Saturday, February 15, 2014

Liturgy for February 23, 2014 (Epiphany 7/Ordinary 7 - A)

Texts:  Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48

Call to Worship
We are called to turn the other cheek,
so we will seek to be vulnerable
in our lives of faith and service.

We are called to go the extra mile,
so we will walk with those around us
in the journeys of hope as well as fear.

We are called to love those who make that so hard,
so we will rely on the One who loves us
to fill us with that special grace.

Prayer of the Day

You are the Lord,
Master Builder,
so holy, we cannot understand,
     yet you turn the pages
     of your heart, so we
     might learn to love;
so creative, we stand open-mouthed
in awe and wonder,
     yet you teach us the words
     which can bring hope
     to those who need it most.

You are the Lord,
Wordsmith of new sayings,
so gentle, we think you weak,
     yet you dare to love
     those who confront you
               (even us);
so tolerant, we think you naive,
     yet you are wise enough
     to always let us make
     fools of ourselves.

You are the Lord,
Gifter of wisdom,
so exalted in glory, we lower our eyes,
     yet you move into
     our hearts in order
     to renovate our lives;
so perfect in wonder, we tiptoe away,
     yet you stick with us
     until we are all
     grown-up in faith.

You are the Lord,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we worship you as we pray,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Because we belong to God, we can turn our gaze away from all that tempts us, and see the One who loves us always.  Let us turn our hearts towards God, as we speak of our foolishness and failures. Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We may try to trick ourselves, but we cannot fool you, Wise God.  We tell lies about others, and profane your name.  We hold onto grudges as if they were the most precious of jewels.  We steal another's identity when we ridicule who they are, and we boast about all we are without a nod toward you, who have blessed us.
     No matter how often we hurt you, God of grace, you show us your merciful nature.  As you seek to teach us your ways, may we pay close attention.  As you love us despite our foolish choices, may we be more compassionate toward others.  As we seek to follow Jesus, may we be willing to go as far as he will take us, even into that place of hope and peace, which is the realm of your heart.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: we belong to Christ.  He is the One who comes bringing life and hope to all.
Because we belong to Christ, we belong to God.  The Holy One is also the Merciful One, who fills our hearts with love.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of grace be with you.
And also with you.
We are the people of the Holy One.
We lift our hearts to the One who touches them with hope.
We are children of God, who fills us with joy.
Glad songs of praise are lifted to our God.

You unrolled the blueprints
of creation, Wise Architect,
showing the Spirit the waters to move over,
     so whales could spiral out of the sea,
     dolphins could whistle your joy,
     sea urchins could crawl over coral reefs.
You shared your plans with the Word,
who sang,
     and snowflakes drifted downward,
     bears hibernated in dark caves,
     squirrels jumped from branch to branch.
You did not hoard these gifts
for yourself, but longed to share them
with those created in your image,
     but we chose to belong to sin,
     who belonged to death.
Gifting the prophets with wisdom,
you sent them to bring us back,
     but we continued to turn
     our backs on you, bragging of
     our imperfections and foolishness.
Then, Jesus came to be with us,
so we might belong to him,
even as he belongs to you.

With those who have gone the distance,
and those who still search for the way,
we sing our praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Master Builder.
All creation chooses to glorify you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who loves us.
Hosanna in the highest!


You alone are holy, God of our hearts,
and Jesus is your foundation of hope.
He took off the coat of glory,
     so we might be wrapped
     in the shawl of salvation.
He turned the other cheek
when sin slapped him,
     so we might see what
     true obedience looks like.
He went all the way to the cross,
     so death might be left behind,
as he walks with us
down resurrection's path
to your kingdom of life.

We would turn our hearts to you,
and belong to Christ, who belongs to you,
as we pay attention to that faith which is a gift:

Christ died, praying for those who persecuted him;
Christ rose, the foundation of our salvation;
Christ will come again, to lead us to the end of our journeys.


Here at this Table of love,
where we share the broken bread
and pass the cup of grace
which have been blessed by your Spirit,
we learn how to be your people.
We go forth to work for justice,
     and to share from our abundance;
we will not bear a grudge,
     or seek revenge when we are hurt;
we will not tell lies about others,
     but love them as deeply
     as we love ourselves.

And when we come to the end of the journey,
when enemies gather as friends around your Table,
we will join our hands and hearts,
lifting our praise to you for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Go now, beloved of God!
P:  We will go to love all we meet.
L:  Go now, followers of Jesus!
P:  We will go the distance with
     the One who shows us the way.
L:  Go now, companions of the Spirit!
P:  We will go, sharing peace and hope
     with the world.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman



















Here at this Table of love,
where we share the broken bread
and pass the cup of grace
which have been blessed by your Spirit,
we learn how to be your people.
We go forth to work for justice,
     and to share from our abundance;
we will not bear a grudge,
     or seek revenge when we are hurt;
we will not tell lies about others,
     but love them as deeply
     as we love ourselves.

And when we come to the end of the journey,
when enemies gather as friends around your Table,
we will join our hands and hearts,
lifting our praise to you for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go now, beloved of God!
We will go to love all we meet.
Go now, followers of Jesus!
We will go the distance with the One who shows us the way.
Go now, companions of the Spirit!
We will go, sharing peace and hope with the world.
© 2014  Thom M. Shuman


Monday, February 10, 2014

Liturgy for February 16, 2014 (Epiphany 6/Ordinary 6 - A)

Texts:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew
5:21-37

Call To Worship
L:  As we offer a welcome to stranger and friend,
     as we are embraced in their kindness,
P:  we choose to be people of life and blessing.
L:  As we serve others in God's name,
     as we receive blessings from those we do not know,
P:  we choose to walk in God's way.
L:  As we forgive those who have hurt us,
     as we reach out to those we have harmed,
P:  we choose to be reconciled to our sisters and brothers.

Prayer of the Day
You do not stand there
with a ruler in your fist,
ready to smack our hands
whenever we do wrong,
but are that gentle Parent
who wants only the best
for your children always.

You do not look at us
through the lenses of judgment,
Servant of all,
but see us as your
sisters and brothers
who have wandered away,
and so you reach out
and take our hands so
we might walk together.

You do not hold anything back,
Spirit of goodness,
but you fill our empty lives
with the waters of grace and peace,
so we might overflow with
love, wonder, joy, and hope,
true blessings to the world.

God in Community, Holy in One,
may we choose always and in all ways
to be your people, even as we pray,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
With every choice we make, we show how faithful we
are to God's hopes for us.  Yet, despite the mistakes
we make, the missteps we take, God remains forgiving
and gracious.  Let us come to our God, speaking
honestly about our lives, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     How often we make the wrong choices, God of
our lives!  We look at others through the prism of
lust, distorting who they really are.  We let our 'mad'
feed us with bitterness and hurt.  We toss about
harmful words like so many snowballs on a winter's
day.  We would rather insult those around us, than
to lift them up.
     Have mercy on us, God who is everywhere.  May
we set aside our quarreling natures to be united in
common worship, common service, and a common
purpose, as we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept.

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Christ came, so we might be healed by God's tender
touch.  Christ came, so we might be reconciled to one
another.
P:  Thanks be to God!  As risky, as hard as it may be, we
will choose to be God's people.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May our reconciling God be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Come to the One who loves you always.
P:  We choose to offer our hearts to God.
L:  Come to the Table with glad hearts.
P:  We will offer God praise in these moments.

Heaven and earth are witnesses
to your creation, God of forever,
as you chose to bring forth
life, goodness, and beauty
out of the empty canyons of chaos.
Soft winds rippled grains in meadows,
thunder and lightning echoed your praise,
insects chattered away in hidden places.
All these were blessings - for us, those
who have been crafted in your image,
     but we turned away from you,
     led astray by sin to worship false gods.
You commanded the prophets to speak,
your words inviting us back to you,
     but we chose not to listen.
You sent Jesus to us then,
the One who walked that path called Blameless,
so we might know the way.

So with those who are mature in the faith,
ad those who are just starting the journey,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving:

P:  Holy, holy, holy, Lord God who is everywhere.
     All creation offers praise to you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who reconciles us to you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Seeking to be obedient to you,
God of every good choice,
Jesus came,
     so we might walk
     in his footprints on
     that path to life.
He came,
     so we could pay
     attention to you,
          yet not neglect our
          sisters and brothers.
He come,
     choosing to confront sin
     and death on the cross,
so we might receive the
blessing of resurrected life.

As we seek to mirror his faithfulness,
as we would choose to follow him,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

P:  Though he did not wrong, Jesus died for us;
     though we thought him dead, Jesus has risen;
     though we have our doubts, Jesus will come again.

It used to be that we had no hope,
but now, at this Table of bread and cup,
your Spirit of grace and joy is poured out.
Filled with the bread which
symbolizes your brokenness,
     may we choose to be
     reconciled to one another,
     honoring all relationships.
As we are transformed by the cup,
     may we choose to work together,
     so all may be blessed
     by your love and peace.

And when you choose to end time,
gathering us together around your Table,
we will join with all those around us,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
L:  Go now, with God's love,
P:  we will choose to be a blessing to others.
L:  Go now, with Christ's hope,
P;  we will choose to serve all in need.
L:  Go now, with the Spirit's peace,
P:  we will choose to share life in every moment.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman