Sunday, September 15, 2019

Liturgy with communion for September 22, 2019 (Pentecost 15/Trinity 14/Proper 20/Ordinary 25 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1; Psalm 79:1-9; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13


Call to Worship
We gather together to celebrate the joy in our lives.

God's love fills our hearts to overflowing with laughter.
We gather, in God's presence, to find comfort and hope for our pain.
God's grace wipes away our tears
and knits us together as one people. 
We gather together, in God's presence, to worship God in faith and truth.
Alleluia! Amen!

Prayer of the Day

Healing God,
when dismay
is our daily companion,
     you come to touch us
          with your healing hope.
When grief falls on us
like a wall of bricks,
     you rebuild our joy
          with your comfort and love.

Jesus Christ,
Faithful Spirit,
when bullies pick on us,
     you stand by our side.
When neighbors taunt us
for choosing to be faithful,
     you commend us
          for our wisdom.

Teaching Spirit,
when we are heart-sick
over the brokenness of our lives,
     your compassion races
          to bring your gentle balm.
When our joy is gone
and we are stained
by the world's cruelty,
     you bathe us in the tears
          flowing from God's broken heart.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Before we speak, God knows our needs, yet our words open our hearts to God's grace. Let us prepare ourselves for God's healing as, in words and silence, we tell of all that separates us from God and one another. Please join me as we pray,


Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     First of all, Everlasting God, we must confess how we have not lived as your people. We serve many masters - work, wealth, power, addictions - yet find no hope in them. We hear the cries of the poor, and shut the doors of our hearts to them. We ridicule those who expose their hopes and dreams to us.
     Forgive us, Compassion's Heart, and heal us of our brokenness. Make us well, so that by our healing, we might be the hope and love others need in their lives, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, brought these gifts to us, calling us to be faithful with the grace, peace, and joy entrusted to us.
 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Now that we have let go of the pain, the bitterness, the anger of our lives, let us be kind, tender-hearted, and gentle towards each other, forgiving as God has forgiven us.
We are God's beloved children, and will model God's grace and love in our hearts. Thanks be to God! We are forgiven! Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could taunt our neighbors, or treat them to a warm welcome; we would mock those who are different or affirm them as family; we could withhold our inheritance from others, so help us to joyously and lovingly pour out our gifts and lives for others.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the one God be with you!

And also with you!
Lift your hearts to the One who heals them.
We offer our hearts to be filled with the balm of Gilead.
Sing praises to our God who would fill us with springs of joy.
Glad songs of thanksgiving are proclaimed to the One
who delivers us to new life.

We praise you for our inheritance,
God of wonder and delight:

     springs of water trickling into mighty rivers,
     birds of the air cart wheeling in the morning mist,
     tall trees dancing with the wind.
As your children, we were blessed
with abundant gifts beyond measure,
     but we squandered this bounty, choosing
     to buy property in sin and death's community.
Heartsick, you sent the prophets to us,
who indicted us for ruining ourselves,
but we were not strong enough
to pull up our roots and return to you.
So you sent Jesus, faithful in all,
to restore us to full health.

As we join our voices with all
who seek to serve you, far and wide,
we lift our songs of praise to you:


Holy, holy, holy are you, Author of grace and goodness.
All creation affirms the depths of your love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is your Child of Compassion who sprints to us.
Hosanna in the highest!


Holy are you, God of our salvation,
and everlasting is the salvation brought
to us by Jesus Christ, our Mediator.
When we were too weak to dig
our way out of the mess we were in,
     he came to show us the way out.
When we were too proud to ask for help,
     he humbled himself, to become our brother.
When we could not account for our lives,
     he balanced the books for us.
When we were faithless in so much,
     he determined to go to the cross for us,
so that we might know of your longing
for everyone to be saved.

As we remember his faithful life in every thing he did,
as we celebrate his spirit of sacrifice,
we speak of that truth we call faith:


Christ died, paying the price we could not;
Christ was raised, becoming our means of new life;
Christ will come, leading us to that quiet, peaceable life with you.


In these moments, in this holy place,
upon these gifts with offer hope and life,
upon these people who seek to be faithful,
pour out your Spirit of compassion and peace.
As we eat of the bread, tasting its grace,
may we move swiftly in service,
     carrying compassion to the lost,
     the hurting, the hungry, the homeless.
As we drink from the cup of love,
may the tears of our eyes
     at the brokenness of the world,
     become the healing balm for your children.

And when all time is gone, when eternity is upon us,
we will join our sisters and brothers from far and wide,
in singing forever your glory and wonder,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Sending
God has filled us with joy and wonder.
We will go to let it overflow in the lives of others.
Jesus has filled us with comfort and hope.
We will go to wipe away the tears of those around us.
The Spirit sends us forward in faith to share the truth of God's presence in our lives.
Alleluia!  We will live everyday as God's own.  Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Liturgy with communion for September 15, 2019 (Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Proper 19/Ordinary 24 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; Psalm 14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10


Call to Worship
The foolish say, 'there is no God.'
We come, trusting in Jesus, the face, the voice,
the presence of the God who loves us.
The scoffers of our age ask, 'why do you seek after God?'
We come, in this time,
because God's grace has spilled over in our lives.
The hopeless around us think, 'no one cares about me.'
We come, in this time, to this place,
because Jesus has found us and brought us home.


Prayer of the Day
When we are short-sighted
and think we can't see you,
     you show us a mother
          cradling her sick child.
When we are anxious,
certain you don't care about us,
     you are confident enough
          to trust us with your grace.
When we are cynical,
sure that nothing matters,
     you are optimistic enough
          to become one of us.
God, you are our Hope.

You sweep the streets
of the world,
     to uncover the people
          we consider to be trash.
You shine your grace
into sin's shadows
     to find us when
          we have lost our way.
You would leave us
     to go find the sister
          we left behind.
Jesus, you are our Joy.


When we walk
the dusty desert of desolation,
     you refresh us
          with showers of grace.
When our lives
lie in ruined rubble,
     you come and build
     a foundation for us
          out of love and faith.
Spirit, you are our Life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our Hope, our Joy, our Life,
hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches,
(The Lord's Prayer)


Call to Reconciliation
Which of us has not hurt someone this week? Which of us has not spoken (or thought) ill of a sister or brother in Christ? Which of us has failed to do good when given the chance? Which of us? All of us and each of us! But Christ came to save people just like us, so I invite you to join me as we offer our prayers to God, saying,


Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Although we believe we are experts at faithfulness, Holy God, we must confess we are unskilled workers at doing good for others. Too often, we turn a deaf ear to the cries of people we have judged to be fools. We easily scoff at those we believe have nothing to teach us or share with us.
     How foolish, Searching God, how foolish we are! Forgive us, and restore us to your goodness. Then, send us forth to search for all who sit in the shadowed corners of our world, yearning for someone to come and find them, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, came to find us.


Silence is kept 


Assurance of Pardon
Our actions sometimes show we do not know God. Our words and lives show we do not understand God's hopes for us. But with utmost patience, God sets aside our foolishness, and fills us with mercy.
Mingled with faith and love, grace is poured into our sin-parched souls, giving us new life, restoring us as God's children. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
When we could not find our way, you came searching for us.  So may our gifts be used to bring hope to those cast aside by the world, peace to those whose lives are troubled, and grace to all who are alone.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.


Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the lost be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts to the One who searches for you.
We lift them to our God, whom we find dwelling
in our deepest being.
God's precious treasure, offer your thanksgiving to God.
We glorify our God, who does not give up on us,
but rescues us when we have wandered away.

When only the hot wind of chaos
blew, and there was no light,
you spoke, Immortal, Invisible God,
     your Word bringing forth fruit-filled lands,
     your Spirit moving the hills to and fro
          until they stood silent over the valleys.
In your wisdom, you shaped us
in your image, your grace freely offered.
     Foolishly, we chased after temptation's dreams,
          becoming skilled workers in constructing
          evil out of your good and wonderful gifts.
You showed the upmost patience towards us,
sending prophets with challenging words
to remind us of your promises to all,
but we were too foolish to listen.
So, you sent Jesus to us who,
like a friend who has lost touch
with those dearest to his heart,
reaches out to reconnect with them.

So, with the company of the saints in glory,
with the sinners and losers of this world,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God whose heart overflows with faith and love.
Joy echoes down the corridors of creation.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes searching for the lost.
Hosanna in the highest.

The wise seek after you, God of Grace and glory,
for you sent Jesus, our Lord to us.
Like a woman searching the shadows
for a lost coin, he comes,
     to find your greatest treasure.
Like a brother who has lost
touch with his siblings, he comes,
     to reconcile us as your family.
Like a sister who would stay awake
while the younger children sleep, he comes,
     to be our true friend
          in every moment, in every place.
Like a shepherd who would face
danger in rescuing his sheep, he goes,
     to the cross, experiencing our death,
so he can carry us into
the resurrected life.

As we gather at his feast,
as we know we have been completely accepted,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, relentless in trusting God;
Christ was raised, as God purposed;
Christ will come, to rejoice with us in glory.

As we come to your Table at this time,
pour out your Holy Spirit upon
this company of sinners
who long to be right-living people,
and on the gifts you have prepared.
As we eat of the Bread of Life,
strengthen our hearts and spirits,
     so we may search for the lost.
As we drink from the Cup of Grace,
may we be found to be faithful,
     as you appoint us to serve the oppressed.

And at that time when we will be with you,
gathered around the Table of the Lamb
with all who were lost, and like us, were found,
we will join our voices in singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
We have been found by our God,
so now we will go to search for those forgotten by the world.
We have been welcomed by Jesus,
so now we will go to embrace the ones people look down their noses at.
We have been gathered as a community by the Spirit,
so now we will go to be a family to the people who long to draw near to hope.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Friday, September 06, 2019

Liturgy with communion for September 8, 2019 (Pentecost 13/Trinity 12/Proper 18/Ordinary 23 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33

Call to Worship
We gather in the presence of God:
who knows us when we wake up
and when we go to sleep,
and in all the moments in between.

We gather in the house of God:
who has created a family for us,
here as well as in the Bahamas
,
in Africa, and in Nashville.

We gather to be the people of God:
who appeals to us to follow
in love, in faith, in service.


Prayer of the Day
Eternal God our Potter:
you come to us
     before we come to you.


You send your Heart,
Jesus Christ, to us
     before our hearts
     are turned to you.

You send your Spirit to us,
     when our spirits
          wander far from you.


You set a Table for us,
     when our souls are hungry,
          when our hearts are empty.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,

(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Our sins are not to be hidden from God.  Rather, we bring them into the Light and lay them on the Table, trusting in the One who shaped us for goodness and will transform our brokenness into wholeness.  Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Searching God, we are so attached to our possessions, we have trouble sharing them.  We are so connected to our pleasures that we cannot feel the pain of those around us.  We are so stuck on ourselves, we cannot sense our souls slipping away into the shadows.
     Most merciful God: loosen us from the grip of the world, so we may feel your healing touch. Sever us from our sin, so your Spirit might bind us to you. Reshape us, redeem us, renew us, so we may take up our crosses and follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The God who calls us is the God who created us; the God who formed us is the God who forgives us. This is the Good News - we are God's new creation.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are reshaped, renewed, forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Some bear crosses hollowed out by hunger, some carry crosses called injustice.  Sometimes our abundance is a cross which we struggle to bear.  But as we learn to follow you, as we seek to be as generous as you, we discover that we can gift others with hope, with grace, and with peace.  Receive our offerings this day, so they might bless your children in every way imaginable.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Potter of life be with you.
And also with you.

People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who reshapes them into grace.

People of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
We praise the One who has shaped us for love and service.


With joy we praise you,
Creating God.
You stooped down and took the clay
lying on earth's floor,
shaping us in your image.
But we wondered
what it would be like
to follow our own paths
     and detached ourselves from your side.
We counted the cost
of being your children,
     and found it to be too much for us.
We pondered your words
     and found them useless for our lives.
But you did not take your hands from us,
but continue to recreate us,
to reshape us, to redeem us.

Giver of breath, shaper of words,
all the living find voice to praise you,
as we celebrate with the people
of every time and place,
singing to your glory:


Holy, holy, holy are you, God who shapes us
     with hands of grace and hope.
Your wonder works of creation praise your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes,

     appealing to us on the basis of love.
Hosanna in the highest!


Holy are you, Redeeming God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior.
Traveling with us,
     he points out the paths
          we are to walk.
When he could command
us to do whatever he wants,
     he appeals to us
          to follow his example.
Whatever wrong we have done,
whatever good we have failed to do,
Christ charges them to his account,
     that we might be counted
          as your beloved children.

So, as we come to the Table of grace and hope,
we remember that mystery we call faith:


Christ died, having counted the cost.
Christ was raised, the foundation of resurrection being set in place.
Christ will come, refreshing our hearts for all eternity.


Spirit of the Living God,
renew us with this bread and this cup
which have been set aside for sacred us,
even as you refresh our hearts.
Fill us with all the goodness of the kingdom,
that we may do good for Christ
as we serve others:

     in the ways in which we treat our families;
     in our willingness to draw
          the outcast to our side;
     in our efforts to be your healing hands
          to the sick and grieving.

Then, here at the Table and beyond;
here in this moment, and through eternity:
remind us that we are always with you,
God of all places and times,
Christ of those who suffer,
Spirit of justice and hope:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.


Sending
It is God who has formed us as a community of faith.
Now, we will go to find and serve our sisters and brothers.
It is Jesus who has knit us together as partners in grace.
Now, we will go to bear the burdens of those around us.
It is the Spirit who gives us the words we need.
Now, we will go to speak for justice and hope for all.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman




Friday, August 16, 2019

Liturgy with communion for September 1, 2019 (Pentecost 12/Trinity 11/Proper 17/Ordinary 22 - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14

Call to Worship
We come to worship our God,
to listen to the One who calls us here.
We come trusting God to lead us in the coming days,
as surely as were our grandparents in the faith.
We come to worship our God,
to shout with joy to the God of all people.
We come to the Creator of all things,
to be bathed in the waters of life.
We come to the Feast of God's faithful,
to be fed by the One who never forsakes us.
We come to worship our God,
to sing aloud to the One who saves us.

Prayer of the Day
Yesterday, God of our days,
when our hunger for hope
had so weakened us
we could barely speak,
     you fed us with
     the Bread of life,
          spread with the sweet honey
          of your grace.

Today, Host to the poor,
when we look for you
in the powerful and the rich,
among the superstar and celebrity,
     we will find you
     seated with the children,
          your knees squeezed painfully
          under the table,
entertaining them
with your stories.

Tomorrow, Spirit of Service,
when we will be scrambling
for the seats of honor,
     you will be in the kitchen
          cooking dinner for the prisoners;
     making up the guest room
          for the immigrants;
     singing lullabies of love
          to the lost children
               of our world.

God in Community, Holy in One:
yesterday, today, tomorrow, always,
we will pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Despite all the ways we speak of sin - failures, mistakes, intended acts, Scripture tells us that we are stubborn-hearted, wanting only our way. But if we pause to listen to God, if we open our mouths (and our hearts) to confess our sin, God will fill our emptiness with forgiveness and hope. Let us pray together, as we say,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are always uncomfortable, Watching God, when you notice how we want to sit in the seats of honor. We can be so proper, so good, so well-off, that it is easy to imagine we are superior to the poor. We are so busy completing our 'To Do' list each day, that we forget to do good when we have the chance.
     Forgive us, Welcoming God. Fill our emptiness with your grace and humility that we would spend our lives alongside Jesus, our Lord and Savior, throwing a party for the poor, the damaged, the prisoner, the lost, the oppressed.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: after what God has done for us, what can anyone or any thing do to us? We are new people, graced by our loving God.
Forgiven, embraced, welcomed by our God, we will offer open hearts and serving hands to everyone we meet. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we are offered opportunities to reach out to those who are in need of hope, healing, and friendship.  This is why you pour out your blessings upon us, trusting that we will share from our abundance to bless others, even as we have been blessed.  Receive the gifts we offer, multiply them, and use them in the work of grace and justice.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the God who welcomes us at this Table.
Let us sing aloud to God.
We will offer glad songs of thanksgiving to the One who delivers us.

We would sing aloud
our songs of joy to you,
Master of the Universe.
Out of the emptiness of chaos,
you brought forth creation,
     plentiful with all we need,
     graced with gifts beyond imagination.
Offered the place of honor
in your good Garden,
     we filled our souls with worthless lies,
          moving out of glory's neighborhood
          into the junkyard of the world.
Prophets brought your word of judgment,
and your gracious invitation to come home,
but we would not listen
to the advice they offered to us.
Then you sent Jesus,
who humbled himself
that we might be exalted.

Therefore, we come to your Table singing,
our voices joining with those
in every time and in every place,
lifting our glad songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our strength!
All creation shouts for you to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

We welcome the One who shows hospitality to strangers.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Mothering God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Life.
Glorified as your True Child,
     he came to show hospitality
          to all the strangers of the world.
Deserving of the seat of honor,
     he humbled himself
          to serve the guests.
Refusing to let us be left
in the ruthless hands
of sin and death,
     he entered that prison
     we call the grace
          to set us free to live with you.

As we remember his life and death,
as we come to the Table of the resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Dying, you took the seat of dishonor;
Rising, you humbled yourself to be exalted;
Coming again, you will honor us in the presence on the One
     who invites all to sit at the Table of grace.

Send your Holy Spirit
upon the Bread and the Cup,
simple gifts from creation
which grace us with your life,
and upon those who gather
around your Table.
Fed with the finest wheat,
     may we go forth to fill the lives
     of all whose emptiness
          imprisons them.
Having tasted the cup of joy,
     may we bring the sweet honey of hope
          to those parched by despair.
Welcomed without question
at your Table of grace,
     may we open our hearts
     to throw a party for all
          who have been forsaken by the world.

And when we gather around the Wedding Feast in glory,
with all the poor, the broken, the prisoners, the oppressed -
we will open our mouths to receive your joy,
and sing aloud to you
our praise for all eternity:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending

Having listened to God's words, we are sent to serve others.
Today and tomorrow, we will follow where God leads.
Having joined in songs of praise and hope, we will carry these gifts into the world.
Today and tomorrow, we will serve beside Jesus.
Having been filled with the Spirit of justice, we will go to be with all who struggle.
Today and tomorrow, we will bring justice and peace to those around us.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman