Tuesday, July 14, 2009

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 11 - B

Texts: 2 Samuel &:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Call to Worship
Whether we are strangers or old friends,
God is joining us together in this place.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.
Whether we are 'natives' or immigrants,
God is building us together spiritually.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.
Whatever walls we try to build between us,
in Christ, God tears them down to build
a household for all of God's people.
God's steadfast love is our foundation;
God's faithfulness is with us forever.

Prayer of the Day
When our lives seem
to trickle along,
you take all our meandering streams,
merging them into that graceful river
flowing to your sea of tranquility.
When we worry so much that
warts pop out on our brains,
you cradle us in the hollow
of your peaceful hand.
Gather us in, God of aliens and strangers.

When we scurry and hurry,
no time to eat, no time to rest,
our lives spinning out of the kingdom,
you have pity on us,
and nudge us back on
the path of righteousness.
When we want to prattle on,
pointing out all our achievements,
you invite us to join you,
silently re-treating ourselves to humility.
Gather us in, Christ of the near and far off.

When we stand at the rough edge of life,
you stroll over to take us by the hand
to lead us into the inner circle,
dancing with the other saints and sinners.
When we show up for the party,
but don't have the right haircut,
you run up, throw your arms
tight around us, introducing us
to everyone as family.
Gather us in, Welcoming Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
gather us into your heart,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Do we really want God to dwell within us, or are we only willing to 'rent out' space for a brief visit? Our actions, our words, our silence, our fears all show the presence, or absence, of God in our lives. Let us empty ourselves of all which burdens us, and welcome the One who lives with us forever. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Steadfast God, we confess that we are so busy putting up walls between ourselves and others, we cannot see the home you are building for all of us. We spend so much time noting the differences between us and others, while you are embracing everyone as your child. We run to welcome those who look, talk, and act like us, and you throw open your doors to the stranger, the alien, in our midst.

Forgive us, Faithful Heart. By your grace, help us to see the household you are building for all people: there are no plastic protectors on the furniture; there are no rooms that are off-limits; and even the smallest child is welcome to sit at the big people's Table and be fed by your grace. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our peace, our hope, our Lord, our Savior.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
Do you remember? At one time, you were without Christ; you were the stranger, the outsider, the alien. But now, in Christ, you have been brought home, living in God's household of hope and peace.
God's covenant with us is everlasting; God's steadfast love is forever; God's forgiveness makes us new and whole. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

You built a house for us,
Architect of Steadfast Love,
and called it creation,
filling it with all we needed
to live and serve as your children.
Yet, we took the temptations
and seductions sin offered us,
using them to build that
shaky foundation on death.
When we could no longer read
the covenant you made with us,
you sent the prophets
to spell out each word for us.
When our hostility and anger increased,
you sent your Child, Jesus,
to proclaim peace to us.

So with all who are near,
and with those who seem so far away,
we lift our voices in joy to you:

Holy, holy, holy! God of faithfulness and love.
All creation sings praises to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is our peace.
Hosanna in the highest!

You placed your hand over your holiness, Gentle God,
your pledge of faithful and steadfast love
made flesh in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
Wherever he went,
he tore down those thick-headed
walls we build around us.
Whoever he met,
he welcomed as a sister and brother.
Whenever people gathered around them,
he took the anger they felt towards others,
healing them with his grace.
Forever, he destroyed the power of death,
making us blood relatives of his.

As we remember how you were with him
in life, in death, in resurrection hope,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ came, to break down all barriers;
Christ died, to bring peace to all;
Christ rose, to offer new life to all;
Christ will return, to take all home.

You do not renege on your promises,
but continue to pour out your Spirit
on those who have gathered in this place
to share the gifts of the Table.
Saints and sinners pass
the broken bread to one another
and, healing the echoes of your whispers,
join in serving those whom
the world considers as strangers.
Native born and immigrants
drink deeply of your grace
and, walking side by side,
rush to minister to the sick,
to the dying, to the hurt, to the lost.

And when we gather at last
in that place appointed for us,
no longer strangers, but kinfolk
by your steadfast love,
we will be woven together
in that tapestry called the kingdom,
warming your heart with our glad songs,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman