Monday, October 15, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy for October 21, 2018 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - B)

Texts: Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-46

Call to Worship
Here is the place where we can bring our pain and hopes.
For our God carries them with us.
Here is the place where we can listen for our calling.
For Jesus invites us to serve with him in the world.
Here is the place where we are surrounded by grace.
For the Spirit hears our hearts and heals them.

Prayer of the Day
You reach out and lift us when we trip
   to set us back on our faith;
you shelter us in your grace
   when the storms of fear batter us;
you open your heart to welcome us,
   when all the world’s doors slam in our faces;
and we are rescued by your love,
God our Joy.

You touch us with your brokenness,
   so that we might be healed;
you serve out sin’s sentence on us,
   so that we might be set free;
you drink death’s bitter cup,
   so that we might have life;
and we are surrounded by your hope,
Jesus our Brother.

You remind us that we are not powerful,
   but weak enough to care for the vulnerable;
you whisper to us that we are not wealthy;
   but have more than enough to share with the poor;
you sing to us that we are not lost,
   but can show others the way to your heart;
and we listen and respond,
Spirit who calls us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
You offer the gift of life and grace
to all your children and so we pray as we are taught,
 (The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We think we know what Jesus wants of us, and are walking his path.  But to often we get tripped up by our longings for more, and end up falling flat on our faces, because of our foolish words and deeds.  Let us come to the One who listens, and gives us new life.  Join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   God of the Beloved, Jesus came for us.  He came to give those who could not see new sight, but we continue to long to live in the shadows.  He came to clear the ears of those who had no hearing, but we still listen to the lies offered to us. He came that we might serve those around us, but we want the attention, the seats of prestige. 
   We pray that as you forgive us, Loving God, we would discover that we are now your beloved.  Not because we are powerful, but we are willing to accept our weakness; not because we are wealthy, but we dare to share when others hoard; not because we want glory, but because we are willing to offer the cup of grace to those who thirst around us, even as it has been offered to us by Jesus, our Brother, our Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Our God deals gently with those who stumble, who lose their way, and who get dazzled by wanting power and glory. That is the good news for us. We are forgiven, and graced with new life.
Thanks be to God, who is the home of our hearts, who fills us with grace and mercy in every moment. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We hope you will notice how generous we are in these moments, Gracious God, and pat us on the back. But instead, you challenge us to offer more, not just from our abundance, but our lives, our hearts, our hands in serving those around us. Bless these gifts, and all whose lives will be touched by them. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the listening God be with you.
May God be with you.
Let us offer our hearts to our God.
God will fill them with wonder and love.
We will join in glad songs of praise.
Our thanksgiving praises will echo throughout our lives.

When chaos offered a bitter cup to you,
God of amazing wonder,
you transformed it into the goodness
and beauty of your imagination, pouring
   life into every creature,
   hope into every heart,
   grace into every moment
as creation sprang forth into being.
All this was offered to us, your beloved children,
   but we wandered out of the safe places
   to walk the dangerous streets of sin and death.
Because you cared for us,
you sent helpers, women and men,
to bear witness to your grace and hope
for all that had been shaped by you,
   but we wanted a blank check
   so that we could spend it all on ourselves.
Because you loved us,
you sent your gracious Word
to bring us back to your heart.

With those who stumble along the way,
with those hoping to be faithful,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who listens to us.
All creation praises your holy name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who rescues those you love.
Hosanna in the highest!

In your holiness, you heard our cries, O God,
and sent Jesus for us, knowing
the bitter cup which he would be offered.
He could have been clothed in glory,
   but set it aside for human flesh;
he could have wielded power,
   but shared his weakness with us;
he deserved every honor,
   but was treated unjustly;
he should have died an old man
surrounded by family and friends,
   but he was executed on a cross,
   abandoned and alone;
he should have crumbled
   into death’s dust, but
   you raised him to new life.

As we gather to be served at his Table,
as we would seek to emulate his faithfulness,
we speak of the mystery we call faith;

Jesus carried our pain, that we might be healed;
Jesus died, that we might no longer be afraid;
Jesus was raised, that we might know life awaits us;
Jesus will come, that we might be surrounded by hope.

It is here at this Table we find
not a bitter cup, but overflowing grace;
not a last meal of the condemned
but the feast of the Lamb of Life.
Fed by the bread which restores us,
may we not seek glory,
   but serve in weakness;
may we not seek power,
   but live in humility.
Nourished by the grace which renews us,
May we not seek honor,
   but lift those knocked down by fear;
may we not seek wealth,
   but share from our abundance.

