Monday, March 27, 2006

Firfth Sunday of Lent - B

Greeting:

O Lord, open our lips,
and we will sing your praise forever!

Call to Worship:

This is the day God has promised:
the day of the new covenant.
We are here, because our hearts
are filled with love for our God.
No longer carved on cold stone,
this covenant is engraved on our hearts.
Our hearts are open
so God's Word can shape us.
We will reach out to our neighbors,
our friends and family, even to strangers.
Our hearts are ready to serve God
and all of God's people.

Prayer of the Day


You have forgotten more
than we will ever think of;
you have forgiven more
than we will ever do;
you have shattered
the cold stones encasing our hearts,
so your could write
your name on them.
Redeemer of all,
we praise you.

You plant the seed
of grace and hope
deep within us,
watering them with your love;
you call us to follow,
so we may join you
in serving the broken
of our world.
Jesus of the tears,
we praise you.

You journey with us,
leading us closer to the cross;
you center us
on the One we would follow,
so we can see Jesus clearly;
you point to your watch,
so we know the hour
for faithfulness has come.
Generous Spirit,
we praise you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our mouths to sing your praise,
even as we pray as we have been taught:
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

If we would see Jesus, we must open our eyes
to the ways we have not followed him as
disciples. If we want God to create new hearts
within us, we must speak of the old ways in
which we continue to live. If we seek God's
mercy, we must confess all that keeps us from
living as God's children. Join me, as we come
to the One who will forgive us.

Unison Prayer of Confession

O Heart which seeks our own: we yearn for your
presence in our lives, yet turn away from you time
and again. We want to serve others, but become
obsessed with our own desires. We need your Word
to fill our emptiness, yet let it be silenced by the
noise of our world. In this silence, and in the depths
of our hidden hearts, come to us and make us whole.


Silence is observed

God of ancient promises and new covenants, write
large upon our hearts of the forgiveness which
makes us new people; engrave our spirits with your
grace, so we may share hope with all we meet;
etch your compassion upon our hands, so we may
serve the world. This we pray in the name of our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:


A new heart, a generous spirit, a fresh start:
these are the gifts our God gives to us.
Through Christ, we are cleansed; through
Christ, we are healed; through Christ, we
become new people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the Lord of Lent be with you.
May the Lord of Lent be also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift our hearts to the One
who writes a new covenant upon them.

Give thanks to the God who makes you new.
We open our lips to sing praises to the One
who sustains us with a generous spirit.

Our hearts are filled with joy
as we lift our glad songs to you,
Covenant Maker.
You created us in your image,
planting seeds of your love
deep within us.
But they could not bear fruit,
for we preferred death's darkness
to the light of your grace,
and the barren dust of the world
to the deep richness of your peace.
Despite our sin and arrogance,
you remained steadfast in your love,
calling to us through the prophets
to return to your side.
When we loved our way
more than your heart's desire for us,
you sent Jesus to restore us to your joy.

And so, we open our lips
to join our songs of praise
with the faithful
of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Sanctus

You alone are holy, Master of the Universe,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Baptized as your Beloved,
he became one of us,
sharing our life in every way.
When the hour had come
for him to be glorified,
he went to the cross to be broken.
He who called life into being at creation
suffered death for us,
planted like a seed
in the cold, friendless tomb,
so you could save him.
You raised him from the grave,
so we could follow him
into the life everlasting with you.

As we come to this Table,
remembering all that he has done for us,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Memorial Acclamation

You provide the gifts
of the bread and cup for us,
so that we might taste
your grace and hope.
As we come to the feast
you have prepared for us,
plant the seed of your Spirit
deep within our hidden hearts,
so we may serve
without expecting recognition;
so our generous spirit
might ease the poverty of the world;
so the good news we have heard
may be proclaimed to all we meet.

Then, at last, when all people are free,
when all brokenness is made whole,
when all creation is once more new,
we will gather around your Table of joy,
singing your joy forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.
Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, March 20, 2006

Lent 4-B

Call to Worship

In this place, the community of faith
is reminded of the promise:
God's love endures forever!
In spite of our impatient grumbling,
despite our attraction to the shadows:
Christ's light shines in us!
When we think our hands our empty,
when we have no music in our souls:
the Spirit fills us with glad songs,
and creates us for good works!

Prayer of the Day

You reach deep
into your pockets
stuffed with mercy
and fill our empty souls;
refusing to be in
the condemnation business,
your rebuild
our shaky foundations
with your everlasting love;
you hear our cries
of loneliness and lament,
and reach down
to lift us into your presence.
Good and Generous God,
we give you thanks!

You save us by your grace,
so we may joyfully serve
our sisters and brothers;
you slide over
to make room for us
at your Table;
you step into
our shadowed lives
to take us by the hand
and lead us
into the light.
Healing Word:
we give you thanks!

You calm our impatience,
so we may tell of
God's presence in our midst;
you silence our grumbling,
to teach us joy's anthems;
you shower us with kindness,
so we may overflow
with love.
Spirit of Obedience,
we give you thanks!

God in Community, Holy in One,
we give you thanks for your steadfast love,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

By nature, we are impatient, irritated, grumbling,
disobedient children, always demanding our way.
But God, who is good and kind and gentle, comes
to transform us, by grace, into the people we are
meant to be. Let us open ourselves to the One
who overflows with love for us, as we confess
our sins to God.

