Sunday, July 26, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for August 2, 2015 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 13/Ordinary 18 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35

Call to Worship
 Lead a life worthy of your calling.
We cannot do this alone,
we dare not try this alone,
so we gather as God's people.
Lead a life filled with the gifts of your calling,
gifts to be used with service and meekness.
We come to build up Christ's Body,
in humility and gentleness,
with patience and love.
Lead a life which reflects your calling,
that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
We rejoice in our oneness in Christ;
we would share the grace offered to us.
Life a life worthy of the calling
to which you have been called.
We gather as God's family
at the Table prepared for us,
waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.

Prayer of the Day
Gentle God:
   we have traveled through many waters
   to reach this place,
   but share one baptism;
   we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
   yet share one faith;
   we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
   and are members of one Body;
   we have different dreams and doubts,
   yet our hearts beat with one hope;
   we are graced with different gifts,
   so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

When we try to sugarcoat what we have done, scripture stares us down, reminding us of our faults.  When we seek to romanticize why we have failed to live as faithful people, God refuses to go along, waiting for us to confess our sins.  Let us join together as God's children, lifting our prayers to the One who is generous in love.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
  Compassionate One:  like David, it is not easy for us to confront those deeds which do not please you.  We are so busy looking for the miracles we desire, we cannot see the gift of your presence in others.  We are so intent on indulging our appetites and slaking our thirsts, we cannot taste that Bread which gives life.  We spend so much of our lives bemoaning the acts of others, we have no time to look in the mirror and see our secret faces.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love.  Grace us with your mercy, so we might be made whole. Touch our inner being and heal us, so we might know joy and gladness.  Create new hearts within us, so they might beat as one with each other, and with your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon

Despite knowing our sin, God chooses to forgive us;
seeing our emptiness, God chooses to feed us;
holding our shattered hearts, God chooses to heal us.
This is the good news:  God loves us.
God has graced us with mercy and created new life from our brokenness.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Use the gifts which we offer to you, Holy God, to restore joy to the despairing, to give food to the hungry, and willing spirits to us, that we might be servants to all your people.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, people of God.
We lift them to our Lord so they might be filled with a new spirit.
Let us give thanks to God who loves us.
May our willing spirits offer praises to the One who feeds us..

Our greatest joy is to offer you our thanks and praise,
Creator, Grace-giver, Healer of our brokenness.
All that is beautiful was created for our eyes;
all that is wonderful was created for our awe;
all that is majestic was created for our praise;
all that is mystery was created for our silence.
But despite everything you have given us,
we are not satisfied.
Believing life is about our appetites,
we choose the moldy bread of the world;
knowing our only hope is from you,
we continue to rebel;
called to live in unity with one another,
we cling to all which divides us.

Yet you refuse to let go of us,
sending your only Son, Jesus,
to call us to life in you.
We have fallen,
and you lift us up;
we have forsaken you,
and you redeem us;
we are broken,
and you make us whole.

Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices, here and now,
with the faithful of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every mercy.
All creation praises one God and Father, one Lord, one Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gifts all of God’s people!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of grace and tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Though we look for him for all the wrong reasons,
he holds out the bread of life to us;
though we offer the cross to him,
he graces us with life;
though we thirst for more and more,
he offers us the cup of salvation;
though we gossip and slander one another,
he speaks the truth in love to us;
though we would divide each other
by class, race, or condition,
he calls us to oneness in you.

Recalling your steadfast love in Christ,
and knowing we cannot understand your grace
until that eternal day
when we can know your heart,
we take this bread and this cup,
praising and blessing you
for these gifts of hope and joy.
Great is the mystery of faith.

Christ died, a seeming prisoner of death.
Christ was raised, so all might be freed in resurrection love.
Christ will return, finishing the work of God.

Holy God of Truth,
though we come to your Table as many,
may your Holy Spirit make us one body and one spirit.
As you feed us with the Bread of Life,
may we feed those who know true hunger;
as your justice illumines our hearts' darkness,
may we be a beacon to the oppressed and lost;
as you speak to us the truth in love,
may we be a voice for the powerless and forgotten;
as you restore us to wholeness,
may we bind up our shattered world.

Through Christ who saved us,
all glory and honor are yours,
God, who created us in your own image,
through the Holy Spirit, in our midst making us your people,
now and forever.  Amen.

Let us go into the world with God’s gifts.
We will perform God’s works of mercy and life.
Let us go into the world with the Bread of heaven in our hands.
We will share Christ’s grace which gives life to everyone.
Let us go as the one body of faith and fellowship.
We will to witness to the one Spirit of hope and faith.

(c) 2015  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 26, 2015 (Pentecost 9/Trinity 8/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21

Call to Worship
The foolish say, "There is no God!
We are alone, on our own."
We gather to declare
the glory of God in our lives.
The foolish say, "It is your life;
you are accountable to no one."
We gather, strengthened by the Spirit,
trusting that Christ dwells in our hearts.
The foolish say, "Everything I have is mine;
I owe nothing to anyone."
We gather to praise the One
who calls us to serve others in love.

Prayer of the Day
Your glory flows
through all generations,
as you name every family
in heaven and on earth.
And so we come to you this day,
O God.

Your grace is
higher than the farthest star;
your peace is
deeper than our greatest emptiness;
your love spans
the abyss of death;
your hope stretches
into all eternity.
And so we come to you this day,
O Christ.

When our lives bottom out,
your grace is still our bedrock;
when our spirits run dry,
you fill us with your joy;
when we falter in our faith,
you strengthen us
to serve with hope and peace.
And so we come to you this day,
O Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we come to you this day,
praying as we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
God looks at us, to see if we are wise enough to offer confession, to receive forgiveness, and to seek to know the healing love of Christ.  Let us prove our wisdom, and set aside our foolish pride, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Wisdom's Heart: deep within, we know how we have failed to be your people.  Our hardened hearts are closed to the love of Christ; our lust for more and more blocks the fullness of your grace from transforming our lives; our trust in the powers of the world reveals our foolish nature.
   Have mercy, God of every generation.  Pour out the rich blessing of forgiveness on our parched souls.  Feed us with Heaven's Bread, so we might be nourished by your gentleness.  Shape us as your people, and restore us to faithful living, as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in service to everyone we meet.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The wideness of God's mercy, the range of God's forgiveness, the infinite love of God, the Heart of hope which is never empty:  all these gifts are ours, as God restores us to the fullness of life meant for us.
Grounded in love, rooted in discipleship, we offer ourselves in service to others, recognizing the limitless grace which is ours to share in Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
In our hands, the gifts seem so paltry, but in yours, they can bring plentitude of grace to those who are so hungry for hope.  In our hearts, we wonder how effective our ministries might be, but joined with yours, we can indeed bring healing, community, peace, and joy to our struggling communities.  Bless us and our gifts, multiply our hopes and our efforts, that your wonders might come into the world around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God feed you at this Table of grace!
And also feed you!
God desires to dwell in us,
and so we open our hearts to welcome God.
Let us rejoice in the God who loves us,
as we sing songs of thanksgiving to God.

Chaos foolishly thought there was no God,
until you spoke and sent it astray,
as creation burst forth from your imagination,
   grace racing the breadth and length
      planting wonders and joys beyond count,
   laughter filling the height and depth
      of every corner of the universes.
You prayed that we would have the power
to understand that all these gifts were shaped
for the life of those crafted in your image.
   But early one evening we gazed sin bathing,
   and felt it so beautiful that we inquired
   of death how to gain it.
You sent the prophets to us,
their words continuing to challenge us
to see if we had grown any wiser,
   but we continued to confound your plans,
   seeking refuge in the alluring embrace of temptation.
Finally, you sent Jesus to us,
who continually called to us,
‘do not be afraid; I am here.’
So with those who have come through the storms of life,
with those foolish enough to rely more on themselves than on you,
we lift our voices in glad song to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of who feeds all people.
All creation is filled with the fullness of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who came be the bread to feed our emptiness.
Hosanna in the highest!
You alone are holy, God of every moment,
and in your Child, Jesus, we find that love we cannot understand.
He could have stayed on the safe shores of glory,
   but came to bring us hope in every storm we face.
He could have kept your abundance for himself,
   but took your gifts and poured them out for us,
   so much that there were leftovers to share with those around us.
He could have left us to our foolish lives,
   but confounded the plans of sin
   by defeating death at its own game,
and restored us in that refuge called the resurrection.
As we try to understand his willingness to restore
   our fragmented lives through his brokenness,
as we ponder that miracle which is beyond death,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

We know God’s love, by the death of Christ;
we received the grace of God, by the resurrection of Christ;
we will be fed in glory, by the return of Christ.
We gather at this Table which is blessed
by your Spirit of transformation,
the common gifts being set aside for your holy use.
The broken pieces of the bread
are just enough to strengthen us
so we can go out to serve our fragmented world.
The cup of grace overflows with hope,
so we can see those around us,
   the families without hope,
   the children without food,
   the elderly without friends,
   the world without peace.
And when that time comes, when you show
how truly foolish you are by gathering
those of every time and place around your Table,
we will join our hearts and voices
in singing our praises to you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go now, foolish enough to believe in God.
We will see God in everyone we meet.
Let us go now, foolish enough to follow Jesus.
We will share grace with those who need it the most.
Let us go now, foolish enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit,
We will serve with the Spirit in calming the fears of the world.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 19, 2015 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 7:14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34; 53-56

Call to Worship
Neighbors and newcomers, families and strangers,
we gather in this place built by God’s steadfast love.
Strugglers and stragglers, pilgrims almost at the end of the journey,
each of us is seeks to follow Jesus, the compassionate One.
Builders of bridges in fractured communities,
those who stand on either side of walls of fear,
the Spirit of faithfulness calls us to live as one people – God’s people!

