Monday, November 19, 2007

Christ the King Sunday - Year C

Call to Worship
Blessed be the Lord God
who looks with kindness on us.
We are the inheritors of the promises
made long ago to our ancestors.
Blessed be the Lord God
who gathers us here in this place.
From across the street,
from halfway around the world,
God brings us home to the heart of grace.
Blessed be the Lord God
who has remembered us.
Scoffers and singers,
watchers and wigglers,
we are those redeemed by God.

Prayer of the Day
Gathering God:
when we have only
a few pennies of hope
in our pockets,
you multiply us
into a blessing.
When the world whispers
seductively to us,
you tell us
of your joy for us.
When everyone has forgotten
even who we are,
you shout out our name
with delight: "My Beloved!"

Dawn from on high:
when we would divide people
by class, by race, by age,
you cast your lot
with the outcasts of society.
When we get lost
from the muddled directions
the world gives us,
you lead us down
that path called Peace.

Spirit of wisdom:
when we grow impatient
with all the trivial matters of life,
you surround us with serenity.
When the world puts us on
the route to sin,
you transfer us
to the streets of the kingdom.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we trust you will remember us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know that we have not lived as God hopes. But however fragmented we become, God longs to hold us together in grace and peace. Let us come with our prayers of confession and need to the One who prepares the way for our words.

Unison Prayer of Confession
In these moments, Remembering God,
we bring to you all the ways we have not
lived as your people:
we stand by watching
while those in need struggle to survive;
we cast our lots with those
who worship power and success;
we offer insults rather than words of grace
to those who care for us;
we scoff at your words
which call us to a different lifestyle.

Forgive us, God of Mercy, for not knowing what we do to you, to others, to ourselves. Speak to us through Jesus Christ, our King and our Savior, who bears words filled with your tender mercy and gracious hope.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God remembers! Not our sins, not our foolish lives, not our rebellion. God remembers us - and redeems us!
God prepares the way for us - the way to grace, to hope, to new life. Joyfully, we
offer our thanks to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the peace of God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One whose has favored us with grace.
God's beloved children, sing of your hopes and dreams.
We bless the One who remembers us and redeems us to new life.

Joyfully, we lift our songs
of praise to you, O God.
>From the fragments of chaos,
you created all things.
Those that are visible to us
in the leaves drifting to the ground,
in the children playing hopscotch,
in the moon shimmering at night -
and those that we cannot see,
but gift our lives beyond measure:
grace, which heals our longing;
hope, which fills our emptiness;
love, which embraces our loneliness.
All were shaped and blessed for us,
but we chose to cast our lots
with sin and death,
believing their powers to be greater
that your hopes and dreams for us.
The prophets came to speak
about the One from on high
who yearned for us to come home,
but we grew impatient with their words
and mocked their faithfulness.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to gather your scattered children together
and to bring us back to your heart.

Therefore, we join our voices
with rulers and reprobates,
with the fruitful and the foolish
of every time and place,
who forever sing of your joy:


Holy are you, God who remembers us,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
Dawn from on high and creative Word.
Creation's true Light,
he rescues us from the darkness of death;
speaker of promises
to our grandparents in the faith,
on the cross
he kept the vows made to them;
the first-born of all creation,
he was born again
from the grave,
so we could all be with you
in eternity's kingdom.

As we reflect on his life, his ministry, his love,
we remember all that he has done for us,
that mysterious story we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

As we come to this Table of peace,
pour out your Spirit of life upon us,
and upon the gifts
of the Bread of life
and the Cup of salvation.
You nourish with grace,
so we may go wherever
the broken and lost live,
that we might feed them.
You fill us with hope,
that we would have no more fear,
but would boldly reach out
and gather up all
whom the world has cast aside.

And when time has come to an end,
and all creation has been reconciled to you,
we will gather around the feast in heaven,
singing our joy and praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, November 09, 2007

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 28 - C

Call to Worship
This day! This day we will give thanks to God,
who cradles us in the waters of baptism.
This day! This day we will trust in the One
who has saved us, who strengthens us.
This day! This day we dance to the fountain of life,
drinking deeply of salvation's goodness.
This day! This day we praise our God for every blessing;
telling everyon of God's amazing grace
in our lives and in our world.
This day! This day we sing God's praises;
testifying to all creation of our God.
This day! This day our songs are filled with joy,
for God is with us,
this day and in all the days to come!

Prayer of the Day
Creating God:
you grasp chaos
and shake it into
new heavens brimming with light,
new earth teeming with life.
You delight in your children so much
that before we finish our sentences,
you have heard our hearts;
before we whisper our dreams,
you fill our needs.

Word of God,
you shape our lips
and loosen our tongues
that we might witness
to your kingdom
where enemies take naps together;
where meat-eaters become vegetarians.

Spirit of Wisdom:
open us,
that we might trust
without fear;
fill us,
that we might discern
our call to faithfulness;
teach us,
that we would make known
our thanks to the farthest
shores of the universe.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us , this day and every day
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
God does not take our sins and stick them up on a shelf, in order to remember them - God forgets them! God does not hold them against us, but forgives us! Join me as we pray to the One who delights in us, as we say,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We confess that our lives weaken us, Strengthening God. We do not exercise our faith as we should, and so fatigue easily. We see houses as investment property, not as homes built on love, hope, and dreams. We whimper our petty complaints about our friends and families, rather than shouting our hosannas to heaven for the gift of their lives.
You are our hope, Tender God, so forgive us. Create in us new hearts, and fill us with new energy to serve our sisters and brothers, bringing them to the deep wells of salvation, where they can fill their parched souls, even as we have been led to them by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Rather than remaining white hot, God's anger melts into streams of living water, washing us clean of our sins and refreshing our spirits with hope and joy.
This day! This day we give thanks to the God who is our strength and our salvation. Praise God! Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, November 05, 2007

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 27-C

Call to Worship
The God who is greater
than we will ever understand,
is humbled to become one of us.
The God who is more loving
than our hearts dare imagine,
gives us more grace
than we ever realize.

The God who is wiser
than we will ever know,
teaches us all we need
to become God's children.

Prayer of the Day
Why should we fear,
God of compassion?
You choose us
to be the bearers
of grace and justice
to a broken world;
you call us to be words
of hope and joy
to people deafened by despair.
We will extol you.

Why should we fear,
Brother of justice?
You call us to follow you
that we may serve all
who have been abandoned
by a society focused on self.
You model kindness
so we might bring healing
to a fractured culture.
We will bless you.

Why should we fear,
Spirit of grace?
When we run around in circles,
you fill us with your peace;
when we stumble
through each day,
you energize us
with your hope;
when our spirits are empty,
you come and dwell in us.
We will praise you.

Why should we fear,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you listen to us pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We often think that God is 'out there' somewhere, distant and uncaring. But God hears our hearts, God sees our struggles, God walks with us as we try to be faithful disciples. Let us come to the One who is as close as the very breath we take in this moment to confess the brokenness of our lives,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We are so easily confused by what the world tells us, Watching God, that we forget the stories of faith we heard as children. We are so fearful of tomorrow, we are not aware of your Spirit with us today. We are so busy wondering, 'what if?' or 'suppose?'we cannot hear the promises you whisper to us.

So once again, Gracious God, have mercy on us. You know our hearts so well - touch them with your grace. You see our deepest fears - heal them with your peace. You hear our secret longings - speak to them of your hope. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
The One who searches our broken hearts has found the way to mend them and make us new people. The good news is that everything God has done in Christ is for us, that we might be made whole.
With kindness, and justice, God makes us new people. We will sing our thanks through all eternity. Great is God, and greatly to be praised! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals our brokenness.
Let us offer our thanks to God,
who has prepared this Table for us.
We will bless the One who offers us life in every moment.

We think of your greatness,
God of the living,
and fall silent.
When there was only chaos,
your whispered your Word,
and creation sprang forth.
The sun and stars
filled the heavens
with your splendor,
and the earth
sang of your glory.
You filled us with your dreams
of life with you forever,
but we confused your hopes
with our desires
and went chasing after
the seductions of sin and death.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of the stories
we had been told as your children,
but we thought them
to be myths and fables.
So once again,
you sent your Word
to speak sense to our lives.

Therefore, in this time and place,
with those who have gone before,
and those who will come after,
we join in the song of all creation:


Holy are you, God of Understanding,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
When we had been deafened
by the songs of the world,
he to speak of hope,
and to offer us justice.
When we were easily confused
by the promises of sin,
he came to make clear
your dreams for us.
When we thought
we could save ourselves,
he offered himself on the cross,
that we might spend eternity
in your presence.

As we come to the Table of grace,
as we are offered all your gifts,
we remember what Christ has done for us:

Memorial Acclamation

Send your Spirit upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and upon your children
who gather in this place.
Fill our empty hands
with the Bread of life,
that we might take
justice and peace
to the outcasts of our world.
Touch our parched hearts
with the Cup of grace,
that we might be poured out
for the broken and lost
in these times and places.
Heal us with the peace
of this joyful feast,
that we might become
your people of hope.

Then, when this world passes away,
and time has come to an end,
we will gather around the Table
in your kingdom of grace,
singing our praises to you
for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman