Sunday, January 28, 2007

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

Call to Worship
By God's grace, we are who we are:
People who are called,
but afraid to follow.
By God's grace, we are who we are:
People who are called,
and gifted wih courage.
By God's grace, we are who we are:
People who are called,
and given good news to share.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
by your grace:
you touch our fears
with the fire of your compassion;
you touch our brokenness
with the fire of your forgiveness;
you touch our hearts
with the fire of your love.

Jesus Christ,
by your grace:
you step into our lives
and an unpredictable journey begins;
you challenge us to new thinking,
with overflowing results;
you so confront our doubts
that we can cast out our fears.

Holy Spirit,
by your grace:
you give us eyes
to see the emptiness of our world;
you give us ears
to hear the good news;
you give us words
to bring hope to all people.

God in Community, Holy in One,
by your grace
we are who we are:
your children, your people, your church,
praying together as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Do not be afraid! Whatever you fear, God is ready to take away from you; whatever you have said, God is ready to speak mercy to you; whatever you have done, God is ready to forgive you. Please join me as we pray to the One whose steadfast love endures forever.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God enthroned in heaven: most of us would not consider ourselves to be holy. We think of others as inconveniences or intrusions, not as sisters or brothers. We look at others with pride or spite, not through the eyes of compassion. We are so
busy listening to ourselves, we cannot hear the anguish and loneliness of our neighbors.


Forgive us, God enthroned in our hearts. You have set us apart so we might be a partner with hurting people. We belong to your Kingdom so we might bring others in to live with us. We would risk following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
who first risked calling us as disciples.

Silence is observed.

Assurance of Pardon
The Holy One become wholly human so we might
know love. The One enthroned on high endured
the Cross so we might have life. Believe this good
news: we are forgiven!
By God's grace, we are who we are: forgiven and
restored people. Thanks be to God.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
Beloved of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who knows us and loves us.
Beloved of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
Our praise is continually offered to our Hope, our Trust, our God.

In that time when there was only You,
you walked in the midst of chaos,
shaping all that is good and beautiful.
In that place where there was only your Love,
You stretched out your hands
scooping up the dirt off earth's floors,
shaping us in your image,
breathing Spirit into our lungs.
In that silence where there was only your Hope,
you called us to be your people,
God of Glory.
But the world sang of its seduction,
sin called us to follow its despair,
death blinded us to the life you offered.
And so, we turned away,
pouting and stamping our feet
wanting our own way.
But you would not pay attention
to our foolish tantrums,
nor would you leave us
in the grasp of death and sin,
trusting that if we encountered
the grace wrapped in your holiness,
we would turn to you in joy.

And so, believing that you have reached out
and called us to service with you,
and touched our lips with songs of hope,
we join our voices with those who,
in every time and in every place,
sing of your ways forever.

Sanctus

Holy are you, Sanctuary of our Hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
Word of joyous grace.
In that time when we had lost our way,
he called to us,
so we could follow him
into your joy;
in that time when all hope had died,
he touched our souls with the fire of your love;
in that time when death's cold grip
wrapped tightly around our hearts,
he came to surround us with your life.

While we cannot understand the mysteries
of your holiness and grace,
when we are called to Christ's side
we can only cry, "Here we are; we will follow"
even as we hope for that faith which was his.

Memorial Acclamation

In this time of silence,
Spirit of God,
may this bread which is broken,
become our wholeness.
In this time of grace,
may this cup which is poured
touch our lips with healing.
In this time when we feel the brush
of your fingertips caressing us,
may we believe that your justice and peace
are to be shared with all people;
that our hearts can bear the burdens of others;
that we may bring joy to the lonely and hurting.

Then, when our journey is ended,
and we have followed you into eternity,
we will gather around your Table,
in that silence, which is only your grace,
in that place, which is only your heart,
in that time, which is only your love:
God in Community, Holy in One.
Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 20, 2007

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

Call to Worship
Today, the words of God come to us:
inviting us to not be afraid,
but to place our faith in God.
Today, the words of God come to us:
inviting us to trust in the One who knows us,
to place our hope in the One who saves us.
Today, the Word of God comes to us:
inviting us to be gracious in our love
and in our service to others.


Prayer of the Day
Gracious God:
your wall of hope
surrounds us in our despair;
your haven of faith
welcomes us in our unbelief;
your citadel of love
protects us from our anger.

Gracious Word:
you reach out to those
we would not touch;
you greet those
we would ignore;
you welcome those
we would exclude.

Holy Spirit:
rest gently upon us
so we might be kinder people;
touch us with your humility,
so we would let go of our pride;
show us your Way,
so we would not insist on our own.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our hope and our trust,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
The One who knew us before we were born knows our secret failings. The One who saw us in our mothers' wombs sees into our shadowed hearts. The One who bends down to listen to our words will speak grace and hope to us.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Patient God, we must confess that our love is not what we would hope. We are so focused on ourselves, the needs of others dim in our eyes. We secretly rejoice in the miseries of those around us, knowing that they must have done something to deserve such lives. We push our families and friends away by insisting they do everything our way.


Forgive us, Faithful Deliverer. Rescue us from our selves, so we might become your people. Touch us with the faith, the hope, the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, so we might be made whole.

Silence is observed.

Assurance of Pardon
God's love never ends! Now, we know
we are forgiven; now, we know we are
healed.
Now, we can bear all things, believe
all things, hope all things, endure all
things. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 14, 2007

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

Call to Worship
On this first day, which is holy,
we gather . . .
not alone, but as Christ's Body;
as ones who would suffer together,
we gather . . .
On this day of celebration,
we gather . . .
not in isolation, but in community;
as those who would care for one another,
we gather . . .

On this day of joy, not mourning,
we gather . . .
not with empty hands, or emptier hearts;
but as those baptized in grace's tears,
we gather . . .

Prayer of the Day
Holy God, Word-Giver:
in soft-falling snow,
we hear your joy;
in the whisper of the wind,
we overhear your dreams for us;
in the silence of a frozen night,
we eavesdrop on your grace;
in the prayers of the poor,
we take notice of your compassion.

Jesus Christ, Perfect Word:
overcome our obsession
of focusing on ourselves,
so we might serve;
make us simple enough
to hear your good news
and wise enough
to live it;
enchant our hearts
with your grace,
so we might weep
with those around us.

Holy Spirit, Cup Holder of Living Water:
as we suffer together,
may we drink deeply
from your tenderness;
as we rejoice together,
may we taste your strength;
as we pray together,
may our hearts feast on your love;
as we worship together,
may we hear the Word you have for us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in these moments, in every moment,
be with us,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We are baptized as individuals, yet called
to live and serve together. We know, and
need to confess, how we have sought to
live for ourselves, not reaching out to others,
and seeing them as parts of Christ's Body.
Join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Rock of our salvation, we know the faults
try to hide from you and others. We have
not cared for all people in the same way.
We do think some are more gifted, or
better, or prettier. We are more willing
to rejoice with someone, than to suffer
with another. We are not sure the prisoners
should be set free, or the poor given hope.


Redeemer of all people, forgive us.
Anoint us with your Spirit's power so our
eyes might be opened and our ears freed
to listen to what Jesus Christ, our Lord and
Savior, teaches us about your love and grace
for our lives.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God's Spirit is upon us: the Spirit of
forgiveness, the Spirit of grace, the
Spirit of oneness.
Today, and in all the days to come,
God's Spirit is with us. Thanks be
to the One who is our joy and our
strength. Amen.


(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 08, 2007

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time - C

Call to Worship
We come this day, Precious God,
as people in need of your steadfast love:
with you is the fountain of life;
in your Light we see light.

We gather this day, Water-changing God,
as people looking for signs:
with you is the fountain of life;
in your Light we see light
.
We worship this day, Gifting God,
as people who confess Jesus as our Lord:
with you is the fountain of life;
in your Light we see light.

Prayer of the Day
With you, Enduring Joy,
we find our refuge.
In the shelter of your compassion,
we are made whole;
in the abundance of your grace,
we are fed;
in the depths of your living waters,
we are transfigured into new people.

With you, Revealer of Glory,
we are filled to the brim.
Our lips cannot contain your praise;
our hearts overflow with your spirit;
our lives are poured out for others.

With you,
Activating Spirit,
we find our common life
in this community of faith.
United by a common confession,
we take our uncommon gifts
and share them
in serving all people.

Same in love, same in grace,
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliarion
We cannot claim ignorance of our sins, for we know how we have not lived as God's people. But God refuses to forsake us, waiting to forgive us and call us as God's children. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Delight of the Ages, we cannot remain silent, but must speak of the ways we misuse your gifts. In our desire to have more and more, we cause more damage to your good creation. In our obsession with ourselves, we have desolated the lives of those around us. When we hoard what you have given us, we cannot be a blessing
to other people.


Forgive us, Restless God, so we might be restored to life. May your steadfast love save and strengthen us to share our gifts with others, even as you have shared the Gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God delights in you. So much, that God
will not rest until you are at peace. God
will not remain silent, but will call you
by name: 'My Delight.'
God's steadfast love extends to the heavens,
and reaches down to touch our hearts.
Thanks be to God who forgives and saves
us! Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Baptism of the Lord - C

Call to Worship
God's voice speaks to our chaos,
echoing in our empty hearts.
gathering us together
to remember our baptism
and to feast at the Table.
God's voice flows like
the living waters of grace,
our new name, 'Beloved,'
resounding in our souls.
God's voice stirs
the waters of baptismal hope,
calling us to be bearers of peace
to a world of broken hopes.

Prayer of the Day
You speak, Holy God,
and your voice
silences the chorus of chaos;
you whisper,
toppling the giant redwoods,
and shattering our hardened hearts;
you laugh,
and little children
play hopscotch in the kingdom.
And we cry, "Glory!"

You speak, Word of Life,
and the waters of the Jordan
embrace you in grace;
you call to us,
your hope shimmering
like stars in our darkness;
you sing,
and we join hands with you
in the dance of resurrection.
And we cry, "Glory!"

You speak, Spirit of Wonder,
and we are given
a new name;
you cry out to us
that we have nothing to fear,
and we are filled with peace;
you shout your joy for us,
and we know we are loved.
And we cry, "Glory!"

Speak to us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we lift our voices to you, praying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
To a world of brokenness, God speaks of healing. To a time of confusion, God tells of that future grounded in love. To a people longing for redemption, God comes to bring us home. Let us confess how we have not heard God speaking to us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
God of Spirit and fire: baptized, we have not done a god job as your people. We are drawn to the shadows of sin, hoping you will not see our foolishness. We fall into the arms of temptation, letting it spin us until we are out of control. We selfishly cling to your hope and grace, convinced that others will misuse
these gifts.


Forgive us, Bearer of Grace. Touch us with your Spirit, so we may be restored to new life; touch us with your grace, so we may offer forgiveness to all people; touch us with your peace, so we might be healers to our world. This we pray in the name of the One who went into the waters of baptism to cleanse us of sin, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We expect the fire of judgment,
but are given the Spirit of grace;
we expect God to yell at us,
but we are called by a new name;
we expect God to stay angry,
but we are handed the dove of peace.
This is the good news for us!
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of glory be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, offer your hearts to God.
We give them to the One
who comes to redeem us.
Sing songs of praise and joy,
Children of God.
We lift our voices to the One
who journeys with us through
the waters of baptism and who feeds
us at the Table of hope.


With the waters of baptism
reminding us of your love for us,
Heaven's Voce,
we lift our praises to you.
Before you breathed the Word
which tamed chaos,
you named us your children,
heirs of all the goodness
you desired for us.
You sang to us in Eden's fields,
inviting us to glorify you forever.
Yet, we walked into the shadows
of the world,
leaving the songs behind.
You persisted in your hopes for us,
knowing that where
no life is anticipated,
no hope is expected,
no future is seen,
there you gather us up
to carry us into your kingdom.

So, with angel choirs in every region,
with shepherds who caroled a homeless family,
with those who came home singing from exile,
we lift our voices in joy and hope:

Sanctus

Holy are you, God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Bearer of grace and Singer of truth.
When we lost our voice to sin,
you sent your Word
to teach us new hymns of joy and praise.
When our feet were muddy
from playing in life's puddles,
he stepped into the Jordan,
to make us clean.
When our ears were filled
with the lies of the world,
he spoke the truth
of your hopes for us.
When we were about to die,
he came running to us,
defeating sin and death,
marking us as your own
with the kiss of the Holy Spirit.

As we remember Christ's baptism,
as we recall his life and ministry,
as we follow him through death
into the resurrection of new life,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Holy Spirit,
fill us with the Bread of forgiveness
and the Cup of hope.
Flow through us with baptismal waters,
so we might become
a river of reconciliation;
grant us your peace,
so we might carry it to others;
set our hope on Christ,
so we might build such hop
in our neighborhoods and communities.

And then, when the river of time
stops flowing,
and we gather around your Table,
we will join our voices as one people,
singing "Glory!"
to God, Child, and Spirit,
God in Community, Holy in One.
Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 01, 2007

Epiphany - Year C

Call to Worship
He came as a baby,
to bring laughter to children:
he came for kids home from college;
aand for newborns at their mothers' breasts
.
He was born in a stable,
to bring hope to the poor:
he came for those
who need more than they have;
and for those who could give away
more than they dare.
He was worshiped by shepherds,
and gifted by kings:
the Christ Child is born!
Let us follow the star to find him.

Prayer of the Day
They waited until your star appeared
and then rushed to find you,
bringing expectant hearts,
rejoicing in the light which guided them,
hoping that all their dreams
would come true.
We thank you for the waiting,
God of Advent.

They rejoiced in the simplicity of a stable,
when no homes were opened to them;
their hearts celebrated your birth
as the shepherds rejoiced at the manger;
they hoped their dreams
would come true.
We thank you for the joy,
Child of Christmas.

We are drawn to your Light
like moths to a flame;
our emptiness is filled with your grace
as your glory shines in all nations;
we are led to the wonders of hope,
as the light of faith refeals the way.
And we hope our dreams
will come true.
We thank you for revealing the mystery,
Spirit of Epiphany.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we thank you for the gift of the Star,
as we pray as Jeses teaches us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

The light has come, but we still seem to prefer the darkness of temptation and desire. Let us confess our sins to God, so the Light will fill every shadow of our lives.

Unison Prayer of Confession
In truth, God of Epiphany, we come to worship you, but our motives (like Herod's) are not pure. We want you to reward us because we are here, and not someplace else. We want you to gift us with health, with wealth, with answers to our questions. We want you to overlook our unfaithfulness, rather than shining the bright Light of the Christ Child on our lives.


Forgive us, Star Shaper, that we are not more like those wise ones of so long ago. In following a star, they found hope; in gifting a child, they received grace; in seeking your signs, they discovered life. Be with us, in mercy and hope, as we journey with your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in this season of Light.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Come, stand up, on your feet!
God's grace has dawned in our hearts,
Eternity's light shines in our souls.
The Light of the world shines in our
lives, delivering us from evil,
gracing us with hope and joy.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2006 Thom M. Shuman