but you have chosen to be here:
where we learn how to live in God's Kingdom.
Welcome to this place - full of music, of words, of prayer –
yet also filled with danger:
where we encounter a Wisdom we cannot always understand.
Welcome to God's House, the most dangerous place in town:
where we talk about and with God, and are reduced to silence
so we may hear the call to discipleship.
Prayer of the Day
the blue skies, the sunshine,
the cool breezes cradling falling leaves:
all creation reminds us
of the delicate Artist
who has shaped us
and all that is around us.
We lift our songs
of gratitude and awe to you.
with your acts of mercy;
you tip over our pretensions
with your modest nature;
you laugh at our hunger for power
with your words of grace.
you bear our prayers
to the throne of grace
when they are only whispers
in our souls;
you unfold the road map
to show us the way to the Kingdom;
you transform our stuttering words
into praise and wonder to our God.
God in Community, Holy in One,
be with us in this and every moment,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We do not pray in order to alleviate our guilt, but to express our gratitude to God. For we know all the things we have said and done that we shouldn't, and all those words we could have spoken, all those actions we could have undertaken, but did not. Despite such lives, God still loves us, surrounding us with mercy and hope, waiting to restore us to new life. Please join me, as we pray together saying,
Forgive us, Holy One. Remind us that the cup we are offered overflows with grace, that the waters of baptism cleanse and make us new, and that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the One who calls us to service, standing by our side, as we seek to be faithful disciples.
The One who writes anthems for the early morning stars, fills us with songs of joy. The One who provides food for all living things, feeds us with mercies which come fresh and new each day. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
May our gifts lay a foundation of hope for all in despair; may the brighten the shadows of those who wander alone; may they cause the voiceless to join the morning stars in singing your praises. This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
And also bless yours!
Lift up your hearts to God, beloved of the Lord.
We offer them to the One who clothes them with grace.
Bless God's name with songs of joy.
We praise the Lord with our hearts and with our lips.
You donned your Word-clothes,
calling the whirling Spirit to action,
and you laid the foundation of creation:
stretching a line of mountains across the fields,
sinking the seas into the hollows of the earth,
teaching harmonies to the morning stars.
You shaped humanity in your image,
calling us to life with you,
but we sulked at your invitation,
preferring the shadowy words
offered to us by sin and death.
You sent the prophets as your messengers,
their words of fire, as well as faithfulness,
ministering to us, but we ignored them
in our hunger for power and recognition.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to baptize us in your mercy,
to offer us the cup of salvation.
So, with those who surround you, shouting with joy,
with all, in every time and place, who seek to serve,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:
Holy, holy, holy, God who is clothed with honor and majesty.
All creation overflows with your life.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes with loud cries and tears.
Hosanna in the highest!
He did not glorify himself here on earth,
but became your Servant of mercy and grace.
He stretched out his hands, not to grasp power,
but to lead us to the back of the line,
where we can minister to your people.
He suffered, learning obedience to you;
he became obedient, so death might be mastered;
dying, he discovered the wonder of your resurrection;
rising, we finally grasp the truth
of your love and sacrifice for us.
As we remember his life, his death, his resurrection,
as we would comprehend your promises to us,
we would proclaim that mystery we call faith:
Dying, Christ became the Servant of all;
rising, Christ became the source of salvation for all;
coming again, Christ becomes your promise to all.
It is here at this Table,
your Spirit poured out upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and your children gathered in this place,
that we are transformed into your servants.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
may we go from this place
to give of ourselves in service to all;
as we drink from the cup of grace,
we are filled with your peace and hope,
and become the gifts for which the broken,
the hopeless, the lost are searching.
And when our journey of faith is complete,
when we gather around your feast in glory,
we will join our hearts and hands
in loud cries and tears, singing of your great love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
God sends us forth as workers for justice.
To cover the oppressed with a flood of compassion.
Jesus invites us to work humbly by his side.
We would respond, 'Here we are; where do you need us?'
The Spirit hands us garments woven with strands of love and light.
We will clothe everyone we meet with these garments of grace.
(c)2015 Thom M. Shuman