Sunday, June 24, 2012

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 8 - B

Texts: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43

Call to Worship
L: With friends and strangers,
with family and neighbors, we gather:
P: Come among us, Healing God,
with that love which never ends.
L: With faith reaching out to touch,
with hearts straining to trust, we hope:
P: Come among us, Friend of the broken,
with your compassion which makes us whole.
L: With word and wonder,
with silence and song, we wait:
P: Come among us, Dryer of our tears,
to lift us to our feet to follow you.

Prayer of the Day
You watch,
Timeless God:
as we go hurrying and scurrying about,
our worries and fears crowding around us
until we can scarcely take a breath.
You wait,
as we struggle to keep up with you,
constantly distracted by the fears
which drain our faith and hopes.
You hope,
as we go from promise to promise,
leaving each one broken behind us,
the world bankrupting our dreams.
You watch, you wait, you hope,
and hearing the cries from the depths
of our despair and brokenness,
you lift us to our feet,
breathing new life into us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we offer our hearts to you,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know the words we have spoken which have
broken a relationship; we know the deeds we have
done which separate us from friends and families.
We know how we have failed to be faithful followers
of Jesus. Let us confess our sins, trusting that God
will touch us with the healing power of grace.

Unison Prayer of Confession
All too often, God of Excellence, it is the hem of
sin we cling to, letting it drag us through the mud of
fear and failures. You offer us that love which will
always be with us, but we find it difficult to share it
with those who need it most. You fill us with an
abundance of gifts, but we think we need them all
for ourselves.
Forgive us, God of Gentle Hope. You do not
keep a list of all that we have done wrong, but erase
our failings and foolishness, writing a new ending for
our lives. You touch us with your grace, you lift us to
our feet, you strengthen us so we may follow our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ, in service to all your children.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: This is the good news, dear friends: God's love
has no ending; God's hope rests upon us each day;
God's forgiveness restores us to new life.
P: Our God listens to us - to our cries, and to our joys;
to our hopes and to our hearts. Thanks be to God,
we are forgiven. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: May the God of hope be with you.
P: And also with you.
L: People of God, offer your hearts to God.
P: We open them to the joy God has for us.
L: Children of love, proclaim your love for God.
P: We sing to the One whose steadfast love is forever.

When you could wait no longer, Heart of Joy,
you spoke the Word which silenced chaos,
you sent your Breath racing acoss the waters
stirring them into motion and life.
You clothed the sunset in crimson and gold,
you dusted the mountains with fresh dew each morning.
You offered us all that is true, is beautiful, is good-
but we laughed at you, placing you outside our lives,
as we reached out to touch the hem of sin and death.
Your love for us was wonderfully enduring,
as you sent prophet after prophet
that we might hear your voice calling to us.
You watched, you hoped, and when you
could wait no longer for us,
you sent your Word to answer
our cries from the depths of our brokenness.

So, with all the mighty who have fallen
and all the lowly who have been lifted to their feet,
we join our voices in singing your glory:

P: Holy, holy, holy, God of love and joy.
All creation is filled with songs of laughter and hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

Your glory, Listening Heart, rests upon all creation,
your praises are sung throughout the universe.
Because your love is ever faithful,
because you are generous beyond all measure,
you sent Jesus to finish what you had begun.
Overflowing with the riches of your grace,
he emptied himself so we might be filled;
embracing our constant companion, suffering,
he healed us, so we might know hope;
broken on the cross and laid in the cold grave,
you took him by the hand, saying, 'get up!'
and he paved the path of resurrection
so we could follow him into eternity.

As we remember his poverty which made us rich,
as we watch and wait for his return,
we would tell others of that mystery we call faith:

P: In remembering his death, we weep;
in claiming his resurrection, we wait;
in awaiting his return, we watch.

Here at this Table prepared for us,
where we watch and wait for peace and hope,
pour out your Source of healing on your children,
and on these gifts of life and joy.
As our hearts are made whole
by the breaking of the bread,
send us to the broken of the world
that we might bind up their wounds.
As our hollow souls are filled
with the tender taste from the cup of life,
may we empty ourselves
so we might embrace those cast off by the world.

And when we wait and watch no longer,
but are gathered together around the Feast in heaven,
as we join our hands, our hearts, our voices
with our sisters and brothers from every time and place,
we will fill your heart with songs of thanksgiving,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 17, 2012

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 7 - B

Texts: 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49; Psalm 9:9-20; 2 Corinthians
6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41

Call to Worship
L: We gather in this place to worship our God:
P: calm Presence in our times of confusion,
Comforter in our nights of struggle.
L: We gather with fellow pilgrims,
as we seek to follow Jesus:
P: Brother to those swamped by fears,
Friend to all overwhelmed by loss.
L: We are brought together by the Spirit
who lives in the depths of our souls:
P: the Serenity who travels with us
on this up-and-down journey we call life.

Prayer of the Day
You lay the foundations of the universe,
building a shelter for our battered souls;
you create wonders which are priceless,
yet you always remember the needy.
We open our hearts to you,
God of Graciousness.

When evening comes and fears
prowl the shadows of our days,
you whisper, 'Peace! Be still!'
to our hammering hearts,
so we know that you are always with us.
We open our hearts to you,
dearest Friend of life.

Doubts and despair may
swamp our lives,
but you calm us with a word;
illness and death struggle
to control our futures,
but you comfort us with peace.
We open our hearts to you,
Spirit of hope and grace.

We open our hearts to you, now and forever,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We let fears control us, we let doubt become the
way of life for us. If we but look, we will see
our lives, and our world, cradled in God's loving hands.
Let us confess our lack of faith, even as we trust the
One who has promised to listen to our words, as well
as our hearts. Join me as we confess together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
They can be such giants in our lives, God of
Grace. Each day, our fears, our doubts, our worries
wash over us, until we come to believe that you do
not care for us. There seems to be so much wrong
in the world, we are convinced that there is nothing
good we can do. The storms of sin and temptation
batter at us, and we cower, unable to find the faith
to withstand them.
Forgive us. God of Hope. Remind us that if
we but open our hearts, you will heal us. If we but
listen to your words, we will hear peace and joy.
If we but open our lives to you, we can go forth
to serve our sisters and brothers, even as we have
been served by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: With calming words, with a peaceful Spirit, with
overflowing love and hope, our God forgives us
and fills us with faith.
P: Our God affirms us for who we are - those whose
brokenness is made whole, whose sin is forgiven,
whose lives overflow with faith. Thanks be to
God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: May the Calmer of our storms be with you!
P: And also with you.
L: Lift up your hearts, all whose fears threaten you.
P: We open our hearts that God might touch them with peace.
L: People of faith, join in glad songs to the One who is with you.
P: Our voices join in praise and thanksgiving to God.

You poured the foundation of grace
over the emptiness of chaos,
Caretaker of the Cosmos,
so that creation would find firm footing
for all the gifts your imagination provided.
You formed the seas and filled them with life,
you created the morning stars to sing your praises.
You created us in your image, calling each of us by name,
but we defied your dreams and hopes for us,
choosing to live in the valleys of despair and sin.
Refusing to forsake us, you sent prophets
who urged us to embrace your grace,
but it was never the right time for us to listen,
and we opened our hearts wider to temptation.
But you would not let us stay
in the pits of suffering and death we had dug,
and sent Jesus, creative Word of life for all,
to remove all the obstacles in your way.

So as we prepare to come to the Table of joy,
we join our voices with those who open their hearts to you
in every time, and in every place, forever singing your praise:

P: Holy, holy, holy, God of grace and glory.
All creation declares the wonders of your hands.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes bringing salvation for all.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Bulwark of the oppressed,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, who calms our troubled hearts.
When we were mired in the quicksand of our sin,
he came to pull us to safety.
When we treated him as an imposter,
he came to show us his true nature.
When we sat at death's door,
waiting for it to open and welcome us,
he went inside, in our place,
coming out to take us by the hand
and lead us into life with you.

As we sing praises for his life and ministry among us,
as we remember his death, as well as his resurrection,
we declare that mystery we call faith:

P: We declare that Christ has died for us;
we proclaim that Christ has been raised from the dead;
we believe Christ will come again in glory.

Here at this Table of life and hope,
you pour out your calming Spirit
upon the gifts of the Bread and the Cup,
and on your children gathered for this feast.
As you feed us with that brokenness
which can restore us to wholeness,
remind us that our lives are not empty,
but filled with every blessing which
can bring hope and joy to the poor.
As our hearts overflow with your grace,
let us hear the cries of the afflicted,
so we might go to stand with them
until all people are transformed
by your justice and righteousness.

And when our journeys have ended,
and the storms of life have been calmed forever,
we will gather around the Table in glory,
joining our hands and hearts with all your children,
singing praises to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Monday, June 11, 2012

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 6 - B

Texts: 1 Samuel 15:34 - 16:13; Psalm 20; 2 Corinthians 5:6-17; Mark 4:26-34

Call to Worship
L: The church is the place where the broken gather:
P: let us worship God who reconciles us to one another and to God.
L: The church is the place where sinners are welcome:
P: let us worship God who, with forgiving hands, shapes us into new people.
L: The church is the place where the lost, the least, the forgotten, the ignored gather:
P: let us worship God who looks at us with the eyes of love.

Prayer of the Day
Holy One:
you anoint us with living water,
so we may go to serve the world
in these troubled days.
You open our eyes
so we will see everyone
as our sisters and brothers.

Seed Planter:
you place faith
deep within us,
so we can bear witness
to your just and loving kingdom.
Your love regulates our hearts,
so we can welcome all
in your name.

Gentle Spirit:
when we cannot see the way,
you take us by the hand
so we can step forward,
in faith,
into the kingdom.
You fill us with hope,
so we can sing God's joy
all of our days.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Why is it so easy to boast of our achievements, yet so hard to humbly come
to God with the mistakes we make? This is the place where we stand in the
presence of the One who longs to shape us into new people. So, let us ask
our loving God to forgive us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We confess, God of Faith, that we ask about someone's background to see
if they are like us, while you look at where their heart is grounded. We
examine another's good looks or athletic prowess, while you take notice of
how they reach out to those who are different. We gaze at the size of
another's house or car or portfolio to judge how successful they are, and
you observe whether or not they have faith the size of the smallest seed.
Forgive us, Anointing God, for looking at those around us with human
eyes, and not seeing them as created in your image. As you shape us into new
people, give us new eyes, new hearts, new lives to follow Jesus Christ, our
Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered

Assurance of Pardon
L: This is the good news: no longer must we walk the old paths of sin and
death. Christ has come to take our old ways on himself, and to fill us with
new life in God.
P: Now, we know we are forgiven;
now, we know we are at peace;
now, we can step forward in faith,
to live with our God forever. Amen.

Invitation to the Table
The Table has been prepared - for us!
This is not my Table, it is not the church's -
this is the Table offered to us by our God.
So, come to this Feast.
Come, if your faith is blossoming and full,
and come, if it is but a tiny seed planted in your heart;
come, if you always show up for this Meal,
and come, if this is the your very first taste;
come, if you have always walked with Christ,
and come, if you have stumbled along the way.
But come - for our God awaits to serve you
with joy, with affirmation, with hope, with peace.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
We do not know when or how it happened,
Holy Gardener,
but you planted the seeds of your imagination.
The Spirit gently nurtured them
with the waters and warmth of life;
the Word whispered their names
and called them into being.
All that is good, all that is true,
all that is beautiful sprang forth
in that wonder we call creation.
You shaped us in your image,
breathing hope and life into us,
that we might enjoy your good gifts.
But, tasting the temptations of sin,
our growth was stunted, as we became
a rich harvest for death.
But you do not see us as we do,
and so sent the prophets to sow
the words which call us back to you.
When we continued to follow
only what we could see,
you sent Jesus to be among us,
so we might recognize your love for us.

So, with those who walk by faith
in this time and in this place,
and with those who are at home with you,
we offer our hearts' desire to you:

P: Holy, holy, holy, Lord of grace and glory.
All creation is filled with the tapestry of your love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes with your new creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who fulfills all your plans,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the Seed of salvation.
>From the beginning of creation,
your Word sang of your hopes for us;
until the end of time,
your Child will urge us on to love you.
He set aside his glory, to become one of us,
so that we might discover your grace
which overflows from your heart upon us.
No longer living for himself,
he died, once and for all, for us,
so that, as he was raised to new life,
so we might become the new creation,
walking by faith into your kingdom.

As we now see him through the eyes of redemption,
as we now remember him through hearts of hope,
we speak of that mystery we call our faith:

P: In death, Christ became our life;
in life, Christ shapes us into new creatures;
in glory, Christ will come to fulfill all God's plans.

To what can we compare this Feast,
and the simple gifts you have transformed
into the Bread of life and the Cup of grace?
As you poured out your Spirit into all creation,
pour out your blessings upon those
who gather around your Table of life.
As the bread fills us with those seeds
of hope and peace for all people,
may we go forth to offer the harvest
of justice and righteousness to all
who have been mistreated in our time.
As the cup touches our lips,
may we shout for joy over your love,
calling out to all the lonely and lost,
no longer regarding them from
the world's point of view,
but recognizing them as
our sisters and brothers of the kingdom.

And when we have risen and stand around
that Table of blessing and life,
we will join our hearts and our hands,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen

© Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Proper 5/10th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B

Texts:  1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15; Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark

Call to Worship
L:  On this day, we gather with thanksgiving in our hearts.
P:  For God's love is ever constant in our lives.
L:  On this day, we would talk of all that is ours.
P:  Grace upon grace has been poured into our lives.
L:  On this day, we would speak of what we believe.
P:  We will sing glad songs for all that God has done.

Prayer of the Day
When we are too weary
to take another step
on the road to the kingdom;
when our hearts are worn down
by the pain always rubbing
against our lives;
when we are wasting away
because of fears and worries,
you come, Soul Strengthener,
stretching out your hand
to hold us in your love.

When everyone else has turned
their backs on us and walked away;
when we cry out in the night
only to find the world has
turned a deaf ear to us;
when folks think we are crazy
because we believe that
   good can overcome evil,
   love can conquer hate,
   hope can replace despair,
you do not forsake us,
but stay at our side,
Brother to all people.

When our doubts rub
a callus on our souls;
when we wonder if we
are able to see your kingdom
emerging all around us;
when others seem to want
only the worst for us,
you pull us out of harm's way,
Spirit of faith and hope.

Grace upon grace are the gifts
we have received from you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we give you our thanks
as we pray as we are taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know what it is like to be rejected, but
we also remember turning our backs on others.
We have experienced conflict, as well as caused
pain to others.  Let us confess our foolish
lives to the One who seeks to forgive us on this
day, and every day.

Unison Prayer of Confession
   Everybody else does it, Watching God, and we
confess that we do as well.  We listen to those
whose promises are sold to the highest bidder.
We idolize celebrities as if they were teachers
of ethics.  We long for that one person who will
make everything right, once again, once and for all.
   Is it any wonder we are a disappointed people,
God of Hope?  Forgive us for turning our backs on
you, even as you continue to stretch out your arms
to us.  Forgive us for trusting in those who prove
to be false, rather than having faith in your love.
Forgive us, and fill us with the spirit of faith
which is given to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord
and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Do not lose heart! God seeks to strengthen our
souls, filling us with forgiveness, wonder, and joy!
P:  Glory to you, God of mercy and grace.  You want
only the best for us, and so we sing praises to you.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of steadfast love be with you!
P:  And also with you!
L:  Sisters and Brothers of Christ, lift your hearts to God.
P:  We open ourselves to the One who fills us with grace.
L:  Beloved of the Lord, sing glad praises to God.
P:  Songs of praise are offered to our God.

Catching a glimpse of goodness and beauty,
you shattered the stillness of chaos
with your imaginative Word, your Spirit of faith
moving, transforming, shaping, creating.
What had not been seen before sprang forth:
   suns and moons spinning in the galaxies,
   rivers racing one another to the seas,
   gentle grains whispering in the breeze.
This garden of wonders and hopes
were shared with those you created in your image,
but we wanted to do things our way
and forsook you for the temptations
offered to us by sin and death.
You would not forsake us
and sent the prophets to us
with words of hope and grace,
but we rejected their words
as having no meaning for us.
Your love was steadfast
and your faith for us did not diminish
as you sent Jesus to call us
back to your heart.

With those whose faith is strong and firm,
with those who struggle to believe,
with all of every time and place,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of our hearts.
    All creation praises you with words of hope.
    Hosanna in the highest!

    Blessed is the One who comes to strengthen our souls.
    Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, God of hope and forgiveness,
and Jesus Christ is your love made human.
He could have come to divide us,
but came that we might be one with you
and with our sisters and brothers.
He could have come to judge us,
but came to pull us out of harm's way.
He could have come to deby us,
but came to reject Death and sin's claim on us,
defeating their power once and for all.

As we remember how we have turned out backs on him,
as we hear his invitation to this Table of grace,
we speak of that faith in which we believe:

P:  Christ died, showing us the way of obedience;
    Christ is risen, showing us the way of new life;
    Christ will come, showing us your glory.

You surround us with your care,
stretching out your hand upon
those gathered in this place,
your Spirit transforming ordinary gifts
into sacred grace and hope.
We taste the bread and drink from the cup,
and notice what we have not seen:
   the hunger of the world,
   the loneliness of those around us,
   the child with no hope,
and we do not lose heart,
trusting that you will use us
to serve these needs around us
so that grace upon grace
might be shared with our sisters and brothers.

And when you stretch out your hands to lead us home,
and we are gathered around the Feast of the Lamb
which we can only glimpse in this moment,
we will sing of your steadfast love and faithfulness
forever and ever, God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

(c) 2012  Thom M. Shuman