Sunday, October 22, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy for October 29, 2017 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - A)

Texts:  Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Psalm 1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

Call to Worship
We are called to love God with our hearts.
We will do so, when we welcome those
tossed aside by the world.
We are called to love God with our souls.
We will do so, when the brokenness around us
transforms us into more compassionate people.
We are called to love God with our minds.
We will do so, when we think less of our needs,
and see each person as our neighbor, our sister, our brother.

Prayer of the Day
We are blessed when
we listen to the songs of goodness;
   when we skip down the paths of grace
   hand-in-hand with wide-eyed kids.
We are blessed when we pay attention
to the Word of life and welcome;
   when we think about it
   more than once in a while.
We are blessed when
we put down roots in life's soil,
   watered by the Gardener
   dipping from pools of peace.
We are blessed when
we share hope with the hungry;
   and offer cool cups of trust
   to all who are parched by the world.
We are blessed when
evil becomes dust drifting away;
   when we choose not
   to chill with troublemakers.
We are blessed when
we play leapfrog with wonder;
   when God sits on a bench knitting
   and watching with a careful eye.

We are blessed by you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so lift the prayer we have been taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know (don't we) the lives we are called to lead which could offer hope, grace, and peace with God.  Yet we choose to walk down the wrong roads, to hang out with the wrong folks.  Join me, as we confess our lives to God, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We have so many rules in the backs of our minds for others to follow, God of grace, that we often forget to simply love them.  We are so convinced that those around us have sold their souls out of greed, that we do no notice the emptiness of our own.  We use words and actions which shatter the hearts of others, as ours slowly wither from lack of the breath of your Spirit.
   Forgive us for our choosing to live the way we want, Merciful God, rather than being the holy people of your hopes.  May we have nothing up our sleeves, but offer all we have to others.  May we speak the words you give us, as we share the good news of grace.  May we seek to love you as completely and trustingly as did Jesus the Christ, who loved us as sisters and brothers of your heart.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Nothing will deter God from sharing this good news with us: we are heard, we are forgiven, we are offered new lives of service and faith.
Thanks be to God, who offers justice not judgment; who shares grace with us, not holds grudges against us.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
The hungry, the homeless, the searching, the addicted - our neighbors are all around us, O God.  We pray that as we offer our gifts, they might be used not only to bring these sisters and brothers closer to you, but to us as well.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of love be with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer our hearts to our God,
who will fill them so we can love others with compassion.
Join in singing glad songs of praise to God.
May our voices show how we love God with our minds and souls.

Because you are love, Tender God,
you blew away chaos on
the winds of creation as you
   plowed furrows for rivers,
   pushed mountains towards the sky,
   floated stars in winter nights.
You loved us enough to shape us
in your image, to dwell with you,
   but we listened to sin's flummery,
   trusting death's empty promises.
The prophets came time and again
to point the way to you,
   but we followed Wicked's advice
   and played in the sandbox with other scoffers.
Then Jesus came to speak to all
of your unending love for us.

With those neighbors who live next door,
and with those we may never meet,
we sing our songs of love and praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who gives us courage.
All creation delights in loving you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who was not deterred
   from sharing the good news.
Hosanna in the highest!

Because your holiness mirrors your love,
your Child was willing to become one of us
so we might be sisters and brothers.
He did not trick us with words,
   but rolled up his sleeves
   to stand by us in every moment.
Like a nurse sitting by a bed,
   he brought healing and peace
   to the hurting and grieving.
Refusing the seat offered by power,
   he embraced the cross,
   walking down the path of death
   into the cold grave, until
you brought him forth
in resurrection love.

As we seek to serve with hope and love,
as we gather with our neighbors at the Table,
we proclaim that mystery known as faith:

Loving you more than himself, Christ died;
loving him more than yourself, you raised Christ to new life;
loving us and our neighbors, Christ will come for us.

As we seek to love you with
our hearts, minds, and souls;
as we gather with our neighbors,
pour out your Spirit, God of feasts,
on the gifts of the bread and the cup
and those here in these moments.
As we taste the broken bread,
may the life of Jesus be in us,
   that life which seeks justice,
   that life which shares hope,
   that life which bears no grudges.
As we drink of the grace in the cup,
may the Spirit which was in Jesus
also flow through and from us,
   that Spirit which welcomes all,
   that Spirit which loves each person,
   that Spirit which serves the vulnerable.

And when there are no more questions,
but only the answer of your gracious love,
we will gather around your Feast,
loving strangers as long-lost family,
and you with our hearts, souls, and minds,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go now, to love God.
We will do so, not just with warm thoughts,
but using our minds to solve problems
which beset those around us.
Go now, to love Jesus.
We will do so, not just with changed hearts,
but with passion to challenge all
who would damage the lives of others.
Go now, to love the Spirit.
We will do so, not just with pious souls,
but with a willingness to serve in places we are sent.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Reformation Sunday liturgy with communion

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
May our gifts offer faith as well as food, hope as well as housing, joy as well as justice, to those who struggle all around us.  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 was raised, 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.

Knowing that God sends us forth,
we will not be still, but speak of hope.
Knowing that Jesus is with us,
we will not be still, but will challenge injustice.
Knowing that the Spirit strengthens us,
we will not be still, but seek peace for all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Liturgy w/communion for October 29, 2017 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 25/Ordinary 30-A)

Texts: Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

 Call to Worship
We are invited to share in Christ's ministry of compassion.
We will widen our hearts so we might cradle the lost.
We are challenged to learn more about God each day.
We will open our minds so we might discern God's dreams for us.
We are summoned to let the Spirit be planted within us.
We will deepen our souls so we might grow in love.
Prayer of the Day
Every generation has found
its home in you,
God our provider,
and discovered that every moment
spent in your holy presence
lasts beyond all imaginable time.
You watch over us in the night,
cradling us in your arms
as tenderly as a nurse
cares for her children,
and her neighbor's.
Full of wisdom,
Imagination of Creation,
you humbled yourself
that we might learn
to love those
who have been swept aside
by a callous and cruel world.
Witness to God's grace,
you call us to act
in ways of love of peace
to all we meet in this life.
In the fresh breeze
on a summer's day;
in the leaves dancing
across autumn's lawns;
in the crisp, new snowfall
crunching beneath our feet;
in the new life
flowering in the spring:
from everlasting to everlasting
you proclaim God's grace to us,
Spirit of Life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to be the dwelling place
of our minds, our hearts, our souls,
even as we pray as we have been taught,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

 Call to Reconciliation
We have been entrusted with the message of the gospel, but all too often act as if the memos from sin and death have more influence in our lives. Let us confess our sins, so we might know God's great love for us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     As you know, God our healer, we stand on the edge of your promises and hopes, yet cannot seem to let ourselves cross over into the life you intend for us. We seek praise from our families, yet are unable to tell them how much we love them; we care more about our needs and desires, than for the struggles of our neighbors; we think more about the trash we read and see than focusing on the Spirit of wisdom.
     Forgive us, Everlasting God. Renew our lives with your grace; restore our hopes with your vision of tomorrow; refresh our spirits with your joy which comes to us new in each moment in the gift of your Child, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 Silence is kept.
Assurance of Pardon
This moment, this morning, this day, and in all the days to come, God's compassion and hope fill our lives. What joyous good news!
Our hope is not in vain. God forgives our sins, and is the dwelling place for all people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we think of our neighbors, may our souls be touched by their needs, and our hearts open our resources to offer gifts which will bring healing, peace, and grace to all.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of compassion be with you!
And also with you!
Each morning, God feeds us with steadfast love.
Each day, our hearts are filled with God's call to serve.
Children of God, sing your praises to God all our days.
We lift our joy to the One who is the dwelling place of all generations.

Refusing to let chaos
become our dwelling place,
God of the ages,
you called forth creation.
Whether in the blink of an eye,
or in moments spanning thousands of years,
deep valleys of hope were carved,
carpeted with grace renewed each morning.
You created humankind in your image,
knowing us face to face in love.
But we turned our gaze
towards that land of temptation,
chasing the false dreams offered by death.
Caring so deeply for us,
you sent prophets to call us home,
but their words withered in our hearts.
So you sent Jesus to bring
the message of good news,
and to lead us to
the promised land of eternal life.
Therefore, with those filled with the spirit of wisdom,
and those who were full of themselves,
with saints and sinners, prophets and pharisees,
we sing of your everlasting joy:

Holy, holy, holy, God our dwelling place.
You satisfy us with your love each morning,
you comfort us in your grace each night.
Blessed is the One who comes calling us to love:
     to love you without reservation,
     to love others without expectation,
     to love ourselves without self-condemnation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God our Peace,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Way of life.
Mindful of your hopes for us,
he came, so we might
discover you in our neighbor.
Soul of your soul,
he came, so we might
overflow with your grace.
Loving us more than himself,
he came, to defeat sin
and destroy death's grip on us,
so we might spend eternity
embraced in your life.
With remembrance of his life,
in the joy of the resurrection,
in anticipation of his return,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:
Christ came, that we might know God's love;
Christ died, that our souls might be healed;
Christ will come again, that our hearts will be united with God's.

Pour out your Spirit of wisdom
on the gifts of this Table,
and on those who prepare to feast
on your bounty of grace.
As the bread fills us
with your love and hope,
we would go out to love
our neighbors with hearts
shaped by your joy.
As the cup refreshes
our minds and souls,
we would show our
everlasting love for you,
by serving the lost and forgotten
with lives molded by your compassion.
And when time, which was first wound at creation
has ticked its last moment,
when friends, neighbors, and strangers
are gathered around your Table,
we will join our voices singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

And now go forth,
to love God with all your heart, your mind, your soul:
with passion, with prayer, with intelligence;
to love your neighbor:
with forgiveness, with service, with love;
and to love yourself:
with hope, with joy, with peace.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for October 22, 2017 (Pentecost 20/Trinity 19/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 45:1-7; Psalm 96:1-9 (10-13); 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22

Call to Worship
From the corners of worry and fear,
from the shadows where we huddle with our doubts,
God calls us to this place of sanctuary
where we can draw from Love's deep wells.
In every moment where we look for strength to continue,
in every time wonder if faith is worth it,
Jesus calls us to this time
where we can welcome the peace given to us.
In every person who embraces us with acceptance,
in every touch that offers healing and hope,
the Spirit calls us to see those around us
as God's beloved, our sisters and brothers of grace.

Prayer of the Day
Imitator of the Holy Spirit,
you grasp our hands
so, in finding hope and love
in your gracious touch,
we may reach out to those
we see as strangers
and welcome them as family.
You are greatly to be praised,
God who is coming to us.

Imitator of God,
you write new words for us
so, in listening to your whispers,
we may hear the voiceless,
stand with the forgotten,
and share the justice
which as been gifted to us.
You are greatly to be praised,
Jesus, who is coming
to teach us all we need to know.

Imitator of Jesus,
you composed new tunes
so, in the gentle breezes of the morning,
and in the chords of the stars,
we may hear the music
of peace, life, wonder, and joy
which you would have us share
with those who long for community.
You are greatly to be praised,
Spirit, who is coming
to walk with us in every moment.

You are greatly to be praised,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we join the imitators of grace
of every time and place, praying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We long to be like Jesus, but all too often we imitate the foolishness we find all around us.  Let us speak of our lives to the One who forgives us and calls us by name.  Let us join together, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   You know how insincere we are, God who is coming.  We say we want to help others, but lay traps along life's paths for them.  We pat others on the back, while plotting how to trip them so they fall flat on their faces.  We know we could speak kindly to others, but prefer to ask trick questions so their answers will make them appear foolish.
   Forgive us, God of everyone.  When we could hold grudges, help us to grasp grace.  When malice gnaws at our souls, feed us with mercy.  When we would give power control over us, pour the grace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into our empty hearts.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God takes our malicious words and transforms them into whispers of grace.  God uses hope to fill in the traps we dig for others, so we may walk hand in hand with everyone as sisters and brothers.
Thanks be to God, who summons us to new life.  We are no longer filled with fear, but are embraced in mercy and goodness.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts and lives in this moment, may we become imitators of you, Gracious God, who holds nothing back from us, but is generous and gracious with all that is yours.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
With the Spirit plinking the notes
on an old, battered piano and
the Word penning fresh lyrics,
you sang into the silence of chaos,
Composer of creations:
   birds caroling on foggy mornings,
   kittens purring on sunny carpets,
   crickets lullabying us to sleep.
These new songs, and more,
were shape-noted for those in your image,
   but we preferred death's dirges
   and sin's siren calls.
Prophets came, always mentioning you
and your longing for us to return,
   yet we continued to plot against you,
   malice our friend from childhood.
Finally, you sent Jesus to us,
so we might know of the welcome
you offer to each and every person.

With those who know your songs by heart,
with those who have trouble reading music,
we join in praising you greatly:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who comes.
The seas roar and fields dance with joy
   as all creation is glad and rejoices.  
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is impartial in loving.
Hosanna in the highest!

In your holiness, Framer of Light,
we discover your goodness and love,
and Jesus imitates you in his life and service.
He took off glory's garments
   so we might be stripped
   of death's grave clothes.
He was willing to work on our behalf,
   laying the kingdom's foundations
   with honor, strength, and beauty.
He was thrown into death's prison,
   but cut through the bars of sin,
   your resurrection power
   opening the gates of grace forever.

As we remember his life and ministry,
as we celebrate his death and resurrection,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:
Christ went before us into death.

Christ was raised, breaking the grave into pieces.
Christ will return to share resurrection's treasures with us.

Here in these moments of silence and singing,
with those gathered from every corner of life,
pour out your Spirit upon the gifts of the Table.
May that bread which is broken
become the healing strength
we can offer to all who have been excluded
by fear, prejudice, and hate.
May the grace which is poured
into the cup of mercy
become the nourishment which can transform
broken people into communities,
shadow dwellers into light bearers,
legalists into open handed lovers.

And when we are no longer bound by time and space,
welcome us around your Table of grace,
gathering us with our sisters and brothers,
teaching us new songs we can use
to praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

From this sanctuary of song and silence,
we will go to be with God's people.
We will carry hope to the fearful and worried;
we will share light with those in the shadows.
From  this time of healing and hearing,
we will go to share Jesus' justice.
We will bring strength to those who falter;
we will walk with those weakened by the world.
From the companionship of our sisters and brothers,
we will go with the Spirit into our neighborhoods.
We will embrace the forgotten;
we will work to set the oppressed free.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Liturgy w/communion for October 22, 2017 (Pentecost 20/Trinity 19/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - A)

Texts: Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22
Call to Worship
Each morning, God's grace awakens us,
each evening, God's peace cradles us.
Compassion is our constant companion,
as we go through work, school, the day.
In every moment, God is present with us;
God whispers words which can change our lives.
Justice is our faithful teacher,
pointing to where we can carry out fairness.
When we find ourselves groping in the shadows,
God's light will provide a way home.
We turn the corner, and hope is waiting for us;
we return home, and find a feast prepared.
Prayer of the Day
Steadfast Hope:
when we want
to make all the rules
so we can win every game,
     you call us to your side,
     put your arm around us
          and whisper, 'play fair!'
When we tremble in fear,
worried that our lives
are about to crash to the bottom,
     you place us in
     the hollow of your heart,
          and give us safety.

Word of Joy:
when we would follow
those who pretend
to be our saviors
to achieve their own ends,
     you remind us that we have been chosen
     to be examples of faith to others.
When we would
fill our pockets with
the treasures of temptation,
     you ask us to empty them,
     so we can become
     servants of hope.

Crafter of Faith:
when others judge us on
our backgrounds, education, looks,
     you teach us how
     to treat all people as equal,
          to welcome each person
          as our sister or brother.
When we wonder how
our needs, our hopes, our lives
will be made known to God,
     you mention us, by name,
     in all your prayers.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we know you as
Glory, Grace, Goodness,
and lift our prayer to you, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know, despite our sincere efforts to live in God's way, that all too easily we slip off the path to the kingdom. Trusting that God will answer our prayers and forgive us, let us confess our sins, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
Great Lover of Justice, hear our prayers:
     called to treat all people equally,
          we take sides and pick favorites;
     chosen to be your children,
          we arrogantly assume others are not so honored;
      challenged to be examples of faith,
           we reveal our worst natures to our families and friends.

Forgive us, Giver of Rest.  Enable us to stop putting you to the test, so we can open our hypocritical hearts to your healing touch of compassion and hope. As Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has
given all for us, may we give ourselves to you - confidently, completely, faithfully.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news: the One who created goodness and beauty is also the One who shows no partiality, but offers grace and peace to all.
God has heard our prayers and done the very thing we asked - forgiven us, healed us, restored us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You do not choose favorites, Holy God, but pour out your blessings on all your children, trusting that we will empty our hearts, our lives, our treasure in meeting the needs of those around us.  Bless these gifts, and use them to bring healing and hope to your people.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the exalted One be with you!
And also with you!
Open your hearts to the One who knows you by name.
We offer ourselves to the One who is always with us.
Give thanks to God, all of you, in prayer and song, in silence and service.
We sing to the One who calls us to worship.
Holy and Honest God:
in establishing all that is
beautiful and joyful,
     your glory banished chaos
     and your goodness became
          the shawl which warmed all creation.
You shaped humankind in your own image
and called us, each by name, favoring us with your love.
But we could not pass by sin and death
     huddled in the cracks of chaos,
     and turned towards them,
         offering a safe place in our hearts.
Because you would bring your people back to you,
you sent the prophets
to teach us your ways,
     but we thought they were hypocrites,
     speaking insincere words.
So then you sent Jesus
to show us your hope
and to reveal your dreams for us.

Therefore, we join our voices with all your people
in every age, time, and place,
who forever sing your praises:
Holy, holy, holy! Lover of Justice and Peace!
All creation sings of your hopes,
     echoing your dreams for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to reveal your gospel,
     by word, by grace, by the Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Great Giver of Joy:
you loved the world so much
that you sent your very heart to us.
We did not welcome him
as your beloved Child,
     turning our backs as he approached us.
His faithfulness to your way
     revealed our idolatry of the world.
His plain spoken truth showed the lies
     we all too easily accepted.
He went to the cross,
defeating sin and death,
     so he could claim what is yours
     and give us back to you.
As we offer you the gift of our prayers and thanksgiving,
we remember Jesus, your Beloved,
who bequeathed to us that mystery we call faith:
We eat this bread,
     remembering his brokenness;
we drink this cup,   
     to be filled with his grace;
we wait for Jesus to come again,
     constantly proclaiming your love for us.
Holy Goodness:
pour out your Spirit of welcome
on the gifts of the cup and the bread.
Simple gifts made sacred by your presence,
may the grain which has
come to us from many fields
     strengthen your people to go out
     and serve in many neighborhoods.
May the cup which has been filled
by the fruit of many vines
     nourish us with faith and hope
     so our hearts will overflow with grace
     to those who thirst for your presence.
And when your people
have been gathered together
from every corner of creation,
we will know one another by name,
lifting our voices to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
seated upon the praises of our hearts. Amen.

Go forth now, filled with God's grace.
We will cradle others in God's peace.
Go forth now, with the words that can transform the world.
We will go to speak up for those who are not heard.
Go forth now, taking the Light of God into the world.
We will go into every shadowed corner with hope lighting the way.

(c) Thom M. Shuman