And when we are gathered at the end of time,
with all the generations that have been and will come,
we will sit at your Table of hope and life,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
With the love of our God in our hearts,
we will go to welcome the stranger among us
With the brokenness of Jesus having fed us,
we will go to bring healing to others.
With the vulnerability of the Spirit as our guide,
we will serve our neighbors with humility and hope.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, October 12, 2018

Liturgy with communion for October 21, 2018 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - B)

Texts:  Job 38:1-7 (34-41); Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

Call to Worship
Welcome! There are many places you could be this morning,
but you have chosen to be here:
where we learn how to live in God's Kingdom.
Welcome to this place - full of music, of words, of prayer –
yet also filled with danger:
where we encounter a Wisdom we cannot always understand.
Welcome to God's House, the most dangerous place in town:
where we talk about and with God, and are reduced to silence
so we may hear the call to discipleship.

Prayer of the Day
Wind-riding God,
the blue skies, the sunshine,
the cool breezes cradling falling leaves:
all creation reminds us
of the delicate Artist
who has shaped us
and all that is around us.
We lift our songs
of gratitude and awe to you.

Servant-calling Jesus:
you humble our arrogance
with your acts of mercy;
you tip over our pretensions
with your modest nature;
you laugh at our hunger for power
with your words of grace.

Heart-keeping Spirit:
you bear our prayers
to the throne of grace
when they are only whispers
in our souls;
you unfold the road map
to show us the way to the Kingdom;
you transform our stuttering words
into praise and wonder to our God.

God in Community, Holy in One,
be with us in this and every moment,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We do not pray in order to alleviate our guilt, but to express our gratitude to God. For we know all the things we have said and done that we shouldn't, and all those words we could have spoken, all those actions we could have undertaken, but did not. Despite such lives, God still loves us, surrounding us with mercy and hope, waiting to restore us to new life. Please join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Creation's Heart, we look around and see how we fall short in our attempts at faithfulness. We often do things, not because it is what you call us to do, but in hopes of earning points with you. We can become so self-absorbed, we cannot see the suffering and struggles of friends, family, strangers.  We are so desperate to get to the front of the line, we push aside the very ones you seek to honor.
     Forgive us, Holy One. Remind us that the cup we are offered overflows with grace, that the waters of baptism cleanse and make us new, and that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the One who calls us to service, standing by our side, as we seek to be faithful disciples.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The One who poured the foundations of creation fills us with grace and hope. The One who numbered the clouds, tips over rain barrels of living water into our parched souls.
The One who writes anthems for the early morning stars, fills us with songs of joy. The One who provides food for all living things, feeds us with mercies which come fresh and new each day.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts lay a foundation of hope for all in despair; may the brighten the shadows of those who wander alone; may they cause the voiceless to join the morning stars in singing your praises.  This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God bless your soul!
And also bless yours!
Lift up your hearts to God, beloved of the Lord.
We offer them to the One who clothes them with grace.
Bless God's name with songs of joy.
We praise the Lord with our hearts and with our lips.

You donned your Word-clothes,
calling the whirling Spirit to action,
Ingenious God,
and you laid the foundation of creation:
stretching a line of mountains across the fields,
sinking the seas into the hollows of the earth,
teaching harmonies to the morning stars.
You shaped humanity in your image,
calling us to life with you,
but we sulked at your invitation,
preferring the shadowy words
offered to us by sin and death.
You sent the prophets as your messengers,
their words of fire, as well as faithfulness,
ministering to us, but we ignored them
in our hunger for power and recognition.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to baptize us in your mercy,
to offer us the cup of salvation.

So, with those who surround you, shouting with joy,
with all, in every time and place, who seek to serve,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God who is clothed with honor and majesty.
All creation overflows with your life.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with loud cries and tears.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of questions,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the only answer we need.
He did not glorify himself here on earth,
but became your Servant of mercy and grace.
He stretched out his hands, not to grasp power,
but to lead us to the back of the line,
where we can minister to your people.
He suffered, learning obedience to you;
he became obedient, so death might be mastered;
dying, he discovered the wonder of your resurrection;
rising, we finally grasp the truth
of your love and sacrifice for us.

As we remember his life, his death, his resurrection,
as we would comprehend your promises to us,
we would proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Dying, Christ became the Servant of all;
rising, Christ became the source of salvation for all;
coming again, Christ becomes your promise to all.

It is here at this Table,
your Spirit poured out upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and your children gathered in this place,
that we are transformed into your servants.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
may we go from this place
to give of ourselves in service to all;
as we drink from the cup of grace,
we are filled with your peace and hope,
and become the gifts for which the broken,
the hopeless, the lost are searching.

And when our journey of faith is complete,
when we gather around your feast in glory,
we will join our hearts and hands
in loud cries and tears, singing of your great love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God sends us forth as workers for justice.
To cover the oppressed with a flood of compassion.
Jesus invites us to work humbly by his side.
We would respond, 'Here we are; where do you need us?'
The Spirit hands us garments woven with strands of love and light.
We will clothe everyone we meet with these garments of grace.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for October 14, 2018 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 23/ Ordinary 28 - B)

Texts: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Call to Worship
What can we do to have life?
We can seek God, who gives us live in every moment.
What can we do to serve justice in our world?
We can set aside that which keeps us
from following Jesus – wealth, pride, power, whatever.
What can we do to share the good news with others?
We can open ourselves to the Spirit,
so people can see God at work in us.

Prayer of the Day
Each morning, at the table,
you offer a serving of love,
not so we will scarf it down
and rush out the door, but
so that we have more than enough
to share with everyone we meet,
God who cares for us.

Each day, when our courage
begins to lag and we think
we just cannot
listen to one more lie,
watch the powerful ridicule the vulnerable,
have the courage to confront evil,
you offer a serving of justice,
so that we can continue to follow,
Jesus who has given up everything for us.

Each evening, as we check
social media, turn on the news,
listen to the voices on the radio,
and are tempted to simply believe
there is nothing to do but
fall into the arms of despair for comfort,
you offer us a cup of peace,
with lots of mercy and hope stirred in,
so we can rest in you,
Spirit who is always with us.

Each moment, and every moment,
you serve us with all we need,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We have failed, we have not lived as God’s people.  And while we think we should hide, God invites us to come, to confess our lives, and to be restored to wholeness.  Let us pray, using these words,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   There are so many things, Wise God, which keeps us from following Jesus.  We try to turn justice into a bitter pill for others.  We push righteousness out of the way, so we can seek those who tell lies.  We know, deep down inside, that one thing which keeps us from faithful living, but just can’t loosen our grip on it.
   We can’t seem to do it, God who remembers us, but because everything is possible with you, give us the wisdom to know what that one thing might be; the grace to let go and leave it behind us; and the courage to follow Jesus wherever he might lead us, especially into that life which you offer in love and hope. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Here at the seat of grace, we are forgiven, and can climb up and find the love of God comforting and restoring us to new life.
Every moment, God offers us a serving of love and mercy, so we can continue to live as God intends.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We think what we offer in these moments is not that much, or can accomplish anything of worth, but with you, Holy God, all things are possible.  So we trust you will use them, multiply them, offer them to those who need hope, healing, grace, and peace in their lives.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the welcoming God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us lift our hearts to our God.
We offer them to the One who shares grace with us.
Let us lift our voices to our God.
We will glad songs to the One who loves us.

In the cold, dead silence of chaos,
your Word, God of wonder,
was active and moving with the Spirit,
   breathing life into creatures,
   planting seeds of justice in hearts,
   bringing beauty and goodness into everything.
All that was wonderful, and that was gracious,
was offered to those formed in your image,
   but we chose to live in sin’s glass houses,
   and to drink the fine wines of death.
You sent prophets and psalmists
to offer your love and hope to us
and to call us back to you,
   yet we continued to pocket the bribes
   temptation offered to us over and over.
Then you sent Jesus into our lives,
so we would know that you long
to be with us in every moment.

With those who see you at work among us,
with those who try to hide from you,
we lift our voices in praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, god who shares grace freely.
All creation shares in the wonders you have given.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is our high priest.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of grace,
and Jesus is our hope, our peace.
Advocate for the poor,
   he teaches us not to walk over them,
   but to lift them to their feet.
Speaker of your truth,
   he reminds us of the hope
   which is ours if we but reach out.
Challenger of our easy faith,
   he calls us to let go of the very things
   which we cannot set aside.
Trusting that you indeed can,
and will do, anything,
   he gives it all up on the cross,
   being raised to new life,
   as death and sin are defeated.

As we seek to remember his life and teachings,
as we celebrate the resurrection given to us,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Jesus died, looking past evil;
Jesus was raised, your love turning death into life;
Jesus will come, to remind us God has not forgotten us.

Here at the Table we are reminded
that you alone are good, Generous God,
and so, we pray you pour out your Spirit
on your children and on the gifts of the Feast.
As we taste the bread which is broken,
may it give us the strength
   to build bridges, not walls;
   to care for the vulnerable;
   to listen to the victimized.
As we drink from cup,
may it nourish us with grace,
   so we can share hope with the broken,
   so we can plant peace in war-torn fields,
   so we can share from our abundance.

And when you gather us around
the throne of grace to feed us
at your Table with our sisters and brothers,
we sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Let us go with God into the world.
We will share all the wonders God has given us.
Let us go with Jesus to care for others.
We will build justice for all who need it.
Let us go with the Spirit to search for good.
We will speak truth to a world which needs it.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, October 05, 2018

Liturgy with communion for October 14, 2018 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 23/Ordinary 28 - B)

Texts: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Call to Worship
We look in the mirror and what do we see?
We see people who try to be faithful,
even as questions and struggles challenge our faith.
We look in the mirror and how do we see?
We see with hearts which are open to God's love,
with lives which seek to trust when all the evidence
tells us not to be so foolish.
We look in the mirror and who do we see?
We see Jesus, the One who struggles with
the questions we raise, who models faithfulness
for all who would follow.

Prayer of the Day
Gracious God:
when we cannot see you,
you look in compassion upon us;
when we cannot speak a word,
you hear the sighs of our hearts;
when we are falling apart,
you hold us together with your grace.

Jesus, Healing Hand of God:
you reach out to take away all
which distracts us from discipleship;
you challenge us to give away everything
which keeps us from following you;
you surround us with people, even strangers,
who enfold us with your love and hope.

Loving Spirit:
when we are too weary to put
one faltering foot in front of the other,
you carry us in your strength;
as we seek to challenge
the unfairness of our world,
you stand beside us in your justice;
when we are afraid to come near,
you bear our prayers to the seat of grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray together,
using the words we have been taught by Jesus,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Let us willingly embrace that which we believe is true - we can come to the seat of grace, bringing our prayers of confession to the One who is filled to overflowing with mercy and hope. Join me as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
    We stand before you, Saving God, stripped of our pretensions and pride, for nothing we do or say, or do not, can be hidden from you. You hear the angry words we preach to ourselves; you sift through the rubble of hurts we have caused; you see how we stumble, weighed down by all that 'stuff' which keeps us from following Jesus.
    We stand before you, Holy Grace. As you empty our hands of that wealth of unneeded things we cling so tightly to, fill them with your grace and hope. As we let go of all which might hold us back, give us the trust to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into that life with which he offers to each of us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news! Because God loves us, we lack for nothing; because God forgives us, we have everything we need; because God surrounds us with sisters and brothers, we do not journey alone.
Committing everything to God, trusting in the One who redeems us, we decide to live as God's faithful and forgiven people. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
When we look in the mirror, may we see our sisters and brothers in need - the lonely, the hungry, the searching, the aching.  And as we see them, we pray that these gifts we offer may be used to bring them food, hope, companionship, and healing.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of eternal life be with you.
And also with you.
In confidence, draw close to the Table of our God.
We bring our hearts, our lives to the Feast of Grace.
Sing glad songs to the One whose goodness fills our lives.
We rejoice that we may enter the kingdom of love and hope.

You turned to your right,
and there was nothing there;
you went forward and backward,
and there was only nothingness;
and so, in your wonder and majesty,
you created all that was good and true,
God of unparalleled imagination.
Your Word crafted the living and active -
waterfalls carving the sides of mountains,
butterflies flitting from flower to flower;
your Spirit bubbled with laughter,
and the bright morning stars were reflected
in clear pools brimming with hope.
All these gifts were given to those shaped in your image,
but we chose to contend with you,
mocking you, making faces at your glory.
When it became too hard for us
to enter your kingdom on our own,
you sent Jesus among us,
to deliver us from ourselves.

So, with those who raise their questions to you,
with those who struggle with your answers,
we lift our voices to you, singing your praises:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of mystery and hope.
All creation honors your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who calls us to faithful living.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God of grace and truth,
and blessed is Jesus, Child of wonder.
He set aside the treasures of heaven,
to become one of us,
so we might know the riches of mercy.
He let go of the power of glory,
so he might know our weaknesses.
He went to the cross on Calvary,
committing himself to your love,
and it was you who took him from the tomb,
raising him to new life.

As we proclaim his death and resurrection,
as we break the bread and fill the cup,
we would live out that mystery we call faith:

Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come again in glory.

Here at the Table graced with your gifts,
here, upon your children gathered in joy,
pour out your Spirit of peace and life.
As we come to taste of that Bread which,
in its brokenness, makes us whole,
we would not go backward to our old life,
but go forth to bring hope to all
who cry out for justice in the world.
As we drink deeply from that Cup which,
by its grace, fills us with compassion,
we would offer the blessings we have,
that others might know the richness of your love and hope.

And when the age to come has arrived,
when our lives are gathered up in your mercy
and we are at one with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place around your feast,
we will join our hearts and voices for you,
singing through all eternity of your love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go forth as God's people to serve those around us.
We will honor each person as if they were our family.
Go forth as sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will share the gifts of grace and hope with everyone we meet.
Go forth as those strengthened by the Spirit.
We will stand with others searching for God's justice in their lives.

(c) Thom M. Shuman