Monday, July 31, 2006

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Call to Worship

Lead a life worthy of the calling
to which you are called:
We cannot do this alone,
we dare not try this alone,

so we gather as God's people.
Lead a life worthy of your calling,
a life filled with service and meekness.
We come to build up Christ's Body,
in humility and gentleness,
with patience and love.
Lead a life which reflects your calling,
that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
We rejoice in our oneness in Christ;
we would share the grace offered to us.

Live a life worthy of the calling
to which you have been called.
We gather as God's family
at the Table prepared for us,
waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.

Prayer of the Day

Gentle God:
we have traveled through many waters
to reach this place,
but share one baptism;
we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
yet share one faith;
we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
and are members of one Body;
we have different dreams and doubts,
yet our hearts beat with one hope;
we are graced with different gifts,
so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


When we try to sugarcoat what we have done, scripture
stares us down, reminding us of our faults. When we seek
to romanticize why we have failed to live as faithful people,
God refuses to go along, waiting for us to confess our sins.
Let us join together as God's children, lifting our prayers to
the One who is generous in love.

Unison Prayer of Confession

Compassionate One: like David, it is not easy for us to
conftont those deeds which do not please you. We are so
busy looking for the miracles we desire, we cannot see the
gift of your presence in others. We are so intent on indulging
our appetites and slaking our thirsts, we cannot taste that Bread
which gives life. We spend so much of our lives bemoaning the
acts of others, we have no time to look in the mirror and see
our secret faces.
Forgive us, Steadfast Love. Grace us with your mercy, so
we might be made whole. Touch our inner being and heal us,
so we might know joy and gladness. Create new hearts
within us, so they might beat as one with each other, and
with your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Despite knowing our sin, God chooses to forgive us;
seeing our emptiness, God chooses to feed us;
holding our shattered hearts, God chooses to heal us.
This is the good news: God loves us.
God has grace us with mercy and created new life
from our brokenness. Thanks be to God. Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, people of God.
We lift them to our Lord.
Let us give thanks to God who loves us.
It is right to give both thanks and praise to God.

Our greatest joy is to offer you our thanks and praise,
Creator, Grace-giver, Healer of our brokenness.
All that is beautiful was created for our eyes;
all that is wonderful was created for our awe;
all that is majestic was created for our praise;
all that is mystery was created for our silence.
But despite everything you have given us,
we are not satisfied.
Believing life is about our appetites,
we choose the moldy bread of the world;
knowing our only hope is from you,
we continue to rebel;
called to live in unity with one another,
we cling to all which divides us.

Yet you refuse to let go of us,
sending your only Son, Jesus,
to call us to life in you.
We have fallen,
and you lift us up;
we have forsaken you,
and you redeem us;
we are broken,
and you make us whole.

Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices, here and now,
with the faithful of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Sanctus

Holy are you, God of grace and tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Though we look for him for all the wrong reasons,
he holds out the bread of life to us;
though we offer the cross to him,
he graces us with life;
though we thirst for more and more,
he offers us the cup of salvation;
though we gossip and slander one another,
he speaks the truth in love to us;
though we would divide each other
by class, race, or condition,
he calls us to oneness in you.

Recalling your steadfast love in Christ,
and knowing we cannot understand your grace
until that eternal day
when we can know your heart,
we take this bread and this cup,
praising and blessing you
for these gifts of hope and joy.
Great is the mystery of faith.

Memorial Acclamation

Holy God of Truth,
though we come to your Table as many,
may your Holy Spirit make us one body and one spirit.
As you feed us with the Bread of Life,
may we feed those who know true hunger;
as your justice illumines our hearts' darkness,
may we be a beacon to the oppressed and lost;
as you speak to us the truth in love,
may we be a voice for the powerless and forgotten;
as you restore us to wholeness,
may we bind up our shattered world.

Through Christ who saved us,
all glory and honor are yours,
God, who created us in your own image,
through the Holy Spirit, in our midst making us your people,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B/Proper 12

Call to Worship

The foolish say, "There is no God!
We are alone, on our own."
We gather to declare
the glory of God in our lives.
The foolish say, "It is your life;
you are accountable to no one."
We gather, strengthened by the Spirit,
trusting that Christ dwells in our hearts.
The foolish say, "Everything I have is mine;
I owe nothing to any one."
We gather to praise the One
who calls us to serve others in love.


Prayer of the Day

Your glory flows
through all generations,
as you name every family
in heaven and on earth.
And so we come to you this day,
O God.

Your grace is
higher than the farthest star;
your peace is
deeper than our greatest emptiness;
your love spans
the abyss of death;
your hope stretches
into all eternity.
And so we come to you this day,
O Christ.

When our lives bottom out,
your grace is still our bedrock;
when our spirits run dry,
you fill us with your joy;
when we falter in our faith,
you strengthen us
to serve with hope and peace.
And so we come to you this day,
O Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we come to you this day,
praying as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


God looks at us, to see if we are wise enough
to offer confession, to receive forgiveness,
to seek to know the healing love of Christ.
Let us prove our wisdom, and set aside our
foolish pride, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer of Confession

Wisdom's Heart: deep within, we know how we
have failed to be your people. Our hardened hearts
are closed to the love of Christ; our lust for more
and more blocks the fullness of your grace from
transforming our lives; our trust in the powers of
the world reveals our foolish nature.

Have mercy, God of every generation. Pour out
the rich blessing of forgiveness on our parched
souls. Feed us with Heaven's Bread, so we might
be nourished by your gentleness. Shape us as
your people, and restore us to faithful living,
as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, in service to everyone we meet.

Silent prayers may be offered.

Assurance of Pardon

The wideness of God's mercy, the range of
God's forgiveness, the infinite love of God,
the Heart of hope which is never empty: all
these gifts are ours, as God restores us to
the fullness of life meant for us.
Grounded in love, rooted in discipleship,
we offer ourselves in service to others,
recogninizing the limitless grace which
is ours to share in Christ. Thanks be to
God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 17, 2006

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B

Call to Worship

Whether we are strangers or old friends,
God is joining us together in this place.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.
Whether we are 'natives' or immigrants,
God is building us together spiritually.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.
Whatever walls we try to build between us,
in Christ, God tears them down to build
a household for all of God's people.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.

Prayer of the Day

God of aliens and strangers:
make the doors of this church
wide enough so that all find a welcome,
a home, a haven, a heart.

Christ of the near
and those who are far off:
make our hearts wide enough
so that all might find a place
in this household of faith.

Welcoming Spirit
of saints and sinners:
open our arms wide enough
so that all -
the guest, the neighbor,
the child, the widow,
the politician, the homeless,
the brother, the sister -
may be embraced
by your love and grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
open your arms wide enough
to enfold us in your heart,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Do we really want God to dwell within us, or
are we only willing to 'rent out' space for a
brief visit? Our actions, our words, our silence,
our fears all show the presence, or absence, of
God in our lives. Let us empty ourselves of all
which burdens us, and welcome the One who
lives with us forever. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession

Steadfast God, we confess that we are so busy
putting up walls between ourselves and others,
we cannot see the home you are building for all
of us. We spend so much time noting the differences
between us and others, while you are embracing
everyone as your child. We run to welcome those
who look, talk, and act like us, and you throw open
your doors to the stranger, the alien, in our midst.

Forgive us, Faithful Heart. By your grace, help us
to see the household your are building for all people:
there are no plastic protectors on the furniture; there
are no rooms that are off-limits; and even the smallest
child is welcome to sit at the big peoples' Table and
be fed by your grace. We pray this in the name of
Jesus Christ, our peace, our hope, our Lord, our Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

Do you remember? At one time, you were without
Christ; you were the stranger, the outsider, the alien.
But now, in Christ, you have been brought home,
living in God's household of hope and peace.
God's covenant with us is everlasting; God's
steadfast love is forever; God's forgiveness
makes us new and whole. Thanks be to God.
Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B

Call to Worship

In Jesus Christ, the Child of God,
we hear, and see, the Word of peace,
which is for all people:
we gather to tell the world
that peace is God's will for us.

In Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all creation,
we hear, and see, the healing of the broken,
which is for all people:
we gather to proclaim the good news
of God's faithfulness and justice.
In Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Brother,
we hear, and see, the inheritance of God,
which is for all people:
we gather to share with our sisters and brothers
this glorious grace we have received.

Prayer of the Day

In the chorus
of the cardinal and turtledove,
all creation sings your praise:
Giver of Grace.
Steadfast love whispers to us
on the breezes of summer,
while faithfulness runs barefoot
in the backyards of our hearts,
calling to us to come play forever
in your fields of peace.

Justice calls to our souls,
Plumb Line of Peace,
daring us to reach out
to the broken, the hungry,
the needy, the hopeless:
to share with them
the rich inheritance
of acceptance and healing
which has been given to us.

The evensong of the frogs
in summer's gentle mist
lullabies us in the gentleness
of your steadfast love,
Spirit of God:
cradling us in your grace
and healing us with your peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our praise to you as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


Peace is the heirloom promised to us,
forgiveness is the inheritance passed on
to us through Christ. May we know God's
peace, and be healed of our brokeness, as we
confess our sins to God, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession

Why are we always willing to descend into the
worst areas life offers to us, but reluctant to come
into your presence, Holy One? Why can we stand
on sin's shaky foundations, yet find it impossible to
dance in your joy? Why are we so quick to trumpet
our hollow achievements, and do not seem to be
able to hear your whispers of hope for us?

Forgive us, Grace's Glory, and fill us with your mercy.
May we set our hope in Jesus Christ, who came so we
might become your children, inheritors of love, peace,
and faithfulness forever.

Silent prayers may be offered.

Assurance of Pardon

In Christ, God's salvation has come; God's peace
kisses our cheeks, wiping away our tears, and
faithfulness takes us by the hand to lead us home
to God.
God has called us, God has claimed us, God
has redeemed us. This is good news for all of
creation! Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, July 03, 2006

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B

Call to Worship

You awaken the sun, O God,
to guide us into the new day:
Your name, O God, like your praise,
sings in every person.
You speak your Word, O God,
to guide us into your kingdom:
Your hope, O God, like your joy,
echoes in every soul.
You guide us to those who are
looking for you:
Your love, O God, like your name,
fills the emptiness of every heart.

Prayer of the Day

The rumbling of thunder in the distance,
the shade of an oak tree in the back yard,
the laughter of children splashing in the pool,
the stars glittering on a moonless night:
all the gifts of the universe
fill us with delight in every moment.
Great is your imagination,
Creation's Joy!

Broken,
you touch us to make us whole;
tear-stained,
you share our pain and struggles;
gifter of peace,
you replace our bitterness with hope;
teacher of gentle words,
you transform our unbelief into service.
Great is your love,
Christ, Companion of all people!

Making hardened hearts
as soft as a baby's breath;
turning stiffened necks
so we can see the poor;
placing wandering feet
back on the path of discipleship.
Great is your compassion,
Spirit of grace.

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

Call to Reconciliation

When we look at the relationships we hope to have
with one another, and with God, we must admit
how broken we are. But, as we gather in the presence
of God, we are promised forgiveness and healing, if
we will confess our sins. Please join me, as we pray
to the One who never ceases to love us,

Unison Prayer of Confession

You know how stubborn we can be, Holy God. You
call us to serve others, and we stay in the coolness
of our own homes. You would send us to where the
hopeless live, but we are reluctant to leave the comfort
of our complacency. You would feed us on the peace
and joy of your word, but we pull our chairs up to the
tables of those who serve false promises.

Forgive us, Guiding God. Transform our defiance
into discipleship, and our rejection of others into the
resurrection of welcoming all people as sisters
and brothers in Christ. Help us to love as faithfully
as you have always loved us, and send us forth to
take the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone
we meet.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

We open our lips and confess our hearts. God
hears our words and make us new, sending us
our to bring hope and joy to all the world.
We hear the good news, we believe the good
news, we will live out the good news. Thanks
be to God. Amen!

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman