Monday, June 28, 2010

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 9 - C

(Note: there are actually two Great Prayers of Thanksgiving.  The second might be of use to those in the United States for whom this Sunday is a national holiday).

Texts:  2nd Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30;Galatians 6:1-16; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Call to Worship
Sing praises to our Lord:
who heals us and makes us whole.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God:
whose joy rises in our lives each and every day.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God; give thanks to God's holy name:
God's Kingdom is near to us; God's peace resides in our hearts.

Prayer of the Day
With songs of thanksgiving on our lips,
we come before you, Helping God.
While your anger may last only a moment,
your grace rests upon us until the 12th of never.
When we find ourselves knee-deep
in the muck and mire of life,
you provide a way out for us,
if we but trust enough to serve you.

Glad choruses of praise greet you,
Jesus, Companion of pilgrims in this life.
You take us by the hand to waltz up past
the outstretched arms of sin and death.
You send us out into the world,
teaching us not to boast about
ourselves or all that we have done,
but to point out to others
the path to the kingdom,
if they but trust enough to follow you.

We offer a harvest of praise to you,
Spirit of joy and wonder.
You pour out your gentleness upon us,
so we might be energized to do what is right.
You patiently sit down to teach us,
using bold print so we might learn
lives of service, gratitude and humility,
if we but trust enough to listen to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
may we trust always in you,
even as we pray as we have been taught, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Unlike ours, God's anger does not last. But God's favor, God's grace, God's forgiveness are for us, not just in this moment, but forever. How can we not want to confess to such a One who is ready to heal us? Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Holy One, why is it that we can grow so weary of doing what is right, yet always energetically do that which we know is harmful to us and others? We sow seeds of hurt and anger, and wonder why we harvest so much bitterness. We spend too much time comparing ourselves to those around us, and too few moments in following Christ's example.

Rather than letting our sins gloat over us, Healing God, we would open ourselves to your mercy and grace.  As you reach out to heal us with your forgiveness, may embrace your love, your mercy, your grace for our lives.  As you pour out your Spirit of gentleness, may we bring the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to all the world.

Silence may be kept

Assurance of Pardon
Sing praises to our God, faithful children.  God has heard our prayers and made us whole.
We will not be silent, but will sing our joy to the One who has forgiven us and made us a new creation. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord our God be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift our hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals us at the Table of brokenness.
Children of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
We will sing our praises to the One who restores us to life.

We do not bring silence to you,
Holy One of all people,
but shouts of praise and laughter
for your gracious love.
Your healing river flowed through creation,
bringing life and joy to all who drank from it.
But we preferred to splash
in the sewers of the world,
rejecting all that you intended for us.
Yet, you never grew weary
of bearing the burdens of your children.
When you could have shaken
the dust of our sin from your feet,
you chose to lead us out of the Pit
of our rebellion and sin.

Joining with those who sing your praises,
lifting our voices with faithful ones
of every time and place,
we sing of our thanks to you forever:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
the mountains sing your praises,
the valleys echo your glory.

We welcome the One who comes in your name,
who calls us to life.

Holy are you, God of compassion,
for when death threatened your children
and sin vowed to turn the universe back to chaos,
you sent your Son, our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenness fo the world.
He did not grow weary
of doing the right things,
but confronted the wrongs of the world;
he endured the violence of sin,
that we might receive the gentleness
of life with you forever;
he carried our sins to the cross,
that we might bear the burdens
of our sisters and brothers;
he went ahead of us into death,
that we might walk in the Kingdom.

As we dance to the Table
to be filled with hope,
we remember all that Jesus has done for us,
and all that we have been called to do
in his name.

Great is the mystery of faith:

Lord Jesus, you call us:
open our eyes that we may see you,
open our souls that we may long for your presence,
open our hearts that we may follow you.

Flow through us, Healing Spirit,
as we drink deeply of Christ's cup.
You never grow weary of feeding us
with the Bread of Life,
but transform our brokenness by this meal.
And as we turn from the Table,
send us forth:
to bring healing to the sick,
freedom to the oppressed,
to speak peace
to the human household,
to carry the Kingdom with us
wherever you would lead us.
For we will not keep silent,
but praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.

Alternate Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of freedom be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who sets us free for lives of service and hope.
God's children: let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
We will sing our songs of freedom to the One who calls us to new life.

Starry nights that stretch across the sky,
waves of every grain shimmering in the sun:
these are the gift you gave to us,
God of wonder and joy.
Mountains tower above plains
overflowing with abundant fruit;
land stretching from sea to sea
where we could live with you.
Freely, you offered the abundance
of all that is good and beautiful to us,
but we mocked your hopes,
choosing to be deceived by sin.
you appointed prophets, sending them
to every town and place we lived,
sharing your peace with us through them.
But we would not welcome them
into our homes, or into our hearts.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
to share with us that freedom
which calls us to follow in obedience.

As we sing of those who have gone before us,
as we remember how they lived as
sisters and brothers as you called them to live,
we proclaim our thanks to you:


The One who could heal our brokenness,
the One who could teach us self-control,
the One who could leads us out
of all the places our feet have strayed,
Jesus came to live among us,
leaving the starry band of glory behind.
Loving your mercy for us
more than his own life,
he willingly chose to go to the cross,
that we might receive your gracious gift
of life forever with you.

As we remember the freedom he offered to all,
as we celebrate the gift of life which comes to us
here at this Table of love, we speak of that mystery called faith:

Memorial Acclamation

As you pour out your Spirit
upon this Table abundant with the gifts
of the Bread and of the Cup,
shed your grace upon your children
gathered in this place.
Gorged on the moldy meals
offered to us by sin and death,
we forget those who hunger for freedom.
But eating the Bread of life,
we can go, carrying a harvest of hope to them.
Intoxicated on the world's sour grapes,
we forget the injustices imposed
upon our sisters and brothers.
But drinking from the Cup of grace,
we can go where you intend to go,
inviting everyone we meet to join us
in your new creation of peace, mercy, and wonder.

And when all that holds us back is gone,
when the freedom of your eternity is given to us,
we will gather with brotherhood and sisterhood
of believers of every time and place,
who have been crowned with your goodness and love,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

© 2010 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 8 - C

Texts:  2 Kings 1-2, 6-14; Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Call to Worship
On days when we think God has nothing to do with work or family or the world:
The Book tells us of One who was a carpenter; who wandered the streets; who upset his family.
On days when we think the purpose of life is to make more money and fewer friends:
The Book speaks of a life of giving away of ourselves and finding a community as we do so.
On days aching with loneliness and empty of love and laughter:
The Book draws us into the embrace of God's open heart.

Prayer of the Day
Inspiring God,
Giver of words:
you speak
and chaos is transformed
into the starry skies of night;
you whisper
and the wind leaps
to caress our cheeks on a summer's evening;
you smile
and all creation rejoices in delight.

Jesus Christ,
Uncomfortable Word:
you stand with society's castoffs
outside the halls of respectability;
you break bread with sinners
and give them the seats of honor at your Table;
you walk the darkened hallways of death,
comforting those who are taking their last steps;
and you call to us, saying,
"Follow me."

Holy Spirit,
Word sifter:
by your touch
our anger can dissolve
into gentleness;
by your presence
our enemies
can become lifelong friends;
by your joy,
our envious spirits
can become generous hearts.

God in Community, Holy in One,
set us free to be your servants,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
    Our Father...

Call to Reconciliation
Christ has set us free from everything that might detain, oppress, derail us.  But we should not confuse this with the right to do whatever we wish.  No, we are called to serve others, to share God's hope and joy with everyone we meet.  Let us confess how we have misused this wonderful gift of grace, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Redeeming God, how easily we say we would follow you, but how often we live as if we don't have a clue as to what that means.  We choose to gossip about our friends, rather than surrounding them with love.  Our competitive nature wills us to win at all costs, when we could be engaged in costly service.  We expect others to do for us and rarely ask what we might do for them.

Forgive us, High and Holy One.  Set us free to serve in love and compassion; help us to feast on the fruit the Spirit offers to us; put us on the path of faithful discipleship, as we walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
Friends, call to mind what God has done for you; think about how God's love comes in fresh and surprising ways; reflect on the fruit of the Spirit poured out upon you.
We will remember all the wonder, all the joy, all the mercy which is ours.  From the rich abundance of the Spirit's fruit, we will serve others.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the wonder-working God be with you!
And also with you!
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We offer them to the One who gifts us with abundant fruit of the Spirit.
God's children, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
We sing songs of joy, love, and peace; we praise God for the gifts of patience, kindness, generosity; we lift our thanks for faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives.

Your voice thundered, Holy One of Creation,
and silenced the fractious voices of chaos.
As the sun, moon, and stars
light our days and nights,
so your love illumines our souls.
When our fears
threaten to flood our lives,
you make a path for us
to your heart.
All this you do,
out of your love for us,
but we forgot all your wonders,
and stretched out our hands
to pluck the rotten fruit of the world.
You sent the prophets to help us
to remember your great acts,
but we dismissed their words
as having no value for us.
Then, to keep your promise
never, never to forsake us,
you sent Jesus Christ to
put our feet back on
the Holy Way.

Therefore, trusting that you will hear us,
we join our voices with the chorus of heaven,
and with our sisters and brothers around us,
sing our glad songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
The mountains sing your praises, 
the valleys echo your glory.

We welcome the One who comes in your name,
who calls us to life.

Holy are you, God of all generations,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior.
When he could have remained safe
by your side in glory,
he took the risk to follow your call
to become one of us.
When he could have ignored
our cries for help,
he opened his ears and his heart,
to bring us words of healing and hope.
When he could have pointed
to his miracles and wonders,
he spoke of your grace,
and called us to service.
When he could have ignored sin
and death to return to you,
he picked them up
and carried them to Calvary,
turning and renouncing them forever,
as he strode out of the empty tomb
into the new life waiting for each of us.

So, as we remember what God has done for us
in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
we speak of that faith which is a mystery:

Lord Jesus, you call us:
open our eyes that we may see you,
open our souls that we may long for your presence,
open our hearts that we may follow you.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of the Table
and upon your children
who have come to feast.
As we tasted the Bread of life,
may we be filled with that generosity
which makes us servants.
As we drink from the Cup of grace,
may we be nourished by
the fruit of the Spirit found there.
Then, we will go forth
to follow where you lead us:
to brig justice and mercy
into communities crumbling by hate;
to bring hope into those neighborhoods
where despair sells its wares on the street corners;
to bring peace to a broken world
governed by violence and war.

And when all time has come to an end,
as we gather with our sisters and brothers
from every moment and every place,
we will sing our glad songs to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2010  Thom M. Shuman

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

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ordinary Time 11/Proper 6 - C

Texts:  1st Kings 21:1-21a; Psalm 5:1-8; Galatians 2:15-21; Luke 7:36 - 8:3

Call to Worship
In the morning, God hears our voices as we lift our prayers and songs.
In the morning, God whispers to us in the gentle breezes stirring the world.
In the morning, we look for God alive and active around us.
In the morning, we find God playing hopscotch with the kids on the corner.
In the morning we come together to worship our God.
In the morning, God gathers us up to lead us down the streets of justice and faithfulness.

Prayer of the Day and our Lord's Prayer
In the morning,
Listening God,
you break open your heart
to pour your love upon us;
you bathe our tired and sore souls
with your healing tears;
you dry our weeping
with the caress of your gentle Spirit.

In the afternoon,
Hospitable Jesus,
even knowing we are sinners,
you invite us to lunch,
so we can be nourished
with your hope and peace.
No matter how deep in debt
we are to sin,
you pay off the entire amount.

In the evening,
Spirit of our sighs,
you kiss us and call us
your Beloved,
as you tuck us into bed
to keep watch over us
while we sleep.

In every moment,
God in Community, Holy in One,
you are present with us,
even as we lift the prayer Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Too often, we believe our identity is shaped by our job, our status, our good deeds. God would give us a new identity, grounded in Jesus Christ. Let us confess our reluctance to lose who we believe we are, so God can shape us into who we can be, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We must admit, God our Parent, how much we are like children. We become resentful over the fact that you do not do what we think you should do. We pout when a friend decides to spend more time with someone else. We can turn sullen when our loved ones refuse to let us have our way.

You could bring disaster upon us, Loving God, but you choose to give us what we don't deserve - the grace and mercy of your heart. Pour out your tenderness upon us, so Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, might live in us, and we might offer our lives in service to others.

Silence is kept.

Assurance of Pardon
God not only listens to the cries on our lips, but also pays attention to the groanings of our hearts. God restores us to wholeness, and invites us to a new way of living.
We are welcomed, we are loved, we are given new life, we are filled with peace.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
In the morning you rose,
Graceful and grace-shaping God,
wandering through time and space
sprinkling viriditas* throughout creation,
so that we might live in your wonder:
stars rustling in the night,
settling down to watch over us;
leaves breathing in and out
with gentle sighs to lullaby us to sleep.
You planted Eden's vineyard near your heart
so we might be close to you forever,
but we turned our faces away,
listening to those two scoundrels,
sin and death, who cursed you,
urging us not to eat of your joy.
Each morning, you heard the sighs
of those who longed for you,
so you sent the prophets ,
but we continued to sell ourselves to evil.
So, in grace and hope, you sent Jesus,
to love us and give himself for us.

As we come to your house, invited by you;
as we take are places at the Table you have set,
we sing in awe and wonder to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God who does not delight in wickedness.
All creation calls to you in every moment.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who forgives our sin.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God who spreads a feast for us,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior, our host.
When we lay on our beds,
turning our faces to the shadows around us,
he came to throw open the shutters,
that we might see your grace pouring in upon us.
When we were bone weary
from wandering the streets of hopelessness and fear,
he bathed our feet with your tears.
When we had torn down
all the bridges back to you,
he rebuilt them, using the stones of the empty tomb,
so we might follow him home.

As we gather at this Table of grace,
as we celebrate that we are crucified with Christ,
we speak of the mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, that those two scoundrels, death and sin, might be defeated;
Christ arose, so he might live in us;
Christ will come, to anoint us with the abundant oil of resurrection.

Through the abundance of your Holy Spirit,
which you pour out upon us
and the gifts of the bread and cup,
we come to the feast you have prepared.
Enter our lives, that as we eat
of the Bread which makes us whole,
we might feel your kiss of grace,
taking it out into all the world,
never to stop in sharing it
with everyone we meet until
the whole creation is at peace.
Enter our hearts, that as we drink
deeply of the cup, we might be
filled with living waters of hope,
taking them to anoint all who
live in despair and loss.

And when that last morning comes,
when we go to your house, taking our places
at your Table, next to our sisters and brothers
from every time and from every place,
we will sing our glad songs to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, forever. Amen.

© 2010 Thom M. Shuman

* - Hildegard of Bingen uses this word to imagine the greening power of God

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

10th Sunday in Odinary Time/Proper 5 - C

Texts: 1st Kings 17:8-24; Psalm 146; Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17

Call to Worship
You we praise, O God! You we praise!
We will sing our songs of joy this day and in all days to come!
School is coming to a close, vacations are planned, life changes from day to day.
Yet, you keep your promises every day; you hold your faithfulness in your heart.
You shower us with your hope; you offer us help in every moment.
You we praise, O God!  You we praise!

Prayer of the Day
You we praise, Fountain of Hope:
you turn our hearts
toward the outsiders
in our midst,
so we can see you
in them;
you take off
the sunglasses of sin
we have worn for too long,
so we may see your kingdom
of peace and joy.

You we praise, Friend of the poor:
when we trip
over our foolish feet
in our headstrong rush
to catch the world's whims,
you pick us up,
bandage our scraped knees,
and put us back on
the path to faithfulness.

You we praise, Spirit of blessing:
you hold the hands
of the widows and orphans
as they wander the busy streets
of greed and consumption,
leading them to your
compassion and grace.

You we praise,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we lift our prayer as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We think life is all about us - our desires, our needs, our achievements.  And, so in our pride, we ignore the gospel proclaimed to us by God's love and hope for us.  Let us confess our faulty lives, as we open ourselves to God's healing grace, praying together,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We do not want you to know how our lives do not proclaim your good news, God of all hearts.  But you have heard the words we have spoken which injure those we love.  You see how insistent we can be in clinging to the ways we have always lived, rather than walking your new paths.  We have trouble believing that when our souls are empty and our hearts have 
only a small portion of love, that you can do miracles in and through us.

So, what we need to know is that you do indeed forgive us, and still love us. God of comfort.  Let your grace shower us and end the drought of fear and doubt in our lives, so we can believe the good news which comes to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do not be sad.  God feeds us with grace and hope, God watches over us, and raises us to new life.
You we praise, Holy God, for this good news of joy and peace for our lives.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

You we praise, Engendering God!
You formed the seas, their waters
teeming with abundant creatures;
you cradled the earth, planting
a myriad of life into its deep soil.
You shaped us in your gracious image,
imparting the Spirit's breath in us,
but we put our trust in mortal death,
zealous for its temptations and longings.
You sent prophets into the world,
who challenged us not to fear,
but to place our trust in you,
yet we returned time and again to sin.
Keeping faith forever with us,
you sent Jesus into our midst,
to touch us and give us life.

So, with those whose eyes have been opened,
and with those who have been set free,
we lift our songs of glad joy to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God of all generations!
Heaven and earth, the sea, and all in them glorify you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who looks with grace upon us.
Hosanna in the highest!

You we praise in your holiness, Glorious God,
and bless your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When we had nothing but
a handful of sin,
he came to fill us with grace;
when there was only a little
hope left in our lives,
he came to pour salvation
up to the brim in us;
when we despaired in the drought of sin,
he approached the gates of death,
bringing its power to ruin,
his empty tomb the reminder
of the abundance of resurrection.

As we come to this Table of plenty,
as we celebrate the life he gave for us,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, so we would not weep;
Christ is risen, so we would not fear;
Christ will come, so we will glorify God.

You we praise, Baker of life, Vintner of grace.
Your Spirit moves upon
the gifts of this Table
and on those for whom
the feast has been prepared.
We eat,
believing that the Bread will not fail,
but strengthen us to go forth
to work for justice,
even as we feed the hungry.
We drink,
trusting that the Cup will not be emptied,
as we pour ourselves out in service
to those crushed by oppression,
to those held captive by fear.

And when we gather where all time has ended,
seated with your children from every time and place
around that wedding feast of joy,
we will join our voices in praising you forever,
singing to God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2010  Thom M. Shuman