but give special treatment to a few?
God calls us to love others as deeply
as we love ourselves, with no strings attached.
What good is it if we say we want
God to show mercy towards us,
but are quick to judge others?
God calls us to forgive our sisters and brothers,
to let mercy triumph over judgment.
What good is it if we say we trust God in every moment,
but live guided by our fears?
We will speak and act as those who trust God to come
and live in our fearful hearts.
Prayer of the Day
God surrounded by glory:
you notice the people we walk past,
and journey with them,
wherever they are going.
You speak out for the voiceless,
and open our ears to their cries.
Jesus, Healer of the hopeless,
Converser with the outsider:
faith and works skip hand in hand
down the streets of the kingdom.
the have-a-lots and the have-nothings
find themselves sitting side by side
at your Table,
passing grace to one another.
those with good names,
and those with no names,
are called by one name:
so the poor might find in us a friend;
sow peace in our spirits,
so the angry might find in us
a sea of gentleness;
sow generosity in our hands,
so the hungry might find in us
their daily bread.
God in Community, Holy in One,
surround us in these moments
and in all the ones to come,
with your grace and love,
as we pray together the disciples' prayer,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We find it a lot easier to play favorites, rather than treating everyone equally. We find it simpler to classify others as 'them,' instead of discovering what makes them beloved in God's eyes. We cling to fear, when we could grasp hold of God's enduring love. Let us confess together all we have done, and not done, which brings hurt to others, and harm to ourselves. Join me, as we pray together, saying,
How glibly we say we trust you, Holy One, and how quickly our fears silence our words. We find you at the side of the poor, while we cozy up to the rich and famous. You stand behind the counter serving the hungry at the soup kitchen, while we are stocking our freezers and pantries till they overflow. We look down at those whose hands are dirty, but your hand of mercy pulls them into your embracing love.
Forgive us, O Lord, and do good to us when we have trouble doing good for others. Surround us with your love; surround us with your grace; surround us with your peace; surround us with the Spirit of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
God comes, for no other reason than to save us. This is indeed good news. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
May we who are rich with your blessings, share them in common with those who have so little. May our gifts be used to sow justice, to feed the hungry, and to bring relief to those afflicted in so many ways. This we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers, may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are offered to our God.
My beloved sisters and brothers, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts, and praise is on our lips.
Our hearts do handsprings,
and our joy echoes off the mountains,
Creator of all:
rich and poor, man and woman,
child and grandparent, gnat and galaxy.
Created in your image,
we ridicule others who look different from us;
our lungs filled with the Spirit's breath,
we laugh at those who are not as good
as we imagine we are.
But even when we turn our backs on you,
your love is steadfast and your grace is abundant.
And so, with all your people,
those on earth and those around your throne,
those beside us in this moment
and those with you throughout eternity,
we join in everlasting song:
Holy, holy, holy, God who surrounds creation with your grace!
Heaven and earth sing to the One who made them all.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who shares bread with the poor.
Hosanna in the highest!
Jesus has done everything well:
eating and drinking with sinners,
he taught us that there is a place
at the Table for each and every one of us;
responding to the cries of the poor,
he shows us we are all equal in God's heart;
clearing the eyes of the blind
and opening the ears of the deaf,
inviting children to sit on his lap
and conversing with the outsiders of his day,
he models the radical inclusiveness
of your kingdom.
As we remember all you did in and through him -
his words, his touch, his laughter, his silence,
his pain, his loneliness, his death, his resurrection -
we offer ourselves in trust and hope,
in service and sacrifice,
as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has risen, to sow grace;
Christ will return, to sow justice for all.
and on the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we take the broken loaf, we feast,
not on the crumbs which fall from the Table,
but on the grace which makes us whole;
on the hope which makes us one;
on the love which calls us to serve:
to welcome the immigrants to our neighborhood,
to teach the little child to read,
to affirm the awkward adolescent,
to share our bread and all we have
with those in need,
until that day when Christ returns
and all shall feast at his banquet in heaven.
Through your Son, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit in your holy church,
all honor and glory are yours,
Great God, our hope, our trust, our redemption,
now and forever. Amen.
God sends us forth to love all people, no strings attached.
We will share grace and hope with everyone.
Jesus sends us forth to forgive our sisters and brothers.
We will offer mercy, not judgment, to those around us.
The Spirit sends us forth to trust God in every moment.
We will live in faith, not in fear, sharing our hearts with all we meet.
(c) Thom M. Shuman