Monday, December 22, 2008

1st Sunday after Christmas - B

Call to Worship
Praise the One who spoke and made everything!
Let the rivers ripple with joy;
let the mountains stamp their feet.
Praise the One who adopts all of us as children!
Let old folks tell familiar stories;
let little children swim with dolphins
.
Praise God!
We will sing of God's glory;
we will shout our joy to the hevens.

Prayer of the Day

Creation's Father:
of all that you created and love,
you choose us to be your children;
of all the places
you could love,
you make us holy
by your Spirit's presence;
of all that you could offer to us,
you have given us Jesus.

Destiny's Child:
you came to clothe us
in salvation's finery;
you amazed the wisest
with your humility;
you know all the thoughts
we dare not share with anyone.

Spirit of Abba:
as we celebrate a Birth,
be born in us each day;
as we sing God's praises,
whisper the good news to our ears;
as we seek to be faithful to our calling,
lead us into the kingdom waiting for us.

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

Call to Reconciliation
It is easy to become slaves to our passion, it is harder to live as God's children. Let us confess the easy choices we have made, so God can strengthen us to be faithful sisters and brothers of Christ.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Abba God: we know that given the chance, we rarely praise others. We are guided more by meanness than by your gentleness. And we are seldom wise enough to listen to your voice, preferring instead the sweet, sweet songs of sin.

Forgive us, Heart of Heaven. Touch those inner places of hope and joy that they might become the gifts we can offer to those around us, as we seek to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news. the time is now; the place is here: God has redeemed us from sin; God has claimed us as the children of Hope.
Praise God, all people, for life is given to us anew; eternity is our home. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of Christmas Joy be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who came to us in Bethlehem.
Children of Hope, give thanks to God.
We sing our songs of Joy to the One who became one of us.

How can we keep from praising you,
Glory's Father?
You spoke,
and stars danced in the sky;
you whispered,
and snow fell gently in the night;
you sang,
and the Spirit
breathed life into us.
Yet, we allowed ourselves
to be guided by the Evil One,
being led into the wilderness of sin.
But you could not sleep,
tossing and turning in grief.
You sent the prophets
to adorn us with your grace,
but we ignored them.
Finally, when time almost running out,
you sent your most precious possession,
Jesus Christ, your Beloved Son.

So, with all creation echoing
the songs of angels,
we join in praising your name:

Sanctus

Holy are you, Mighty God,
and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ.
When we thought we could do no wrong,
he came to make us right;
when the world had forgotten us,
he called us by a new name;
when the time came,
he went to the cross,
that sin's slaves might be set free
and become your children.

As we celebrate his Birth,
and remember his death and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Guiding Spirit,
as you moved over creation,
come to bless this bread and cup,
and your children gathering around this Table.
As we eat of the Bread of angels,
may we be nourished by your justice,
to bring hope to all people.
As we are filled with the Cup of grace,
may the seeds of righteousness
planted deep within us,
bloom that all creation can be made whole.
Then send us forth
not as slaves to sin,
but as servant of salvation
to those longing for new life.

And when the time comes,
and we are all gathered in heaven,
we will join hands and dance around your Table,
singing our praises to
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Christmas Day - Year B

Call to Worship
Wonder of wonders, God has come to us!
Not as a judge, but a Savior, not in power, but as a servant.
Wonder of wonders, God comes to us!
Not in silence, but in the Word made flesh;
not in the shadows, but bringing Light.

Wonder of wonders!
God is with us!

Prayer of the Day

Angels sang their anthems
at the midnight hour
to awaken a sleeping creation;
shepherds came to worship you,
and went away rejoicing;
wise one gave their hearts to you,
so they could dwell in yours.
O Immanuel,
we adore you!

You came to us as a baby,
to hold us in your grace;
you came to us in a stable,
so we would have no trouble finding you;
you came to us in poverty,
to enrich our lives.
O Beautiful Messenger of Peace,
we adore you!

You play with us
in the streets of the kingdom;
you build your home
deep within our souls;
you walk with us
in the winter of life.
O Wisdom from on high,
we adore you!

God in Community, Holy in One,
all the faithful lift their songs of joy to you,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father. . .

Call to Reconciliation
God became one of us, so that we could see the face of love, hear the voice of peace, be touched by the hand of grace, know the heart of mercy. God comes to us, offering us forgiveness and peace. Please join with me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You came in weakness, Mighty God:
forgive our grasping
for power.
You came in humility, Prince of Peace:
forgive us
wanting more than others.
You came in poverty, Everlasting One:
forgive us
when we do not see your family
sleeping in our streets.
You came in gentleness, Wonderful Counselor:
forgive us
for the anger we speak
and the pain we cause.

Child of Bethlehem,
be born in us today:
forgive us,
heal us,
make us new;
then we will join the angels
in singing your praises
this Christmas Day
and all the days to come.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
Break forth into singing, children of God:
for the Babe comes to comfort us,
like a mother rocking her son to sleep,
like a father wiping away the tears
of his daughter.
(sung) Joy to the Word, the Lord is come,
let earth receive her King.
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Child of Bethlehem be born in you.
And in your heart as well.
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who came to us that first Christmas morning.
People of God, give thanks to the One who is always with us.
O come, o come Immauel, to feed us at your Table.

When you were weary
of chaos as your companion,
Everlasting God,
you whispered to the Word
who sang Creation's song:
mountains sprang to attention,
rivers and oceans splashed your feet,
and the dust from the Carpenter's table
was gathered up and shaped in your image.
Spirit breathed life into us,
that we might dance with you forever.
But when we looked beyond your glory,
and saw the decorative temptations
the world dangled before our eyes,
we rushed to embrace sin and death.
Yet you looked past our rebellion,
seeing the people we could become,
and so sent Isaiah and Hannah,
Simeon and Anna as your faithful witnesses.
When we continued to turn up
the world's volume
to drown out your pleas,
you sent the Word of hope
in the silence of a stable.

Therefore, we join with the angels
of Bethlehem's skies,
and all those who sing of your steadfast love,
in every time and place:

Sanctus

Holy are you, Mighty God,
and blessed is the One who comes in your name,
our Lord and Savior, your Gift to all the world.
You would not keep the Word to yourself,
but sent him to tell us
of your hopes for us.
You did not cling to the Prince of Peace,
but poured him out to end
our enmity and violence with one another.
You could not hold your Heart
in your hands,
but allowed him to be broken
on the tree of Calvary
that we might be made whole forever.

So, as we celebrate his birth,
his life, his death and his resurrection,
we remember the faith which he models for us,
and gives to us as our inheritance:

Memorial Acclamation

As we gather at your Table,
send your Spirit upon the bread and the cup,
and upon us, your children.
As you sent Jesus to be born of Mary,
may we bear the burdens of others;
as you became One with us in the Child,
may we live at peace with all people;
as you have brought us out
of the shadows of our sin,
may we carry the Light of the world
to all who live in the darkness
of oppression and injustice.

Then, when we gather at your Table
prepared for all people in your kingdom,
we will sing that new song
first caroled at creation
and echoed through Bethlehem's hills:
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth, peace,
goodwill to all."
Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Christmas Eve - Year B

Greeting
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the shadows of death a light has dawned.
Jesus Christ is our Life and Light. In Christ's name, welcome!
In Christ's grace, let us worship God!

Call to Worship
Let us go, just as we are, to see what has happened.
let us go with the shepherds:
let us go and find the One of whom the angels sang.
Let us go with those who are wise:
let us go and find the One who brings God's truth to us.
Let us go with the poor in spirit, and in flesh;
let us go with those who are humbled by life:
Let us find the Glory of God born in a stable,
and placed in a feeding trough.
Let us go with our friends and family,
let us go with our neighbors and with strangers,
let us go with all the children of God:
let us go to find the One who comes
to lead us home to God's kingdom.
O come, let us go to the Babe of Bethlehem;
O come, let us adore him!
Christ our Lord!

Call to Reconciliation
We begin with such great hopes, such great dreams. We are going to be better, to treat others more fairly, to love more deeply. But we come to the manger once again, knowing our failings, and aware of our brokenness. Let us confess to the One who comes, that our lives might be made new.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God who comes to us:
forgive us . . .
when our shadowed lives dim your Light;
when the tinsel of Christmas means more
to us than your truth;
when our hearts of stone resist the pain
and brokenness around us;
when we care more about what is under
the tree, than the damamge we do
to your creation and to your children.

Have mercy on us, Healing God,
so we might
tear down the walls we have built
to keep your love away;
so we could
seek your justice for our sisters and brothers;
so our hearts
would become cradles for your Son,
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon (based on Is. 62:10-12)
Go, go through the city, preparing for the people;
repair, repair all the roads, filling in the holes,
raising a banner for all to see.
God has spoken to all people,
saying to sons and daughters:
'See, your Savior comes;
to make good on my promises,
to bring redemption to all people.'
And we will be called God's Beloved,
the Redeemed of the Lord;
God will seek us out to live
in the New Jerusalem,
where no one is left behind. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May God be with you.
May God be also with you.
People of God, open your hearts,
We open our hearts to God.
Let us give thanks to the Living God.
It is right to give thanks to the One who offers abundant life.

This is the night your heart bursts open with Joy,
this is the evening Grace pours out of heaven,
this is the moment when you come
to make all things new,
ever-creating God.
You shaped light out of the shadows of chaos,
and molded your children from the earth,
looking in the mirror as you formed us,
breathing your Spirit into our empty lungs.
Made for life with you
in the Garden you designed for us,
we ran away into the wilds of the world,
believing we were wiser than you,
that we could make our own way.
Yet your love never failed us,
your compassion was never taken from us,
you would not abandon us in our foolishness.
You brought us out of slavery
into that land of promise and hope.
You sent your prophets to speak to us
of your disappointment in us,
and to remind us of your dreams for us.
Your love for us was so passionate,
that you sent your only Son
to become one of us
that we might be one with you again.

So on this night when heaven reaches down
to caress creation with healing,
we join the angel choirs who sang your glory,
and with your people in every time and place,
caroling the good news which is ours:

Sanctus

Holiness is who you are, God of Christmas,
and blessings come in Jesus Christ, your Child of Grace.
Finding no warm welcome at his birth,
he knew the cold shoulder of friends at his death;
born in the rude confines of a barn,
he knew the suffering of your children;
sent to be your Word made flesh,
he calls us to follow him into your Kingdom;
proclaimed by the prophet as our Prince of Peace,
he died in the quagmire of human violence.
By his death and resurrection,
you have given new life to all creation.
So, as we gather on this holiest of nights,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Pour out your Spirit upon us,
Wonderful Counselor,
and on the gifts you have given us.
We lift the broken bread,
praying we would be made whole,
at peace with one another,
and reconciled to you.
As we drink from the vineyard of grace,
we believe that our salvation has come,
and we are one with Christ,
our flesh filled with his spirit of sacrifice,
our spirits refreshed by his compassionate heart.
As your joy flows into us,
may we become a river
carrying your justice to the poor;
as your hope sings in our hearts,
may we carry your righteousness to all who suffer.
And as we taste the promise
of the feast you prepare for us in your kingdom,
may we live for you and serve your children,
as we have been served by the Child of Christmas,
Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior.
Amen.

Blessing
Light of God:
guide our way;
Joy of God:
fill our hearts;
Peace of God,
change our lives.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4th Sunday of Advent - B

Call to Worship
O come, Rest of the righteous:
wrap us in your shawl of hope,
cradling us in your comfort and peace.
O come, Servant of salvation:
unlocking the chains of our sin,
sending us to dance in your kingdom's joy.

O come, Gospel of graciousness:
so we would welcome the outsider
and embrace the lonely hearts in our midst.
O come, Lover of the lowly:
to raise them up until they can look you in the eye,
and kiss your soft cheeks in gratitude.
O come, Child of the covenant:
heir of all those promises made so long ago,
and bearer of all the grace flowing from God's heart.
O come, Companion of creation:
to transform the mess we have made
into gardens overrun with goodness and beauty.
O come to us, Immanuel, come and live with us:
this day, and forevermore, come!

Prayer of the Day
You take us by the hand,
Gentle grace,
so we may walk
the paths of your kingdom,
carrying the light of joy,
to find the traveling companions
you give us for our journey
into the holiness of this season.

Adonai's Anointed:
you came among us
to whisper of your hope
above the jingles of these days;
you have been with us,
in every moment of our lives,
disguised as our friends and families,
living among us as the strangers
who welcome us as kin.

You are with us,
Spirit of kindness,
planting seeds of peace
which can bear fruit
for a shattered world;
you send us to sing
the glad tidings of
incomparable joy,
that God has kept every
promise ever made.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you give us the words we need,
even to pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
If we are to welcome the Child into our hearts, we must speak of all the ways we have hardened ourselves against the good news he brings. Let us confess our sins, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
How can this be, Holy One of Advent?
We would put the powerful on pedestals,
but you send the lowly to remind us
of our call to be servants.
We would stock our pantries with more and more,
but you send our friends to our door,
collecting for those who hunger and thirst for hope.
We would listen to seasonal sounds of sales,
but you send the angels to carol to us
of the promises made to all.

Forgive us, Hope of the world.
As we watch for your coming,
may we see the need around us;
as we prepare to celebrate your birth,
may we live with open hearts;
as we long for healing and hope,
may we discover it in the Babe of Bethlehem,
Jesus the Christ, sent for us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is not just announced to all people, it is indeed, for all people. For the proud, as well as the humble; for the rich, and for the poor; for those who have found faith, and those who long for it.
Our hearts rejoice in the promises, and our souls rejoice in the One who has come to us, bringing hope, joy, and peace into our lives. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Architect of the Universe:
like a mist over a lake,
your Spirit moved above creation,
so your peace could walk gently
through the fields of goodness,
so your hope could tiptoe quietly
into our lives to dwell forever.
You created us in your image,
so we could rest in your gentleness.
But we decided to warm ourselves
by the fireside of sin and death.
You asked the prophets
to come and remind us
of your everlasting covenant,
but we scattered their words
into the empty hollows of our hearts.
So, looking favorably upon us,
you sent Jesus to come,
appointing him to bring salvation
to us once and for all.

So, with those who waited on sheep-strewn hillsides,
and those who endured the pains of labor,
with all our sisters and brothers in every time and place,
we sing of your great joy forever:

Holy, Holy, Holy, God of Advent Joy.
Heaven and earth sing your praises as you reach down
to heal and comfort your creation.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who welcomes all people into your grace.
Hosanna in the highest.

Your name is Holy, God of Grace,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Your Child, our Savior.
when we were chilled
to the bone by despair,
he came to warm us with your hope;
when we huddled against
the cold winds of fear,
he wrapped us in the shawl
woven from your hopes and dreams;
when we could find no life,
he walked to a cross-strewn hillside,
scattering sin's power with your grace,
sending the grave away empty-handed
as he greeted us with the promise
of the resurrection for all your children.

As we prepare to celebrate his birth once again,
as we await the songs of the angels on that holy night,
we would proclaim that mystery revealed as faith:

Christ came, to humble the proud
and to raise up the lowly;
Christ is in our midst,
feeding the hungry
and filling the emptiness of all;
Christ will come again,
to bring us home into
the kingdom of heaven.

Send your Spirit to move over your people,
and to fill the bread and the cup
with your presence and power.
May the bread we break and share
become the healing we need
and the hope we carry to a world
shattered by fears and doubts.
May the cup we bless
and pass to one another
be the grace for which we have yearned,
and the joy we can offer
to everyone we meet.

And, when the Spirit gathers us up
and brings us to the Table in the kingdom,
we will join our hearts and songs
with your family from all time and places,
who forever sing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent 3 - B

Call to Worship
Here, in this place,
we discover the great things God has done.
In story and song, in silence and sacrament,
we are reminded that God's relationship with us
which lasts forever.

Here, with these people,
we find our true home.
where we can run home laughing,
after being lost for so long.
Here, during this holy season,
we hear those promises made so long ago.
Of the One who repairs all our mistakes,
of the One who reshapes our brokenness.

Prayer of the Day
From those held captive
in temptation's bonds,
you create a community
of compassion and joy.
For those whose tears
spill out of their souls,
you reach out to cradle
their grief-shattered hearts.
To all held incommunicado
from the good news,
you send the angels
to sing carols of great hope.
Planter of justice,
we lift your glory to the skies.

When we would put on
the soft slippers of evil,
you hand us the muddy boots
of justice and hope,
saying, 'follow me.'
When we would let goodness
slip through our fingers,
falling on the ashes of our dreams,
you hand us a bouquet of hope,
filled with joy and grace.
Friend of justice,
we tell your good news to all.

We would grumble
with ingratitude,
but you come and tickle us
with sheaves of joy,
until our tongues
tingle with thanksgiving,
and laughter splashes
off of our lips.
Spirit of Justice,
we offer your peace to the world.

God in Community, Holy in One,
anoint us with your hopes and dreams,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Hope, joy, forgiveness, life - these are the gifts God offers to us in this season of preparation and anticipation. But too often, we put God's love to the test, with our foolish behavior and unwise choices. Let us confess, out loud and in silence, the lives we lead, praying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Anointer of righteousness: you whisper songs about mercy to us, but we would rather rejoice in another's misery. When we would dam off the Spirit with our shoulds and shallnots, you knock down our words, so grace can flood into the world. While we gossip about the foolishness of our friends, you testify to us of their compassion and kindness.

Forgive us, Giver of grace. Salvation is your gift to us, not something we can buy on sale. Joy is that seed you plant deep within us, so we may share the harvest with all we meet. Hope is the healing offered to our brokenness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God anoints us with grace and peace, not so we can become better than others, but so we can be the servants of a hurting and hungering world.
We will go, taking the good news with us, testifying to all we meet, with our words, our hearts, our lives. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
You scattered chaos
with the fresh breath of creation,
Lover of all that is good and beautiful.
You whispered 'glory'
as the moon and stars shone bright;
you sang carols of joy
as you planted the seeds
of peace and justice deep within
those created in your image.
But we filled our hearts
with the empty longings for power,
and drank from the brackish water
found in the deserts of death.
You anointed prophets like Isaiah and John
to sing to us of your hopes of our return,
but we despised their words,
and continued to test the limits
of your justice and peace.
So, you sent Jesus to come
into the prisons we had created for ourselves,
to set us free to live in your kingdom.

So, we join our voices with the broken-hearted
and with those healed by your grace,
who, in every time and place,
long for your coming into their lives,
forever lifting their songs to the skies:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of compassion.
All creation overflows with your joy and peace.
Glory to you in the highest.

Blessed is the One who is anointed with your good news,
bringing freedom to the captives of sin;
cradling all who are broken by injustice;
sharing the tears of all who grieve.
Glory to you in the highest!

Hope is heart which beats within you, Holy One,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Servant, our Savior.
Taking our wounds as his own,
he swaddles us in your healing comfort;
bound to the cross,
he releases us from sin's grip;
carrying death to the grave
and leaving it there
in it's final resting place,
he brings forth a resurrection crop
of your children who will live forever
in that creation rebuilt by your hope.

As we remember his willingness to serve us,
as we would follow him into your kingdom,
we testify about that mystery we call faith:

Christ came to set us free;
Christ died to give us life;
Christ will come again to bring us home.

Send your Spirit to rest upon
your children gathered at this Table,
and upon the gifts of your peace.
>From the harvest of the fields,
you feed us with the bread of life,
planting hope within us,
tending and watering it
until it bursts forth to fill
the hunger of our world.
>From the bitter tears
we have caused you,
you anoint us with
the cup of grace,
so we might become servants
who will love justice
more than we love ourselves,
and serve your children
before we sit down at the table.

And when you restore creation to its glory,
and we are gathered in heaven
at the great banquet of the Lamb,
we will find ourselves wrapped warmly in hope's shawl,
and anointed with joy's oil,
as we witness to your love forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Charge
God has done great things for us!
We will go to tell the world that joy
is overflowing from God's heart.
God is doing great things with us!
We will go to let everyone know
of the One who has rebuilt our lives.

God will do great things through us!
Anointed with hope, we will go to serve
all the children of God, in every place.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent - B

Call to Worship
You come to us, alive and present
in that Word clothed in human flesh,
so we might hear those songs about
forgiveness, echoing with joy.
You come to us, Shepherd of God's people,
feeding us with your peace,
so we might go out and offer
the bread of hope to all the lost.
You come to us, Spirit of comfort,
welcoming us into the kingdom,
where righteousness is our best friend,
where justice lives right next door.

Prayer of the Day
While others are making lists
of things we have enough of,
you come:
to offer us salvation,
the one gift we cannot purchase.
As the world prepares
to entice us with more and more,
you come:
to fill our hearts with all the hopes
you have dreamed about us forever.
When skepticism and fear
callous our hearts,
you come:
to bathe us in the soothing
lotion of compassion.
When stress scoops out potholes
for every step we take,
you come:
filling the emptiness with serenity
as tough as your grace.
As the clock turns
faster and faster each day,
you come:
to swaddle us in a shawl
woven with patience.
When others push past us
to get to the front of worry's line,
you come,
so we can clasp them
so close to our hopes
they can hear your heartbeat.

So come to us, come to us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We can no longer play dumb. We not only know the lives we are called to lead, we are well aware of how we fail - through our words as well as our silence, by our deeds and our unwillingness to act. Let us confess to the God who comes to us,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You call us home to live with you, Comfort of the lost, but we are too busy right now to listen. We flock to the stores run by temptation and seduction, seeking the best prices. We rush to judge everyone around us, but ask you to be more patient with our repeated errors. We feast at the table piled high with broken promises and drink from the cup of fading dreams.


Yet you continue to cry out to us, Broken Heart, speaking to us of your love. Forgiveness is the gift for every moment, not just one day; hope is our constant companion as we journey with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who is your Messenger of mercy.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
At the beginning, at the end, and in every time between, the good news speaks to us of God's tender mercy and love for us.
God comes! Not to punish, but to gift us with peace, not to judge, but to save us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
May God be with you as well.
People of God, open your hearts.
We open our hearts to the God who approaches.
People of God, give thanks to the One who brings you out of the exile of sin.
We sing praises to the One who offers comfort and hope to each and every one of us.

Into the silence of chaos,
your voice cried, Comfort of the Ages,
your Word flinging open
the doors of goodness and beauty,
the Spirit speeding over the waters
to bring peace to all creation.
Refusing to wait for all
which you had promised to us,
we made straight for death,
running down the dusty road of sin.
Prophets cried out to us
while we were in this wilderness,
but our tantrums drowned out
their invitations to return to you.
Since peace was your hope for us,
and salvation is your steadfast gift,
you sent your Child, Jesus,
to become the Way for us.

So, with those who have waited
in every time and place,
and with those who try to lead
lives of godliness and goodness,
we lift our voices filled with longing
for your comforting presence:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of creation.
The exiled of the world await your coming.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the Comfort who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holiness is your grace, God of exiles,
and blessed is your Word
who comes again to us in this time.
Herald of good news,
he whispers to us of all your promises
fulfilled in his life and death.
Prince of Peace,
he takes our brokenness
and shapes us into servants.
Messenger of salvation,
he carries the cross to Calvary,
where he ends death's power,
gathering us up from the tomb,
holding us so close to his life
that we can feel your heart beat.

As we prepare to come to the Table,
we remember the One whose birth
is the beginning of that mystery
we call the good news:

The Word came, creating life;
the Word comes, speaking comfort;
the Word will come again, to call us home.


Send your Spirit to rest upon
these gifts of the field and the vine.
Take the common loaf,
and by your mercy,
transform it into the life we need.
Remind us that when we hunger for more,
you feed us with humility
that we might see the emptiness of our world,
and offer ourselves to fill it with your gifts.
As you hand the cup of salvation to us,
may it quench our desire for more and more,
that we might give all we have,
and all we are called to be,
as a healing for a broken creation.

And when your love gathers us up
and leads us to your banquet in the kingdom,
where we are seated with our sisters and brothers,
we will sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:
Creator of goodness,
Friend of the lost,
Spirit of joy,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Blessing
L: As you were present with us
through your Word, O God:
P: may we be present to others
send us to serve this week.
L: As you fed us with your peace,
Bread of life:
P: may we grace others with that peace,
this day and all the days to come.
L: As you welcomed us to your table,
Spirit of Hope:
P: May we welcome all those you send us
that they may find a home with us.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman