Sunday, May 22, 2016

Liturgy with communion for May 29, 2016 (Pentecost 2/Trinity 1/Proper 4/Ordinary 9 - C)

Texts: 1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39; Psalm 96; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10

Call to Worship
With loud engines at the race track,
and with soft-spoken wisdom:
sing to God new songs of wonder!
With planets spinning in the galaxies,
and with jack hammers tearing up our streets:
sing to God new songs of joy!
With fireworks in summer’s night skies,
and with winter’s ice crunching under our boots:
sing to God new songs of grace!
With crowds at exciting sports venues,
and with children whispering dreams to their pets:
sing to God new songs of hope!
Prayer of the Day
we would take our
   fears, doubts, broken dreams
         and set them to death’s
                mournful dirge,
you take them, rearranging the notes
          and rewriting the lyrics for
     drums, electric guitar, tambourines
                 and keyboard,
   singing a new song
                     of joy
               to us.
Composer of Creation,
we give you the glory!
the world considers us
     putting us out on the
          BOGO clearance table
               on the sidewalk,
   you come under the awning,
telling the proprietor
     to put us on your
          (which you will
              pay in full
              before the next billing cycle
Liberator of our lives,
we give you the glory!
day after day,
           we cannot seem
     to break the cycles of
you come, proclaiming
          the good news,
     speaking the Word
           which heals
Spirit of Peace,
we give you the glory!
God in Community, Holy in One,
to you be the glory forever and ever,
as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer) 

Call to Reconciliation
We go limping along, convinced we can make it on our own, that we are too busy for God.  But when we look at our mistakes, the words we wish we could take back, the hurts we long to heal, we know we must confess, so God can forgive us and wrap us in steadfast love.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We want you to know, Holy God, that we do try.  Between the politicians and the pundits, it is easy to become confused as to how we should live.  We spend so much time trying to win the approval of certain people, that we forget our call to serve those around us.  We are so busy telling others ‘go there’ or ‘do this,’ we cannot hear your whispers of love.
     We do not presume to come to you expecting easy grace, for we are aware of what it cost you to forgive us, Tender God.  But speak the word, and we will know your mercy; speak the word, and we will be made whole; speak the Word, Jesus Christ, and we will find that faith to trust you in every moment.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God comes, not to punish, not to condemn, but to judge – with that righteousness which brings redemption, with that truth which sets us free.
Let it be known this day.  The Lord indeed is God, who brings forgiveness and hope to all people.  Glory to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We come with gratitude, as well as our gifts, Loving God.  As we offer them to you, we pray all might know of your presence in their lives, and that these offerings may bring them your hope, your grace, and your peace.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May creation’s Lord be with you!
And also with you!
Here at this Table, dear ones, draw closer to God.
We come, to offer our hearts to God.
Join the chorus of the universes in praising God.
Our voices unite with all of God’s people in songs of joy.
All creation is grounded in you,
Sovereign God, who spoke the Word
and let it be known that you were coming
     so seas might roar your majesty,
     so fields might exult your glory,
     so trees might sing your joy.
You formed us in your divine image,
letting it be known that we were yours,
the people of your heart and hopes.
But sin and death called our names,
     and we chose to follow those petty gods,
     limping along, letting our dance partners
     lead us as seduction’s sirens sang their songs.
You sent the prophets to intercede,
hoping that we would listen,
     but we made no answer, gave no response.
So you decided to come closer still,
sending Jesus to bring us your healing.
With those who gave you glory in every time and place,
with those from all over this wide earth,
we sing that new song which has echoed down the generations:
Holy, holy, holy are you, Sovereign of the universe.
All creation joins in singing your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!
You indeed are God, Holy One,
and Jesus Christ is your blessed Child.
When we limped along through the world,
     he came to strengthen us to walk in your way.
When our petty gods became too busy for us,
     he came to listen to our faltering prayers.
When we would cling to sin in every moment,
     he went to the cross
          so sin would have no voice to call us,
          so death would be left empty-handed.
As we rejoice in his coming to us,
as we remember we would have no hope without him,
we declare that mystery we know as faith:
Christ died, breaking the power of sin;
Christ was raised, breaking the cycle of death;
Christ comes, bringing the power of the gospel for all.
We sing glad songs to you,
God of honor and majesty,
for here at the Table,
you pour out your Spirit
on the gifts of your creation
set apart for sacred use.
The grain of exultant fields
is shaped into the Bread of life,
     which strengthens us to go forth
     to intercede for those who
     are not highly valued by our world,
     yet who need healing and hope.
The fruit of creation’s vines
becomes the sweet nectar of grace,
which fills our emptiness until it overflows
into justice for the oppressed,
       release for all held captive,
       recovery for the addicted,
       good news for the broken-hearted.
And when all our times have come to an end,
     when the new seas roar with wonder,
     when newly planted meadows exult with laughter,
     when the trees of life sing for joy,
we will lift our voices with our sisters and brothers,
singing the new songs of eternal life with you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go now to sing new songs of wonder:
in the neighborhoods where we live,
in the places we work, we will share God's love.
Go now to sing new songs of joy:
with grandparents volunteering at schools,
with children learning to read, we will be Christ's compassion. 
Go now to sing new songs of grace:
with those who have lost their way,
with the bruised and bullied, we will be the Spirit's peace.
Go now to sing new songs of hope:
we will teach all people God's love songs!

(c) 2106 Thom M. Shuman


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for May 22, 2016 (Trinity - C)

Texts: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

Call to Worship
God, who created the fields of Eden,
takes delight in all things, including us!
God of glory, God of grace,
your name is exalted in all the earth!
Christ, who walked the streets of our world,
gives hope to all people, including us!
God of glory, God of grace,
your Son is Savior of all creation!
God's Spirit, who stays in our hearts,
bears truth and peace to us!
God of glory, God of grace,
your love surrounds our every moment.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God, Creation's Artist:
tiny infants
babble your praises,
     as you reach out
     and heal us with
          the touch of your fingertips.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ, Gateway to grace:
you make right
     what we have messed up;
you build your kingdom
     on the foundation of our faltering faith;
you stand with us
     in the midst of our suffering.
We adore you.

Holy Spirit, Playmate of justice:
you splash through
the sea-puddles
     in Eden's backyard,
tracking the mud
into Kingdom's kitchen,
     leading us to the Table.
We open our hearts to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Created as stewards of all creation, we know how often we have sunk to depths of faithless living.  We lack the stamina to follow Christ through the Kingdom, and ignore the Spirit's calls to justice.  Yet, God looks into our souls and sees the delight of God's heart. Let us join in prayer to the One who does not disappoint us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     God of glory, grace and Wisdom, you call to us, but we do not listen. We trust in the emptiness of the world, but are reluctant to hope in your Word.  We boast in our successes, but ignore the sufferings of others.  Justice is what we demand for lawbreakers, instead of it becoming a lifestyle for ourselves.

     Compassionate Mother:
          have mercy on us;
     Beloved Child:
          have mercy on us;
     Life-Giving Womb:
          have mercy on us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Poured into our hearts, God's love gives us new life and hope. Touched by the fingers of God, we are restored to new life.
This is good news! God loves us, God forgives us, God calls us to service!  Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts to you, Gracious God, remind us that we are called to serve in all the places where we will find you – at the entrances to broken neighborhoods, on the heights of despair, in the valleys of injustice, at the crossroads of poverty and hunger.  In all those places, may we offer not only our treasures, but our lives as well.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you!
May the Triune God be with you!
People of God, lift up your hearts to the One
who creates all things, redeems all things, sustains all things.
We offer our hearts to God our Rock, Christ our Cornerstone,
the Spirit which is our Temple.
People of God, give thanks to the One who loves us

in every moment of our lives.
We praise the One who is, who was, and who is to come.

Joy is the song we offer to you,
Speaker of life and wonder
into the silence of chaos in that first moment.
Mountains became the citadels of your grace,
     valleys rang with the glad shouts of peace.
Dipping your hands into the puddles of paradise,
     your fingers gently shaped us in your image.
Though we rebelled against you time and again,
you would gently correct our mistakes,
     longing to cradle us in your arms once again.
When we no longer could find our way back to you,
Jesus came to stand with us in our suffering
and to lead us home to you.

So, with our sisters and brothers of every time,
with those who sing to you in this place,
we tell of your glory forever and ever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of majesty and beauty.
All creation praises your name in all creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who came that we might have peace with you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Word of grace, Lexicon of love,
Christ came to live with us,
     experiencing our suffering for himself,
     learning the depths of our longing,
     enduring our pain and grief.
Faithful to your will for him,
as well as your dreams for us,
he willingly bore the sins of the world,
     destroying death and leaving it empty,
     bringing life to all who had lost hope.

As we remember your good works in Christ,
we take the cup and the bread,
setting them aside for their sacred use,
even as we declare that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, emptying himself for us;
Christ is risen, filling us with life;
Christ will come again, gifting us with eternal joy.

Breath of peace, Flowing River of life,
move upon the gift of creation offered to us,
that the bread may heal all brokenness,
that the cup might fill us with grace.
Then, when you stand at the crossroad
     where injustice and oppression meet,
may we join your compassionate voice
     in calling for life and hope for all of God's children;
may we join you at the gates of hopelessness,
     bringing our sisters and brothers
     out of the depths of despair,
           to be God's daily delight and joy
in the kingdom breaking forth in our midst.

And when the mountains have crumbled into dust,
we will gather together with those of every time and place,
who are seated at the feast in heaven,
delighting in the One who has loved us from the beginning,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go now, as children of God, who is mindful of all people.
We will go to speak as simply as little children,
to share songs of joy we learned as infants.
Let us go now, as siblings of Jesus, brother to the poor.
We will go to stand at the intersection of oppression and despair,
to cry out for all those whose hopes have been silenced.
Let us go now, as heirs of the peace of the Spirit.
We will go to share delight with everyone we meet,
to offer grace to those who have suffered most.
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for May 15, 2016 (Day of Pentecost - C)

Texts:  Genesis 11:1-9; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:8-17 (25-27)
Litany for Pentecost
Come, Spark of justice:
   enliven our passion for
   those who are imprisoned behind
      bars and fears;
   those held captive by
      prejudices and poverty.
Come, Shelter for life:
   calm us when our worries
      toss and turn us in the night;
   comfort us when hurtful words
      silence all around us.
Come, Advocate of the oppressed:
   tear down the walls of acquiescing silence
      which keep us from hearing our neighbors;
   build bridges across the widening chasms
      of our rampant isolationism.
Come, Shimmer of mystery:
   open our eyes to the sign language
      of love share by all creation;
   teach us the dance steps you gave
      to the dolphins and whales.
Come, Quencher of thirst souls;
come, Word known in every language;
come, Baker of the bread of hope;
come, as we pray, saying as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
In a cult of the individual, we forget we are created to be in community.  In a world which tells us it is all up to us, we overlook Jesus’ promise that we are not left alone, but gifted with the Spirit of hope, peace, and joy.  Let us confess our lives to our God, who will make us one in grace and wonder.  Join together, as we pray saying,
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Spirit of life, we confess that our fears drive us into the shadowed places of our lives.  We pull the shutters of sin tight, to close out the light of your love.  We slide the deadbolt crafted out of our doubts, turn the key to lock us away from your searching grace.  We fall silent as we hear the footfalls of your hope just outside the door of our hearts.
   But you will not remain at arm’s length from us, Spirit of cleansing.  You rush in to sweep away our worries, replacing them with wonder. You dance in our cold hearts until they ignite in love for everyone around us.  You offer oldsters visions of hope, and youngsters dreams of peace for a broken world.  May we be as faithful in our believing, and in our living, as was Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
You fill the universes with wonder, populate the seas
with great creatures, and you whisper the words of mercy
for which your children yearn.
In our own hearts, we hear the words of grace, forgiveness,
and hope which we need in every moment.  Thanks be to
God.  Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We find it so easy to keep our resources locked away in the rooms of our worries about the future.  So rush in with your Spirit of gratitude, Holy God, and anoint us with visions of communities where the hungry are fed, the lonely are loved, and brokenness is healed by the gifts we offer in this moment.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Spirit of Pentecost be with you!
And also with you. 

Open your closed hearts to the Spirit of grace.
We lift them to the One who rushes into our lives. 

Join in one voice in singing to God!
With our hearts aflame, we sing praises to God! 

You spoke a single Word with the breath of the Spirit,
God of wondrous imagination,
and the shuttered doors of chaos were flung open
as creation rushed in full of beauty,
   songs uttered by a myriad of creatures,
   butterflies dancing like flames over clover,
   giant squid and sea horses swimming together.
So much wonder, glory, and joy flowed forth,
all for those shaped in your image from the dust of the stars,
   but we were not satisfied with these gifts,
   preferring the deadly illusions offered by evil.
You sent the prophets to us,
men and women speaking in a variety of ways
of your love and hope for us,
   but we locked ourselves in sin’s room,
   giving the key to death to hold for us.
So you sent your Child to us,
the One who would share your grace with us.
With those of every place and language,
with those who seek the oneness of life with you,
we raise our thanksgivings to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of wind and fire.
All creation utters your praises with one voice.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who offers the Advocate to us.
Hosanna in the highest!
May your holiness be forever, God of glory,
and may peace be Jesus’ gift to us.
When our spirits flagged,
   he came to strengthen us
   through his weakness.
When others withheld everything,
   he came to give us
   grace beyond imagination.
When we were so divided
from God and everyone else,
   he slipped into death’s sweet sleep,
   so that resurrection’s love
   might make us one again.
As we seek to make his name our own,
as we would believe and live as he taught,
we proclaim the mystery we call faith:
Christ went to the cross, death taking his breath away;
Christ was raised, breathing deeply of the resurrection;
Christ shares the Spirit, the Breath of peace and truth
      filling our lives.
Like a great wind, you rush to us,
gathering and bringing us to this Table.
Like a gentle breeze, you pour out your Spirit,
anointing the bread and the cup with peace.
As we taste the bread’s
life-giving brokenness, may we believe and,
in the believing, go out
   to feed the hungry;
   to advocate for the vulnerable;
   to speak truth to the powerful.
As we drink love’s sweetness
tinged with the saltiness of your tears,
may we ask for
   the peace which can end war;
   the reconciliation which can bridge divisions;
   the justice which can overcome oppression,
trusting that you will gift us with these graces.
And when the divisions and confusion ends,
when the quarreling words of every tongue fall silent,
you will gather us at the Table of the Lamb,
where we will sing with one heart and voice to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
Gathered in this place, let us now scatter,
to go into the world with a rush
to share God’s grace with everyone we meet.
Having heard the prayer uttered for us,
let us go to live it out,
believing that Jesus is with us,
as we bring the fresh breath of hope to others.
Having been touched with the Spirit’s peace,
let us go to bring it into our communities,
to bring calm to every trembling heart,
to offer light to those in life’s shadows.
(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for May 8, 2016 (Easter 7 - C)

Texts: Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21; John 17:20-26

Call to Worship
We come to this place of prayer,
for here we can bring our hopes and dreams,
our hidden fears and the doubts we dare wear on our sleeves.
We come to this place of grace,
for here we learn compassion and joy,
and discover how deeply we are loved.
We come with these people called the church,
to be blessed by the variety of gifts,
to live as one for our God.

Prayer of the Day
In your presence,
Creator of the Universe,
     mountains melt into
          muddy puddles
     and stars whisper
          your name to us.
Faithfulness and justice
     are the scuffed shoes
          you put on each morning,
clouds are your prayer shawl
     in the evening.

When you could have
kept God's glory in your pocket,
Servant of the poor,
     you took it out
     and spent it on us.
Confident in that love
which was yours before
the world began spinning,
     you came to walk
     the dusty path of death.

Spirit of Blessing,
like a crossing guard

you keep your eyes on us
as we cross the busy streets of life,
     ready to pull us out of the way
          of oncoming sin.

You take us by the hand
     to lead us to the shade
          of the tree of life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
make us one Body from many individuals,
as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Plastic cards, shiny cars, brick and glass homes - what idols we fashion with our hands, how much energy and time serving them occupy our hearts!  Let us confess how we have misplaced our priorities, and seek the One who asks us to be first in our lives.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Enslaved to sin, we cannot see the lives we lead, God of Glory. Each day, and every day, there are those times when we ignore you and your dreams for us. Each week, and every week, we find the time to ridicule others, when we could have affirmed them. Each moment, and every moment, though we do not want to admit it, we seek our own way rather than skipping down your path of joy and obedience.
     We come asking forgiveness for our foolish lives, Eternal Blessing. Deliver us, and break the chains of sin and death which hold us captive. Open us to that grace you offer, and give us the gift of the Spirit so we may live as people of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
In the beginning was God, and at the end will be God, and in every moment in between, there is God: creating, redeeming, and sustaining us.
And through Christ, gracious love is poured into our empty souls; through the Spirit, peace becomes the gift we can share with those around us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We cling so tightly to our worthless idols, Holy God, and so have trouble sharing from the abundance with which you have blessed us.  Unclench our hands, our hearts, our spirits, so we may be as generous with those who need healing, feeding, loving, caring, far more than we do.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of wonder be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to the One who invites you to this Table,

calling, "Come, Come!"
Thirsty for life and hope, we bring our hearts to this feast.
Rejoice in the Lord, all you people!
We sing glad songs of thanks to God's holy name!

Disturbing chaos at the very beginning,
Dawn for the righteous,
you created wonder and beauty.
Coastlands were filled with life's abundance,
     clouds scudded across the skies,
     justice became the foundation for hope.
Crafted in your image to behold your glory,
     we believed the boasts of worthless idols,
          bowing down to worship sin and death.
Prophets came, speaking your word,
but we accused them of disturbing our peace.
When you saw no hope
of our returning on our own,
you sent Jesus, who came,
not only on behalf of those who knew him,
but also for all who would believe in him.

So with those who thirst for righteousness,
and with those who hunger for justice,
we lift our voices to you:

Holy, holy, holy, Joy of the upright in heart.
All creation beholds your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who testifies to all things.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are most high over all Creation, Holy One,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Joy, our Hope.
You gave him your glory,
which he shares with all your children.
The Bright Morning Star, he came
     to illumine the shadows of our lives.
Bringing the testimony of your salvation,
     he proclaimed the good news to all who listened.

Desiring that we might be with him wherever he is,
he went to the cross,
     throwing open death's imprisoning doors,
         that we might have life eternal.

As we celebrate his life and love,
as we testify to his peace and hope,
we witness to that mystery called faith:

Christ died, that we may enter the holy city by the gates;
Christ was raised, that we may receive the water of life as a gift;
Christ will come soon, your grace calling us home.

Come, Holy God, come,
pouring out your Spirit upon this feast,
transforming your children
with the simple gifts of the bread and cup.
As we eat of the bread,
we find you within us,
     uniting us, wherever we are divided;
     healing us, where we are broken;
     sending us, when we are reluctant;
          to throw open wide all that imprisons
          our sisters and brothers throughout the world.
As we drink from the cup,
we realize how deeply we know you,
     and will go forth to witness to all around us,
          that the love with which you have loved us
               may be in them, and we in them.

And when the end of all time has come,
when the Alpha and Omega invites us to "come,"
we will gather around your Table in the holy city,
clothed in your grace with all the saints,
we will sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

We leave this place of prayer,
to join God in listening to the hopes and dreams,
the hidden fears and the doubts of our neighbors.
We leave this place of grace,
to share the compassion and joy of Jesus with others,
so they will discover how deeply they are loved.
We leave to be with the people of our world,
so the Spirit might bless us with their rich gifts,
so we may discover our oneness in God.

© 2016 Thom M. Shuman