Sunday, June 13, 2010

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 7 - C

Texts:  1st Kings 19:1-15a; Psalm 42; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 8:26-39

Call to Worship
When we long for the special effects we think life should offer:
it is enough, for us, that God comes in a soft, summer shower.
When we our hearts are cracked by the drought of doubt:
it is enough, for us, that God opens up the fountains of faith for us.
When our senses are deadened by the sales pitches of our culture:
it is enough, for us, that God wraps us in the silence of grace.

Prayer of the Day and our Lord's Prayer
When we feel compelled
to push everything to its limits,
especially you, Holy One,
it is enough that your grace
can slow us down.

When we stand naked and exposed
to the buffeting winds
of our doubts and questions.
it is enough, Healing Servant,
that you clothe us in your peace,
and put our minds at ease.

When we are entangled
in that legion of worries and fears
which consume our lives,
it is enough, Spirit of Silence,
that you untie the knots
and set us free.

It is enough,
God in Community, Holy in One,
that you are with us
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We long to be set free from those 'powers' which control our lives; to let go of our fears of 'them;' to stop trying to build fences between us and those who are not like us. That is why our longing brings us to the living waters offered by our God, who allows us to fill our parched souls with a refreshing drink of forgiveness.  Let us confess our sins, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Like children, we fear that if we tell you what we have done, God of Justice, you might not love us any more.  We can kill the dreams of those around us with a word, spoken or withheld. We can make the lives of our friends miserable, instead of sharing a miracle. We are filled with that legion of temptations which only leave us empty and wanting more.

Forgive us, Gracious Father. Remind us that we are no longer sinners, but your children. Baptized, we are clothed in the graciousness and faithfulness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who came that we might be set free of all that imprisons us.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
God forgives us, so we might be new people. God equips us, so we might serve others. God sends us forth, so we might be a witness to everyone we meet.
No one is the same: enemies are now our friends; those we could not trust now become our confidants; those we could not hear now speak to us of God's hope and joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
You split the emptiness of chaos,
Living God, breaking it into pieces
used to shape the foundation of creation.
Your spirit moved upon the waters,
carving flowing streams where deer could drink,
your words crafting those calm pools
where your longing children could be baptized
in your love, your joy, your grace.
But sin called to sin, catching our imagination,
the waves of death carrying us away from you.
Our help, our hope, our essence,
you continued to call to us,
but we responded to your words
with the sheer silence of stubbornness.
So, rather than sending great storms,
earthquakes, fires, or floods,
Jesus came, to invite us to return
and discover how much you do for us.

As we stand before the Table of grace,
as we greet our sisters and brothers in Christ,
we lift our voices in songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy, God of sheer wonder and joy.
All creation praises you, our help, our Maker!
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to justify us by his faithfulness.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of delight and beauty,
and your Son, our Brother Jesus Christ, is blessed.
When we felt forgotten and on our own,
he came to stand beside us,
so we are never alone.
When the bullies of our lives
taunted us and made us miserable,
he came to wrap us in the mantle of compassion.
When our souls were down in the dumps,
he lifted us up, so we might
behold your face in glory forever.
Imprisoned in the tomb,
his guards, sin and death,
had no power over him
as he arose from the dead
striding forth into resurrection's dawn.

As we come to the feast he shares with friends,
as we celebrate the joy which is ours through him,
we would speak of that mystery called faith:

Christ died, emptying himself for all people;
Christ rose, that we might empty ourselves for all around us;
Christ will come again, to lead us home to you, where we will be filled with life forever.

You are our help and hope,
God of silence and sacrament,
so we pray that as you pour out
your Spirit upon the gifts of the Table,
that your gathered people might hear hope
in the breaking of the bread into pieces,
that we might listen for your grace
in the sheer silence of the cup.
And when we are transformed
in the strength of the bread and the cup,
may we go to serve your people
as well as all creation, working for justice,
peace, joy, and life until there is no longer
the haves and the haven't-anything,
the insiders and the thrown-away,
the know-it-alls and the drop-outs,
the legalists and the libertarians,
but only your children, equal in your sight,
clothed with the compassion and life of Jesus Christ.

And when we are gathered with the legion of the faithful,
the saints and sinners from every age, and from every place,
around the festive Table which awaits us in eternity,
we will join our voices in forever singing your grace,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2010 Thom M. Shuman