Tuesday, December 27, 2005

First Sunday after Christmas - B

Call to Worship

Praise the One who spoke and made everything!
Let the rivers ripple with joy;
let the mountains stamp their feet.

Praise the One who adopts all of us as children!
Let old folks tell familiar stories;
let little children swim with dolphins.

Praise God!
We will sing of God's glory;
we will shout our joy to the hevens.

Prayer of the Day

Creation's Father:
of all that you created and love,
you choose us to be your children;
of all the places
you could love,
you make us holy
by your Spirit's presence;
of all that you could offer to us,
you have given us Jesus.

Destiny's Child:
you came to clothe us
in salvation's finery;
you amazed the wisest
with your humility;
you know all the thoughts
we dare not share with anyone.

Spirit of Abba:
as we celebrate a Birth,
be born in us each day;
as we sing God's praises,
whisper the good news to our ears;
as we seek to be faithful to our calling,
lead us into the kingdom waiting for us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

It is easy to become slaves to our passion, it is harder to live as God's children. Let us confess the easy choices we have made, so God can strengthen us to be faithful sisters and brothers of Christ.

Unison Prayer of Confession

Abba God: we know that given the chance, we rarely praise others. We are guided more by meanness than by your gentleness. And we are seldom wise enough to listen to your voice, preferring instead the sweet, sweet songs of sin.

Forgive us, Heart of Heaven. Touch those inner places of hope and joy that they might become the gifts we can offer to those around us, as we seek to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Hear the good news.
the time is now;
the place is here:
God has redeemed us from sin;
God has claimed us as the children of Hope.
Praise God, all people,
for life is given to us anew;
eternity is our home.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of Christmas Joy be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One
who came to us in Bethlehem.
Children of Hope, give thanks to God.
We sing our songs of Joy
to the One who became one of us.

How can we keep from praising you,
Glory's Father?
You spoke,
and stars danced in the sky;
you whispered,
and snow fell gently in the night;
you sang,
and the Spirit
breathed life into us.
Yet, we allowed ourselves
to be guided by the Evil One,
being led into the wilderness of sin.
But you could not sleep,
tossing and turning in grief.
You sent the prophets
to adorn us with your grace,
but we ignored them.
Finally, when time almost running out,
you sent your most precious possession,
Jesus Christ, your Beloved Son.

So, with all creation echoing
the songs of angels,
we join in praising your name:


Holy are you, Mighty God,
and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ.
When we thought we could do no wrong,
he came to make us right;
when the world had forgotten us,
he called us by a new name;
when the time came,
he went to the cross,
that sin's slaves might be set free
and become your children.

As we celebrate his Birth,
and remember his death and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Guiding Spirit,
as you moved over creation,
come to bless this bread and cup,
and your children gathering around this Table.
As we eat of the Bread of angels,
may we be nourished by your justice,
to bring hope to all people.
As we are filled with the Cup of grace,
may the seeds of righteousness
planted deep within us,
bloom that all creation can be made whole.
Then send us forth
not as slaves to sin,
but as servant of salvation
to those longing for new life.

And when the time comes,
and we are all gathered in heaven,
we will join hands and dance around your Table,
singing our praises to
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Advent 4-B

Call to Worship

O come, Mist upon the lake:
move over us and cover us
with your peace so we
might walk gently in these days.
O come, Snowfall of Serenity:
to calm our harried lives,
so we might hear
your angels whispering to us,
as the Spirit drifts gently
through the our souls.

O come, Winter Wind:
to cool our fevered focus
on ourselves,
so we might bring
the warmth of your love
to those for whom winter
is every season of their lives.
O come, Sentinel of the stars:
keep us safe from our fears,
so we may set them
to the side of the path
as we journey to Bethlehem
and to your heart.

O come, Dancer of the Universe:
to gather us up in your arms
and to twirl us around and around
in your joy.
O come to us, and live with us,
this day and forever, Immanuel.
O come!

Prayer of the Day

Wherever we have been,
you were with us,
Architect of the Universe;
wherever we are,
you are constantly at our side,
Shelter of our hearts;
wherever we are going,
you are there waiting for us,
Builder of our future.

Above the din of violence and war,
you whisper to us of reconciliation:
Prince of Peace.
Into lives which are barren
and filled with the ashes of disappointment,
you come singing of newness:
Hope of Heaven.
Where the oppressed are captive to our greed
and the poor have nothing to eat,
you come to set all of us free
and to feed everyone at your Table,
Servant of the lost.

When we are afraid of tomorrow,
push us into God's Advent:
when we believe no one loves us,
sing Bethlehem's lullaby to our souls;
when we doubt our ability
to be the children of God,
infuse us with your gifts.

God in Community, Holy in One,
remind us that there is nothing you cannot do,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
. . . Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Advent is the time to prepare;
Advent is the time to watch and wait;
Advent is the time to open our hearts to God,
as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession

We watch for packages to arrive
and Christmas cards to be delivered,
but we do not keep our eyes open
for your coming, Approaching God.
We expect our Christmas 'wish list' to be filled,
and for the pile under the tree to grow and grow,

but we hope you do not expect
to transform our lives.
We notice where to find the best bargains,
and what decorations our neighbors have put on their houses,
but we do not notice
the little, the least, the lost, the last
walking down our streets.

Forgive us, Saving God, for our misplace priorities.
May we watch for your coming,
may we reach out to those in need,
may we wait for hope to come,
even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
arrives to live in our hearts.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is made known to all people:
Christ Jesus was born to save us from our sins.
Glory and praise to the only wise God, who
fills us with healing and hope. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

3rd Sunday of Advent - B

Call to Worship

When God restores our fortune,
our dreams will come true.
We will sing "Glory!" to our God;
we will rejoice in our Savior's birth.
Our mouths shall be filled with laughter;
joy shall chime from our lips.
God has made it clear:
those who serve are God's children.
Then we will proclaim:
'look what the Lord has done':
so others will know beyond any doubt
how the Holy One has blessed us with hope.
We wept - now we will cheer "Joy! Joy!"
We were lost - now we will run home laughing.
For God has picked us up where we fell;
God has kept the promises made so long ago.

Prayer of the Day

Lover of justice:
you flex your righteousness,
and scatter evil to the wind;
you plant hope in our hearts
and reap a bumper crop;
you wipe away the tears from our eyes,
and anoint us with joy's oil.

Servant of God:
you bandage our souls
as you take our wounds upon yourself;
you set us free from sin,
by being bound to the cross;
you console the grieving,
by carrying death
to its resting place.

Spirit of Passion:
when sin strips us of life,
clothe us in salvation's finery;
when we are deafened
by the peddlers of fear,
whisper the Good News to us;
when we shiver in death's winter,
wrap us in the shawl of hope.

God in Community, Holy in One,
anoint us with your grace,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

God's promise to us is eternal. God wishes to bless us with hope, with joy, with life. But our desires lead us to reject God and these blessings. Let us confess how we too often choose the path of tears, rather than the joy which can lead us to God's heart.

Unison Prayer of Confession

We try not to do any evil, Anointing God, but it is so hard to let go of the little things we enjoy. Gossiping about the pregnant girl at school; making light of the accomplishments of a co-worker; daydreaming about someone else's spouse.

Forgive us, Loving God. You have given us salvation, and we act as if we were the ones who paid for it. Help us to rejoice always in your grace, and to give thanks in every moment for the life we have received through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Go, and take God's Good News to others:
to those held captive by sin;
to those cradling broken hearts;
to those grieving lost relationships.
God forgives us all and makes us new.
Even as we rejoice in God's mercy, we will
tell everyone we meet: "God has done great
things for us, and wants to do the same for
you!" Thanks be to God. Amen.


The God who makes everything whole,
sends us forth to bring healing
to the broken-hearted and
to comfort the grieving.
The Christ who comes to be with us,
sends us forth to stand with the oppressed,
to release those imprisoned by sin,
to speak hope to the lonely.
The Spirit which calls you to faithfulness,
sends us forth to proclaim the Good News
that today is God's time, the day
when all people will be blessed.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman