Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas 1-C

Call to Worship
Praise God! Praise the Lord,, all creation!
Stars glittering with grace,
humpback whales singing of hope:
all praise our God!
Praise God! Praise the Lord, all you people!
12 year-olds, and 80 plus,
wise and those learning to walk:
all will praise our God!

Praise God! Praise the Lord,
in every moment, in every place!
Here in church, and relaxing at home;
in a classroom, and at the doctor's office:
we will praise our God!

Prayer of the Day
Wonder of wonders,
God of creation:
you choose us
to be your people,
continuing to clothe
us in holiness,
even when we drag
the garment through
the mud of our lives;
you call us 'Beloved',
even while
we speak words about others,
that would make
the Evil One blush.

Wonder of wonders,
Humble Jesus:
you ask questions
about our so-called wisdom,
revealing how foolish we are;
you wear your heart
on your sleeve
as you reach out
to embrace us
with you compassion.

Wonder of wonders,
Spirit of the old and the new:
every year
you take the old, stained clothes
of our silly lives,
and dress us in
kindness, humility,
patience, and meekness,
that we might be grow
in your love and grace.

May everything we do,
and everything we say,
be in your name,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We like to think we are wise beyond our years,
but when we look at our lives as God's people,
we discover we still act too often like little
children. Let us confess how we always want
our way, rather than following God's.

Unison Prayer of Confession
You set boundaries for us, Holy God, yet we
continue to cross over them into sin. Believing
we are wiser than you, we are amazed that you
would question our actions and lives. Offering
us the warm sweater of love, we would rather
slip our lives into the sleeves of bitterness and
anger. Challenging us to carry one's another's
burdens, we complain about how heavy and
uncomfortable they are.

Forgive us, Searching God, and clothe us
with your gifts of compassion, humility,
patience, and hope. Then, dressed as your

graceful people, may we go forth to live as
sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, our Lord
and Savior.

Silence is kept.

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is simple: God loves us
so much, we are forgiven and granted new life.
Praise God! As forgiven people, we will
go to forgive others, and share God's
grace with them. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Advent 4-C

Call to Worship
We come to glorify God,
to rejoice in the One who saves us.
God comes:
for the lost, the last,
the little, the least of this world.
Our hearts leap for joy!
For God is coming to us in a child.
God comes:
for those who hunger for hope;
for those who thirst for grace.

Holy is the One who comes in God's name;
the One who fulfills every promise of God.
God comes:
to stand with those who follow in faith;
to bring peace to a scattered world.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
scattering the proud,
you look with favor
on those the world ignores.
For you,
we wait for the One
who will feed us;
for you,
we wait for the One
who stands with us
in our loneliness and pain.
For you,
we wait.

Jesus Christ,
born in a little backwater town:
in you,
God fulfills the hunger of our hearts;
in you,
God lifts us from our hopelessness;
in you all the promises come true.
For you,
we wait.

Holy Spirit,
Hallower of God's people:
from you comes faith,
so we might believe;
from you comes belief,
so we might be blessed;
from you come all blessings,
so we might share them with others.
For you,
we wait.

For you, we wait,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation.
Every notion we have about power, success,
wealth, and achievement, God takes and tosses out the window. More importantly, God comes
to us, to upset our notion that we have to save ourselves. In Jesus, God comes to us, removing
our sin, our failures, our expectations, so we might have new life. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We confess we are not the people you hope us to be, Advent God. The very ones you favor, we too often ignore or ridicule. The ones you knock off their pedesatls, we admire and emulate. We are so focused on having more and more, we risk
being sent away empty.

Forgive us, Mightly God, and look with grace upon us. We would live secure in your love; we would be the ones of peace for our world, we would seek to do your will, as did Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Even now - yes, even in this very moment, God comes to us, bringing hope, bringing
forgiveness, bringing grace as freely offered gifts to us.
May we open our hearts to the God who is with us, and receive the gifts which have been offered to us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

3rd Sunday of Advent - C

Call to Worship
God comes! So don't let go
of all the reasons to rejoice.
We will sing a song of Advent
to the One who fills our lives with joy.
God comes! Son don't stop
lifting your prayers with thanksgiving.
We will sing a song of Advent,
to the One who hears our words and silence.

God comes! So don't stop
giving your hearts to God.
We will sing a song of Advent
to the One who graces us with a peace
we cannot begin to understand.

Prayer of the Day
Advent God:
like a mother lullabying a baby,
you sing over us;
like a father picking up
his kids after school,
you bring us home.

Jesus Christ,
Wellspring of salvation:
may we draw near
and drink deeply of
your living waters,
so we might be renewed to life,
and restored to wholeness.

Holy Spirit,
Peace surrounding
our hearts and minds:
help us to set aside
our fears and worries,
and to rejoice in
what God has done
and is doing in our midst.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in the midst of us,
in this holy time and sacred space,
in every moment and place we live,
hear us as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Don't be afraid! God does not turn away from us, but comes towards us. God does not hold what we have done against us, but takes away the judgments against us. Join me as we pray to our loving God,

Unison Prayer of Confession

How can we think of rejoicing, God of all times,
when we face our world, and who we are? Called
to gentleness, we can be angry and hurtful people.
Called to generosity, we tighten our grip on our
clothes, our food, our love. Called to fairness,
we can easily reject those who are different
from us.

Yet, you are our salvation, Joy of our hearts,
and you forgive us. Renewed in your love, we can
be more loving; restored to new life, we can give
ourselves away to others; as you rejoice over us
with gladness, may we share the joy of Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior, with everyone we meet.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

This is the good news proclaimed to us:
The Lord is near, the Lord who is our
We give thanks to God, who has come
bringing peace, bearing hope, carrying
joy into our lives. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent 2-C

Call to Worship
Welcome to this place
where we seek our hearts' true home.
here, we gather with God's people;
here, we hold one another in our hearts.
Welcome to this place
where we seek our hearts' true home.
Here, God looks in favor on us;
here, we discover God's intentions for us.
Welcome to this place
where we seek our hearts' true home.
Here, we find a feast prepared for us;
here, we taste God's grace and hope.
Welcome to this place!
Where we find our hearts' true home.

Prayer of the Day
Blessed God,
Faithful Promise-Giver:
you hold us in your love
and will not let us go,
no matter how often
we may break your heart.

Jesus Christ,
Dawn from on high:
we remember your birth with joy
and await your Day,
when you complete
your work of love and grace.

Holy Spirit,
Refiner and Renewer
of God's people:
you invite us to share in the gospel,
to grow in understanding,
to live with one another,
to cope with anxiety,
to serve the world in God's name.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers in joy,
thanking and remembering
the One who taught us to pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
God is the witness to our lives, the One who sees all we do and fail to do, the One who hears what we say, and don't. God is also the One who cleanses us, who makes us pure, who forgives us. Join me as we pray to our God,

Unison Prayer of Confession

Refining God, it is not easy for us to admit we are not a blameless people. We trust the promises of politicians, but have trouble believing the ones you have made. We find ourselves captive to emotions and lusts which stun us, but doubt you can save us. We prefer the shadowy streets of the world, rather than walking in your Light.

Forgive us, Faithful One. May the Light of Christ show us your way; may the Love of Christ overflow from our lives to others; may the Life of Christ be our model as we seek to be your people.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do you feel it? God's tender mercy rests on you, heals you, transforms you. Do you see it? God's Light breaks into our lives, and shows us the way.
All: Renewed and made whole, we see the path God has prepared for us - the way of peace, the way of hope, the way of grace, the way of service. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman