Saturday, July 22, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 30, 2017 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - A)

Texts:  1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Call to Worship
Come and worship, proclaim God's ways of faithfulness and steadfast love.
We will tell of God's love, which unfolds in our lives.
Come and worship, for we are God's people, rejoicing in his graciousness.
God is always with us, there is nothing which can keep us apart.
Come to the One who tells stories; worship our God who keeps promises.
We rejoice with God who is with us always.

Prayer of the Day
In this kingdom
where the hopeless
are thrown into
Lake Forgotten forever,
   you cast your net,
   drawing them
   into your embrace,
   cradling them in your heart.

In this kingdom
where folks turn anorexic
gorging on greed,
while the poor scratch
in famine's fallow fields,
   you wander in,
   offering top dollar
   for the pearls of grace
   they uncover.

In this kingdom
where hope and faith,
patience and peace
have been sold as showpieces
for fancy museums,
   you come,
   purchasing them back,
   polishing off the dust,
   handing them back to us
   so we can see the reflection
of that kingdom
you forged for us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray, saying
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
It is not our past which keeps us from God, for that is behind us.  It is not our present, for God is with us on this day.  And our future is held tight in God's hands.  It is true - there is absolutely nothing which can separate us from God.  Whatever sins we have committed, God's forgiveness and love take them away forever.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     What can we say about our foolish lives, God of Love?  Too often, we choose to worship power when we could serve others in humility.  We toss and turn at night, all those things over which we have no control keeping us wide awake, when we could turn them over to you.  No matter how many times we hear the news that death has lost its power over us, we dread that day and try everything we can to postpone it.
     For believing that our sins are more powerful than your mercy, forgive us, Grace of the world.  You cast out your net of grace so that all might be gathered into your kingdom.  Your Spirit carries the whispers of our hearts to you, and we are embraced with your hope, blessed with your love through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Who has the right to judge us?  Only Christ.  Yet Christ died for us, Christ was raised for us, Christ reigns in power over us - Christ even prays for us!
This is the love which binds us to God forever.  There is nothing in this world, or beyond, which will keep us from being God's children.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts to you, Steadfast Love, not because you need them, but so others might be as blessed as we are by your presence, your power, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God whose life is stronger than death be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who searches your hearts.
We open them to God, who justifies us.
Let us give thanks to God who shows us steadfast love.
We sing to the Lord, whose grace is kept in our hearts.

What then are we to say, God of creative thought?
You carved mountains out of valleys,
     poured rivers to the seas,
     created galaxies so numerous they cannot be counted,
     and shaped us from the dust of the stars.
You walked before us in righteousness,
inviting us to follow in your footsteps,
     but we bought fields filled with fools' gold,
     and threw out our nets until they
          overflowed with temptations.
Prophets came, to impart wisdom to us,
but tears ran down their cheeks as
we continued to be conformed to sin.
Turning to us, you were gracious enough
to send Jesus to us, to help us in our weakness.

With those who listen and understand,
with those who seek a discerning mind,
we sing our thanksgivings to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who justifies us.
All creation rejoices in your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who reveals your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest!

What then are we to say,
Searcher for God's most precious possessions?
Like a farmer,
     you plant seeds into insignificant people,
     watching them grow into servants.
Like a baker,
     you mix the least with the mighty,
                    the poor with the rich,
                    the weak with the strong,
     to shape your inclusive kingdom.
Like a lover,
     you withhold nothing from those
     you carry in your heart,
          even dying so that we might
          have life forever with God.

As we rejoice that Jesus gave us everything,
as we remember nothing stands between us and God,
we speak of that mysterious faith which is ours:

Christ died, giving up his own life for us;
Christ was raised, God's treasure brought forth
          from the potter's field;
Christ will intercede for us, with joy and hope.

What then are we to say,
Spirit of the Sighs?
In the bread shaped for the healing,
you unfold the Word to us,
     feeding us on God's hopes
     until we seethe over
     the injustices of our time.
In the cup prepared for the pouring,
     you fill us with light,
     so we can journey into
     the shadows of our world,
     searching for those thrown
     aside by our society.

And when time ends,
when there is nothing more to say,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth to proclaim God's constant love.
We will live out that love for everyone we meet.
Go forth to unfold God's Word to the world.
We will gather up the tears of those around us,
as we offer the healing grace of Jesus.
Go forth to tell stories of hope and peace.
We will spread the Spirit of life all around us.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 23, 2017 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 86:11-17; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30,  36-43

Call to Worship
From the moment we open our eyes each morning,
until we close them at night, God is with us.
There is no one like you, our God!
In times when we are surrounded with struggles,
in all the surprising places we find hope, Jesus is with us.
There is no one like you, our Brother!
When we feel orphaned by the world,
when we are welcomed into faith's family,
the Holy Spirit is with us.
There is no one like you, Witnessing Spirit!

Prayer of the Day
You we praise, Steadfast Love,
for your presence never abandons us,
but is at our side in all of life.
There is no cobwebbed corner
that is not claimed by your grace.

You we praise, Teller of parables.
Your words challenge us in moments of doubt,
as well as in our times of great faith.
When we run around in circles
chasing our worries and fears
like a dog after it's tail,
you whisper hope to us.

You we praise, Spirit who calls to our hearts.
Your voice is that gentle whisper
in a world filled with angry shouts;
your joy is that refreshing shower
when despair parches our souls;
your wonder opens our eyes and ears
to the gifts which surround our lives.

You we praise, God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we fail to live as God's people, we are like flowers which give way to weeds.  But God seeks us out, not to condemn us, but to comfort, to forgive, and to bring us home.  Let us stop playing hide-and-seek with our God, as we confess our sins together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Insolently we turn against you, God of truth.  When we follow those desires that control us; when we live for ourselves, shutting off the gifts of those around us; when we think we do not need to share love, hope, peace with others, we show how we have joined that league of hooligans who ignore your way of life.
     Yet, you have chosen to adopt us as your children, God-who-stands-with-us, forgiving us and making us inheritors with Jesus of your grace and joy.  So lead us by the Spirit, that we might follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into creation which groans for love and healing.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In sorrow so deep we cannot find our way out,
      God cradles us in comfort;
in moments so shadowed we trip over our fears,
      God lights the way for us;
in joy which cascades into our souls,
      God fills us with healing.
Even when we cannot see it, God's hope is all around us, surrounding us with peace and healing.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven !  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

Your steadfast love is but one of the many gifts you pour into us.  Our offerings are but a part of the ways in which we can serve you and your people.  Bless them, and bless us, to ministries of healing and hope.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift your hearts to your Creator.
We offer them to the One who fills us with wonder.
Children of God, join in glad songs of praise to God.
We join the psalmists and prophets, the disciples and the doubters in glorifying God.

Who is like you, whimsical God?
You could have kept creation for yourself,
but instead you
     poured light into the shadows of chaos,
     planted seeds for crops to strengthen all,
     shaped companions to journey with us.
You freely give these gifts to those
who are made in your loving image,
     but from old, we choose over and over
     to trust in sin and death,
     believing their tangible temptations
     to be of more value than your unseen hope.
Prophets come along to teach us your way,
so we might walk in your truth,
     but we consider them to be a
     troupe of troublemakers
     and chase them away.
Finally Jesus came, to gather up your children,
so we might shine like the Son in your kingdom.

With those who remain indebted to the flesh,
with those who owe their life to the Spirit,
we join our voices in praising you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
All creation groans, awaiting your redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gives us listening ears.
Hosanna in the highest!


Who is like you, Story Teller?
You left the crowds of angels
and came into our world.
With parables and simple truths,
you opened our ears so we could listen
     to words of joy and comfort.
Grounded in that hope no one can see,
you opened our eyes so we can glimpse
     touch, taste, and live in the kingdom.
You suffered on the cross to break
the hold sin and death have on us,
     so by the grace of your resurrection,
     we become your sisters and brothers,
     joint heirs of God's constant grace.

As we wait with eager longing for you,
as we celebrate this feast of heaven,
we declare that faith which is a mystery:

Christ died, refusing to fall back into fear;
God raised him, revealing glory to us;
Christ will come to gather us into the kingdom.


Who is like you, Spirit of Creation?
You plant the seeds that become
the grain which is turned into bread;
you warm the vines that nurture
the grapes which are for the cup;
you transform these simple gifts
into a meal set at the children's Table.
May the broken bread give us strength
     so we may go to serve
     the vulnerable with our whole hearts.
May the cup offered to us open our ears
     so we may listen to the oppressed
     with attention focused only on them.

Then, when all creation is gathered up at the end
and all your children from every age and place
gather around that Table prepared from your hope,
we will spend all eternity forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will greet everyone as one of the family.
Go forth as followers of Jesus.
We will serve everyone we meet, especially those who have been thrown aside by the world.
Go forth with the gifts of the Spirit in you.
We will be that hope which everyone longs to see.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 16, 2017 (Pentecost 6/Trinity 5/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65:1-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Call to Worship
Fresh corn dripping with butter,
juicy peaches topping our cereal:
praise is due to you, God of the harvest!
Children chasing fireflies in evening's shadows,
families picnicking in the backyard:
Praise is due to you, God of summer days!
Mothers tightening training wheels on bikes,
fathers teaching kids to bait a hook:
praise is due to you, God of our lives!

Prayer of the Day

You open our hearts, O God,
as you put a sail on your hope
so it may reach the furthest
shores of our despair.
Your showers of grace
fall softly upon the loose soil
of our dried-up dreams.

Your words do not return
empty to you, Story-teller.
They take root deep within us,
blossoming into gentleness
which can comfort a broken heart,
into compassion which can transform
a cold shoulder into an embrace,
into kindness which can make
a curmudgeon break into laughter.

You move into our lives,
Spirit of life,
quietly taking those fears
which trip us in the night hours
and putting them out in the trash;
gently watering the seeds
planted in our inept souls
until they become bushels of grace.

We join all in coming to you
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We could offer seeds of hope, but don't.  We could help a friend with a difficult problem, but won't.  We could smooth the way for someone stumbling through life, but can't.  Let us confess our harvest of sin to our God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We know the seeds we have sown, Harvesting God: anger which springs from our flinty hearts; bitterness which flows like a rushing river into another's heart; hurtful words which wrap their thorny briars around a friend's kindness; passion which poisons an innocent relationship.
     Forgive us, Loving God, and have mercy.  Your grace can turn our fallow hearts into rich fields of love.  Your hope can smooth the rocks in our way, so we can go to be reconciled to another.  Your love for us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, can untangle the thorny mess we have made of our lives.  Bless us with these gifts, we pray.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
No ifs, no ands, no buts.  Now there is no condemnation - period!  God answers all our hurts, our wrongs, our sin with salvation.  Believe this good news, my friends.
We are stunned by your grace, and embraced in your love, Forgiving God, and lift our thanks to you.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

What we offer may not seem significant in a world of so much, Caring God, but we pray they may become seeds of hope, of grace, of change, of life to all those around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Sower of grace be with you!
And also with you!
Seeds of hope and joy are planted in you.
May our hearts yield a rich harvest for God.
Join your voices with the valleys and mountains in praise.
We rejoice in the One who welcomes us at this Table.

You cast your seeds upon chaos,
Sower of creation, and
     pastures overflowed with flocks,
     valleys brought forth flowers to welcome you,
     mountains sang out their praises to you
          as trees clapped out the beat.
We were shaped in your image
to enjoy all these generous gifts,
     but we chose to walk the rocky paths
     of sin and death, their thorny temptations
     choking us off from your hopes for us.
Prophets came to us with joy,
hoping to lead us back to you in peace,
     but we sent them away empty-handed,
     scattering their words on our sinful paths
     like bread crumbs left for birds of prey.
Yet you would not leave us condemned,
and sent Jesus to accomplish your hopes.

With those whose ears are wide open,
with those who struggle to walk with you,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Presence.
All creations is stunned by your deeds.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Sower of the good news.
Hosanna in the highest!


Your holiness fills the earth with hope,
and Jesus Christ is the everlasting sign
we will not be separated from you.
He walked the dusty paths,
     picking us up from where
     the world had cast us aside.
He  gathered up all the rocks
which fill our lives,
     so your word might take root
     deep within us.
He prunes all the twisted briars
of sin and death
     so that your resurrection
     might bloom for us all.

As we gather for this memorial feast,
as we seek to hear and understand his words,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, condemning sing to death;
God raised Christ, giving him new life;
Christ will come for us again, refusing to return to God empty-handed.


The Sower casts out the seeds
and the grain comes forth
to provide substance for the Bread.
The rain and snow refresh the vines,
the plump grapes ripened
to fill the Cup of life.
Your Spirit gathers us these gifts
and prepares the Table for your people
who, blessed with your presence, go forth
     to bring hope and life to others;
and who, set free from sin and death,
    go to release neighbors and strangers
    from hunger, fear, doubts, and loneliness.

Then, when time has ended,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
around your table of grace and peace,
and satisfied with your goodness
we will join all creation in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will sow seeds of love and joy in the world.
Go forth as Christ's true friends.
We will sow seeds of justice and hope in oppression-strewn paths.
Go forth as the Spirit's love.
We will sow seeds of peace and reconciliation in every corner of creation.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 9, 2017 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 9/Ordinary 14 - A)

Texts:  Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Call to Worship
Come to our God, all who hunger for life:
for it is God who nourishes us at the Table of Grace
Come to our God, all who are worn out by life:
for it is God who provides the rest we need.
Come to our God, all who are weighed down:
for it is our God who carries our burdens with us.

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God:
you sing a song
of silence
to our noisy hearts,
inviting us to still
our fidgeting souls,
and find our peace
in your cupped hands
which cradle us.

Jesus Christ,
Wanderer of the kingdom:
you are called
to reveal God to us
and do so in
    the tenderness of your touch,
    the gentleness of your words,
    the goodness of your heart,
    the peace of your shared yoke.

Spirit of Rest:
your childlike presence
opens our eyes
to the wonders of the world.
As we hand you
our anger, our hurt, our sin,
may our burdens
become our songs of joy.

May we find our rest, our hope, in you,
God in Community, Holy in One
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Fretful, agitated, longing for more and more of this and that, we spend our lives in a never-ending, never-fulfilled search for that which satisfies.  But Christ knows that we will only find the end of our journey in God, and so invites us to that peaceful place known as God's heart.  May we let go of our burdens of anger, hurt and sin so we can find our rest.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We are so skilled at being in control, at taking charge, Sabbath-Taking God, that we are not very good at resting.  We think we have to be constantly busy, so we have no time for you.  We are trained to be extremely productive, and so create our harried, stress-filled lives.
   Forgive us, Shalom Giving God.  Help us to let go of our distractions, so you can act in us; calm our creaturely activity, so you can re-create us; help us to follow Jesus, not only into discipleship, but into our rest with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It sounds so simple, we think it is too simple.  But which is the burden you would choose: hate or love; anger or forgiveness; pain or peace?  God invites us to receive the gifts which make it possible to have lives of faithful obedience.
This is the good news:  God forgives us and takes our burdens from us.  We would let go of them and welcome hope, joy, grace into our lives.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You invite us to offer our pain, our burdens, our troubles to you, and we do so easily.  Yet when you challenge us to offer our abundance for others, we resist and grumble.  Help us to be as welcoming, as caring, as generous as you, Loving God, as we share our gifts with you and the world.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
and also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who invites us to rest in the heart of the Trinity.
People of God, give thanks to the One who offers you rest.
We bring our thanksgiving to God, who sings to us of peace.

With hearts filled with joy,
we bring our praise to you,
God of Rest.
On the first morning of creation,
you whispered of peace,
and the cacophony of chaos
was stilled.
You walked softly
through the grasses of the earth
and all creation
sang of your goodness.
Created to find our peace with you,
our fretful desire to be in control
led us into a nomadic existence
of rebellion against you.
Prophets spoke and angels sang
to invite us home,
but our stubborn pride
only grew stronger.
When the burden of our sin
became too great for your heart,
you sent Jesus to carry it for us.

With those who have found their rest in you,
with those who long for their burdens to be lifted,
we join in singing your praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of the weary.
All creation celebrates your name in all generations.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who yokes himself to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of our footloose hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son,
our Lord and Savior.
Watching our restless striving
for more and more,
he modeled the life
of self-denial and service;
seeing us weighed down
with the burdens of sin and death,
he picked up his cross,
carried it to Calvary,
where he died to give us life.

As we remember his life and his rest in you,
as we celebrate the good news of lightened burdens,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ came, that we may have life;
Christ died, so that the burden of death might be lifted from us;
Christ was raised to new life, so grace might be revealed to every generation;
Christ will return, to yoke us to God through all eternity.

Pour out your Spirit of rest and shalom
upon this bread and this cup,
that these gifts might nourish us.
As we find our rest in you,
may we become restless
in service to your children;
as we engage with you
in solitude,
may we build a community
of justice and righteousness;
as we listen to your silence,
may we speak out
for all whose voices
are ignored by the world.

Then, when we gather with all
who have found their rest with you
at the Table of the Lamb,
we will sing our praise for all eternity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
We leave with the presence of the Holy,
so we may show others the way to grace and hope.
We leave with Jesus, who draws living water for us,
so we can share it in the heat of summer,
and in the bitterness of winter.
We leave with the Spirit, who teaches us how to listen,
so we may hear the cries of the lonely
and the voices of all who are ignored.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Liturgy for July 2, 2017 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - A)

Texts:  Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
Sing, sing of God's unalterable love!
We will rejoice as we walk in the light of our God.
Tell everyone around you of God's faithfulness.
We will share the stories of the One who experienced
our life in all its fullness.
Shout out loud of God's presence with us,
on this day and in all the days to come.
Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us;
truth and love walk by our side.

Prayer of the Day
In a world shaped by conflict,
where we seem to be slipping
back into tribal divisions,
   you call us to welcome those
   with whom we have absolutely
   nothing in common.
In a culture full of inequalities
which only seem to be widening,
   you call us to treat each person
   as our sister and brother.
In a time of intensifying injustices
which are found in every community,
if not in every neighborhood,
   you call us to yoke ourselves
   to your radical hope.
In a lifestyle which idolizes the individual
to the exclusion of all others,
   you call us to notice
      the parent who works three jobs,
      the dementia-diminished senior,
      the refugee family on the corner.

May we offer not just cups of cold water,
but all that we are and all we have
to those who are in our midst,
even as we pray to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The idol of our times is personal independence, but in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our poor choices, the hurts we cause to others.  Yet, by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions, so let us join in offering our confessions to the One who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It seems so simple, God of compassion, to offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person, yet we know we worry more about how that might inflate our bill at the end of the month.  We are to open our hearts to others, but they may need to be careful lest they slip on our icy attitudes towards them.  People are looking for places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms continue to be the place where only the dust bunnies sleep.
   Forgive us, Radical Hope.  You did not have to become one of us, but you did, so we might know your love.  You did not have to welcome us into your family, but you do, so we might experience unexpected grace in our lives.  You did not have to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we might have life with you forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are filled with living water; longing for a renewed relationship with God, we are welcomed with open arms by the One who forgives us.
Without a doubt, God's love never comes to an end.  We will tell our kids and grandkids of the grace and peace which is ours.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We are not blessed by God so we might hoard them for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who are looking for a community, to feed those who hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the world has cast aside.  Here are our gifts, Holy God.  We pray you will use them as well as us in the work of your kingdom.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of constant love be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who welcomes each and everyone of us to this Table of grace.
We bring our broken hearts so they might be made whole.
Join hands with your sisters and brothers and sing to the One who fills us with hope.
Together we will praise God, who has made us one.

When chaos slammed the door on you,
God of faithfulness,
you whistled up creation and
she tagged along at your side
as your hospitality flowed forth:
   springs to refresh our wearied feet,
   sweet corn to fill our hunger,
   beds of pine needles on which to rest.
We were formed by you
so we might belong to you,
   but we let ourselves be held
   captive by lust, greed, and fear.
Prophets came, seeking to call us back
to you, fulfilling your words of welcome,
   yet we continued to obey our passions.
Jesus came, offering us cups of living water,
words of hope and grace,
wrapping us in arms of joy.

With those who seek your peace,
with those who work for your justice,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of radical hope.
All creation welcomes your words.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in your light.
Hosanna in the highest!

Compassionate God, you are the Voice
behind the Word who comes in Jesus Christ.
When sin would hand us
a pay envelope stuffed
with evil's crumpled bills,
   he fills our pockets
   with your gifts so
   we may be a blessing to others.
When temptation and worry
become our jailers on death row,
   he comes, with your pardon
   in his hands, setting us free
   so we may walk in
   the new light of your hope.

We remember his love and grace offered to all,
we hear his welcome extended to each of us,
as we speak of that mystery of our faith:

Christ died, welcoming our death as his own;
Christ was raised by the gift of God's hope;
Christ will come to fulfill God's words.

Your compassionate welcome is extended
to anyone, any time, any place
as your Spirit is poured out
on the gifts of the Table of life
and on your people gathered for the feast.
Your life, which is broken in love,
becomes the wholeness which strengthens us
   to feed those for whom hunger
   is a constant companion,
   not a skipped meal.
Your grace, which is poured into us,
becomes the hospitality by which
   we welcome itinerant immigrants
      into our communities and hearts;
   we open our arms to every child
      held captive by poverty.

Then, when your glory becomes our home,
and we are gathered around your table -
con artists and poverty's prophets,
the most vulnerable and power brokers -
we will join in singing your praises
through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen  

Sending
Let us go forth to walk in God's light.
We will show others the way to God's heart.
Let us go to bring hope and healing to the world.
With a gift as simple as a cup of water,
and as complex as our lives, we will join Jesus in serving those around us.
Let us go forth to gather up the little ones
of our communities into our homes and hearts.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit,
we are no longer strangers but God's family.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 25, 2017 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - A)

Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10: 24-39

Call to Worship
Troubled prophets and struggling families,
you listen to our voices, whoever we are.
There is no one like you, God of the listening heart.
Those who live in fear, and those who look for signs,
you fill us with hope and surprises.
There is no one like you, God of steadfast love.
Seekers of power, as well as those who serve the vulnerable,
you challenge us to use our gifts for others.
There is no one like you, God of all people. 

Prayer of the Day
God of those empty of hope
and those who are cast out:
into the chaos of every life
you enter with the silence of love;
when we choke on bitter memories,
you hand us the cup of healing;
when we wander down lonely streets,
you bring us home to your heart.

Jesus Christ,
conqueror of sin's power:
into our deepest pain
where life has bottomed out,
you dare to enter;
when we cry out with fear,
you cradle our hearts;
when we face death,
you stride out of the grave,
pointing the way to the kingdom.

Spirit of the forsaken
and bearer of compassion:
you are the mist shimmering
over the valleys,
stirring the waters of creation;
you are the dew bathing
the flowers every morning,
anointing us with resurrection's grace.

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

Call to Reconciliation
We struggle daily with that human tendency to always do wrong, say hurtful things, turn our back to others.  But God will never hold our sins against us or our foolish nature.  Let us confess to our God, who frees us forever from judgment, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In baptism, we are promised new life, God of  grace, yet we continue to focus on those old ways which are so comfortable and seductive.  We are so good at fooling others that we are convinced we can trick you as well.  We have been called to walk with you, and run down those paths paved with foolishness and fears.
     Forgive us, God of steadfast love.  You have claimed our lives in baptism, so we might be set free from sin and be raised to new life.  Just as you save us, so give us the strength to be willing to take up whatever task you give us, and the faith to be willing to lose our lives for others, so we might find life forever with you, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news:  God hears our prayers, our cries, our hearts.  And, in Christ, we receive new life.  We are free, free to walk in the Light of the Lord.
So, this is what we will do.  We will open our hearts to God's grace; we will live as people who have died to sin and who live for Christ.  Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We offer our gifts to you, as well as our lives, Loving God, so they might find their way to those who need your grace, your hope, your joy, and your peace in their lives.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
Saints of God, lift your hearts to the One who saves you.
We offer them to God, who sees our hearts and minds.
Sing to the Lord; praise God's name.
We lift our voices to the One who hears our need-felt songs. 

Chaos tried to restrain you,
but failed, Glorious God,
as you cried out, "Create!"
     and gases spun into galaxies,
     rivers rushed to become seas,
     flowers danced in summer breezes.
You shaped us in your image, pointing to all
that had been crafted from your joyous imagination,
and gifting us with all your love.
     But we loved sin and death
     more than you, and followed them.
You sent prophets, those women and men,
whose hearts burned with your voice,
and called us back to you,
     but we kept fooling ourselves,
     playing our childish games with temptation.
You sent Jesus to us,
so we might once again walk with you.

With reluctant prophets and fearful followers,
we draw near to you with songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every hope. 
Creation sings praises to you in every moment. 
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who delivers the needy.
Hosanna in the highest!


There is no love like you, Steadfast God,
and Jesus Christ is our hope and grace.
Seeing us going down the wrong paths,
   he showed us the streets of the kingdom;
seeing us drowning in pools of seduction,
   he was baptized, so we might be pulled to safety;
seeing us held captive by our worst selves,
   he died and was burined,
   so sin's plans would be destroyed,
   and death would fall flat on its schemes,
and he brought the gift of the resurrection
from the grave.

As we live through these ordinary days,
as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus,
we speak about that mystery called faith:

Christ put on death, to set us free;
You clothed Christ in resurrection, so we might believe;
Christ will come, to clothe us in eternity. 


You turn to us, Holy God,
your arms full of the bread and cup,
your Spirit transforming these gifts
   into a holy feast.
The Table is made ready for your children
who will eat of your salvation
and go forth to remind
   the broken, the lost, the young, the old
   that they are of more value to you
   then the finest songbird.
We will drink of your grace
so we may turn to
   the hungry, the homeless, the fearful
   and embrace them in your love.

And when we gather with the faithful
of every time and of every place,
our sisters and brothers baptized in grace,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
As you leave this place, remember that you may be the only grace
someone will meet this week.
We go, to share God's graciousness with all.
Remember you may be the only love someone will encounter this week.
We go, to be the love of Jesus for all.
Remember you may be the only peace  someone will find this week.
We go, to share the Spirit of hope and reconciliation with all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 18. 2017 (Pentecost 2, Trinity 1, Proper 6, Ordinary 11 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35 – 10:23

Call to Worship
We come to worship our God,
who has done wonders in our lives.
God anoints us with joy and light,
gifts from the treasures of God’s heart.
We come to follow Jesus,
who bears our lives with grace and hope.
Jesus would send us into the brokenness
of the world to bring healing.
We come to be touched by the Spirit,
who brings gentleness and peace for all.
The Spirit would enable us to offer
reconciliation and justice to everyone we meet.  

Prayer of the Day
We would sing glad songs
to you, Commissioning God,
   as we enter your heart
   with thanksgiving on our lips,
for you are
   that love which never ends;
   that joy which overflows;
   that faith which is always full.

We would proclaim our praise
to you, Voice of compassion,
   as you would send us
   into the world in which we live,
for you are
   the Word we can speak to power;
   the healing we can offer to the broken;
   the justice which can replace oppression.
 
We would offer our hands and hearts
to you, Imaginative Spirit,
   as you teach us new steps
   in this dance we call life,
for you are
   the cleanser of our messy hearts,
   the breath of hope for shallow lungs,
   the password for access to grace.
 
With our hearts, voices, bodies, souls,
we offer joyful noise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as taught by you,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
We hunt for those links which offer life, but they are all broken.  We keep searching for hope, only to be sent from one false site to another.  But God, freely and faithfully, offers us the access to grace we need, through Jesus Christ.  Let us join in offering our prayers to the One who is our hope, our life, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
   Of course, we will do everything you ask, Faithfulness of creation, even as we cross our souls behind our backs.  Yes, we could go where people are suffering, but we like the comfort of our homes.  Yes, we could be with others as they seek to endure life, but compassion is often hard to share.  Yes, we could offer hope to the hungry and homeless, but we barely have enough for ourselves.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love, and have mercy on us.  Remind us that is was when we were most foolish, that you became fallible; it was when we were vile, that you became so vulnerable; when the world would not welcome us, that Jesus came – to listen to our emptiness, to comfort our grieving hearts, and to cast out death’s power over us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God as done it!  God has carried away our foolishness.  God has brought us out of despair and hope, and made us God’s precious treasure.
We give thanks to our God, whose love is fresh and new in every moment, whose faithfulness is forever.  Amen.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could be the healing for those who suffer;
we could be the strength for those who long to endure;
we could be the hope for those buffeted by the world, and so,
we offer ourselves, as well as our gifts,
in hopes that you will bless others who are in your heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of faithfulness be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open our hearts to God in this moment.
We offer our hearts to the One who does all things for us.
People of God, lift your voices in songs of praise.
We will make a joyful noise to the One who is our life.
 
Before time began, your faithfulness  
was ever present, God of Grace,
and your never-ending love
poured out beauty and goodness,
transforming chaos into
   full moons treading across the night,
   dinosaurs lumbering through valleys,
   bees pollinating flowers and making honey.
All this – the earth, the rivers, the wonders –
were for those you formed in your image,
   but when we could go anywhere,
   we chose the comforts of sin and death.
You called women and men as prophets,
sending them out with only your hopes in hand,
   but we turned away from them, offering contempt,
   not compassion, when we saw them.
So, you sent your precious Treasure
to become one of us that
we might become your holy people.
 
With all those who make a joyful noise,
and those who only rumble the notes,
we sing glad songs of praise to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy, are you, God of steadfast love.
Not only we, but all creation sings of your faithfulness.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes to everyone, everywhere.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
When the time was right, Heart of holiness,
you looked with compassion on us,
and sent your Child to be our hope and blessings.
He came, not with judgment on his lips,
   but proclaiming your grace;
he came, not to aggravate us,
   but to palliate our foolishness;
he came, not to knock us down,
   but to lift us when we stumble;
he came, not to watch us die,
   but to stand at the emptiness of death,
   pointing and proclaiming we have nothing to fear,
because of your steadfast love
which became our resurrection hope.
 
As we would seek to see others through his compassionate eyes,
as we would go to serve his people,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:
 
Christ suffered for us, so we might endure;
Christ died for us, showing us the character of grace;
Christ was raised for us, resurrection bringing us hope;
Christ will come for us, and we will not be disappointed.
 
At this time, ever faithful God,
pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup
and all your children gathered here.
May the bread of broken life
strengthen us so we may
   go wherever there is need,
   feed whoever is hungry,
   cleanse the world of fear and worry.
As we drink from the cup of grace,
may we be nourished
   to offer access to grace to everyone,
   to bring healing to the lonely,
   to mourn with those who grieve.
 
Then, beyond the end of time, gather us
with our sisters and brothers from all places
around your Feast of faithfulness,
as we sing of your steadfast love forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
God sends us out to bear witness to grace.
We will speak of all God has done.
Jesus sends us out into every neighborhood and community.
We will go to bear the burdens of everyone we meet.
The Spirit sends us out on a journey of faithfulness.
We will go to see everyone through the eyes of compassion.
 
© 2017 Thom M. Shuman