Unison Prayer of Confession

The Light of the world has come, Ceaseless Creator,
but we admit we love the shadows all around us. For
there, we can boast of our achievements, rather than
point to your grace; there, we can grumble of our
unhappiness with you, instead of singing your praises;
there, we can give into our natural anger, and not
be touched by your call to be agents of peace and hope.

Forgive us, Eternal Love:
lead us from the shadows of sin
into the light of your joy;
raise us up, as your children,
so we may knell in service to others;
shower us with the grace, the hope, the peace
you have brought to us through Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Let the community of faith say so:
God's love endures forever!
Let those gathered in grace say so:
God's love endures forever!
Let those gathered from all parts
of the world say so:
God's love endures forever!
This is the good news for us:
God's love endures forever.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Blessing

As you leave this place,
remember you are God's community in the world:
for God's love endures forever!
As you leave this place,
remember you are alive with Christ:
for Christ's light shines
in the deepest shadows!
As you leave this place,
remember the gifts God offers to you:
for the Spirit fills us with good works to do,
and glad songs to sing to the world
!

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Lent 3-B

Call to Worship

The morning stars profess God's glory:
the waking birds harmonize a refrain a grace.
The sun warms us with God's hope,
the night sky whispers peace to our sleepy souls:
creation's voice echoes continually in our hearts,
reminding us of God's steadfast love.
Our wisdom is shattered by God's absurd love;
God's vulnerability strengthens our feeble faith:
God's words place joy in our hearts;
we follow them to peace and hope.

Prayer of the Day

You saw your children
as slaves in Egypt,
and brought them to freedom;
you see creation
held captive by our desire
for more and more,
and weep;
and so you pour out
your foolish love on us
from day to day.

All that we have learned
and think we know
has not brought meaning
to our lives;
the brokenness
of our world
needs your peace;
our pain-shattered hearts
need your healing:
and so you speak to us
through the mouth
of your Servant, Jesus.

All creation weeps
with grief,
and cries to you for comfort;
all the broken of our world
long for your wholeness;
all who hunger for hope
long for the sweetness
of your grace and joy;
and so you fill us with
the Wisdom of your Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we tell of your glory from day to day,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

At the center of the law is God's love - that divine
nonsense shown in becoming human for our sake;
that weakness for us which defeats the strongest
powers. This love, this grace is of more value to
us than all the stocks in our pension funds. Let us
open ourselves to such love as we open our hearts
to confess our sins to God.

Unison Prayer of Confession

You give us your commandments, Holy One, so we
may have new life, but we continue to make the same
old choices. Your love can anchor us when life
threatens to overwhelm us, but we choose to cling
to the slippery rocks of anger and bitterness. Your
Word can strengthen us for every moment, but we
listen to the foolish promises of the world.

Forgive us, Redeemer of our lives:
may every word be shaped by your Word;
may every thought be refined by your grace;
may every deed be inspired by your Spirit,
so
we may tell everyone we meet of your work in us,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

When brokenhearted prayers replace piety,
when we seek wholeness through the One
broken for us, then we remember we are saved
by God's powerful love.
We are healed, to bring healing to our world;
we are strengthened in faith,
to become spent for others;
we are set free from our bondage to sin,
so we may become servants of Christ.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Lent 2-B

Call to Worship

Lent calls us to journey, this and every day,
following Jesus wherever he leads us.
Lent calls us to journey:
to the place where God covenants with us,
to receive the new names we are given.
Lent calls us to worship together,
to tell future generations the good news.
Lent calls us to practice justice,
to bring God's hope to all people.
Lent calls us to faithful living,
to trust the One who gives us life.
Lent calls each of us to take up our cross,
to trust the One who bears it with us.
Lent calls us to journey with God.
Let us worship God, who walks with us,
this and every day.

Prayer of the Day

Choosing an aged, barren couple
to parent your holy people;
calling us to set aside ourselves
and to shoulder a cross;
showering us with love and mercy,
when we do nothing to deserve these gifts:
You always act in ways
which surprise us,
God of our parents.

In hospital rooms,
where we wait in anxious expectation;
in classrooms,
where we chew on pencils while taking tests;
in this unholy mess
we call life:
you always call us
to faithfulness and trust:
Cross Bearer for us all.

In the warmth of spring's approach,
we hear your voice;
in the moonlight of winter's last night,
we see your face;
in the silence of a child sleeping,
we are breathe in your grace:
you are always with us
in the ordinary moments of life:
Spirit of Holiness.

God in Community, Holy in One,
May we see you, hear you, and know you
as we move through this Lenten season,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
. . . Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Given a test on our faith, would we have a passing
grade? Looking at our lives of discipleship, would
we be considered good models for others? When
we fail to trust God, we discover that we do indeed
lead barren lives. Let us be honest as we stand
before our God, and bring our confessions for
forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer of Confession

God of Sarah and Abraham, in this holy place, we
know how weak is our discipleship. We can spend
hours at the computer, but only give you fleeting
moments of our time. We can talk endlessly on our
cell phones, but fall silent when it comes to sharing
our fears, our worries, our hopes with you. We
seek quick fixes for our problems, rather than seeking
your vision and future for our lives.

God of Peter, Paul, and the psalmist, forgive us:
for our lack of trust;
for our faithless living;
for our closing our ears to the call of Jesus.
Forgive us, so we may lay aside all the keeps us from you,
so we may take up the life you offer to us,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

This is the good news: God does not go back
on the promises made so long ago. God does
not reject us, God redeems us. God does not
withhold love, God pours it into our barren lives.
Forgiven of our sins, filled with hope, living in
relationship with God and one another - we are
a new people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman