Monday, October 22, 2018

Alternate texts for October 28, 2018 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - B)


Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

Call to Worship
Like water drenching a desert,
God’s grace is poured into our hearts.
Like an optometrist putting a pair of glasses on a child,
Jesus helps us to see the wonders around us.
Like a mother wiping tears off a child’s cheeks,
The Spirit comforts us when everything falls apart.

Prayer of the Day
When fear’s nightmares
dissolve into morning wonder;
when despair’s monsters
hiding under our beds
turn out to be hope’s dust bunnies;
when our tears drip
into the soil of our hearts
and bouquets of joy blossom,
you restore our lives,
God of grace.

When you pick up those
we trip as they try to meet you;
when you gather the lonely
into the widening circle of your heart;
when you call those
to your side that we push
aside all too easily,
you help us to take heart,
Jesus of justice.

When you bring us home
from addiction’s neighborhoods;
when you wipe the cheeks
of all those who grieve rejection;
when you sit by us,
holding our hands while
we dangle our feet in still waters,
you whisper words of life,
Spirit of loveliness.

And we tell all of what you do,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We say we want to be close to God, but through our foolish choices and wandering hearts, we usually end up so far away that we cannot find our way back.  But our lives will not keep God from searching for us, forgiving us, and bringing us back to God.  Let us confess our lives to the One who is our hope, our mercy, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We hear people crying out for justice, God of compassion, but tell them to be quiet so we can hear our favorite politicians.  There are those who stand by the side of the road with a sign reading ‘will work for hope,’ and we speed up to get past them.  There are those who have been tripped by the struggles of life, and we wonder why they can’t pull themselves back to their feet.
   Have mercy on us, God whose tears mingle with those we have ignored.  You challenge us to gather up the poor, the angry, the hopeless, the lost, the most vulnerable and to bring them to you, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has brought us to you through his life and love.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart, dear friends.  Look at what God has done!  God gathers us from wherever we have wandered and brings us home along hope’s highway.
With forgiveness, God has restored our hopes; with grace, God takes our tears and transforms them into bouquets of joy; with the light of love, God rescues us from nightmares of our fears.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Wow!  Look what God does.  Whatever we offer, large sums and pocket change, God uses it in serving the forgotten, in healing the broken, and in welcoming those who have wandered far from home.  Receive our gifts in gratitude and faithfulness, O God.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who does wonders for us be with you.
May God do amazing things for you.
Let us lift our hearts to our God who loves us.
We open our hearts to the One who restores our hopes.
Let praise tumble off our lips in these moments.
We shout joy and thanksgivings to our God.

To restore your hopes, O God,
you spoke into chaos
and brought forth creation,
   horses who just gave birth,
   foals who struggle to get to their feet,
   still waters where all creatures could drink.
All that was imaginative and beautiful
was offered to those who are in your image,
   but we chose to live in fear’s farthest places,
   planting seeds into sin’s deepest soils.
You sent prophets to call us to your side,
and with tears flowing down their cheeks,
sought to bring us home,
   but we preferred to wander death’s deserts,
   to continue to feast at temptation’s table.
So that you could restore us to whole life,
you chose to send your Beloved to us,
who would bring us home to you.

With joy tumbling off our lips,
with our tongues tingling with delight,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who does wonders.
All creation exults in all you do.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is our teacher.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of the faithful,
and blessed is the Child
who came to us at Bethlehem.
He came to bring the lost home,
   all those who had wandered into fear;
he came to lift to their feet,
   all who had stumbled trying to find you;
he came to open your doors
   to all who had no place to live;
he came to confront sin,
   telling it to be quiet in its demands on us;
he came to conquer death,
   being embraced by its cold tomb,
   but was brought to new life
   by your resurrection love.

As we prepare to come to your Table,
as we celebrate the life offered to us,
we speak of that mystery we know of faith:

Jesus died, planting seeds in death’s desert;
Jesus was raised, as resurrection bloomed in his heart;
Jesus will come, bouquets of life in his hands.

Here at this Table, you gather your Beloved,
pouring out your Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we are fed by the broken bread,
strengthen us so we may
   wipe the cheeks of those
      stained by the tears of fear;
   feed the babies of families
      who have no food for them.
As we drink deeply of the cup of salvation,
may we have the courage to
   challenge all who would put
      the vulnerable at even more risk;
   offer hope to those who find themselves
      forgotten by the side of the road
      by those who see only their greed.

And when the seeds of grace you planted
at the birth of creation bursts forth at the end of time,
you will gather us around your Table
with our sisters and brothers from every moment,
and we will lift our voices in praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
forever and ever.  Amen.  

Sending
Now, let us go forth in God’s love.
We will go to answer the cries of those in need.
Now, let us go forth with the grace of Jesus.
We will go to let all know that Jesus
wants to see them and offer them hope.
Now, let us go forth in the community of the Spirit.
We will go to gather all who are forsaken and alone.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, October 19, 2018

Liturgy with communion for October 28, 2018 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - B)

Texts:  Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

Call to Worship
With our lips and with our hearts:
we bless God in every moment of our lives.
With our ears and with our hearts:
we will hear the cries of our sisters and brothers,
in every painful moment, in every broken place.
With every gift and with our hearts:
we will serve God and all of God's children,
with every moment of our lives.

Prayer of the Day
Wise God,
you name us your children:
feeding us with hope,
touching the cup of grace to our lips;
shaping us in your image,
that we might care for all creation;
raising us from despair,
rescuing us from our foolishness;
wrestling with our questions,
watching over us in every moment.

Brother Jesus,
Servant of the poor:
patiently, lovingly, tenderly
you listen to our voices,
some filled with hurt and bitterness,
others with loneliness and grief;
some trembling with fear and worry,
others overflowing with silence;
and you offer them all to God.

Spirit of Holiness,
creation's life-giving Breath:
you refuse to walk by
when we sit in the dust
of our despair and pain,
blinded by the ashes of our actions,
cloaked in the desires
of our sinful brokenness.

God in Community, Holy in One,
who names us as your children,
hear us as we pray together saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we cannot do it, God can! Anything and everything - our messes, the hurts we inflict on others, the way we stand around when we could be helping - God can renew, reshape, restore us. That is how much God
loves us, this is why God calls to us to come and be healed. Join me as we pray to our God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Gracious and holy God, we admit that it is easier to have pain-causing words on our lips, than praise for another. Our foolishness often keeps us from seeing the deep hurts and hunger of the suffering who are around us. We stand by the side of the road, afraid to step forward in faith, afraid to trust that you are with us, afraid to cry out for healing and hope.
     We are not people who repent in ashes and dust, but we do know we need your mercy, and ask that you forgive our faithlessness, our fears, our hurts.  Healer of all people, we lift our hearts and souls to
you, that through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we might find your grace, discover your love, and serve your people in your name.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart: God hears your prayers. Get up: God has healed your brokenness. Listen: God calls to you with hope, with forgiveness, with life.
Now, our eyes are opened and we can see;
now, our ears are opened and we can hear;
now, we can follow Christ into the kingdom.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts be used to answer the needs of those who seek you, O God, delivering them from their fears, listening to their cries for help, offering refuge to those who are searching for hope.  This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
O taste and see how good God is!
We hunger to be in God's gracious presence.
Listen for God's promises to you.
We call out to our God, and we are heard:
lives are made new, hope is restored.
Raise your hearts and voices in thanksgiving to God.
Glad songs of joy and praise will always be on our lips!

In the silence of chaos,
you serenely stood, Irenic God.
Then, with that singular Word,
craters were filled with water,
meadows rippled with crops;
with your Breath exhaled,
life flowed through all creation,
the heavens sparkled with your hope.
Blinded by our desire to be like you,
we chose the wrong role models,
thinking death could offer us life,
that sin would be our dearest friend.
Prophets came with your word,
encouraging us to change our hearts,
to repent in dust and ashes,
but we told them to keep quiet.
Then you took the initiative,
sending Jesus into our lives,
to call us back to you.

So, with those who shout out your name,
and with those who whisper of your wonder,
with our sisters and brothers in every time and place,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of majesty and grace.
Heaven and earth resounds with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is he who for all time is able to save.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are those who take refuge in you, Radiant God,
and exalted in all creation is your Child, Jesus Christ.
Throwing off his glory,
Jesus sprang up to come to our side,
to do for us what we could not do.
Refusing to stand still and do nothing,
he walked among us, healing us,
calling us to follow him on the way
to that kingdom which is yours.
Blameless, he took our sins to the cross,
where broken, he made us whole,
where dying, he made us new,
where rising, he enables us to see you.

As we remember how he heals us,
as we celebrate how he saves us,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:

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

We seek you, Transcendent God,
and find you waiting at this Table,
your Spirit transforming these simple gifts
into food and drink for our hungry hearts,
your grace poured out on your children
who have gathered in this sacred space.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
as we drink from the Cup of hope,
may we hear the cries of the poor,
may we see you in their faces,
may we speak, calling them by name,
welcoming them as our sisters and brothers
in that community we call your kingdom.

And when we have fulfilled all our days,
when we gather with the humble and the glad
around that Table prepared for us in glory,
your praise will always be on our lips,
God in Community, Holy in One,
now and through all eternity. Amen.

Sending
Let us go to be God's blessings in the world.
With our lips and with our hearts, we will offer hope to all.
Let us go to be the ears and heart of Jesus.
Listening to the cries of our sisters and brothers,
drawing them into the refuge of grace.
Let us go with our arms full of the Spirit's gifts.
Welcoming every one, every moment of our lives.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

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.
  
Sending
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.

Sending
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