Sunday, August 22, 2010

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 17 - C

Texts:  Jeremiah 2:4-10; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16;  Luke 14:1, 7-14

Call to Worship
We come to worship our God, to listen to the One who calls us here.
P: We come trusting God to lead us in the coming days, as surely as were our grandparents in the faith.
We come to worship our God, to shout with joy to the God of all people.
We come to the Creator of all things, to be bathed in the waters of life.
We come to the Feast of God's faithful, to be fed by the One who never forsakes us.
We come to worship our God, to sing aloud to the One who saves us.

Prayer of the Day
Yesterday, God of our days,
when our hunger for hope
had so weakened us
we could barely speak,
you fed us with
the Bread of life,
spread with the sweet honey
of your grace.

Today, Host to the poor,
when we look for you
in the powerful and the rich,
among the superstar and celebrity,
we will find you
seated with the children,
your knees squeezed painfully
under the table,
entertaining them
with your stories.

Tomorrow, Spirit of Service,
when we will be scrambling
for the seats of honor,
you will be in the kitchen
cooking dinner for the prisoners;
making up the guest room
for the immigrants;
singing lullabies of love
to the lost children
of our world.

God in Community, Holy in One:
yesterday, today, tomorrow, always,
we will pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Despite all the ways we speak of sin - failures, mistakes, intended acts, Scripture tells us that we are stubborn-hearted, wanting only our way.  But if we pause to listen to God, if we open our mouths (and our hearts) to confess our sin, God will fill our emptiness with forgiveness and hope. Let us pray together, as we say,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We are always uncomfortable, Watching God, when you notice how we want to sit in the seats of honor. We can be so proper, so good, so well-off, that it is easy to imagine we are superior to the poor. We are so busy completing our 'To Do' list each day, that we forget to do good when we have the chance.

Forgive us, Welcoming God. Fill our emptiness with your grace and humility that we would spend our lives alongside Jesus, our Lord and Savior, throwing a party for the poor, the damaged, the prisoner, the lost, the oppressed.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: after what God has done for us, what can anyone or any thing do to us? We are new people, graced by our loving God.
Forgiven, embraced, welcomed by our God, we will offer open hearts and serving hands to everyone we meet. Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the God who welcomes us at this Table.
Let us sing aloud to God.
We will offer glad songs of thanksgiving to the One who delivers us.

We would sing aloud
our songs of joy to you,
Master of the Universe.
Out of the emptiness of chaos,
you brought forth creation,
plentiful with all we need,
graced with gifts beyond imagination.
Offered the place of honor
in your good Garden,
we filled our souls with worthless lies,
moving out of glory's neighborhood
into the junkyard of the world.
Prophets brought your word of judgment,
and your gracious invitation to come home,
but we would not listen
to the advice they offered to us.
Then you sent Jesus,
who humbled himself
that we might be exalted.

Therefore, we come to your Table singing,
our voices joining with those
in every time and in every place,
lifting our glad songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our strength!
All creation shouts for you to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

We welcome the One who shows hospitality to strangers.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Mothering God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Life.
Glorified as your True Child,
he came to show hospitality
to all the strangers of the world.
Deserving of the seat of honor,
he humbled himself
to serve the guests.
Refusing to let us be left
in the ruthless hands
of sin and death,
he entered that prison
we call the grace
to set us free to live with you.

As we remember his life and death,
as we come to the Table of the resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Dying, you took the seat of dishonor;
Rising, you humbled yourself to be exalted;
Coming again, you will honor us in the presence on the One who invites all to sit at the Table of grace.

Send your Holy Spirit
upon the Bread and the Cup,
simple gifts from creation
which grace us with your life,
and upon those who gather
around your Table.
Fed with the finest wheat,
may we go forth to fill the lives
of all whose emptiness
imprisons them.
Having tasted the cup of joy,
may we bring the sweet honey of hope
to those parched by despair.
Welcomed without question
at your Table of grace,
may we open our hearts
to throw a party for all
who have been forsaken by the world.

And when we gather around
the Wedding Feast in glory,
with all the poor, the broken,
the prisoners, the oppressed -
we will open our mouths
to receive your joy,
and sing aloud to you
our praise for all eternity:
God in Community, Holy in One.

(c) 2010 Thom M. Shuman