Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OT 27/Proper 22 - B World Communion Sunday

Texts:    Job1:1; 2:1-10;  Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

Call to Worship
Welcome to this place:
where children and seasoned citizens sit side by side,
where heaven and earth embrace in peace,
where God has been, is, and always will be.
Welcome to this place, as we gather with all of God's children:
where we find God's love,
where we hear the tender voice of Jesus,
where the Spirit teaches us new songs.
Welcome to this place, where all is made ready by our God:
where we bring our hunger, and find food;
where we our brokenness, and find healing;
where we bring our very selves, and find acceptance.

Prayer of the Day
We will not find
that needed justice
in our apathy;
we will not find
that elusive wholeness
with our quarreling;
we will not find
our hoped for unity
with our doctrines;
we will not find
our misplaced love
with our hating;
we will not find
that rest we crave
in our overflowing planners;
we will not find
the peace you offer
in our well nursed grudges.

we will find you
in the brokenness of the Bread
and in the breaking of our hearts;
we will find you
when we drain the Cup,
refill it with our gifts,
and offer it to a little child;
we will find you
when we squeeze closer together,
making room at the Table
for all your people.

Help us to find you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We marginalize peace, yet it is the horizon towards which we journey. We are divided from others, not so much by belief, but by fear. On this day of unity around God's Table with our sisters and brothers throughout the world, let us confess how we have not lived as God's beloved children. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We have not been your people, Preparer of Peace.  When we could see our brother Jesus in others, we turn away from those who are unlike us, who scare us.  When we could offer peace to those around us, we break our promises, we hoard grudges in our hearts, we pander to prejudice.  When we could speak of hope, we fling words that shatter another's heart. When we could live as one with all people, we try to push them as far away from us as possible.

Redeem us, Lover of Peace, and pour out your grace upon us. May the warmth of your tenderness melt our frozen souls, may the balm of your words mend any broken hearts we have damaged, may we be as trusting and vulnerable as a little child, as we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Brother, into your kingdom of joy.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The forgiveness of God be upon you; the peace of Christ rest upon you; the grace of the Holy Spirit be the gift which is placed in your life, this day and forever.
From this day to the end of eternity, we are God's children: citizens of God's kingdom, brothers and sisters of the Prince of Peace. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord be with you, little children of the kingdom.
And also with you.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, open your hearts to God.
As we seek to walk in integrity in the kingdom, we offer our hearts to God for wisdom and peace.
Come to the Table which has been prepared for you, with songs of thanksgiving in your hearts.
With this people gathered in this place, we give thanks to God for all the blessings which are ours.

Long ago, so long ago
only you can remember, Imaginative God,
you brought creation into being,
subjecting chaos to your will.
It was fitting for you to do this,
for your Word shaped glory
into mountains, fields and streams;
your Spirit breathed hope
into all that has life in you.
You spoke to our ancestors,
inviting them to walk in your integrity,
but their hearts became hardened
by the sweet words of seduction,
their hands were full of sin's bribes.
Prophets were sent by you,
pleading, cajoling, calling all your
children back to your side,
but we continued to consort with hypocrites.
So in your steadfast love,
you sent Jesus to us, that we might receive
your kingdom of peace and redemption
as your little children.

So, with those who gather around tables
of peace and hope in every corner of our world,
and with those who are with you in glory,
we offer our praises to you with glad songs:

Holy, holy, holy, God of glory and goodness!
All creation joins in one voice in glorifying you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Pioneer of our redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!

There is no one like your Servant, Jesus our Brother,
God of holiness and grace.
Walking in your integrity,
he wandered the world's ways,
calling us to follow him into the kingdom.
Walking in peace with you,
he invites us to set aside
all differences and divisions,
so we might live as one in you.
Walking in trust towards you,
he tasted death for every one,
that we might feast at your Table
of forgiveness through all eternity.

As we remember his gentle words and tender heart,
as we celebrate the gift of his resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ has died, destroying death;
Christ is risen, bringing peace to all;
Christ will come again, proclaiming God's name to his sisters and brothers.

Pour out the Spirit of the Prince of Peace,
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
not only on those gathered in this place,
but on all your children throughout the world:
on those who gather around war-scarred tables
and at the tailgates of humvees,
longing to pass the Bread of life
from hand to hand, mouth to mouth,
until all have been fed;
and on those who stand on both sides
of walls built by hatred and fear,
daring to share the Cup of salvation
with those labeled as the 'enemy'
until all are graced.

And when the eons of our fighting and destruction are done,
when all of your children are gathered in peace
around your Table of glory and grace in heaven,
we will bless you in that great congregation,
singing our love, our hope, our joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 21-B

Texts:  Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Call to Worship
We will walk this day with you, O God, and you will walk with us,
gathering us into a community to pray for one another in all things.
We will walk this day with you, O Christ, and you will walk with us,
calling us to follow you, helping us to set aside all which holds us back.
We will walk this day with you, O Spirit, and you will walk with us,
sending us out, side by side, to serve those cast aside by the world.

Prayer of the Day
You can be found:
in the rich, deep loam
of our apathy,
where you plant
the seeds of justice;

behind the barbed words
of our angry retorts,
as you whisper
of our oneness;

in the list
of our exhausting schedules,
where you pencil in
oases for our weariness;

through the tangled briars
of our deep-rooted hates and fears,
as you clear a path
for your healing peace.

and so,
in the cracking of our hearts,
and the brokenness of the Bread,
we will find you;
when we empty the Cup,
refill it with our gifts
and offer it to a little child,
we will find you;
as we move the chairs aside
to make room for everyone
at your Table,
we will find you.

And we will find you in the words we pray,
God in Community, Holy in One,
saying as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We've tried to stop, haven't we? All the foolishness which causes us to stumble, all the mistakes which hurt others, all the words of peace we might speak, but don't. Let us join our voices as we open our souls to that tender Heart who longs to forgive us, praying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
When sin and death
hover around us,
like famished vultures,
you fill us with new strength
so they cannot feed on us;
when our bitterness
clamps tight around our hearts
with its steel-like teeth,
you pry us loose
with your scarred hands
so we might walk in faith with you;
when we stack our hurts
one on top of the another,
like kindling wood,
ready to set the match
of our anger to the pile,
you pour your spirit
of forgiveness upon them,
until they are soaked so thoroughly,
nothing can ignite them.

Our help, our hope, our life, our peace
are truly found in the name
of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The good news is this: God loves the world so much as to make it a fit place to live; God loves us so much as to reshape us into people of faith.
Like a cup of cold water, forgiveness revives us, restores us, gives us new life. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers, may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are lifted high to God.
Beloved of God, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts, praise is on our lips.

It is our hearts true longing
to praise and glorify you,
God of all glory.
You shaped us in your image,
so we might reflect your grace;
you breathed the Spirit into us,
so we might live out your hope.
But we were wiser than you
and so chose another path.
You spoke to our grandparents of the faith
in a shrub burning with the cries of captives,
in the thunder of stuttering prophets,
in the still, small voice of a weeping mother.
Yet we persisted in our stubbornness,
hardening our hearts towards you.
And so, you whispered to us one morning
in the borning cries of your Child,
in the dirt and grime of poverty.

Therefore, we join our voices
with our sisters and brothers in all the world,
and with those of every time,
singing songs of joy to your heart:

We adore you, Holy God,
in all the congregations of the world,
and we bless you, for by the gift of Christ,
you have redeemed all creation.

We praise you in this congregation, Holy God,
and bless your Son, Jesus our faithful Companion.
Stamped like us in your image,
he walked among us,
so we could see who we might become.
The Word which brought forth creation,
he shatters the walls of violence and despair
with the good news of peace and hope.
Offered the easy way out of suffering and death,
he carried his integrity to Calvary,
broken that we might be made whole,
dying, so death's power is broken forever,
rising, so we might live with you.

We remember, and in the remembering,
we would tell others of your wonderful love,
and would share the good news of grace with all people,
even as we seek to live that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, so peace might be our companion;
Christ is risen, so life might be our eternal promise;
Christ will come again, to take us to God's glory.

Pour out your Spirit upon the gifts
of this Table, the bread and cup of hope and joy,
and on those who gather at your feast.
Wherever the story of that last meal is told,
wherever the bread is broken,
people are sent forth to bring hope
to all who are in need of healing.
Wherever the cup is filled,
wherever its grace is passed to a neighbor,
God's people go forth to serve their sisters and brothers,
to walk that path worn smooth by pilgrims,
that way to life and peace.

And when we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
of every time, of every place, of every language,
we will lift our voices in glad song to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
our help, our hope, our life, our joy. Amen.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

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

Monday, September 07, 2009

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 19 - B

Texts:  Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38

Call to Worship
We are not our own:
so, neither our will nor our wisdom should get in the way of God's hopes for us.
We are not on our own:
so, we should not choose what is easiest or the most gratifying way to live.
We are not our own, we are God's:
so, let us choose to live for God, and serve all of God's children.
We are not on our own, as we walk the streets of God's kingdom:
so, as far as is possible, we will forget ourselves and follow Jesus Christ.

Prayer of the Day
All around us, O God,
creation preaches a silent sermon
about your glory.
The full, orange moon
declares your constant watchfulness;
the early morning mist over a schoolyard
speaks of your steadfast love;
the cool breeze through slowly changing leaves
whispers of your grace.

Holy Jesus,
you ask questions
which turn us speechless;
you tell us things about yourself
we imagine we need to correct;
you offer us a way of life
we dare not refuse.

Spirit of Wisdom,
you stand in the midst
of rush hour traffic
crying out to us
about our fascination with foolishness
and stretch out your hand
to point to the One
who walks towards us
offering a cross.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in this time together,
may we hear you in the silence
and the songs,
and discover you in the people around us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We all make mistakes, many of them. We hurt ourselves, we hurt others, we hurt God with our words and deeds, with our silence and inaction. Let us confess to God our sins, trusting in the One who blesses us with mercy.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Spring of Wisdom, we confess that we have not denied ourselves and followed. We turn our backs on your outstretched hands of grace, and stumble into the arms of the world. We speak poisonous gossip about others, rather than tell of their glory as your child. We fire off words that find no rest until they pierce another's heart.

Forgive us, Rock and Redeemer. Give us speech which flows like cool water through another's parched spirit; give us silence with which to witness your wonders; give us words to proclaim Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and our Savior, the One who leads us to life.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
With gentleness, God speaks to us;
with graciousness, God forgives us;
with joy, God embraces us.
With our lips, we praise God;
with our words, we thank God;
with our silence, we find God
in our hearts. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The heavens tell the story,
God of glory and wonder,
of how your Wisdom moved
and the waters churned with life;
of how your Word danced
through the fields of creation,
the valleys and mountains
singing their praise to the end of the world.
You stood at the corner of grace and hope,
calling us to play with you in Eden,
but we refused, turning our backs
as we raced down the dim alleys
of temptation and seduction.
Your prophets came among us,
with words of sound advice,
but we ignored them, our ears
stuffed with the siren songs of sin.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to teach us the cost of redemption,
the suffering he would endure
that we might have life with you.

So, with the wayward and the foolish,
with the wise and the faithful of every time,
we lift our voices to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God of joy and peace.
All creation proclaims your artistry.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is He who takes up his cross.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, True God of all life,
and blessed is Jesus, your Anointed Child.
He came to us,
standing in village squares
to declare your good news for all,
walking the streets of the city,
to call us to follow him.
Though we smack his hands away,
he continues to stretch them out to us,
the Friend and Companion
our hearts yearn for in every moment.
Despised by those who didn't understand,
rejected by those closest to him,
he took up his cross
and followed you into death,
where you raised him to new life,
that we might know him
for who he truly is.

As we give thanks for his life and death,
as we celebrate his ministry and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, that we might have life;
Christ is risen, that we might follow;
Christ will come again in the glory of God.

Here, in these moments, and in this place,
pour out your Spirit of life and hope
upon the wayward and the foolish,
on the wise and the faithful
who are gathered around your Table,
and upon the gifts of the bread and cup.
As the healing touch of the bread of life
rests upon our tongues and hearts,
may we use them as a blessing,
speaking words of hope and grace,
becoming the voice of those ignored
by the powerful of our world.
As the taste of the cup of salvation
tingles deep within our souls,
may we go to take up our crosses,
following Jesus into service and sacrifice
to all made in your beloved likeness.

And when the Son of Man comes in your glory,
when we are gathered around the banquet in the kingdom,
we will join our voices with our sisters and brothers,
singing of your grace, your peace, your love forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go now with God:
who covers us with tender mercies;
Go now with Christ our Lord:
who is our good companion;
Go now with the Spirit
who gives us good food at the Table and living water to nourish us.
Go knowing that God with direct your path
bringing us joy and delight as we continue on our journey of faith.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman