Monday, October 24, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for October 30, 2016 (Pentecost 24/Trinity 23/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - C)

Texts: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10
 Call to Worship
We gather in awe
standing in the presence of the One
who crafted the stars, the mountains, the seas.
We gather in faith,
trusting that the One who has held little children
holds our lives in the heart of God.
We gather in need,
seeking the One who longs for justice
to grace each and every person in creation.

Prayer of the Day

You stirred the dust
     and created us for service;
you breathed into our lungs
     so we could share your good news;
you shape our hearts
with the tools of compassion
     so we will seek justice for all.
We thank you, God of gifts.
In the hospitality of Zaccheus,
     we see your openness
          for all who are different;
in the grumbling of his neighbors,
     we hear the echoes
          of our own prejudices and fears;
in his transformation
into a new person,
     we see your grace
          which is prepared for us.
We thank you,
Companion of the poor.
You cradle us in the peace
     of the resting night;
you awaken us
     with the light of dawn
          and the warmth of your gentleness;
you walk with us through each day,
     nudging us to be that blessing
          we are called to be to others.
We thank you,
Surprising Spirit.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our thanks to you,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
(The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
How patient is God! We run around trying to do everything our way, and God just waits. We try to buy life and happiness, and God waits. We hurt others and walk away from those in need, and God waits. God waits, and upon hearing our heartfelt prayers and cries for help, God touches us with forgiveness and new life. Come, join me as we pray to the One who waits to hear - from us!
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Surrounded by so many seductions, Patient God, we find it difficult to see you in our lives. Justice has a hard time surviving when there is so much persecution and affliction towards the little ones of the world. Our neighborhoods, our families, even our churches, are filled with strife and contention.

     We cry for help, Listening God; forgive us! As we wait for your grace to fill our lives, may we open our hearts to your hope and healing, always giving thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Rich, poor; young, old; sinner, saint. We are all God's children, and God transforms each of us into the people we are meant to be.
Broken, we are mended; separated from others, we are made one; longing to serve, we are sent forth. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
How easily we overlook the Zaccheus in our midst - the father short of money, the woman short of hope, the children short of food.  As we offer our gifts, we pray you would open our hearts to recognize all around us, especially those looking for you in us.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of all hope be with you.
And also with you. 
Lift your hearts to the One who comes to feast with you.
We offer our hearts to God who is in our midst.
Children of God, sing praises to the One
who feeds you with goodness and hope.
Our hearts and voices resound with joy.
In your heart, God of wonder,
you wrote the vision of creation,
and the Word shaped the mountains
     from the rich loam of the valleys,
your Spirit breathed life into every
     which sprang forth from your imagination.
Welcomed into your garden with hope,
we forgot your words of hospitality,
     running to catch a glimpse of the parade
     of seductions sin and death brought to town.
Prophets came, your vision written on their hearts,
your voice standing behind their words
which sought to bring us back to you,
     but we took no delight in their invitations.
So you sent your Beloved, Jesus the Christ,
to be the guest of sinners in every time and place,
that we might receive the gift of salvation.
So, with reformers and saints who have gone before us,
with friends and neighbors sitting around us,
we lift our songs of praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of justice and righteousness.
All creation keeps watch for your justice.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to call us home.
Hosanna in the highest.

In your heart, Forgiving God,
you wrote the vision of redemption,
and sent Jesus, your Servant of righteousness,
to your people at the appointed time.
When our zeal for sin consumed us,
     he came to feed us with the bread of life;
when our souls were emptied out
by the corruption of death,
     he came to grow abundant faith in us;
when we saw only destruction on the horizon,
     he came to stand at his watchpost,
          defeating sin and death so they could
          never harm us again,
and inviting us to find life and peace
in your heart's home for all eternity.
As we remember his life, his teachings, his words,
as we celebrate the good news of his resurrection,
we speak of our faith, which often seems a mystery:
Christ died, faithful to the end;
Christ was raised, your righteousness come true;

Christ will return, our hope and peace.

In your heart, Blessing God,
your wrote the vision of a community
which would live out your kingdom here on earth,
pouring out your Spirit of life and grace
upon the gifts of the Bread and Cup,
and on your people gathered for your Feast.
As we are fed by your Word become life,
     give us understanding so we might hear
          those who are crying out for hope;
as we are nourished by your Spirit of peace,
     may we go to all who live surrounded by oppression,
          bringing justice to every place
          where it has never prevailed.
And when we are gathered in that vision
of life forever which is written in your heart,
we will join our sisters and brothers
from every time and place, forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God gives us the vision,
so let us go to see others as our sisters and brothers.
Jesus gives us the eyes,
so let us look in all the unexpected places
to welcome all into our lives.
The Spirit calls us to watch,
so let us bear witness to the justice and hope
coming into our shattered world.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for Reformation Sunday

Texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

Call to Worship
Be still!
We come to quiet ourselves in this haven of holiness.
Be still and know . . .
we come to discern the Word that can set us free.
Be still and know that God is . . .
our Hope, our Help, our Refuge, and our Redeemer.

Prayer of the Day
You break the cycle of wars,
     so we may be enriched by your peace;
you shatter the grip of violence,
     so we may be freed from our fears;
you plant your words of hope deep within us,
carving on our hearts:
     'you are mine.'
You give us the word we need,
     so we might live in your grace,
God of Creation.

You freely become one of us,
     so we could be liberated
     from our addiction to sin;
you take us by the hand
     to lead us out of our doubts;
you give us the words we need,
     so we can continue to share
     your good news of life,
Friend of the needy.
You pull us to safety
     when sin's waters swirl around our feet;
you surround us with serenity
     when doubts rattle our souls;
you give us words we need,
     whenever we wander
     onto the paths of trouble,
Spirit of Holiness.
God in Community, Holy in One,
you give us the words we need
to pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We can no longer flatter ourselves about how good we are. We do not need to make grandstand plays to get God's attention. We only need to confess our lives, as God makes good on the promises of grace and mercy. Join me as we ask God to reform us into God's children, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
      Heart of the Covenant: we have known your hopes for us, and disappointed every one of them; we have heard your words of faithfulness, and forgotten every one of them; we have seen your dreams for us, and turned every one of them into ashes.
     Forgive us, Hope's Heart. Silence every blustering word, so we may hear your mercy; still every feeble attempt to justify ourselves, so we may be made right with you; melt every frozen heart, so we might be drenched in your river of joy. May Jesus Christ continue to live in us, so we might be free to live forever with you.
Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Be still and know the good news: God has not forsaken nor forgotten us, but redeems us.
Why should we be afraid? God is in our midst - forgiving, restoring, sending. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
They are all around us - the lonely, the fearful, the forgotten, the hurting.  We dare not forget them, or forsake them as so many have.  Rather, with these gifts we offer, and the lives we will lead, we will go to be in their midst, bringing healing and hope.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God our refuge be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, lift your hearts to the One who created you.
We offer them to God, who writes words of hope upon our hearts.
God's children, come to the Table of grace.
We will feast on the wonders of the God who loves us.

You took creation by the hand,
leading it out of chaos,
     as the first morning dawned,
     mountains trembling in the mist,
     running rivers which gladdened your heart,
God of our lives.
You created all this for us,
giving us peace and righteousness
to be our playmates in the fields of grace.
     But when we beheld the works
     of temptation, sin, and death,
          we became their slaves,
          writing their lies on our hearts.
Longing to be our God,
you sent the prophets
to call us to be your people,
     but we refused to listen.
Finally, Jesus came, the bearer
of truth and freedom for all.
With those whose hearts are broken,
and those who long for your days of peace,
we sing our thanksgiving to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who forms our hearts.
All creation finds refuge in your tender care.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who sets us free by your truth!
Hosanna in the highest!
You are our strength, God of holiness,
and Jesus Christ is your Son, our Savior.
When our lives are filled with despair,
     he is our Hope;
when we are lost and cannot find our way,
     he is our Help;
when the world closes its doors and heart to us,
     he is our Refuge;
when sin and death hunger for us,
     he is our Redeemer,
present with us in this life
and in the one to come.
As we remember his life, death, and resurrection,
as he continues to re-form us into your people,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:
Christ died, his heart broken for us;
Christ is risen, resurrection written upon his heart;
Christ is ever with us, in every moment, until your days come.
Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of this Table,
and upon the gathered people
who seek to be your faithful people.
The bread symbolizes that Life, though given,
which can reshape our brokenness into
the peace which a warring world needs,
the hope which can bring healing to others.
The cup which is filled with your grace
can strengthen us to be new people,
who go forth to speak truth to power,
who bring freedom to all the oppressed.
And when your days of eternity finally come,
when we gather as your children around
the Table of wonder and life,
we will sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Because God has not forsaken us,
we will go to be with all rejected by our world.
Because Jesus has not left us alone,
we will be sisters and brothers to all who are lonely.
Because the Spirit has not forgotten us,
we will remember those who are oppressed
and work to bring them justice.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, October 17, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for October 23, 2016 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - C)

Texts: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14

Call to Worship
This is the day the Lord has made:
a day for praise and prayer;
a day for gratitude and generosity.

This is the time God has given us:
a time for singing and silence;
a time for speaking and listening.

This is the life to which God calls us:
a life of humility and service;
a life of faith and trust.

Prayer of the Day
Pour out your Spirit
upon us as we gather,
God of our salvation:
so your grace
      might strengthen us
          for service;
so your peace
     might calm
          our troubled souls;
so your hope
     might mend
          our broken hearts.

You poured out your life
     that we might be filled
     with the gift of salvation.
You humbled yourself
     that we might be raised
     to eternal life.
Take hold of our hands,
Servant of the world,
     so we might cross
          the finish line together.

You are in our midst,
Spirit of wholeness.
You enabled us
to cling to faith,
     when hope runs
      through our fingers like sand.
You open the gateways
of our hearts
morning and evening,
     that we might sing
     our praises with all creation.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we pour out our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we pray to God, do we do so with pride in what wonderful people we are, or with that humble hope which recognizes how we have not lived as God’s children, and how we need God’s forgiveness and grace in our lives? Join me as we pray to our God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Watching God, like the Pharisee, we think we can stick our thumbs into life, pull out a prayer, and congratulate ourselves for being such good Christians. Then, we remember the harsh words we have spoken this week, the hurt we have inflicted on someone we loved, the lack of compassion we failed to offer to someone who needed our help.
     Forgive us, God of Grace, and deal gently with us. May we become more like the tax collector - humble, penitent, acknowledging our faulty lives to you. Then, may we receive the mercy promised to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Forgiven and healed, we open ourselves to the grace, the peace, the hope offered to us through our loving God. This is the good news we have received!
Graced and blessed, we are able to live our lives for others, taking them by the hand to reach that finish line called the Kingdom. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
If our lives, our love, our gifts are not shared with others, the words we offer in prayer and praise are hollow.  So receive what we offer, Holy God, and bless them in the work of that kingdom which values the people we ridicule, lifts up those we have stepped over, and brings hope and healing to all.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord our God be with you!
And also with you!
Rejoice, O children of God, and open your hearts to our God.
Our hearts are overflow with the hope God has poured into them.
Rejoice, O children of God, and be glad!
We sing to the One who has dealt wondrously with us.

Your heart opened, Amazing God,
and abundant rain flowed forth
on that early morning of creation.
Caring and loving beyond all hope,
     the earth's floors were filled with grain
          and the plenty of every good thing;
     valleys overflowed with oil and wine.
Ever ready to crown us with your blessings,
your heart broke as we allowed sin
to cut out your hopes for us,
     as we welcomed death, who came
     destroying your intended life for us.
You sent the prophets into our midst,
to bring us back to live in your courts,
     but we preferred the hollow promises
     of temptation and seduction.
So you sent Jesus into our lives,
pouring your Spirit on his flesh,
so we might see you face to face.

So, with those who have finished the race,
with those who are only at the starting line,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of all.
The gateways of morning and evening shout your joy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who stands by us, giving us strength.
Hosanna in the highest!

Praise is due to you, Holy One,
for there is no other god like you,
and no Lord and Savior like Jesus Christ,
     who ran the race when we stumbled,
     who kept the faith when it slipped through our fingers.
When sin’s unceasing passions
created a drought in our lives,
     he opened the channels of your river of life
     to flow through us, washing us clean
     and giving us new hopes and dreams.
When death held the deeds of our sins,
threatening to foreclose on our lives,
     he came to purchase them back,
     so we might live free and clear forever.

As we remember how he poured himself out for us,
as we celebrate the new hopes which fill our hearts,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:
Christ died, rescuing us from every evil;
Christ was raised, saving us for your kingdom;
Christ will come again, to pour your spirit into us.

Pour out your Spirit upon all people gathered
around your Table, filled with the gifts of creation.
From the plenty of the Bread of life,
     we will be fed until we are hungry
          to serve your children in every need;
from the sweet river which flows from the Cup,
     we will be humbled into your people,
     that we might exalt all who have been
          cast aside by the world around us.
For here at this Table of grace and joy,
     little boys and girls will tell stories
          of peace and hope;
     young women and men will envision
          lands where oppression has been destroyed;

     old women will recall dreams of justice,
          and work to turn them into reality;
     old men will prepare meals and serve them
          to all who hunger in every place.

And when the time of our departure comes,
and all who have longed for your appearing
are gathered around your river of life,
we will join our hearts and voices
in praising you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One, Amen.

We have offered praise and prayer to our God,
who sends us out to offer peace and hope to others.
We have heard the call of Jesus in the silence and singing,
and we will join him is speaking for the voiceless.
Filled by the Spirit with faith and trust,
we go to serve others, humbly and lovingly.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for October 16, 2016 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8

Call to Worship
We have gathered in God's holy presence,
the One who etches grace on our hearts.

This is the place where God
will transform us into disciples.
We glorify our God, who yearns for justice,
not just for a favored few, but for the least of our world.
This is the place where God
will write compassion on our souls.
We give thanks to God for unceasing grace;
we remember God's persistence in saving us.
This is the place where God
will breathe the Word into our lives.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God:
with the precious jewel
of holy scripture,
     you share with us
     the treasure of your heart.
Engrave your covenant -
     your hopes, your dreams,
     your vision, your peace -
     upon our hearts,
that they might beat
as one with yours.

Holy Word:
ever clear,
     you keep us from wandering
     down the wrong paths;
ever longed for,
     you make us persistent
     in bringing justice
           to the lost and to the least;
ever practical,
     you show us how
     not to misplace our hearts.

Holy Wisdom:
as you breathe the Word
into our hearts,
     tutor us in faithfulness
so we are trained
     in using the tools
     of justice and hope;
so we are equipped
     to share the good news with all;
so we become skilled
     in compassion and grace.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Seeking to follow Jesus, we often wander down the wrong roads. Impatient with God's schedule, we rush off to do things our way. Let us confess our foolishness, that we might receive God's hope for our lives.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Your words are given to us, Author of Life, so we might be reformed, but we are intent on changing others.  Your words are offered to us so we might be transformed, but we are focused on conforming to our culture. Your words are spoken to lead us into new life, but we hold our old ways tight to our chests.
     Forgive us, God of Wonder. Do not remember our sins, but continue to touch us with your steadfast mercy. Show us how to be persistent in living out our faith, even as you were so tenacious in offering us your grace and life in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Jesus reminds us that we are to be resolute in our lives of faithfulness and service.  The good news is that God is steadfast in filling us with love and grace.
We are forgiven people. May we live as sisters and brothers in Christ, God's children in word and deed, in hope and joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Like your words, O God, the tangible gifts with which we are blessed are not to be hoarded or hidden away for rainy days.  Rather we offer them so they might bring healing, hope, grace, and peace to all around us, your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of this day and all the days to come be with you!
May God be with you as well!
Children of the new covenant, offer your hearts to God.
We open them to the One who writes the good news on them.
People of God, join in praising the One whose Word is within you.
Glad songs are sung to the One we know in our deepest souls.

'The days are surely coming,'
you announced to chaos, God of power,
dividing it into morning and night,

     sowing seeds of humanity and other life
     into the rich loam of your creation.
You took us by the hand to show us
the place where we might have life,
     ever feasting on your bounty of love.
But we drank deeply of sin's sour wine,
     our teeth set on edge by the sound of death
     scraping its fingernails across our souls.
You sent the prophets to us,
your hopes written on their hearts,
     but since we did not fear you,
     we had no respect for them.
So you took Jesus by the hand,
asking him to proclaim the good news
that you would forget our sins,
you would forgive our foolishness.

With all who have wandered from your path,
with all who have the new covenant on their hearts,
we sing our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of incredible patience.
All creation cries out for your justice.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to teach your ways.
Hosanna in the highest!

He did not shrink from your command, God of hope,
but obediently, Jesus became one of us
so we might know you face-to-face.
When the law no longer
wanted to be seen with us,
     he became our constant companion.
Wiser than our enemies, sin and death,
     he defeated them at the cross,
          the empty tomb the sign of his victory.

As we remember his persistence in offering grace to us,
as we celebrate the joy of life with him,
we speak of the mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, for all our sins;
Christ was raised, for all our sakes;
Christ comes, to take us by the hand to lead us into your presence.

As for us, we pray you
to send your Holy Spirit to us,
to bless the gifts of your love
and to transform your gathered people.
What we know, what we believe,
     we have learned at your knee,
     gathered up into your lap,
your call to wholeness a taste so wondrous
       we share it with all who are broken;
your cup of grace sweeter
     than the honey of our hopes.

And when we are gathered together
into the kingdom you have built in eternity,
we will join our voices with our sisters and brothers,
crying out to you day and night forever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Here in this place, God transforms us into disciples,
so we may share the grace etched upon our hearts.
Here with these people, compassion is written on our hearts,
so we may join Jesus in bringing justice to all.
Now, in these moments, the Spirit is breathed into us,
so we can be as persistent as God in bringing hope to the world.
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman