spirit of Wisdom.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 10, 2015 (Easter 6 - B)

Texts:  Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17

Call to Worship
We gather to worship the One
who crafted creation out of chaos,
our cries of joy join the anthems of the universe.
We gather to lift our praise
to the God who gives us voice,
we bring the songs which have echoed
in our hearts all week long.
We gather as the children of God,
our joy unbroken in God's love.
young and old, tone deaf and perfect-pitched
lift the new, new songs of faith.

Prayer of the Day
You raise your hand
and gently begin
the concerto of creation:
birds carry the melody
while stars keep the beat;
mountains dance in merriment
and little children clap
their hands with joy.
Love's Composer,
our new songs are lifted to you.

The old, old song
is made new in our hearts:
Christ is Risen!
Sing Alleluia!
You invite us to sing to a world
deafened by despair
and haunted by the tunes of fear.
Lord of the Dance,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Believing we cannot
carry a tune,
we hesitate to join in
the chorus of praise
sung by all creation.
So, you softly and gently
hum the melody in our hearts
until they burst with you,
raising a rousing chorus
of Amazing Grace.
Music-making Spirit,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Every song, old and new, is offered to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we lift the prayer Jesus teaches,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Beautiful music, every note perfect, joining together in graceful harmony - this is what we imagine our lives to be. Yet our love is flat, our anger often sharp. Let us confess how we struggle to keep the measured beat of God's life-giving melody in our lives, even as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Joy-giving God, we know who we are: people who hear the harmony of your grace and love in our souls, but sing off-key so often. We want to learn new songs, but those haunting tunes of our past mistakes run through our heads. We long to make a joyful noise to you, but the hurts inflicted on us, and the pain we have caused others, silence our voices.
     Sing to us, Conductor of Grace: sing of your forgiveness, your hope, your love for us. Strike a chord of humility in our hearts so our eyes could see all you have done for us; and in seeing, we might believe how much you love us; and in believing, we would echo that new song of hope and life composed through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Listen to the melody of the good news: Christ is risen, bringing joy into the world. The One who was dead now lives, and wraps us in the delight of life forever with our God.
Now, our dirges have turned to joy;
our requiem has been rearranged as a hymn of hope;
our laments are lost in a cantata of praise.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Take our gifts, Composing God, and weave a song of healing for the broken, of nourishment for the hungry, of hope for those who despair, and peace for those torn by violence.  We sing our praises, as we offer our treasures, as well as our hearts, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of creation choruses be with you!
And also with you!
God sings of hope and grace to your hearts, people of God!
We open them to be filled with the wonder of love.
God welcomes your songs of praise and joy.
We lift our hearts and voices in thanksgiving to the composer of all!
Maestro of the Universe:
the song began low and quiet,
barely disturbing chaos,
but then it slowly grew in tempo
as you beat out the rhythm of creation,
light, sharp and clear,
like the blast of a trumpet;
the hills and valleys bursting forth
like the beat of the tympani;
water running clear and free
like arpeggios on a piano.
You composed all this, and more,
for those created in your image,
and filled with the music of your heart.
We thought your tunes burdensome,
and turned our ears to the discords
of sin, temptation, and death.
You wrote new tunes,
to the same words of hope and promise,
sending the prophets to play them
in the streets where we wandered,
but we continued to dance
to the music only we could hear.
So you sent Jesus to us,
loving us enough to send us
the very One who could bring us home.

So, with those who have sung the song
of grace and hope in every time and place,
and with all who are just learning the words,
we lift our voices in praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of beauty and joy.
All the ends of the earth sing praises to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to sing a new song.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holiness is the melody of who you are, Gentle God,
and blessed is the Song of your heart, Jesus Christ.
As he loved you, so he loved us:
keeping your word close in his heart,
he came singing of your gracious love;
abiding in your promises of hope,
he came bringing the harmony
of peace for our fragmented lives;
coming to judge the world with righteousness,
he laid down his life for his friends,
trusting and believing that the funeral dirges
they sang on that sad Friday,
would be rearranged as Easter cantatas
on that first morning of the new creation.
As we remember his life, death and resurrection,
as we seek to follow his command to love,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:
The Singer was not silenced by death;
the Singer was raised to new life;
the Singer will come to lead us home to God.
Pour out your joyful Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup
and on your children gathered at your feast.
We would open our hearts
to receive the bread of life,
not with silenced gratitude,
but with glad songs of joy.
We would empty ourselves
to be filled with the cup's compassion,
not with speechless thanks
but with shouts of praise.
As we learn the new song
of sacrifice on behalf of others,
we would go to serve the brokenhearted;
as we are given the instruments of praise,
we would turn them into the means
to transform the lives of the hungry,
the homeless, the forgotten, the outcast.
And when our music has ended,
and there is only the plainsong of life forever
in the tender embrace of your peace,
we will gather at the Table once again,
hands and hearts, brothers and sisters,
joining in the never-ending praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
As God has loved us,
so we will go to love those despised by the world.
As Jesus has forgiven us,
we will go to forgive everyone who has hurt us
and to bring healing into their brokenness.
As the Spirit calls us ‘friends,’
so we will go to befriend the outcasts,
the lonely, and the lost of our society.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman