Monday, September 14, 2009

Texts:  Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

Call to Worship
Our world offers many wide avenues and beautiful boulevards to walk;
Our God invites us to walk the road of service and sacrifice.
L: Our society suggests we put down our roots in the shallow soil of pleasure and greed.
P: Our God seeks to plant us on the banks of hope, watered by the rivers of joy and grace.
L: Our culture promotes achievement, success, climbing to the top, ringing the bell.
P: Our God tells us if we want to be first we need to go to the end of the line.


Prayer of the Day
You are in the kitchen all night,
slicing, preparing, cooking, baking
food for all of your children
so we can feast at your table.
You do not clench your fist
tight around your grace,
but let it pour from your open hands
upon those who need it most.
We are blessed by such a God as you!

You sit into the wee hours,
telling us your stories,
until our weary souls
fall fast asleep.
You wrap us in
the swaddling clothes of faithfulness,
sending us forth to serve
the broken of our world.
We are called by such a Servant as you!

Tenacity and grace
are the workclothes
you put on each morning,
so you might mentor your children.
Sagacity is sprinkled
throughout your words,
sympathy trips off your tongue.
We are taught by such a Spirit as you!

In you, God in Community, Holy in One,
we have found all we need and long for,
and we offer the prayer we have been taught,
Our Father . . .


Call to Reconciliation
While we try to live in God's way, we know how often we follow the wrong advice, or walk down sin's shadowed streets. Yet, God watches over us and calls us to confess, so we might be welcomed into the embracing arms of mercy and healing. Let us pray as we say,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We confess how much we are like those first disciples of Jesus, Wisdom from on high. Our cravings for more and more toss us about like leaves in the fall winds. We boast of our great wisdom, yet do not understand your ways of peace and gentleness. We do not plant ourselves in your hope and grace, and so reap harvests of disorder and conflict.

Draw near to us, Gracious God, and forgive us. Draw us into your tender arms, and teach us peace, gentleness, the willingness to put the other first, the wisdom to serve instead of seize, so we might bring forth a harvest of righteousness, justice, and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
This is the wisdom from above: God plants in us the forgiveness and healing we need, so we might share the good harvest of joy and mercy with everyone we meet.
Bathed in the living waters, fed by the Bread of life, we are given new life and hope. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.


Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who plants us by streams of living water be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to the One who does good for us all the days of our lives.
We offer them to our God who feeds us with joy and hope.
Children of God, let your thanksgiving be on your lips in every moment.
Our hearts overflow with gratitude to the One who offers us the cup of grace.

You considered chaos, God of fruitfulness,
and planted creation deep in its barrenness.
Your Spirit whispered over the waters,
stirring into life that rich variety from your imagination;
the Word tagged close behind,
calling the sun, moon, and stars to shine,
shouting to the fields to blossom.
You shaped us in your image,
seeing us as most precious of all created,
willing to put our hands to work
in the peace and beauty of your garden.
But paying our money to the purveyors
of bad advice, we chose to wander
down the streets of sin and death.
Longing to feed us with your love,
you sent the prophets,
their words a feast of hope,
but we continued to chew
on the moldy bread of unfaithfulness.
Then, taking Jesus in your arms,
you placed him tenderly among us,
reminding us that if we would welcome him,
we could embrace your salvation.

So, with those who have sought to do good
all the days of their lives,
we lift our voices in praise:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All creation sings of your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!


Blessed is your Child who comes among us.
Hosanna in the highest!

We glorify you, God of holiness,
that by your love and mercy
you sent Jesus to live among us,
walking the paths of the world with us.
In the midst of conflicts and divisions,
he seeks to attract us with his gentle peace;
in facing the walls of rejection we build,
he would tear them down with his
gracious acceptance of all people;
in taking up his cross,
he became the servant of all,
and when death thought he was
in its selfish grasp at last,
he was raised to new life by you,
the promise of the resurrection for all.

Though we may not always understand,
we remember his willingness to be last,
we celebrate his triumph over death,
and we proclaim that he is the bread of life:

Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

Pour out your Spirit
upon those who gather
in this place, in these moments,
and upon the gifts of your feast.
As we bring our famished souls to your Table,
strenghten us with the bread of life,
so we might go forth to offer
hope and grace to the needy around us;
as we open our parched hearts to you,
fill us with the servant spirit of the cup,
so that, setting aside our thirst for greatness,
we might offer our lives in service,
taking peace and reconciliation
to the brokenness of our world.

And when we come to the end of our journey,
gathering by the eternal streams of living water
with all those who have gone before and come after,
we will delight in your glory and grace through all eternity,
our glad songs of thanksgiving offered to you always,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman