Thursday, September 28, 2006

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time-B/Proper 23

Call to Worship

We look in the mirror
and what do we see?
We see our ancestors in the faith,
who trusted God to deliver and save them.
We look in the mirror
and what do we see?
We see Job in his loss and suffering,
who trusted God to hear his words of anger.
We look in the mirror
and what do we see?
We see Jesus, whom we can trust
to pray for us when we cannot.

Prayer of the Day

Gracious God,
when we cannot see you,
you look in compassion on us;
when we cannot speak to you,
you hear the sighs of our hearts;
when we are falling apart,
you hold us together with your grace.

Jesus, Healing Hand of God:
you reach out to take away
all which distracts us from following you;
you challenge us to give away
everything which hinders our journey;
you surround us with people,
even strangers,
who enfold us with your love and hope.

Loving Spirit:
you carry us in your arms,
when we are too weary to walk;
you stand beside us
when we confront
the injustices of the world;
you bear our prayers and needs
to the throne of grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray together,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Let us hold tight to what we beliece:
we can come to the throne of grace,
trusting we will receive mercy. Let us
bring our confession, in faith and trust,
to our God.

Unison Prayer of Confession

We stand before you, Saving God, stripped of our pretensions and pride, for nothing we do or say, or do not, is hidden from you. You hear the angry words we preach to ourselves; you sift through the rubble of the hurts we have caused; you see how we stumble because we cannot let go of all the 'stuff' which keeps us from following Jesus.

We stand before you, Holy Grace, hands emptied of all our worries and doubts, asking you to fill them with your grace and hope. Do not forsake us, but deliver us, as you have promised through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

God loves us, thus we lack for nothing. God forgives us, so we have everything we need. God surrounds us with sisters and brothers in the faith so we do not have to travel alone.
We have decided. We will commit everything to God, trusting in the One who delivers and saves us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 22

Call to Worship

Welcome to this place:
where children and seasoned seniors
can sit side by side,
where heaven and earth embrace,
where God has been, is,
and always will be.
Welcome to this place,
gathered with God's people:
where we find discover God's love,
where we hear the tender voice of Jesus,
where the Spirit teaches us new songs.
Welcome to this place,
prepared for us by God:
where we can bring our hunger
and find food;
where we can bring our despair
and find hope;
where we can bring our selves
and find love.

Prayer of the Day

We walk in faith towards you,
Creator of the world:
struggling to keep in step with you,
not budging from the path
you have leveled for us
with your tenderness.

We walk in faith after you,
Savior of the world:
as little children
in need of a lap;
as gawky adolescents
in need of a friend;
as the lonely
yearning for a companionable heart.

We walk in faith with you,
Sanctifier of the world:
turning our backs on our past
as we dance to your Table,
where we join hands
with all your children,
here and in every place,
praying together
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


We hope to walk in integrity, but usually
find ourselves stumbling down sin's
sidewalks, trying to find our own way
in the world. But God would forgive us
and teach us new songs of hope. Let
us pray to empty ourselves of all we
have done and failed to do, that we
might be filled with mercy.

Unison Prayer of Confession

We find it hard to admit, Tender
God, but we have lost our way. We
have misplaced our love in the mess
we have made of our relationships.
We lose the words which might bring
healing to hurting friend, because we
are so focused on ourselves. We have
lost our oneness in you in our quarrels
about right words and right thoughts.

So we need you to come and find
us, and lead us back into your Heart,
Searching God. We long for you to
take us up in your arms and cradle
us in your grace. We yearn to turn
around and find you waiting to
welcome us with joy.

And look! There you are!
Reaching out to us with the love, the
life, the peace which comes to us
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and
Savior.

Silence may be kept

Assurance of Pardon

God is not ashamed to call us
sisters and brothers of the One
who came to proclaim that God
seeks to forgive us and make us
whole.
Here we stand on holy ground,
singing our songs of thanksgiving,
blessing God for the gift of new life.
Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman


Monday, September 25, 2006

26th Sunday in OT - B/Proper 21

Call to Worship
We have walked with you, O God,
from many parts of the world
to this time and place.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to serve all people.

We leave behind our old securities;
we leave behind our reliance on worldly goods.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to live with all people.
We leave behind all which holds us back;
we leave behind all which keeps us
from following you.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to work with all people.
We leave behind the fears which bind us;
we leave behind the hurts which damage us.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the peace you offer to all people.

Prayer of the Day
Wherever the stories of Jesus are told,
wherever gifts are offered in service,
wherever hope is a part of healing,
wherever songs of joy are sung,
in every land, in every heart,
in every village, and every place:
Bless to us, O God,
the tenderness of your heart.

Bless to us, Christ of Peace,
the path which people walk
seeking to follow you:
worn smooth by the feet of pilgrims,
yet still rocky in places;
the destination unknown to many,
yet the way to life and hope.

Bless to us, Salty Spirit,
the companions you give to us:
mentors and mischief-makers,
curmudgeons and gigglers,
builders and believers,
brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles;
neighbors and strangers
who gather in dusty villages
and centers of power
to feast on the goodness of your grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
give us your peace, as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Sometimes our words and actions show how
we are salt for the world. But then come those
moments when we lose our flavor and our way.
Let us confess our sins to our God, so we might
be restored and forgiven.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Called to be your people, Living God - why do we
find it so hard to answer? You ask us to speak out
against injustice, and we whisper because we are
afraid someone might hear us. You ask us to see
the pain and poverty around us, but we close our
eyes. You tell us that everyone, and each one, is
created in your image, yet we persist in noticing
the differences between us and others.
Forgive us, God of the Past and Creator of the
Future. May we be the ones who go out into
the world, bearing your gifts of peace, of hope,
of healing, of joy to every one who is broken,
even as we have been made whole through
the gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Touched by the healing hands of our Lord,
filled with the grace of our God,
led by the compassion of the Holy Spirit,
our hearts are opened and we discover
we are forgiven and at peace with God.
Those who are created to love the unloveable;
those who are created to bear grace;
those who are created to embrace all people:
we receive our forgiveness, giving thanks
to our God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers,
may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters,
lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are lifted high to God.
Beloved of God,
let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts,
and praise is on our lips.

It is our hearts true longing
to praise and glorify you,
God of all glory.
You shaped us in your image,
so we might reflect your grace;
you breated the Spirit into us,
so we might live your hope.
But we were wiser than you
and so chose another path.
You spoke to our grandparents of the faith
in a shrub burning with the cries of captives;
in the thunder of stuttering prophets;
in the still, small voice of a weeping mother.
Yet we persisted in our stubbornness,
hardening our hearts towards you.
And so, you whispered to us one morning
in the borning cries of a Child
in the dirt and grime of a stable.

Therefore, we join our voices
with our sisters and brothers in all the world,
and with those of every time,
singing songs of joy to your heart:

Sanctus

We praise you in this congregation, Holy God,
and bless your Son, Jesus our Lord.
Stamped with your image,
he walked among us
so we could see who we could become.
When he spoke your Word of peace,
he shattered the walls of war and violence.
When he was offered the easy way out
of his suffering and death,
he carried his integrity to Calvary,
where he was broken to make us whole,
where he died so we might live with yuo.

We remember, and in remembering,
we would tell others of your wonderful love,
and would be peacemakers for the world,
even as we live out that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Pour out the Spirit of the Prince of Peace
not only on us
and the gifts of the bread and the cup,
but on all your children throughout the world:
who gather around war-scarred tables
and at the tailgates of humvees
to pass the Bread of Life
from hand to hand
until all the hungry are fed;
and who stand on both sides
of those walls built of our fears and hurts
and dare to offer the Cup of peace
to those known only as 'the enemy'
unto all are graced
and embrace one another in love.

Through your Son, Jesus, who is our peace;
through the Spirit, who empowers us to be weak;
we honor and glorify your hopes
for all people in all creation,
Great God our hope and our joy,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B/Proper 20

Call to Worship

Our world offers many wide avenues
and beautiful boulevards to walk;
Our God invites us to walk the road
of servanthood and sacrifice.
Our society suggests we put down our roots
in the shallow soil of pleasure and greed.
Our God seeks to plant us on the banks of hope,
watered by the rivers of joy and grace.
Our culture promotes achievement, success,
climbing to the top, ringing the bell.
Our God tells us if we want to be first
we need to go to the end of the line.

Prayer of the Day

You draw near to us,
Gentle God,
to watch over us.
When we toss and turn
in the middle of the night,
your rock us to sleep
in the gentleness of your peace.
When our souls are famished,
you feed us with your hope.
When our hearts
are poverty-stricken,
you open your hand
and pour your love into them.

It is your gentle works
which attract us to you,
Servant of the world:
your warm embrace
which melts the coldest soul;
your joyous welcome
which breaks down
our walls of resentment;
your soft chuckle
at our fears of the future.

Watching Spirit,
when we do not understand,
you gather us up in your arms
and seat us on you lap,
to teach kindness
to our souls.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we prayers rise up to you,
even as we use the words Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


While we try to live in God's way, we know
how often we follow the wrong advice, or
walk down sin's shadowed streets. Yet, God
watches over us and calls us to confess, so
we might be welcomed into the embracing
arms of mercy and healing. Let us pray as
we say,

Unison Prayer of Confession

We confess how much we are like those
first disciples of Jesus, Wisdom from on
high. Our cravings for more and more toss
about like leaves in the fall wind. We boast
of our great wisdom, yet do not understand
your ways of peace and gentleness. We do
not plant ourselves in your hope and grace,
and so reap harvests of disorder and conflict.


Draw near to us, Gracious God, and forgive
us. Draw us into your tender arms, and teach
us peace, gentleness, the willingness to put
the other first, the wisdom to serve instead
of seize, so we might bring forth a harvest
of righteousness, justice, and peace in the
name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon

This is the wisdom from above: God
plants in us the forgiveness and healing
we need, so we might share the good
harvest of joy and mercy with everyone
we meet.
Bathed in the living waters, fed by the
Bread of life, we are given new life
and hope. Thanks be to God. Amen.


(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, September 11, 2006

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B/Proper 19

Call to Worship

We are not our own:
so, neither our will nor our wisdom
should get in the way

of God's hopes for us.
We are not on our own:
so, we should not choose what is easiest
or the most gratifying way to live.

We are not our own,
we are God's:
so, let us choose to live for God,
and serve all of God's children.

e are not on our own,
as we walk the streets of God's kingdom:
so, as far as is possible,
we will forget ourselves
and follow Jesus Christ.

Prayer of the Day


All around us, O God,
creation preaches a silent sermon
about your glory.
The full, orange moon
declares you constant watchfulness;
the early morning mist
over a schoolyard
speaks of your steadfast love;
the cool breeze
through slowly changing leaves
whispers of your grace.

Holy Jesus,
you ask questions
which turn us speechless;
you tell us things about yourself
we imagine we need to correct;
you offer us a way of life
we dare not refuse.

Spirit of Wisdom,
you stand in the midst
of rush hour traffice
crying out to us
about our fascination with foolishness
and stretch out your hand
to point to the One
who walks towards us
offering a cross.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in this time together,
may we hear you in the silence
and the songs,
and discover you in the people around us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


We all make mistakes, many of them. We hurt
ourselves, we hurt others, we hurt God with
our words and deeds, with our silence and
inaction. Let us confess to God our sins,
trusting in the One who blesses us with mercy.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Spring of Wisdom, we confess that we have
not denied ourselves and followed. We turn
our backs on your outstretched hands of grace,
and stumble into the arms of the world. We
speak poisonous gossip about others, rather
than tell of their glory as your child. We fire off
words that find no rest until they pierce
another's heart.


Forgive us, Rock and Redeemer. Give us
speech which flows like cool water through
another's parched spirit; give us silence with
which to witness your wonders; give us words
to proclaim Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and
our Savior, the One who leads us to life.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon

With gentleness, God speaks to us;
with graciousness, God forgives us;
with joy, God embraces us.
With our lips, we praise God;
with our words, we thank God;
with our silence, we find God
in our hearts. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Blessing

Go now with God:
who covers us with tender mercies;
Go now with Christ our Lord:
who is our good companion;
Go now with the Spirit
who gives us good food at the Table
and living water to nourish us.
Go knowing that God with direct your path
bringing us joy and delight
as we continue on our journey of faith.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - B/Proper 18

Call to Worship

What good is it if we say we love all people,
but give special treatment to a few?
God calls us to love others
as deeply as we love ourselves,
with no strings attached.
What good is it if we say we want
God to show mercy towards us,
but are quick to judge others?
God calls us to forgive our sisters
and brothers, to let mercy triumph
over judgment.
What good is it if we say we trust
God in every moment, but live
guided by our fears?
We will speak and act as those
who trust God to come and live
in our fearful hearts.

Prayer of the Day

God surrounded by glory:
you notice the people we walk past,
and journey with them,
whenever they are going.
You speak out for the voiceless,
and open our ears to their cries.

Jesus, Healer of the hopeless,
Converser with the outsider:
in you,
faith and works walk hand in hand
down the streets of the kingdom.
In you,
the have-a-lots and the have-nothings
find themselves sitting side by side
at your Table,
passing grace to one another.
In you,
those with good names,
and those with no names,
are called by one name:
'Beloved.'

Compassion's Spirit:
sow justice in our hearts,
so the poor might find in us a friend;
sow peace in our spirits,
so the angry might find in us
a sea of gentleness;
sow generosity in our hands,
so the hungry mgiht find in us
their daily bread.

God in Community, Holy in One,
surround us in these moments
and in all the ones to come,
with your grace and love,
as we pray together the disciples' prayer,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation


We know we shouldn't do it, but we play
favorites. We know it is wrong, but we
distinguish between 'us' and 'them.' We
know we have nothing to fear, but turn
aside from God's strong love. Let us
confess together all we have done to
hurt others,

Unison Prayer of Confession

How glibly we say we trust you, Holy One,
and how quickly our fears silence our words.
We find you at the side of the poor, while we
cozy up to the rich and famous. You stand
behind the counter serving the hungry at the
soup kitchen, while we are stocking our
freezers and pantries till they overflow. We
look down at those whose hands are dirty,
but your hand of mercy pulls them into
your embracing love.


Forgive us, O Lord, and do good to us
when we have trouble doing good for others.
Surround us with your love; surround us with
your grace; surround us with your peace;
surround us with the Spirit of your Son, Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
Be strong, do not fear! God comes,
to fill your parched souls with living
water, to open your eyes to the grace
which is yours.
God comes, for no other reason than
to save us. This is indeed good news.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

My beloved sisters and brothers,
may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters,
lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are offered to our God.
My beloved sisters and brothers,
let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts,
and praise is on our lips.

Our hearts do handsprings,
and our joy echoes off the mountains,
Creator of all:
rich and poor, man and woman,
child and grandparent, gnat and galaxy.
Created in your image,
we ridicule others who look different from us;
our lungs filled with the Spirit's breath,
we laugh at those who are not as good
as we imagine we are.
But even when we turn our backs on yuo,
your love is steadfast and your grace is abundant.

And so, with all your people,
those on earth and those around your throne,
those beside us in this moment
and those with you throughout eternity,
we join in everlasting song:

Sanctus

Holy are you, and blessed is Jesus,
your Son, our Brother, our Savior.
Jesus has done everything well:
eating and drinking with sinners,
he taught us that there is a place
at the Table for each and every one of us;
responding to the cries of the poor,
he shows us we are all equal in God's heart;
clearing the eyes of the blind
and opening the ears of the deaf,
inviting children to sit on his lap
and conversing with the outsiders of his day,
he models the radical inclusiveness
of your kingdom.

As we remember all you did in and through him -
his words, his touch, his laughter, his silence,
his pain, his loneliness, his death, his resurrection -
we offer ourselves in trust and hope,
in service and sacrifice,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Memorial Acclamation

May the Spirit of the Risen Lord
be poured out on us in this place,
and on the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we take the broken loaf, we feast,
not on the crumbs which fall from the Table,
but on the grace which makes us whole;
on the hope which makes us one;
on the love which calls us to serve:
to welcome the immigrants to our neighborhood,
to teach the little child to read,
to affirm the awkward adolescent,
to share our bread and all we have
with those in need,
until that day when Christ returns
all shall feast at his banquet in heaven.

Through your Son, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit in your holy church,
all honor and glory are yours,
Great God, our hope, our trust, our redemption,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman