Sunday, July 26, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for August 2, 2015 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 13/Ordinary 18 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35

Call to Worship
 Lead a life worthy of your calling.
We cannot do this alone,
we dare not try this alone,
so we gather as God's people.
Lead a life filled with the gifts of your calling,
gifts to be used with service and meekness.
We come to build up Christ's Body,
in humility and gentleness,
with patience and love.
Lead a life which reflects your calling,
that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
We rejoice in our oneness in Christ;
we would share the grace offered to us.
Life a life worthy of the calling
to which you have been called.
We gather as God's family
at the Table prepared for us,
waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.

Prayer of the Day
Gentle God:
   we have traveled through many waters
   to reach this place,
   but share one baptism;
   we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
   yet share one faith;
   we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
   and are members of one Body;
   we have different dreams and doubts,
   yet our hearts beat with one hope;
   we are graced with different gifts,
   so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

When we try to sugarcoat what we have done, scripture stares us down, reminding us of our faults.  When we seek to romanticize why we have failed to live as faithful people, God refuses to go along, waiting for us to confess our sins.  Let us join together as God's children, lifting our prayers to the One who is generous in love.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
  Compassionate One:  like David, it is not easy for us to confront those deeds which do not please you.  We are so busy looking for the miracles we desire, we cannot see the gift of your presence in others.  We are so intent on indulging our appetites and slaking our thirsts, we cannot taste that Bread which gives life.  We spend so much of our lives bemoaning the acts of others, we have no time to look in the mirror and see our secret faces.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love.  Grace us with your mercy, so we might be made whole. Touch our inner being and heal us, so we might know joy and gladness.  Create new hearts within us, so they might beat as one with each other, and with your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon

Despite knowing our sin, God chooses to forgive us;
seeing our emptiness, God chooses to feed us;
holding our shattered hearts, God chooses to heal us.
This is the good news:  God loves us.
God has graced us with mercy and created new life from our brokenness.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Use the gifts which we offer to you, Holy God, to restore joy to the despairing, to give food to the hungry, and willing spirits to us, that we might be servants to all your people.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, people of God.
We lift them to our Lord so they might be filled with a new spirit.
Let us give thanks to God who loves us.
May our willing spirits offer praises to the One who feeds us..

Our greatest joy is to offer you our thanks and praise,
Creator, Grace-giver, Healer of our brokenness.
All that is beautiful was created for our eyes;
all that is wonderful was created for our awe;
all that is majestic was created for our praise;
all that is mystery was created for our silence.
But despite everything you have given us,
we are not satisfied.
Believing life is about our appetites,
we choose the moldy bread of the world;
knowing our only hope is from you,
we continue to rebel;
called to live in unity with one another,
we cling to all which divides us.

Yet you refuse to let go of us,
sending your only Son, Jesus,
to call us to life in you.
We have fallen,
and you lift us up;
we have forsaken you,
and you redeem us;
we are broken,
and you make us whole.

Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices, here and now,
with the faithful of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every mercy.
All creation praises one God and Father, one Lord, one Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gifts all of God’s people!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of grace and tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Though we look for him for all the wrong reasons,
he holds out the bread of life to us;
though we offer the cross to him,
he graces us with life;
though we thirst for more and more,
he offers us the cup of salvation;
though we gossip and slander one another,
he speaks the truth in love to us;
though we would divide each other
by class, race, or condition,
he calls us to oneness in you.

Recalling your steadfast love in Christ,
and knowing we cannot understand your grace
until that eternal day
when we can know your heart,
we take this bread and this cup,
praising and blessing you
for these gifts of hope and joy.
Great is the mystery of faith.

Christ died, a seeming prisoner of death.
Christ was raised, so all might be freed in resurrection love.
Christ will return, finishing the work of God.

Holy God of Truth,
though we come to your Table as many,
may your Holy Spirit make us one body and one spirit.
As you feed us with the Bread of Life,
may we feed those who know true hunger;
as your justice illumines our hearts' darkness,
may we be a beacon to the oppressed and lost;
as you speak to us the truth in love,
may we be a voice for the powerless and forgotten;
as you restore us to wholeness,
may we bind up our shattered world.

Through Christ who saved us,
all glory and honor are yours,
God, who created us in your own image,
through the Holy Spirit, in our midst making us your people,
now and forever.  Amen.

Let us go into the world with God’s gifts.
We will perform God’s works of mercy and life.
Let us go into the world with the Bread of heaven in our hands.
We will share Christ’s grace which gives life to everyone.
Let us go as the one body of faith and fellowship.
We will to witness to the one Spirit of hope and faith.

(c) 2015  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 26, 2015 (Pentecost 9/Trinity 8/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21

Call to Worship
The foolish say, "There is no God!
We are alone, on our own."
We gather to declare
the glory of God in our lives.
The foolish say, "It is your life;
you are accountable to no one."
We gather, strengthened by the Spirit,
trusting that Christ dwells in our hearts.
The foolish say, "Everything I have is mine;
I owe nothing to anyone."
We gather to praise the One
who calls us to serve others in love.

Prayer of the Day
Your glory flows
through all generations,
as you name every family
in heaven and on earth.
And so we come to you this day,
O God.

Your grace is
higher than the farthest star;
your peace is
deeper than our greatest emptiness;
your love spans
the abyss of death;
your hope stretches
into all eternity.
And so we come to you this day,
O Christ.

When our lives bottom out,
your grace is still our bedrock;
when our spirits run dry,
you fill us with your joy;
when we falter in our faith,
you strengthen us
to serve with hope and peace.
And so we come to you this day,
O Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we come to you this day,
praying as we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
God looks at us, to see if we are wise enough to offer confession, to receive forgiveness, and to seek to know the healing love of Christ.  Let us prove our wisdom, and set aside our foolish pride, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Wisdom's Heart: deep within, we know how we have failed to be your people.  Our hardened hearts are closed to the love of Christ; our lust for more and more blocks the fullness of your grace from transforming our lives; our trust in the powers of the world reveals our foolish nature.
   Have mercy, God of every generation.  Pour out the rich blessing of forgiveness on our parched souls.  Feed us with Heaven's Bread, so we might be nourished by your gentleness.  Shape us as your people, and restore us to faithful living, as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in service to everyone we meet.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The wideness of God's mercy, the range of God's forgiveness, the infinite love of God, the Heart of hope which is never empty:  all these gifts are ours, as God restores us to the fullness of life meant for us.
Grounded in love, rooted in discipleship, we offer ourselves in service to others, recognizing the limitless grace which is ours to share in Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
In our hands, the gifts seem so paltry, but in yours, they can bring plentitude of grace to those who are so hungry for hope.  In our hearts, we wonder how effective our ministries might be, but joined with yours, we can indeed bring healing, community, peace, and joy to our struggling communities.  Bless us and our gifts, multiply our hopes and our efforts, that your wonders might come into the world around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God feed you at this Table of grace!
And also feed you!
God desires to dwell in us,
and so we open our hearts to welcome God.
Let us rejoice in the God who loves us,
as we sing songs of thanksgiving to God.

Chaos foolishly thought there was no God,
until you spoke and sent it astray,
as creation burst forth from your imagination,
   grace racing the breadth and length
      planting wonders and joys beyond count,
   laughter filling the height and depth
      of every corner of the universes.
You prayed that we would have the power
to understand that all these gifts were shaped
for the life of those crafted in your image.
   But early one evening we gazed sin bathing,
   and felt it so beautiful that we inquired
   of death how to gain it.
You sent the prophets to us,
their words continuing to challenge us
to see if we had grown any wiser,
   but we continued to confound your plans,
   seeking refuge in the alluring embrace of temptation.
Finally, you sent Jesus to us,
who continually called to us,
‘do not be afraid; I am here.’
So with those who have come through the storms of life,
with those foolish enough to rely more on themselves than on you,
we lift our voices in glad song to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of who feeds all people.
All creation is filled with the fullness of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who came be the bread to feed our emptiness.
Hosanna in the highest!
You alone are holy, God of every moment,
and in your Child, Jesus, we find that love we cannot understand.
He could have stayed on the safe shores of glory,
   but came to bring us hope in every storm we face.
He could have kept your abundance for himself,
   but took your gifts and poured them out for us,
   so much that there were leftovers to share with those around us.
He could have left us to our foolish lives,
   but confounded the plans of sin
   by defeating death at its own game,
and restored us in that refuge called the resurrection.
As we try to understand his willingness to restore
   our fragmented lives through his brokenness,
as we ponder that miracle which is beyond death,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

We know God’s love, by the death of Christ;
we received the grace of God, by the resurrection of Christ;
we will be fed in glory, by the return of Christ.
We gather at this Table which is blessed
by your Spirit of transformation,
the common gifts being set aside for your holy use.
The broken pieces of the bread
are just enough to strengthen us
so we can go out to serve our fragmented world.
The cup of grace overflows with hope,
so we can see those around us,
   the families without hope,
   the children without food,
   the elderly without friends,
   the world without peace.
And when that time comes, when you show
how truly foolish you are by gathering
those of every time and place around your Table,
we will join our hearts and voices
in singing our praises to you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go now, foolish enough to believe in God.
We will see God in everyone we meet.
Let us go now, foolish enough to follow Jesus.
We will share grace with those who need it the most.
Let us go now, foolish enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit,
We will serve with the Spirit in calming the fears of the world.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 19, 2015 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 7:14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34; 53-56

Call to Worship
Neighbors and newcomers, families and strangers,
we gather in this place built by God’s steadfast love.
Strugglers and stragglers, pilgrims almost at the end of the journey,
each of us is seeks to follow Jesus, the compassionate One.
Builders of bridges in fractured communities,
those who stand on either side of walls of fear,
the Spirit of faithfulness calls us to live as one people – God’s people!

Prayer of the Day
God of aliens and strangers:
make the doors of this church
wide enough so that all find a welcome,
a home, a haven, a heart.

Christ of the near
and those who are far off:
make our hearts wide enough
so that all might find a place
in this household of faith.

Welcoming Spirit
of saints and sinners:
open our arms wide enough
so that all -
the guest, the neighbor,
the child, the widow,
the politician, the homeless,
the brother, the sister -
may be embraced
by your love and grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
open your arms wide enough
to enfold us in your heart,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(Our Father . . .)

Call to Reconciliation
Do we really want God to dwell within us, or are we only willing to 'rent out' space for a brief visit?  Our actions, our words, our silence, our fears all show the presence, or absence, of God in our lives.  Let us empty ourselves of all which burdens us, and welcome the One who lives with us forever.  Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Steadfast God, we confess that we are so busy putting up walls between ourselves and others, we cannot see the home you are building for all of us.  We spend so much time noting the differences between us and others, while you are embracing everyone as your child.  We run to welcome those who look, talk, and act like us, and you throw open your doors to the stranger, the alien, in our midst.
   Forgive us, Faithful Heart.  By your grace, help us to see the household you are building for all people: there are no plastic protectors on the furniture; there are no rooms that are off-limits; and even the smallest child is welcome to sit at the big peoples' Table and be fed by your grace.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our peace, our hope, our Lord, our Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do you remember?  At one time, you were without Christ; you were the stranger, the outsider, and the alien.  But now, in Christ, you have been brought home, living in God's household of hope and peace.
God's covenant with us is everlasting; God's steadfast love is forever; God's forgiveness makes us new and whole.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Because you have compassion on us, Steadfast Love, you do not hold anything back, but fill us with your good gifts.  May we share from our abundance, as well as from our need, so our offerings might be an enduring witness to your hope, your peace, and your healing for all.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Faithful One be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts to the one who has reconciled us.
We offer them as enduring witnesses to God’s steadfast love.
Sing to the One who is our Strength and our Hope.
We offer glad songs to the One who is our God.
Now, when chaos has settled in,
you spoke to Word and Spirit,
“Go, do all that you and in mind,”
and creation burbled forth into being:
   icy springs for hot summer days,
   color-changing leaves for kids to play in,
   grassy meadows just right for bare feet.
You appointed a place for us next to you
in your garden of wonders,
   but we hurried after death,
   begging sin to be our best friend.
Prophets came, hoping by their words
to draw us away from temptation’s playgrounds,
   yet we continued to cross over
   to seduction’s side every time.
You would not leave us without hope,
but having compassion for all your children,
sent Jesus to proclaim Jesus everywhere.
With those who have forsaken your grace,
with those who model your steadfast love,
we praise your name in these moments:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is always with us.
Creation calls out in joy to you, their God.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who has compassion for all.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God our salvation,
and your blessed Child could have stayed
in that lonely place called Glory,
   but he recognized our troubles
   and chose to come to us.
He could have secured the borders
of your kingdom to keep us immigrants out,
   but tore down the barriers we built,
   so we might cross more easily
   over that bridge called Faithfulness.
Having compassion on us,
he crossed to that deserted place called death,
   so we might recognize the Risen Lord
   as he came to embrace us in your resurrection love.
As we remember Christ’s great compassion for us,
as we seek to live as those who have hope,
we speak of that mystery called faith:
Christ became our death, so we might live.
Christ became our live, so we might know peace.
Christ will come in peace, so we might have hope.
As we gather around this Table,
we would come, not as strangers
but those who are called into your family
of steadfast love and faithfulness.
You have poured out the Spirit of strength
upon the bread which is broken for us,
   so we might go to tear down
   all the walls which divide us,
      to build bridges of reconciliation
      to all with whom we are broken.
You pour the grace of the Spirit
into the cup which is passed to us,
   so we might recognize those
   who are our sisters and brothers,
      not outsiders we need to fear.
As we feast on this meal of remembrance,
as we join hands and hearts with those around us,
   may we recognize that
   we are woven together with
   the scarlet threads of steadfast love and faithfulness.

And when we come away from this time we call life,
when we cross to that promised place called home,
we will gather with all who have journeyed before and after us,
offering enduring witness to your hope, peace, and forgiveness,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
Now go, to greet stranger and dear friend equally.
We will share God’s steadfast love as we seek to live in faithfulness.
Now go, to share Christ’s compassion with everyone.
We will tear down dividing walls and build bridges of hope.       
Now go, to live as one as the Spirit gathers you with others.
We will build communities that welcome all, especially the outsiders.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 12, 2015 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

Call to Worship
In Jesus Christ, the Child of God, we hear, and see,
the Word of peace, which is for all people:
we gather to tell the world that peace is God's will for us.
In Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all creation, we hear, and see,
the healing of the broken, which is for all people:
we gather to proclaim the good news of God's faithfulness and justice.
In Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Brother, we hear, and see,
the inheritance of God, which is for all people:
we gather to share with our sisters and brothers this glorious grace we have received.

Prayer of the Day
In the chorus
of the cardinal and turtledove,
all creation sings your praise:
Giver of Grace.
Steadfast love whispers to us
on the breezes of summer,
while faithfulness runs barefoot
in the backyards of our hearts,
calling to us to come play forever
in your fields of peace.

Justice calls to our souls,
Plumb Line of Peace,
daring us to reach out
to the broken, the hungry,
the needy, the hopeless:
to share with them
the rich inheritance
of acceptance and healing
which has been given to us.

The evensong of the frogs
in summer's gentle mist
lullabies us in the gentleness
of your steadfast love,
Spirit of God:
cradling us in your grace
and healing us with your peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our praise to you as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Peace is the heirloom promised to us, forgiveness is the inheritance passed on to us through Christ.  May we know God's peace, and be healed of our brokenness, as we confess our sins to God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Why are we always willing to descend into the worst areas life offers to us, but reluctant to come into your presence, Holy One?  How can we stand on sin's shaky foundations, yet find it impossible to dance in your joy?  Why are we so quick to trumpet our hollow achievements, and do not seem to be able to hear your whispers of hope for us?
    Forgive us, Grace's Glory, and fill us with your mercy.  May we set our hope in Jesus Christ, who came so we might become your children, inheritors of love, peace, and faithfulness forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In Christ, God's salvation has come; God's peace kisses our cheeks, wiping away our tears, and faithfulness takes us by the hand to lead us home to God.
God has called us, God has claimed us, and God has redeemed us.  This is good news for all of creation!  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
In this company of seekers, we find our inheritance – the deep richness of God’s grace.  With this company of seekers, we offer our gifts, so that others might be able to set their hopes on Christ, with whom we are all blessed by God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the peace of God be with all the saints gathered at this Table.
And also with you.
As God blesses us with these gifts, let us offer our hearts.
We open them, that God may bless us at this meal.
Let us sing and dance our way to the Table of grace!
We join in the celebration of all who have received this inheritance!

Gathering up all that is good and beautiful,
God of all wonder and glory,
you shaped the universe and all that is in it:
soft summer breezes dancing across verdant plains,
snow-capped mountains
   reflecting the sunrise each new morning.
It was your good pleasure
to create us in your image,
it was your glorious grace
that filled us with your life.
Yet, seeing the dazzling seductions
offered by sin and death,
we rushed back to you, imploring
you to give us our every desire.
Deeply grieved by our rebellion,
you sent the company of prophets
to lead us back to your heart,
but we continued to dance
with the wrong partners.
In the fullness of your wisdom,
you sent Jesus, to seek our faces,
and to turn us back to you.

So now, with those who praise you
with song and silence, with tambourines and organs,
we proclaim the riches of your grace:

Holy, holy, holy, God who has blessed us with Christ!
All creation is yours,
    for the riches of your grace are poured upon it.
Holy, holy, holy!  Just and merciful are you,
God in Community, Holy in One!

Holy indeed are you, God of every blessing,
and blameless is Jesus Christ, your Beloved.
He sets free all imprisoned
by their fears, as well as their past.
He proclaims good news to the poor,
and challenges the rich to generous lives.
He gave himself into death's hands
and was laid into a cold tomb.
He leaped from the grave,
teaching us resurrection's dance.

We offer our songs of joy to you, knowing
that whenever we eat the bread and share the cup,
we live out that mystery we call faith:

Holy, he humbled himself with our death;
blameless, he was raised to new life;
gracious, he will return in the fullness of time.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray,
as you gather us all in this place.
As we take and taste
the Bread of Heaven,
may its brokenness become our healing,
that we may become hope
to a world shattered by fear.
As we share the Cup,
may its grace become our fullness,
that we might empty ourselves
to become blessings to those who long
for peace and reconciliation in their lives.

And when all time has been fulfilled
and you gather up all your children to yourself,
with clean hands and pure hearts
we will gather around your Table in glory,
singing our praises to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

We are sent by God, to be God’s people in the world.
We will go to sing of God’s joy and hope to all.
We are called by Christ, adopted into God’s gracious family.
We will go to share the good news of Christ’s grace for everyone.
We are chosen by the Spirit to care for and serve creation.
We will go to join hands with our sisters and brothers in every moment.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

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!

you touch us to make us whole;
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)

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.

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.

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