Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trinity Sunday - C

Texts:  Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-13

Call to Worship
God, who created the fields of Eden, takes delight in all things, including us!
God of glory, God of grace, your name is exalted in all the earth!
Christ, who walked the streets of our world, gives hope to all people, including us!
God of glory, God of grace, your Son is Savior of all the earth!
God's Spirit, who stays in our hearts, Bears truth and peace to us!
God of glory, God of grace, your love surrounds our every moment.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God, Creation's Artist:
tiny infants
babble your praises,
as you reach out
and heal us with
the touch of your fingertips.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ, Gateway to grace:
you make right
what we have messed up;
you build your kingdom
on the foundation of our faltering faith;
you stand with us
in the midst of our suffering.
We adore you.

Holy Spirit, Playmate of justice:
you splash through
the sea-puddles
in Eden's backyard,
tracking the mud
into Kingdom's kitchen,
leading us to the Table.
We open our hearts to you.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Created as stewards of all creation, we know how often we have sunk to depths of faithless living.  We lack the stamina to follow Christ through the Kingdom, and ignore the Spirit's calls to justice.  Yet, God looks into our souls and sees the delight of God's heart. Let us join in prayer to the One who does not disappoint us.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God of glory, grace and Wisdom, you call to us, but we do not listen. We trust in the emptiness of the world, but are reluctant to hope in your Word.  We boast in our successes, but ignore the sufferings of others. Justice is what we demand for lawbreakers, rather than it becoming a lifestyle for ourselves.

Compassionate Mother:
have mercy on us;
Beloved Child:
have mercy on us;
Life-Giving Womb:
have mercy on us.

Silent Prayers are offered

Assurance of Pardon
Poured into our hearts, God's love gives us new life and hope. Touched by the fingers of God, we are restored to new life.
This is good news! God loves us, God forgives us, God calls us to service!  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you!
May the Triune God be with you!
People of God, lift up your hearts to the One who creates all things, redeems all things, sustains all things.
We offer our hearts to God our Rock, Christ our Cornerstone, the Spirit which is our Temple.
People of God, give thanks to the One who loves us in every moment of our lives.
We praise the One who is, who was, and who is to come.

Joy is the song we offer to you,
Speaker of life and wonder
into the silence of chaos in that first moment.
Mountains became the citadels of your grace,
valleys rang with the glad shouts of peace.
Dipping your hands into the puddles of paradise,
your fingers gently shaped us in your image.
Though we rebelled against you time and again,
you would gently correct our mistakes,
longing to cradle us in your arms once again.
When we no longer could find our way back to you,
Jesus came to stand with us in our suffering
and to lead us home to you.

So, with our sisters and brothers of every time,
with those who sing to you in this place,
we tell of your glory forever and ever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of majesty and beauty.
All creation praises your name in all creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who came that we might have peace with you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Word of grace, Lexicon of love,
Christ came to live with us,
experiencing our suffering for himself,
learning the depths of our longing,
enduring our pain and grief.
Faithful to your will for him,
as well as your dreams for us,
he willingly bore the sins of the world,
destroying death and leaving it empty,
bringing life to all who had lost hope.

As we remember your good works in Christ,
we take the cup and the bread,
setting them aside for their sacred use,
even as we declare that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, emptying himself for us;
Christ is risen, filling us with life;
Christ will come again, gifting us with eternal joy.

Breath of peace, Flowing River of life,
move upon the gift of creation offered to us,
that the bread may heal all brokenness,
that the cup might fill us with grace.
then, when you stand at the crossroad
where injustice and oppression meet,
may we join your compassionate voice
in calling for life and hope for all of God's children;
may we join you at the gates of hopelessness,
bringing our sisters and brothers
out of the depths of despair,
to be God's daily delight and joy
in the kingdom breaking forth in our midst.

And when the mountains have crumbled into dust,
we will gather together with those of every time and place,
who are seated at the feast in heaven,
delighting in the One who has loved us from the beginning,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

© 2010 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day of Pentecost - C

Texts:  Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Romans 8:14-17; John 14:8-17, 25-27

Call to Worship
The Day of Pentecost is here!  God's children have gathered in this place:
we are transformed into God's family by God's Spirit joining with ours.
Come, Spirit of adoption, and open our hearts to our sisters and brothers:
Come, Holy Spirit!
Come, Spirit of peace, and calm our trembling hearts:
Come, Holy Spirit!
Come, Breath of God, and overturn our conventional lives:
Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Keeper of promises:
you fill the empty aching of our lives
with the comfort of your presence;
you rejoice in us as your children
even when we throw temper tantrums;
you re-energize us with your grace
when we become most settled.

Jesus Christ,
Giver of peace:
we are not orphans of this world,
but claimed as your sisters and brothers;
you do not give up on us,
but give yourself for our sakes;
you show us the path to God,
when we have lost our way.

Holy Spirit,
Gentle Teacher:
you go to bat for us
when we are in a slump;
you whisper the language of faith
when we have forgotten the words;
you re-member us
when we are most fragmented.

Heart of our hearts,
Flesh of our flesh,
Spirit of our spirits:
hear us as we pray as one people, saying,
  Our Father...

Call to Reconciliation
It is easy to assume we are on our own; Jesus has left us behind to take care of things.  But if we rely only on ourselves, we quickly fall into lives that do not reflect faithfulness.  Like the first believers, we can join our voices, praying that God's Spirit will come to us, bringing grace  and hope.  Join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
It is never easy for us to enter this time of confession, Abba God, for we have trouble believing our failures, our lives, our sins compare in any way to the evil and violence of our world.  Yet our hearts are troubled when we think of how we feast on the pain of others; we are dismayed when we remember how we turn away from those in need; we are afraid to be totally dependent on you.

Forgive us, Gracious God.  In your mercy, gather us up and embrace us with your love.  Open our hearts to receive your Spirit that we might live more faithful lives.  Fill us with the peace of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
God's Spirit prays with us and for us; God's hope strengthens us in times of weakness; God's grace heals our brokenness.
God's forgiveness restores us to new life and new service.  Thanks be to God, to whom we sing our praises for ever and ever.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord of Pentecost be with you!
And also with you.
People of Pentecost, lift your hearts to the Spirit moving in your midst.
We open our hearts to the Breath of God who fills us with hope and grace.
Daughters and sons of the Holy One, lift your joy to our God.
We sing the song of Pentecost in the language of every heart  -  praise and thanksgiving to our God on every tongue!

In the shadows of chaos you breathed,
Creator God,
your Spirit moving over the waters of life.
You opened your hands,
filling all creation with goodness and beauty.
You gathered up earth's dust,
shaping us in your image,
filling our lungs with Spirit's life.
But drunk on the new wine
of human arrogance and desire,
we listened to the competing voices
of evil, sin and death,
believing they alone spoke the truth.
With sighs too deep for words,
you continued to call us home,
speaking through teachers and prophets.
When we hid our faces
you looked upon us in compassion,
sending Jesus Christ to restore us to life.

And so, with your people here on earth,
with the great company of heaven,
in every language, and in every heart,
we glorify your name, praising you:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of wondrous works.
All creation is full of your love and grace.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who sends the Advocate to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God beginnings and endings,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
At his baptism,
Spirit named him your Beloved;
in the wilderness,
Spirit strengthened him to withstand
the seductive words of the Evil One;
Spirit-anointed for ministry,
Jesus sang good news to the poor,
set free those imprisoned in despair,
gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry,
blessed the little children,
and ate with sinners.
When his service of tender mercies was finished,
he went to the Cross,
suffering and dying for all humanity,
and was raised to new life,
as a promise to all your children.

As we come to this Table,
we remember his promise to always be with us.
Baptized by the Holy Spirit,
and purified in the fire of obedience,
we sing of that faith which is ours:

Christ died, crying "Abba! Father!"
Christ is risen, giving us peace.
Christ will return, glorifying God.

As Christ promised,
you have poured out your Holy Spirit
upon your daughters and sons,
and upon the gifts of this blessed Table.
As we offer our thanks to you
for the gift of the Spirit
in our lives and in the world,
may the flames of Pentecost
kindle compassion in our hearts;
may the tongues of fire
ignite our calls for justice for all people;
may the good news which is shared
in every place and in every tongue
unite us in service to others,
and to lives of faith in you.

Then, when the groaning of creation
tunrs into glad songs of praise,
and all people gather around your Table
on that great and glorious Day,
we will sing our joy to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman