Tuesday, June 30, 2009

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 9 - B

Call to Worship
In the sun which banishes the shadows, in the birds who chorale us awake:
it was you, Creation's Joy, leading us into this new day.
In the touch healing long-grasped grudges,
in the laughter of children which nudges us into hope:
it is you, Anam Cara, who walks each step of the way with us.
In the compassion melting icy hearts, in the peace silencing our boastful voices:
it will be you, Gentle Wisdom, who guides us into the kingdom.

Prayer of the Day
When we look back
at the paths we walked,
when we shake our heads in disbelief
at the wonders we overlooked,
when we tell others of those surprises
which tripped us along the way,
we will know it was you
who have led us to your heart,
Quilter of our lives.

When we hear the whispers of joy
silence the thudding of our fears,
when we allow your weakness
to strengthen our desire to follow,
when your simple words of wisdom
shatter our frantic boastings,
we will discover it is you
who have welcomed us forever,
Friend of every wanderer.

When your gentle peace
calms the panic of our souls,
when your grace proves to be more
than we ever dare imagine,
when you gently put our stumbling feet
back on the Way,
we know it will be you
who anoints us for life,
Spirit of Compassion.

It was you . . . it is you . . . it will be you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
who is sufficient for us in every moment. Amen.

Call to Reconciliation
We may boast of all our deeds and achievements, but inside, we know our brokenness, our failures, our weaknesses. Yet God has promised to heal us, anointing us with the oil of grace. Let us confess our lives, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You come, Crafter of Wonder, longing to be a part of our lives, yet we often find it difficult to welcome you. You would be our lifelong companion, but we shake you off, leaving you in the dust as we race after temptation. You offer to be our guide in this journey we call life, but we brag that we can make our own way.

Your love withstands the force of our stubbornness, Composer of Grace, even as your forgiveness breaks the power of our fears. As we have heard your words of mercy echo in our hearts, as we have felt your grace make us whole, as we have seen you in those who welcome us as sisters and brothers, may we go forth to tell the good news of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God's love reaches to the ends of creation, and mends our broken hearts. God's hope echoes through the universe, and sings in our souls. God's grace tenderly, gently, completely makes us new people.
We have heard the good news spoken to us;
we have seen the good news modeled for us;
we will be the good news for others.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, offer your hearts to God.
We open our hearts to the One who fills them with grace.
Children of God, sing your praises to the One who has gathered us here.
Our songs of joy travel to the very ends of creation.

It was you, Imaginative God, who whispered
and the rumble of creation shook the rafters of chaos.
Mighty trees graced valleys with shade,
stars glittered in moonless nights,
children splashed in the pools of hope.
Every delight was crafted so we might know
of that love which would last forever.
When we could not have our way,
we took offense at your hopes for us,
throwing tantrums as we took flight
to follow sin and death through the world.
Amazed at our crafty rebellion,
you continued to love us,
longing to shelter us in your heart.
When we continued to dishonor your prophets,
when we would not welcome their words,
you sent Jesus to become that weakness
strong enough to destroy sin and death.

So, we join our voices with all
who have wondered at your steadfast love,
singing your name to the edges of the universe:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of enduring love.
All the gifts of creation delight in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One whose weakness is our hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of all goodness and truth,
and blessed is Jesus, your Child, our Savior.
It was he who came,
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
with words which could transform our foolishness,
with weakness which could stregthen
our fatigued faithfulness,
with wisdom which could teach us
the way of life in all its fullness.
Yet, we were offended by
his life, his ways, his humility.
He continued to listen to you,
going wherever you sent him -
no glory, no wealth, no honor -
even to that place called Calvary
where sin's thorns crowned him.
Your grace was enough for him,
even in the cold shadows of the tomb,
and he walked forth into your steadfast love,
leaving death behind in the dust.

As we remember his calling us to follow,
as we seek to be sent forth to serve,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Christ came, to shape our lives like his;
Christ came, to be our Guide forever;
Christ will come again, to gather us in glory.

So now, in this place
where we have heard your promises,
among these people
in whom we have seen the Christ,
pour your Spirit upon the gifts of your Table.
The broken Bread of life
is all we need of hope for
filled, we can go forth
to anoint the lost and hopeless
with the oil of your compassion.
Your Cup of grace overflows,
more than we will ever need,
and more than enough to bring healing
to those who have known only
hardship, rejection, and loneliness.

And when at the end of all time,
we discover that it was you who
had led us all along the way
and brought us to the Table in glory,
we will join our voices as one,
singing our praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we unite in praying as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 8 - B

Call to Worship
With friends and strangers, with family and neighbors, we gather:
Come among us, Healing God, with that love which never ends.
With faith reaching out to touch, with hearts straining to trust, we hope:
Come among us, Friend of the broken,
with your compassion which makes us whole.
With word and wonder, with silence and song, we wait:
Come among us, Dryer of our tears, to lift us to our feet to follow you.

Prayer of the Day
You watch,
Timeless God:
as we go hurrying and scurrying about,
our worries and fears crowding around us
until we can scarcely take a breath.
You wait,
as we struggle to keep up with you,
constantly distracted by the fears
which drain our faith and hopes.
You hope,
as we go from promise to promise,
leaving each one broken behind us,
the world bankrupting our dreams.
You watch, you wait, you hope,
and hearing the cries from the depths
of our despair and brokenness,
you lift us to our feet,
breathing new life into us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we offer our hearts to you,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know the words we have spoken which have broken a relationship; we know the deeds we have done which separate us from friends and families. We know how we have failed to be faithful followers of Jesus. Let us confess our sins, trusting that God will touch us with the healing power of grace.

Unison Prayer of Confession
All too often, God of Excellence, it is the hem of sin we cling to, letting it drag us through the mud of fear and failures. You offer us that love which will always be with us, but we find it difficult to share it with those who need it most. You fill us with an abundance of gifts, but we think we need them all for ourselves.

Forgive us, God of Gentle Hope. You do not keep a list of all that we have done wrong, but erase our failings and foolishness, writing a new ending for our lives. You touch us with your grace, you lift us to our feet, you strengthen us so we may follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in service to all your children.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news, dear friends: God's love has no ending; God's hope rests upon us each day; God's forgiveness restores us to new life.
Our God listens to us - to our cries, and to our joys; to our hopes and to our hearts. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, offer your hearts to God.
We open them to the joy God has for us.
Children of love, proclaim your love for God.
We sing to the One whose steadfast love is forever.

When you could wait no longer, Heart of Joy,
you spoke the Word which silenced chaos,
you sent your Breath racing acoss the waters
stirring them into motion and life.
You clothed the sunset in crimson and gold,
you dusted the mountains with fresh dew each morning.
You offered us all that is true, is beautiful, is good-
but we laughed at you, placing you outside our lives,
as we reached out to touch the hem of sin and death.
Your love for us was wonderfully enduring,
as you sent prophet after prophet
that we might hear your voice calling to us.
You watched, you hoped, and when you
could wait no longer for us,
you sent your Word to answer
our cries from the depths of our brokenness.

So, with all the mighty who have fallen
and all the lowly who have been lifted to their feet,
we join our voices in singing your glory:

Holy, holy, holy, God of love and joy.
All creation is filled with songs of laughter and hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to heal us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Your glory, Listening Heart, rests upon all creation,
your praises are sung throughout the universe.
Because your love is ever faithful,
because you are generous beyond all measure,
you sent Jesus to finish what you had begun.
Overflowing with the riches of your grace,
he emptied himself so we might be filled;
embracing our constant companion, suffering,
he healed us, so we might know hope;
broken on the cross and laid in the cold grave,
you took him by the hand, saying, 'get up!'
and he paved the path of resurrection
so we could follow him into eternity.

As we remember his poverty which made us rich,
as we watch and wait for his return,
we would tell others of that mystery we call faith:

In remembering his death, we weep;
in claiming his resurrection, we wait;
in awaiting his return, we watch.

Here at this Table prepared for us,
where we watch and wait for peace and hope,
pour out your Source of healing on your children,
and on these gifts of life and joy.
As our hearts are made whole
by the breaking of the bread,
send us to the broken of the world
that we might bind up their wounds.
As our hollow souls are filled
with the tender taste from the cup of life,
may we empty ourselves
so we might embrace those cast off by the world.

And when we wait and watch no longer,
but are gathered together around the Feast in heaven,
as we join our hands, our hearts, our voices
with our sisters and brothers from every time and place,
we will fill your heart with songs of thanksgiving,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 7 - B

Call to Worship
We gather in this place to worship our God:
calm Presence in our times of confusion,
Comforter in our nights of struggle
We gather with fellow pilgrims, as we seek to follow Jesus:
Brother to those swamped by fears,
Friend to all overwhelmed by loss.

We are brought together by the Spirit who lives in the depths of our souls:
the Serenity who travels with us
on this up-and-down journey we call life.

Prayer of the Day
You lay the foundations of the universe,
building a shelter for our battered souls;
you create wonders which are priceless,
yet you always remember the needy.
We open our hearts to you,
God of Graciousness.

When evening comes and fears
prowl the shadows of our days,
you whisper, 'Peace! Be still!'
to our hammering hearts,
so we know that you are always with us.
We open our hearts to you,
dearest Friend of life.

Doubts and despair may
swamp our lives,
but you calm us with a word;
illness and death struggle
to control our futures,
but you comfort us with peace.
We open our hearts to you,
Spirit of hope and grace.

We open our hearts to you, now and forever,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We let fears control us, we let doubt become the way of life for us. If we but look, we will see our lives, and our world, cradled in God's loving hands. Let us confess our lack of faith, even as we trust the One who has promised to listen to our words, as well as our hearts. Join me as we confess together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
They can be such giants in our lives, God of Grace. Each day, our fears, our doubts, our worries wash over us, until we come to believe that you do not care for us. There seems to be so much wrong in the world, we are convinced that there is nothing good we can do. The storms of sin and temptation batter at us, and we cower, unable to find the faith to withstand them.

Forgive us. God of Hope. Remind us that if we but open our hearts, you will heal us. If we but listen to your words, we will hear peace and joy. If we but open our lives to you, we can go forth to serve our sisters and brothers, even as we have been served by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
With calming words, with a peaceful Spirit, with overflowing love and hope, our God forgives us and fills us with faith.
Our God affirms us for who we are - those whose brokenness is made whole, whose sin is forgiven, whose lives overflow with faith. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

You poured the foundation of grace
over the emptiness of chaos,
Caretaker of the Cosmos,
so that creation would find firm footing
for all the gifts your imagination provided.
You formed the seas and filled them with life,
you created the morning stars to sing your praises.
You created us in your image, calling each of us by name,
but we defied your dreams and hopes for us,
choosing to live in the valleys of despair and sin.
Refusing to forsake us, you sent prophets
who urged us to embrace your grace,
but it was never the right time for us to listen,
and we opened our hearts wider to temptation.
But you would not let us stay
in the pits of suffering and death we had dug,
and sent Jesus, creative Word of life for all,
to remove all the obstacles in your way.

So as we prepare to come to the Table of joy,
we join our voices with those who open their hearts to you
in every time, and in every place, forever singing your praise:

Holy,holy, holy, God of grace and glory.
All creation declares the wonders of your hands.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes bringing salvation for all.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Bulwark of the oppressed,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, who calms our troubled hearts.
When we were mired in the quicksand of our sin,
he came to pull us to safety.
When we treated him as an imposter,
he came to show us his true nature.
When we sat at death's door,
waiting for it to open and welcome us,
he went inside, in our place,
coming out to take us by the hand
and lead us into life with you.

As we sing praises for his life and ministry among us,
as we remember his death, as well as his resurrection,
we declare that mystery we call faith:

We declare that Christ has died for us;
we proclaim that Christ has been raised from the dead;
we believe Christ will come again in glory.

Here at this Table of life and hope,
you pour out your calming Spirit
upon the gifts of the Bread and the Cup,
and on your children gathered for this feast.
As you feed us with that brokenness
which can restore us to wholeness,
remind us that our lives are not empty,
but filled with every blessing which
can bring hope and joy to the poor.
As our hearts overflow with your grace,
let us hear the cries of the afflicted,
so we might go to stand with them
until all people are transformed
by your justice and righteousness.

And when our journeys have ended,
and the storms of life have been calmed forever,
we will gather around the Table in glory,
joining our hands and hearts with all your children,
singing praises to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 6 - B

Call to Worship
The church is the place where the broken gather:
let us worship God who reconciles us to one another and to God.
The church is the place where sinners are welcome:
let us worship God who, with forgiving hands, shapes us into new people.
The church is the place where the lost, the least, the forgotten, the ignored gather:
let us worship God who looks at us with the eyes of love.

Prayer of the Day
Holy One:
you anoint us with living water,
so we may go to serve the world
in these troubled days.
You open our eyes
so we will see everyone
as our sisters and brothers.

Seed Planter:
you place faith
deep within us,
so we can bear witness
to your just and loving kingdom.
Your love regulates our hearts,
so we can welcome all
in your name.

Gentle Spirit:
when we cannot see the way,
you take us by the hand
so we can step forward,
in faith,
into the kingdom.
You fill us with hope,
so we can sing God's joy
all of our days.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Why is it so easy to boast of our achievements, yet so hard to humbly come to God with the mistakes we make? This is the place where we stand in the presence of the One who longs to shape us into new people. So, let us ask our loving God to forgive us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We confess, God of Faith, that we ask about someone's background to see if they are like us, while you look at where their heart is grounded. We examine another's good looks or athletic prowess, while you take notice of how they reach out to those who are different. We gaze at the size of another's house or car or portfolio to judge how successful they are, and you observe whether or not they have faith the size of the smallest seed.

Forgive us, Anointing God, for looking at those around us with human eyes, and not seeing them as created in your image. As you shape us into new people, give us new eyes, new hearts, new lives to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: no longer must we walk the old paths of sin and death. Christ has come to take our old ways on himself, and to fill us with new life in God.
Now, we know we are forgiven;
now, we know we are at peace;
now, we can step forward in faith,
to live with our God forever. Amen

Invitation to the Table
The Table has been prepared - for us!
This is not my Table, it is not the church's -
this is the Table offered to us by our God.
So, come to this Feast.
Come, if your faith is blossoming and full,
and come, if it is but a tiny seed planted in your heart;
come, if you always show up for this Meal,
and come, if this is the your very first taste;
come, if you have always walked with Christ,
and come, if you have stumbled along the way.
But come - for our God awaits to serve you
with joy, with affirmation, with hope, with peace.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
We do not know when or how it happened,
Holy Gardener,
but you planted the seeds of your imagination.
The Spirit gently nurtured them
with the waters and warmth of life;
the Word whispered their names
and called them into being.
All that is good, all that is true,
all that is beautiful sprang forth
in that wonder we call creation.
You shaped us in your image,
breathing hope and life into us,
that we might enjoy your good gifts.
But, tasting the temptations of sin,
our growth was stunted, as we became
a rich harvest for death.
But you do not see us as we do,
and so sent the prophets to sow
the words which call us back to you.
When we continued to follow
only what we could see,
you sent Jesus to be among us,
so we might recognize your love for us.

So, with those who walk by faith
in this time and in this place,
and with those who are at home with you,
we offer our hearts' desire to you:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord of grace and glory.
All creation is filled with the tapestry of your love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with your new creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who fulfills all your plans,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the Seed of salvation.
From the beginning of creation,
your Word sang of your hopes for us;
until the end of time,
your Child will urge us on to love you.
He set aside his glory, to become one of us,
so that we might discover your grace
which overflows from your heart upon us.
No longer living for himself,
he died, once and for all, for us,
so that, as he was raised to new life,
so we might become the new creation,
walking by faith into your kingdom.

As we now see him through the eyes of redemption,
as we now remember him through hearts of hope,
we speak of that mystery we call our faith:

In death, Christ became our life;
in life, Christ shapes us into new creatures;
in glory, Christ will come to fulfill all God's plans.

To what can we compare this Feast,
and the simple gifts you have transformed
into the Bread of life and the Cup of grace?
As you poured out your Spirit into all creation,
pour out your blessings upon those
who gather around your Table of life.
As the bread fills us with those seeds
of hope and peace for all people,
may we go forth to offer the harvest
of justice and righteousness to all
who have been mistreated in our time.
As the cup touches our lips,
may we shout for joy over your love,
calling out to all the lonely and lost,
no longer regarding them from
the world's point of view,
but recognizing them as
our sisters and brothers of the kingdom.

And when we have risen and stand around
that Table of blessing and life,
we will join our hearts and our hands,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Trinity Sunday - Year B

Call to Worship
God, who flung the stars into the night sky, rejoices over all creation, especially us!
Come to us, Laughing God, and gladden our hearts with your goodness and grace.
Christ, the Word of joy and life, fills all creation with hope, especially us!
Come to us, Brother and Savior, and reclaim our hearts as your own.
The Spirit, who breathes life into emptiness, gives all creation the gift of peace, especially us!
Come to us, Spirit of Gentleness, and refresh us with the dew of delight.

Prayer of the Day
You bind us to yourself
this day, God of seraphim and sinners.
You reach out to draw us ever closer,
that we might feel the brush
of your grace soft upon us,
that we might feel the healing touch
of your compassion resting gently within us.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Heir of Glory and Grace.
You keep us by your side,
that we might walk with you
through the streets of the kingdom,
bringing hope to the despairing,
offering consolation to the brokenhearted,
sharing love with those tossed aside by the world.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Spirit of Justice.
You fill our hearts with living water
that they might overflow to parched people,
you teach us how to give ourselves away,
so we might take on the burdens of others.

We bind ourselves to you this day,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray the words Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Called to be God's people, we know how often we act as spoiled and petulant children. Yet, like a mother, God looks past our mistakes to see our hearts. Like a father, God lifts us to our feet to put us back on the path to life. Let us bring our prayers to the One who listens, and then forgives us with unceasing grace.

Unison Prayer of Confession
In the mystery of creation, Imaginative God, you shaped beauty and goodness, yet we damage it by our selfishness and anger. In the mystery of life, Child of Hope, you became one of us, yet all too often we turn our back on you. In the mystery of peace, Breath of Life, you would gentle our natures, yet we cling tenaciously to our bitterness and hurt.

In the mystery of grace, Holy God, you forgive us our sins, that we might embrace others. In the mystery of mercy, you touch our lips, that we might speak gently to others. In the mystery of hope, you claim us as family, sisters and brothers of the One who brought new life for all, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Here, in this moment and in this place, the Spirit of gentleness moves in our midst. Mercy, hope and joy are the gifts of God to each and every one of us.
No longer lost, we have found our way home, surrounded by God's peace, by God's grace, by God's love. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God the Life, God the Hope, God the Peace be with you.
And also with you.
Children of the most Holy, open your hearts to the One who has created you.
We open ourselves to the mystery we know as the Community of God.
Heirs of salvation and joint heirs of grace, give thanks to the One who loves you forever.
We lift our praise to God, crying out with all creation, 'Glory! Glory! Glory!'

You shattered the silence
of chaos, Majestic God,
as you spoke creation's language
with your voice of power and patience.
Your Word sang in the morning,
sending lambs skipping across
pastures lush with life,
young colts pranced through
valleys overflowing with wonder.
Your Spirit breathed life
into those shaped in your image,
filling our souls with joy and grace.
When we wandered far from you,
you remembered the soft touch
of our hands in yours,
and sent the prophets to call us home.
When we got in over our heads
in debt to sin and death,
Jesus came, to redeem our lives.

Therefore we lift our voices,
with those who worship you
in every time and place,
singing your glory forever and ever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of glory and grace.
All creation dances in joy before you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to bring us life.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God of all life,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Word of creation.
Filled with your glory,
he emptied himself to become one of us.
Knowing the heartache of loneliness,
he became the friend of all;
walking the streets beside us,
he became the guide we need;
recognizing the power of sin and death,
he followed them to Calvary,
leaving them behind in the empty grave,
as he was raised to new life.

So, here in this holy time of celebration,
here at the sacred feast prepared for us,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:

We remember Christ's death;
we remember Christ's resurrection;
we remember Christ will come again in glory

Here in this place of gentleness,
here at the Table of goodness and grace,
pour out your Spirit, Eternal Love,
upon the gifts of creation made holy for us,
and upon your children adopted into your heart
through the life and joy of your Child, Jesus.
In the broken bits of the bread,
may we be made whole once again,
so we might bring healing
to the deepest sufferings of our time.
In the taste of salvation's joy,
may we be renewed in our calling
to justice and righteousness,
so we might go forth to be companions
for all those who have lost their way.

And when, in the mystery of your heart,
it will come to pass that we are gathered,
with our sisters and brothers of every time and place,
around the feast prepared for us in eternity,
we will join our hands and hearts,
crying with one voice, 'holy, holy, holy!'
to you forever, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman