Sunday, January 29, 2012

5th Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary Time 5 - B

Texts:  Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1st Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

Call to Worship
L:    When we look at the night sky, speckled with stars,
P:    we discover the never-ending imagination of our God.
L:    When we pick those not chosen on life's playgrounds,
P:    we join Christ in the ministry of healing and hope.
L:    When we set aside the time for prayer, as well as wonder,
P:    we meet the Spirit who is at our side in every moment.

Prayer of the Day
From the very first tale
told around family tables
to that last word written
in the book of time,
you tell us the story
of your love and joy.
From the foundation
laid in Eden's valleys
to the ever-open gates
of the new Jerusalem,
you build a home for
every single one of your children.
How good it is to sing your glory,
Heart of Creation!

Into the abandoned areas
of our lives, you come -
shushing the little imps
who whisper in our ears
of our failings and foolishness.
When we seem unable
to listen to your hopes for us,
you sit down at the edge of our hearts,
once again retelling the story
of your love and grace.
How good it is to sing your name,
Healer of broken lives.

When our dreams dry up
and turn to dust,
you gather them up
and shape them into
a future which surprises us.
When we would pull shut
the curtains of our compassion,
you yank them open,
so we can see those
we are called to serve.
How good it is to sing your peace,
Spirit of patience.

How good it is to sing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
It is in the deserted moments of our lives, when we realize
how we have failed to love, to act, to be God's children,
that Jesus comes, not only praying for us, but holding us,
mending us, sending us forth as new people.  Let us come
to our God, speaking of those things we would rather forget,
so we may once again hear the words of healing and hope.

Unison Prayer of Confession
     In that effort to cross the finish line of achievement, Always
Listening God, we know we have rushed by those we could
have stopped to help.  In our attempts to climb the ladder of
success, we know we have pushed past those who were too
weary to continue and were looking for encouragement.  In
our channel-surfing for the next big thing, the new guru, the
bestseller which would change our lives, we pass over that
quiet place where we could listen to your heart, and find our
true home.
     Forgive us, God who hears our hearts.  In setting aside
false pride, may we reach down to lift up the fallen.  In
letting go of that security which only deludes us, may we
place our lives into your hopeful future.  In turning from
the stress which controls our lives, may we find the One
who leads us into the kingdom of hope and joy, Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    No matter how many times it is said, it bears repeating:
       God loves us, God forgives us, God heals us, God
        restores us to new life.
P:    This is Good News!  God listens to our words,
        fills us with grace, and sends us forth to proclaim
        the gospel to others.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:    May the God of grace be with you.
P:    And also with you.
L:    People of God, open your hearts.
P:    We open them to the One who calls us to follow.
L:    Sing praises to the God who delights in you.
P:    We lift our songs to the One who strengthens us
        with the gifts of the Table of life.

Into the beginning of all that is,
you poured the foundation of goodness,
Innovative Wisdom.
You did not tire in creating creatures
of every imaginable size and shape,
nor did you waver in your dreams
of peace and grace wandering the earth.
You longed for us to sit in the circle
with joy and wonder as our companions,
as we listened to your hopes for us.
But we thought we could run forever
with sin and death at our side,
never needing to rest.
You were determined to bring us back,
giving us the law as a guide,
but we broke every rule over and over.
You sent the prophets,
and we ignored their words.
So, you sent the One
we did not expect,
or think we needed,
Jesus Christ, our Savior.

So with prophets and parents,
with choirs of children and angels,
and with your children from every time,
we sing your praises forever and ever:

P:    Holy, holy, holy, Creator of heaven and earth!
       Young people embrace your promised grace,
           older people yearn for your peace and hope.
       Hosanna in the highest.

       Blessed is the One who comes to heal us.
       Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, Namer of stars and your children,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Child, our Savior.
The Word speaking goodness into life,
he whispers of your love for us
through every moment of our lives.
The One who shaped galaxies,
and flung them into the universe,
tenderly lifts up those cast out by the world,
placing them in your heart.
The Drifter of deserted places
enters into death's abandonment,
and the cold emptiness of the tomb,
to come forth with new life and hope,
running with us to enter the kingdom.

We come to this Table in remembrance of his life,
singing of his healing and hope for all,
even as we tell of that mystery we call faith:

P:   We proclaim Christ's death with our hearts;
      we declare Christ's resurrection with our hopes;
      we await Christ's return with our lives of service.

Here in these moments and in this place,
where we have gathered in your presence,
pour out your Spirit upon us
and the gifts you have prepared for us.
Bone-tired, we come to the Table,
that we might be strengthened
with that Bread filled with life.
So weary, we stumble through each day,
we drink from the Cup overflowing
with hope and grace.
Fed and nourished,
we would go forth into all those places
where the outcasts have been abandoned,
and where the hopeless feed on despair,
that we might bring them
not only words of good news,
but the very gifts which can
bring healing to their lives.

And when you gather your children
around the Table set for us in glory,
when we join hands and dance for joy,
we will forever sing your praises:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2009  Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 23, 2012

4th Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary Time 4 - B

Texts:  Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1st Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

Call to Worship
L:    Thinking we know all the answers,
        yet wondering if we haven't missed something:
P:    we enter this sanctuary of Truth.
L:    In the company of sinners,
        in cahoots with saints:
P:    we gather as God's people.
L:    Standing by folks of deep, abiding faith;
        seated with those who stumble through
        the Kingdom:
P:    we lift our praise to God.

Prayer of the Day
L:    We hunger for power,
        and you feed us
        the bread of humility;
        we long for freedom,
        and you invite us to drink
        the cup of self-denial.
        Faithful and Just God:
P:    our songs of gratitude
        will echo down
        the hallways of creation.

L:    You speak
        and all the props
        are knocked out
        from under our pride.
        Then, you astound us
        by reaching out your hand
        to lift us to our feet
        so we may follow you.
        Holy Gift of God:
P:        our songs of praise
            will echo down
            the hallway of our hearts.

L:    Without your wisdom,
        we would be speechless;
        without your peace,
        we would be heartless;
        without your presence,
        we would be graceless.
        Bearer of Truth:
P:        our songs of joy
            will echo down
            the hallways of eternity.

L:    God in Community, Holy in One,
        may our songs echo in your heart
        as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
It's very simple:  all God asks is that we
recognize our sin and acknowledge it.
And why?  When we offer our prayers
of confession, God takes them from us
and fills our hearts with such an abundance
of mercy, we cannot hold it all.  Please
join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
   God our God: we fill our souls with the
empty sounds of our culture, and wonder why
we are so empty when we need words of hope,
of grace, of comfort.  We are careful to follow
the prescriptions our doctors give us, yet pay
little heed to your hopes for us.  We puff out
our chests over what good people we are, yet
do not notice how our pride trips those who
seek to follow Jesus.
   Forgive us, Holy One, and be gracious to us:
   astound us with your words,
        so we may learn your ways;
   nourish us with your mercy,
        so we may be filled with life;
   enter our empty souls,
        till they overflow with praise for your
        Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

    Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L:    Of all the astounding works of God,
        this may be the most wonderful:  God
        is gracious and merciful  -  to us!
P:    What has this to do with us?  Everything!
        What is this?  Good news, of the very best kind!
        We are forgiven.  We give thanks to our God with all
        our hearts.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of wondrous deeds be with you!
P:  And also with you!
L:  Let us give thanks to our God.
P:  We lift our whole hearts to God, holding nothing back.
L:  Join in praising God, who is merciful and gracious.
P:  In the company of our friends and fellow followers,
     we rejoice in the one who is our God.

'What have you to do
with us,' chaos cried out,
and you rebuked it, Holy One,
whispering, 'be silent,' and with a Word
all that is good and true came forth,
   oceans teeming with life,
   meadow grass rippling in the breeze,
   snow-capped peaks touching the sky.
You raised us up in your image,
but we worshiped the idols, sin and death,
becoming so accustomed to them
we would follow them anywhere.
You put words into the prophets' mouths,
so they could speak your words of hope,
but we refused to listen.
So you sent Jesus,
from whom all things are,
so we might live with you.

So, with prophets and those who never listen,
with the foolish, as well as the faithful, of every age,
we sing our songs of praise to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of great wonders.
     All creation is astounded by your works.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who restores us with love.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Awesome Creator,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all.
He teaches, as one with authority,
those who rebel against you.
He heals, as one with compassion,
those who struggle with pain and illness.
He calls, as one with the words of life,
those who have lost their way.
He dies, as one with complete trust,
for those who have no hope.
He rises, as one known by God,
so we may live for you.

As we remember what Jesus has done for us,
as we celebrate his life, death, and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:

P:  Christ died, as we fell silent in grief;
     Christ is risen, silencing the power of sin and death;
     Christ fills the silence of our fears with songs of
        your wondrous love and life.

You long to have everything
to do with us, God of wonders,
and so you call us to this table
of peace, hope, reconciliation.
Here, in the bread and the cup
transformed by your Spirit,
we are reminded that
there is no God but you.
For, in the life of the bread,
we feast on that grace
which can heal a broken world.
For in the sweet taste of the cup's hope,
we taste those promises
which we can share with all people:
   peace where there is only war,
   love where there is only evil,
   wonder where there is only despair,
for from you come all things;
to you, we all would turn to follow.

And when all human time and history is done,
when we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
in that time with you we call eternity,
we will praise you forever, singing glory to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© 2012  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 15, 2012

3rd Sunday after Epiphany/OT 3 - B

Texts:  Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1st Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

Call to Worship
L:    Pecking away at our computers, idling in a knot of traffic:
P:    we wait for you, God of all words, to speak to us.
L:    Pacing the halls of a hospital,
       sitting outside the principal's office:
P:    we wait for you, God of comfort, to fill us with hope.
L:    In the silence of each night, beginning each day's new journey:
P:    we wait for you, Steadfast Love, for you are our safe place.

Prayer of the Day
Keeper of every moment in eternity:
we come, not only to hear
those words which can transform us,
but to be filled with your grace and hope.
We have come, not out of habit,
but to respond to your call,
willing to be called away
from the familiar ways of our lives.

Walker of our journeys,
in the midst of our harried lives,
you call us to lay aside all that entangles us,
to follow you into service to others.
You invite us to step into
the waters of life and hope,
reaching out to draw others
to our side so, that together,
we might enter your kingdom
of laughter and joy.

When uncertainty fills every block
in our daily planners,
you come, Grace's Companion,
to offer that hope which anchors
us in God's heart;
to place our feet firmly
on that rock called peace;
to bring us safely to that haven
filled with God's steadfast love.

God in Community, Holy in One,
Rock of every age,
we offer the prayer Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Our lives tend to follow the same pattern: get up,
go to work or school or the gym, come home,
go to sleep.  We can fall into the same routine
when it comes to our foolishness and failures,
doing the same thing over and over and over.
But God calls to us, to leave such lives behind,
as we follow Jesus into forgiveness and new life.
Let us pray together saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     God of procrastinating prophets, we can spend
so much time waiting for the perfect moment, that
we might miss the chance to help another.  We may
worry so much about saying the right thing, that we
say nothing to encourage a person who needs such
words.  We may be so wrapped up in dealing with
the stresses of life, that we have no time to deal
with your hopes and dreams for us.
     Forgive us, God of second chances.  By your
grace, we can hear your words of compassion
and forgiveness; by your mercy, we can place
our feet back on the path of discipleship; by your
love, we are welcomed as your children by our
Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:    If it can happen in Ninevah, repentance and
       forgiveness can happen in us; if God can call
       a stubborn person like Jonah, God can call us
       to lives of faithful discipleship.
P:    We will lay aside all our fears and doubts, all
        our worries and resistance, so we can follow
        Jesus, trusting always in the One who forgives
        us, in this moment, and all the moments to come.
        Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of faith be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Lift up your hearts to the One who calls you.
P:  We offer our hearts as we follow Jesus into the world.
L:  Sing your praise to the God who is with you
       every step of the way on your journey!
P:  Our voices rejoices in the One who is our faithful companion!

You walked across chaos,
God our Salvation,
calling all creation into life.
You poured out your heart,
in the meadows rippling with grass,
in the rivers splashing with life.
Shaping us in your image of love,
you filled us with joy and peace,
gifting us with that Garden
which was our refuge.
But hearing the seductive tunes
which temptation sang to us,
we got up, and set out
to follow them into sin.
You sent prophets like Jonah
to call us back to faithful living,
but we only laughed at foolish words.
Finally, when time was growing short,
you sent Jesus to us,
proclaiming the good news
of your kingdom drawing near.

So, with those who repent in every place,
and with those who follow in every time,
we join our voices in praise to you:

P:    Holy, holy, holy!  God of steadfast love!
        All creation sings your praises.
        Hosanna in the highest!

        Blessed is the One who calls us to new journeys.
        Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God our Hope,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Caller of disciples.
He left the refuge of glory
to confront the sin of our lives.
He wandered through our world,
casting out his hopes and dreams,
to draw all into your kingdom.
When time was of the essence,
he went to the cross at Calvary,
to deal with sin and death once and for all,
so they could have no more dealings with us,
bringing us into that kingdom
filled with life eternal.

As we remember his call to follow,
as we sing of his hope and peace,
we tell of that mystery we call faith:

P:    Christ has died, that we might live;
        Christ is risen, that we might hope;
        Christ will come again, calling us into the kingdom.

At this time appointed for your Feast,
we pray you would pour out
your Breath of Hope
upon the gifts of the Table.
Tasting the Bread of Life,
may we get up and go
to serve the hungry and thirsty among us.
As we are filled with Grace's joy,
may we set out on that journey
which will take us to your side,
where we will join our broken lives with yours,
so that we might find healing and hope.

And when all time has been fulfilled,
and we have gathered around your Table,
we will join our voices with our sisters and brothers,
forever singing of your steadfast love,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - B

Texts:  1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John
1:43-51

Call to Worship
L:  Young or old, slow or fast; tall or small, know-it-alls or eager learners:
P:   Wonder of wonders! God has called each of us here.
L:  Wrinkled, white-haired, stooped with age;
     bright-eyed, smooth skinned, leapers of two steps at a time:
P:  Wonder of wonders! Each of us is made in God's image.
L:   Parents volunteering at school, kids playing tag,
      workers stocking shelves, retirees planning a trip:
P:   Wonder of wonder! God works through each of us.

Prayer of the Day
It doesn't matter
how far we go
to run from you,
God-who-calls-us:
you reach out
and touch us
with healing in your hands,
and turn us around
so we can follow you home.

It doesn't matter
how suspicious
we are of you,
God-who-invites-us-to follow:
you remove our fears
with your compassion,
you take away our doubts
complete acceptance
of who we are.

It doesn't matter
how often
we ignore your words,
God-who-speaks-to-us:
you whisper to us
until our ears
tingle with anticipation
and we listen
with eager hope.

God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to call us by name,
even as we pray in the name
of the One who has taught us to say,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We break our word - God knows;
we hurt another - God knows;
we ignore the needy - God knows.
God also knows the sins we try to hide, even
from ourselves. Let us confess to the One
who has called us and will make us whole.

Unison Prayer of Confession
  How foolish we are to think we can hide our failings from you, Seeing God.
We treat our bodies as trash cans for junk food, not as sanctuaries for your
Spirit. We get drunk on the seductions of our society, while daintily
sipping at your living water. We doze under the tree of temptation, hoping
you won't see us and expect us to get up and follow Jesus.
   Forgive us, our heart's only Hope.
Your grace mends our brokenness, making us whole;
your compassion removes our sin, making us new;
your voice speaks tenderly to us, silencing our pride;
your Love is made human in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, redeeming our
lives.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L: In front of us, behind us, to our right, to our left: look! God is there!
   In our past, beside us today, waiting in the future: look! God is there!
   in the shadows, in the light: look! God is there!
P: From the top of the mountains, to the bottom of the seas;
in the morning, in the evening, in every moment: God is with us!
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God who created you be with you!
P:  And also with you!
L:  Open your hearts to the One who writes grace on them.
P:  May God's words of hope and wonder guide our lives.
L:  Sing praises to your God, children of the Creator of the universe.
P:  Glad songs are lifted to the one who gives us new life.

Into the silence of chaos,
you called, Wonderful Crafter,
and creation responded, 'here I am,'
as mountains pushed up to tower over the rivers
that raced each other to the seas.
Your words did not fall to the ground
but became the stars that dance in the night.
You shaped us in your imaged,
telling us everything, hiding nothing from us.
But the tempting songs of sin made our ears tingle
and we did not restrain temptation's demands.
You refused to give up on us,
continuing to call us through the prophets,
but we were dominated by death's power.
So you sent Jesus to us,
 to search us and know us
for who we are meant to be -
your people.

So with youngsters who hear your songs in the night,
and those who follow you in every time and place,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, Searcher of all hearts.
     All creation praises your name.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One in whom there is no deceit.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Knower of every thought,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, who is your heart.
When he could have wandered the streets of glory,
he searched up and down temptations' paths to find us.
When we doubted anything good
might come of humility and sacrifice,
he called us to follow him into service to you.
When he could have shunned the cross,
he said, 'here I am,' confronting sin and death,
defeating them as he was raised to new life,
glorify you in his resurrected body!

As we remember his ways of goodness and life,
as we celebrate the gift of the resurrection which is ours,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

P:  Christ died, trusting that he was held in your heart;
     Christ rose from the grave, as you bring him out of death;
     Christ has promised to welcome us into new life with you.

You search for us down every path we wander,
and finding us, lead us to this Table of hope and peace,
where the Spirit not only blesses these simple gifts,
but all your children who gather at your feast.
Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening,
so that as we are fed by the bread of life,
we would be ready to go forth to carry healing to the world;
so that as we drink from the cup of grace,
we would go to tell everyone we meet
that we have found the One who offers
that life and joy we are all long to have.

And when our lives have come to an end,
when we are gathered with your children from every age,
we will sit at your Table, finally knowing your ways,
and singing to you of our love and joy forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© 2012  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Baptism of the Lord - B

Texts:  Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11

Call to Worship
L:    On that first day, when time began:
P:    you gave birth to creation;
        light danced through the darkness;
        the waters of hope flowed free and clear.
L:    On that first day at the Jordan, when redemption began:
P:    you spoke of life for all your children,
        as your Child stepped into the waters of forgiveness,
        dancing in hope with his cousin, John.
L:    On this first day of the week, when we begin anew:
P:    you call us to faithfulness,
        as we open our hearts to you,
        your voice claiming us as your own.

Prayer of the Day
Beloved's Parent:
grace is the gift
which flows to us
from your heart;
joy is the seed planted
deep within our souls,
that it might blossom
into lives of service to all.
And we cry: "Glory!"

Servant of sinners:
you emerge from baptism's water,
to embrace us in your hopes;
you take our fears from us
and toss them aside
as you lead us into your kingdom;
you shine the Light
which brings us out
of despair's shadows.
And we cry: "Glory!"

Wind upon the water:
you move among us
sweeping aside our petty pride,
and offering us the gifts
of humility and servanthood.
You whisper of your yearning
for peace and reconciliation,
until it silences our angry voices
and unclenches our fisted hearts.
And we cry:  "Glory!"

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our voices as your Beloved teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
You and I are now the ones who step forth out of the
safe waters of baptism, to bring hope, to share a word
of grace, to carry healing into the brokenness of the
lives around us.  Let us confess how we still struggle
to follow in faith wherever Jesus leads us.  Join me
as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Timeless God,
you cast Light into sin's dark places
and call us your Beloved.
Forgive us:
    when we still linger in the shadows;
    when we treat others in hurtful ways;
    when we speak ill of your friends.
    
As he knelt in the waters of Jordan,
you proclaimed Jesus as your Child,
pointing to him as the way to you.
Forgive us:
    when we put ourselves ahead of him;
    when we think he is no longer needed;
    when we fail to see him in the broken of our world.   

Baptized and blessed in your living waters,
you would have us be your servants in our time.
Forgive us:
    when we fail to welcome the stranger;
    when we refuse to forgive as we should;
    when we believe we are too good to kneel down
        and tie the shoes of the lost, the least, the last, the litte.

Silent Prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L:    Touched by the waters of life, fed at the feast of
        grace and hope, embraced in the warmth of God's
        love and hopes - this is good news for all of us!
P:    Blessed by baptism's tears, called to servanthood
        by the Beloved, filled with the peace of the Spirit,
        we are indeed God's people - redeemed, restored,
        refreshed to serve.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:    May the Creator of heaven and earth be with you.
P:    And also with you!
L:    People of God, lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift them to the One
        who gave his Heart to heal us.
L:    Let us give thanks to the One
        who made everything and called it 'good'.
P:    How right it is to give our thanks and praise
        to the One who calls us 'Beloved.'

Into the shadows of silence,
you hummed the first chords of creation,
Heart of Tenderness,
your Word crafting the sun to welcome each day,
the moon and stars to guide the night.
The Spirit gathered up the dust of chaos
and shaped it into vast universes,
flinging them into space and time.
Floating on the warm waters of Eden,
cradled in your love and joy,
we could have lived with you forever.
But we made mudpies from death's dirt,
shaping our own foolish dreams,
chasing after sin, and always being caught.
Prophets came, sent from your heart
to call us back to you,
but we could not hear them
over the shouts of our desires.
So, when we had no hope,
you sent your Child, Jesus,
the One who was willing to take on
anything, and everything, which kept us from you.

So, with those who ran to the river's side,
and those who immersed themselves in grace,
with our beloved sisters and brothers
in every time and place, we sing of your love:

P:    Holy, holy, holy!  Creator of Light and life.
        Heaven and earth sing forever of your love and joy.
        Hosanna in the highest.

        Blessed is the One who comes to be baptized
            by water and the Holy Spirit.
        Hosanna in the highest.

Blessedness is your nature, Holy Imagination,
and your Bright Morning Star is our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When our hearts were hardened towards you,
he came to soften them with your grace.
Knowing we had lost our way,
he came to walk at our side,
unfolding the map of the kingdom
and pointing out the way home.
Standing with us in baptism's waters,
he journeyed alone to the cross,
taking our place in sin's grasp,
and leading us into your heart,
leaving death empty and alone.

On this day we remember our baptism,
we would proclaim the life which was his,
and the hope which is ours in that mystery we call faith:

P:    Bathed in your tears, Christ died for us;
        washed in the resurrection waters, Christ rose for us;
        bringing the waters of life to us, Christ will come again.

As your Spirit changed chaos into creation,
may these simple gifts
of the bread and the cup
be transformed into
your life and peace for us.
We come to this table,
your baptized and beloved children,
hungry for your hope in our lives,
yearning for your peace to fill us.
And when we have been fed by you,
we would go forth into the world
to bring the homeless off lonely streets,
to feed the hungry with more than cliches,
to welcome the stranger as our sister,
to embrace the outcast as our brother.

And when time has ended its journey,
and we are gathered as your family
around the Table of grace,
we join our hands and hearts together,
singing to you through all eternity
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c)  2009  Thom M. Shuman