Prayer of the Day
God of aliens and strangers:
make the doors of this church
wide enough so that all find a welcome,
a home, a haven, a heart.

Christ of the near
and those who are far off:
make our hearts wide enough
so that all might find a place
in this household of faith.

Welcoming Spirit
of saints and sinners:
open our arms wide enough
so that all -
the guest, the neighbor,
the child, the widow,
the politician, the homeless,
the brother, the sister -
may be embraced
by your love and grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
open your arms wide enough
to enfold us in your heart,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(Our Father . . .)

Call to Reconciliation
Do we really want God to dwell within us, or are we only willing to 'rent out' space for a brief visit?  Our actions, our words, our silence, our fears all show the presence, or absence, of God in our lives.  Let us empty ourselves of all which burdens us, and welcome the One who lives with us forever.  Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Steadfast God, we confess that we are so busy putting up walls between ourselves and others, we cannot see the home you are building for all of us.  We spend so much time noting the differences between us and others, while you are embracing everyone as your child.  We run to welcome those who look, talk, and act like us, and you throw open your doors to the stranger, the alien, in our midst.
   Forgive us, Faithful Heart.  By your grace, help us to see the household you are building for all people: there are no plastic protectors on the furniture; there are no rooms that are off-limits; and even the smallest child is welcome to sit at the big peoples' Table and be fed by your grace.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our peace, our hope, our Lord, our Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do you remember?  At one time, you were without Christ; you were the stranger, the outsider, and the alien.  But now, in Christ, you have been brought home, living in God's household of hope and peace.
God's covenant with us is everlasting; God's steadfast love is forever; God's forgiveness makes us new and whole.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Because you have compassion on us, Steadfast Love, you do not hold anything back, but fill us with your good gifts.  May we share from our abundance, as well as from our need, so our offerings might be an enduring witness to your hope, your peace, and your healing for all.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Faithful One be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts to the one who has reconciled us.
We offer them as enduring witnesses to God’s steadfast love.
Sing to the One who is our Strength and our Hope.
We offer glad songs to the One who is our God.
Now, when chaos has settled in,
you spoke to Word and Spirit,
“Go, do all that you and in mind,”
and creation burbled forth into being:
   icy springs for hot summer days,
   color-changing leaves for kids to play in,
   grassy meadows just right for bare feet.
You appointed a place for us next to you
in your garden of wonders,
   but we hurried after death,
   begging sin to be our best friend.
Prophets came, hoping by their words
to draw us away from temptation’s playgrounds,
   yet we continued to cross over
   to seduction’s side every time.
You would not leave us without hope,
but having compassion for all your children,
sent Jesus to proclaim Jesus everywhere.
With those who have forsaken your grace,
with those who model your steadfast love,
we praise your name in these moments:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is always with us.
Creation calls out in joy to you, their God.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who has compassion for all.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God our salvation,
and your blessed Child could have stayed
in that lonely place called Glory,
   but he recognized our troubles
   and chose to come to us.
He could have secured the borders
of your kingdom to keep us immigrants out,
   but tore down the barriers we built,
   so we might cross more easily
   over that bridge called Faithfulness.
Having compassion on us,
he crossed to that deserted place called death,
   so we might recognize the Risen Lord
   as he came to embrace us in your resurrection love.
As we remember Christ’s great compassion for us,
as we seek to live as those who have hope,
we speak of that mystery called faith:
Christ became our death, so we might live.
Christ became our live, so we might know peace.
Christ will come in peace, so we might have hope.
As we gather around this Table,
we would come, not as strangers
but those who are called into your family
of steadfast love and faithfulness.
You have poured out the Spirit of strength
upon the bread which is broken for us,
   so we might go to tear down
   all the walls which divide us,
      to build bridges of reconciliation
      to all with whom we are broken.
You pour the grace of the Spirit
into the cup which is passed to us,
   so we might recognize those
   who are our sisters and brothers,
      not outsiders we need to fear.
As we feast on this meal of remembrance,
as we join hands and hearts with those around us,
   may we recognize that
   we are woven together with
   the scarlet threads of steadfast love and faithfulness.

And when we come away from this time we call life,
when we cross to that promised place called home,
we will gather with all who have journeyed before and after us,
offering enduring witness to your hope, peace, and forgiveness,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
Now go, to greet stranger and dear friend equally.
We will share God’s steadfast love as we seek to live in faithfulness.
Now go, to share Christ’s compassion with everyone.
We will tear down dividing walls and build bridges of hope.       
Now go, to live as one as the Spirit gathers you with others.
We will build communities that welcome all, especially the outsiders.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for July 12, 2015 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

Call to Worship
In Jesus Christ, the Child of God, we hear, and see,
the Word of peace, which is for all people:
we gather to tell the world that peace is God's will for us.
In Jesus Christ, Redeemer of all creation, we hear, and see,
the healing of the broken, which is for all people:
we gather to proclaim the good news of God's faithfulness and justice.
In Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Brother, we hear, and see,
the inheritance of God, which is for all people:
we gather to share with our sisters and brothers this glorious grace we have received.

Prayer of the Day
In the chorus
of the cardinal and turtledove,
all creation sings your praise:
Giver of Grace.
Steadfast love whispers to us
on the breezes of summer,
while faithfulness runs barefoot
in the backyards of our hearts,
calling to us to come play forever
in your fields of peace.

Justice calls to our souls,
Plumb Line of Peace,
daring us to reach out
to the broken, the hungry,
the needy, the hopeless:
to share with them
the rich inheritance
of acceptance and healing
which has been given to us.

The evensong of the frogs
in summer's gentle mist
lullabies us in the gentleness
of your steadfast love,
Spirit of God:
cradling us in your grace
and healing us with your peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our praise to you as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Peace is the heirloom promised to us, forgiveness is the inheritance passed on to us through Christ.  May we know God's peace, and be healed of our brokenness, as we confess our sins to God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Why are we always willing to descend into the worst areas life offers to us, but reluctant to come into your presence, Holy One?  How can we stand on sin's shaky foundations, yet find it impossible to dance in your joy?  Why are we so quick to trumpet our hollow achievements, and do not seem to be able to hear your whispers of hope for us?
    Forgive us, Grace's Glory, and fill us with your mercy.  May we set our hope in Jesus Christ, who came so we might become your children, inheritors of love, peace, and faithfulness forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In Christ, God's salvation has come; God's peace kisses our cheeks, wiping away our tears, and faithfulness takes us by the hand to lead us home to God.
God has called us, God has claimed us, and God has redeemed us.  This is good news for all of creation!  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
In this company of seekers, we find our inheritance – the deep richness of God’s grace.  With this company of seekers, we offer our gifts, so that others might be able to set their hopes on Christ, with whom we are all blessed by God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the peace of God be with all the saints gathered at this Table.
And also with you.
As God blesses us with these gifts, let us offer our hearts.
We open them, that God may bless us at this meal.
Let us sing and dance our way to the Table of grace!
We join in the celebration of all who have received this inheritance!

Gathering up all that is good and beautiful,
God of all wonder and glory,
you shaped the universe and all that is in it:
soft summer breezes dancing across verdant plains,
snow-capped mountains
   reflecting the sunrise each new morning.
It was your good pleasure
to create us in your image,
it was your glorious grace
that filled us with your life.
Yet, seeing the dazzling seductions
offered by sin and death,
we rushed back to you, imploring
you to give us our every desire.
Deeply grieved by our rebellion,
you sent the company of prophets
to lead us back to your heart,
but we continued to dance
with the wrong partners.
In the fullness of your wisdom,
you sent Jesus, to seek our faces,
and to turn us back to you.

So now, with those who praise you
with song and silence, with tambourines and organs,
we proclaim the riches of your grace:

Holy, holy, holy, God who has blessed us with Christ!
All creation is yours,
    for the riches of your grace are poured upon it.
Holy, holy, holy!  Just and merciful are you,
God in Community, Holy in One!

Holy indeed are you, God of every blessing,
and blameless is Jesus Christ, your Beloved.
He sets free all imprisoned
by their fears, as well as their past.
He proclaims good news to the poor,
and challenges the rich to generous lives.
He gave himself into death's hands
and was laid into a cold tomb.
He leaped from the grave,
teaching us resurrection's dance.

We offer our songs of joy to you, knowing
that whenever we eat the bread and share the cup,
we live out that mystery we call faith:

Holy, he humbled himself with our death;
blameless, he was raised to new life;
gracious, he will return in the fullness of time.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray,
as you gather us all in this place.
As we take and taste
the Bread of Heaven,
may its brokenness become our healing,
that we may become hope
to a world shattered by fear.
As we share the Cup,
may its grace become our fullness,
that we might empty ourselves
to become blessings to those who long
for peace and reconciliation in their lives.

And when all time has been fulfilled
and you gather up all your children to yourself,
with clean hands and pure hearts
we will gather around your Table in glory,
singing our praises to you through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

We are sent by God, to be God’s people in the world.
We will go to sing of God’s joy and hope to all.
We are called by Christ, adopted into God’s gracious family.
We will go to share the good news of Christ’s grace for everyone.
We are chosen by the Spirit to care for and serve creation.
We will go to join hands with our sisters and brothers in every moment.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman