Sunday, August 20, 2017

Liturgy with communion for August 27, 2017 (Pentecost 12/Trinity 11/Proper 16/Ordinary 21 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:23-30

Call to Worship
Give thanks to God with all your hearts.
We will hold nothing back from our God.
Sing full-throated praises to our God.
We will join in the chorus of thanksgiving for God's abiding love.
Glorify God and that Word we know as Jesus Christ.
We will worship our God with wonder and joy. 

Prayer of the Day

There are days
when we proclaim you
   a pest,
constantly prodding us
to reach out to others.

There are days
when we say you are
   a fool,
to imagine we
might take up crosses
to follow you.

There are days
when we lament you
   as BrokenHeart,
as your world
grows more violent,
more hurtful,
more hateful.

So, this day,
let us start over
and simply say you are
   our Hope,
   our Peace,
   our Comfort,
   our Guide,
   our Joy,
our God in Community, Holy in One,
to whom we pray as we have been taught
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are so much like Peter.  Jesus tells us what it will take to follow him, and we want to argue.  Jesus shows us the way to the Kingdom and we look for another path.  Let us put down all that keeps us from following Jesus, as we confess our lives to God, praying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We confess our struggle to be transformed into disciples, God of mystery.  The desires of the world would shape us into people you would not recognize.  The demands of our society pull us away from your heart.  Our culture values the rich, the powerful, the successful, but you are on the side of the weak, the poor, the outcast, and the oppressed.
   Forgive us, Merciful God, for looking for you in all the wrong places. Reawaken us with your voice that calls us to service; revive our weary hearts with your vision of creation; refresh our fatigued spirits that we might boldly proclaim Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and go forth to serve your people, in Christ's name. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It is so easy to think like the world, that money will give us happiness, that power will earn us grace.  But Paul reminds us that if we think like Christ, and live for others, we will find true freedom.
Not only our minds, but may God transform our hearts and spirits into the likeness of Christ, so we may be faithful disciples.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen. 

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

We will not proclaim our faith with our words only, but with our lives and these gifts we offer to you, O God, we pray that others might be transformed by your grace, your hope, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Rock of our lives be with you.
And also with you.
I appeal to you to offer your hearts to God.
We lift them to the One who heals their brokenness.
Sing your songs of praise to our God.
We join in choruses of joy and wonder.

You came into the district of chaos,
Innovative God, calling forth
to creation and in the listening
     rivers flowed from the mouths of cisterns,
     coastlands watched for sunrises,
     wild animals looked up into night skies
       as stardust drifted down upon them.
You invited those made in your image
to participate in all this goodness and beauty,
     but we listened to the lies filling sin's mouth
     and chose to conform to those desires.
You sent prophets to teach your ways
     but we chose death's gifts:
     greed, cruelty, fear, and gossip.
You sent Jesus to us
to walk through our troubles
in order to bring us back to you.

With our hearts as well as our voices,
with our hopes as well as our worries,
we will sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of endless love.
All creation joins in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!

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


You are holy, Mighty God,
yet because you worry about the lowly,
your beloved Child came into our midst.
Into those places where lives are wasted,
     he came, to bring hope;
into those barren place that bleach our souls,
   he came, pouring the waters of life
   over us;
into the cold emptiness of death,
     he went, coming forth bearing
     the warmth and life of your
     resurrection promises.

As we would seek to know your will,
as we would consider his life as the model for ours,
we would tell everyone of that mystery called faith:

Christ died, a living sacrifice for all;
 Christ was raised, as you fulfilled your purpose for him;
 Christ will come, even as we wait. 


You reach out your hands to us,
Steadfast Love, offering us the
bread and the cup blessed with
your Spirit of life.
As we eat of the bread,
may we seek to bring healing
to all the broken places of our world:
     Charlottesville,
     Sierra Leone,
     Barcelona
     and (local places may be named).
As we drink from the cup,
may we go to all the barren places,
     bringing water to the thirsty,
              food to the hungry,
              community for the lonely.

Then, when all that is finally wears out
and all our fears vanish like smoke,
your redemption will be as fresh
as it was on that first morning,
and we will gather around your Table,
God in Community, Holy in One,
praising you forever and ever.  Amen.

Sending
Go out as God's people,
willing to do God's work in the world.
Go out as Christ's disciples,
ready to serve wherever we have the chance.
Go out as the Spirit's hopes,
eager to proclaim peace to all. 

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, August 11, 2017

Liturgy with communion for August 20, 2017 (Pentecost 11/Trinity 10/Proper 15/Ordinary 20 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: 10-28

Call to Worship
In the gathering of school supplies,
in the harvesting of backyard gardens:
God blesses us beyond imagination.
In the simple acts of daily chores,
in the kindness shared by a stranger:
God is gracious to us.
In the rapture of a child watching a firefly,
in the inquisitive look of a senior
wondering where they left their keys:
God's face shines upon us.
We praise you, O God!
We praise you!

Prayer of the Day

Welcoming God:
you gather everyone,
especially the outsiders,
to worship you, for
you are not an image or idol,
   but protector of the helpless,
          parent to the poor,
          friend of the lonely.

Accepting Christ:
there is not any place
you will not go to bring
God's grace to others.
In you,
   the enemy is made a friend,
   the broken are made whole,
   the orphan finds a home.

Embracing Spirit:
your gentleness falls upon us,
and our fears of rejection disappear;
   your truth is whispered in our ears,
   and our arms embrace strangers;
your peace is poured into our souls,
and we are reconciled to all we hurt;
   your love throws open our shuttered hearts,
   and we see our sisters and brothers all around us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
in you we have life and hope forever.
Hear us as we pray together saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We may praise God, but we prefer to live our way, becoming captive to our foolish choices.  But God longs to set us free, so let us confess to our God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In every opportunity, God of this day, we choose not to follow you.  From our hearts to our mouths flow words that hurt others, come thoughts that lead us away from you.  We are richly blessed, but think others should be grateful for the crumbs we offer to them.  Our claims to have great faith are disputed by our inability to trust you in all things.
     We come to you, Helper of the weak, for you are gracious and forgiving.  You offer us the fullness of your love, not just a few dollops.  You refuse to let us go, but sweep us up with arms of joy.  You send Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to lead us into your kingdom.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
I ask you, has God rejected us?
No!  By God's grace, God's gifts and God's calling are never taken back.
I ask you, again, has God rejected us?
No!  That Love we know as God will never let us go.
This is good news, dear friends, believe it.
Thanks be to God.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May we not offer you the leftovers of our resources and our lives, Blessing God, but let these gifts be but part of what we give back to you, as we seek to serve your people and your creation.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the gathering God be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to the One who welcomes you.
We offer them to God whose face glows when we do what is right.
Sing glad songs to our God.
We rejoice, for our God will not reject us.

You called creation to your Self,
Gathering God, saying, "Listen and understand:
     let waters fill the rivers and seas,
     let the trees sing for joy,
     let the fields yield fruit and grains,"
and all the ends of the universe praised you.
to those shaped in your image, you gave everything,
hoping we would understand your dreams,
     but sin and death kept shouting
     after us, and we listened only to them.
Prophets came, to make your ways
known in all the world,
     but we only wanted the temptations of sin.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to be our guide to your heart.

With those whose faith is great,
with those who cling fast to your covenant,
we sing a song of joy to you:

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.


Your holiness is poured out on all,
and Jesus Christ comes to make
your way know to all people.
When we listened only to foolish words,
     he spoke of your dreams
     so we might understand.
When we were imprisoned by
our all too willful rebellion,
     he came to set us free with that love
     which will never let go of us.
When death would devour
the very crumbs of our lives,
     he gathered us up
     and carried us out into
     that resurrection morning.

As we gather with our sisters and brothers,
with neighbors and strangers, at the Table,
we sing of that mystery known as faith:

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high,
beyond all thought and fantasy:
that God, the Son of God, should take
our mortal form for mortals' sake.


Help us to listen to your welcome
to your feast, God of the gathered,
as your pour out your Spirit
on the gifts made ready for us.
May we understand that it is
not just crumbs, but all of your justice
offered in the bread so, as we eat,
     we may go to bring wholeness
     to all shattered by the world's fears.
Help us to recognize that it is
not just a few drips, but all of your grace
poured into the cup so, as we drink,
     we will go to do what is right,
     opening doors to outsiders,
     gathering outcasts into our family.

And when at the last you call to us,
gathering us around the Feast of the Lamb,
we will join all peoples in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Now go, to serve as God's people.
We will work to remove all that divides us from others.
Now go, to share the grace of Jesus.
We will love others just as we are loved.
Now go, to be the Spirit's community.
We will invite everyone to join us in this life of faith and service.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Liturgy with communion for August 13, 2017 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 14/Ordinary 19 - A)

Texts: 1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalm 85:8-13; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33

Call to Worship
We gather to worship our God,
who speaks the words of peace we need in chaotic times.
We gather to follow Jesus,
who encourages to never fear, for he is near.
We gather to be filled with the Spirit,
who anoints us so we can go to serve our world.

Prayer of the Day
You come as a great wind,
splitting our fears into fragments,
breaking our prejudices into
tiny pebbles that hurt no one.
   You are a summer's breeze
   that stirs the growing grass;
   you are the soft breath
   which makes us more caring.

You come as an earthquake,
knocking all our doctrines
off their neat shelves,
smashing them beyond recognition.
   You are the gentle touch
   that wakens us from
   our nightmares, whispering,
   'it's just me; don't be scared.'

You are the fire that rages
against the injustices visited
upon the poor, the broken, the vulnerable
(often in your name).
   You are the spark that lights
   the passions for your people
   so we feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
   free the oppressed, visit the sick.

As you pass by us in so many ways,
may we take notice of you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The deepest longing of our hearts is to be forgiven and embraced by our God. As we confess our sins, God speaks peace to us and makes us whole.  Join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   In truth, God of silence and seas, we are more adept at making waves than calming storms.  We find it easier to push people out of the boat,  rather than make room for those who are different from us.  And our lives are such a whirlwind of  activity, that we do not notice your presence or hear your sheer silence singing your shalom to us.
   Have mercy on us, God of patience.  Grab hold of us to keep us from drowning in our oceans of temptations.  Give us the words to speak of your hope to others.  Fill our hearts with the love of Jesus Christ, which is nearer to us than we dare to imagine.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Immediately, immediately! your sins are forgiven, your life is restored, and grace becomes your guide through this life.
Thanks be to God!  We are not left alone, but take heart in the forgiving love of our God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Not only with our lips, but with our lives and with our treasure we will proclaim that you are in our midst, Loving God.  Take these gifts, and use them so all might know that your love, your life, your hope, your healing is near to them.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open your hearts to God,
so they may be filled with grace.
Speak of the Word of life which is near you.
Glad songs of praise are on our lips.

At the corner of disarray and emptiness,
you came, Ingenuous God, passing by
as creation sprang forth out of the sheer silence:
   splitting valleys to push up mountains,
   breaking planets into moons,
   pouring waters into seas.
All this was for those shaped in your image,
   but we threw down your hopes,
   leaving you alone as we
   forsook you for sin and death.
Prophets came proclaiming your word
so we could hear, that in hearing
we might believe, and in believing
we could call on you,
   but we refused to listen.
Unwilling to give up on us,
you sent Jesus to us,
coming into all our broken places.

With those who confess you with their lips,
with those who believe in their hearts,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy, God who does not forsake us.
All creation worships and praises you.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

At the corner of justice and kindness,
Jesus came, your child of holiness,
our brother of hope and grace.
When the world would dismiss us,
   he would put us to work
   in your kingdom.
When others would toss us overboard,
   he reaches out
   to pull us to safety.
When the forces of sin and death
threaten to overwhelm us,
   he has already overcome their power
   once and for all, by dying
   and being raised to new life.

As we gather at this Table,
we will find him in our hearts,
even as we proclaim our faith:

Christ died, following God to the very end;
God raised him, restoring him to wholeness;
Christ will return, to guide us to God.

Here at the corner of fears and doubts,
we come to your Table,
where the Spirit blessed the bread and cup,
and all those who are in this place.
The bread is the gift of life, sending us
   to plant gardens in
      craters made by bombs;
   to offer a bouquet of
      faithfulness to the ostracized.
The cup is the promise of hope,
   which we would share with all
      who wander in despair.

And when we gather in that place
where you pass by us on the way
to prepare the great feast of the Lamb,
we will sing our songs of joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
We will go into the world as God's people,
telling of God's hopes for all.
We will go to serve the world as followers of Jesus,
showing with our lives that all are part of the kingdom.
We will go to share the Spirit,
to bring peace where there is war, to share love where there is hate.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 28, 2017

Liturgy with communion for August 6, 2017 (Pentecost 9/Trinity 8/Proper 13/Ordinary 18 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Call to Worship
All who are thirsty, come!
God is the fountain for our lives.
All who are hungry, come!
Jesus feeds us with goodness and grace.
Rich and poor, young and old, neighbor and guest, come!
The Holy Spirit gathers everyone around the Table.

Prayer of the Day

We try to distance ourselves from you,
Loving God, and you spread a picnic of grace,
waving us over, with a big grin on your face.
We whisper our worries in the night,
and you say, "You don't have to shout!"
Your compassion is spread over our brokenness
like jam over our toast.

When we are tempted to spend
our lives on all the luxuries offered
to us by the world, Brother of the hungry,
you set up a table piled high with
grace, hope, peace, joy, and wonder
under a big sign which reads
"Clearance!  Everything 100% off!!"

When we get all in a sweat
over whether or not we can meet
all our self-imposed expectations,
you take your bandana out
of your back pocket, Spirit of peace,
wiping our faces, and handing us
a cup of cool water, whispering,
"Relax.  I've taken all that
off your shoulders."

We rejoice in your gifts which are ours,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The Lord is not mean-spirited or vengeful.  God is gracious and merciful, always willing to listen to Our prayers, and to hear our hearts. Let us join in the prayer for forgiveness, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We are sure we do not have enough
to end hunger in our communities, Holy God.
     Forgive us that we forget that, by your
     presence and power, very little can do
     so much.
We believe we are the only ones
who carry heartache around with us.
     Forgive us, Compassion's Heart,
     that we do not see, or embrace
     the despair of those around us.
We think we do not have the words
with which to offer hope and healing to strangers.
     Forgive us, Welcoming God, for not having
     the courage to run up to them with your grace.
We convince ourselves that we need to devote
all our time, our energy, our resources, our lives
on keeping up with others.
     Forgive us for not living that joyful,
     gracious life modeled for us by you,
     Jesus our Brother.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Listen!  Come to the One who covers us with compassion, who feeds us on grace and mercy.
What good news!  Everyone who thirsts is given water; everyone who hungers is fed; everyone Who sins is forgive.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts quench the thirst of those who desire hope; may our lives by spent in feeding those Whose hunger is all too real; may we always give away the blessings you have given to us, God of The Compassionate Heart.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Table-setting God be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hungry hearts to our God.
We offer them to the One who feeds us with grace.
God gives us all we need in every moment.
Our mouths will sing God's praise in these moments.

When the hour was late,
you spoke, Steadfast Love,
and creation sprang forth in newness:
     tadpoles stretching into bullfrogs;
     caterpillars crystallizing into butterflies;
     raindrops plopping on broad leaves;
     thunder rolling through the valleys,
and you shaped us in your image.
If we had listened to you,
we would have feasted on Eden's delights,
     but we hungered for sin's moldy bread,
     and drank death's sour wine.
With great love and unceasing hope,
you sent the prophets to us,
     but we sent them away for
     the hour was too early to follow you.
Then, in overwhelming compassion,
you sent Jesus to us.

With those who have been fed by your love,
with those who drink deeply of your joy,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of gracious love.
All creation rejoices in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One filled with great compassion.
Hosanna in the highest!


You are gracious and merciful, Holy God,
and Jesus Christ is your heart made flesh.
He, who had everything,
     came to fill those who had nothing.
He, who lived in glory,
     came to the deserted places
     of our hearts to love us.
He, who is over all,
     came to submit to death's power,
     being cut off from you, until
     you raised him to new life.

We need not go away empty,
but are fed at the Table,
where we speak the truth in Christ:

Christ died, the witness to obedience;
God raised Christ, the witness to the resurrection;
Christ will come, the witness to the promises to us.


Here a this Table, God of abundance,
you feed us with that grace and peace
which is offered at no cost to us.
The Holy Spirit blesses the bread,
breaks it, and gives it to us
     so we might have the strength
     to hold those whose knees wobble
     from fear and despair.
The Holy Spirit blesses the cup,
pours it, and gives it to us
     so we can go to lift up
     the hopes which the world
     has dashed to the ground.
The Holy Spirit will gather up
the broken people to create
a community of wholeness.

And when the final hour is now,
when we are gathered with
our sisters and brothers of every time and place,
we will eat and be filled at the Lamb's Supper,
and rejoice with one voice
as we praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go now, to find the thirsty.
We will show them where the living water flows.
Go now, to find the hungry.
We will share from our abundance to feed them.
Go now, to find the stranger.
We will embrace them as sister and brother.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 30, 2017 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - A)

Texts:  1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Call to Worship
Come and worship, proclaim God's ways of faithfulness and steadfast love.
We will tell of God's love, which unfolds in our lives.
Come and worship, for we are God's people, rejoicing in his graciousness.
God is always with us, there is nothing which can keep us apart.
Come to the One who tells stories; worship our God who keeps promises.
We rejoice with God who is with us always.

Prayer of the Day
In this kingdom
where the hopeless
are thrown into
Lake Forgotten forever,
   you cast your net,
   drawing them
   into your embrace,
   cradling them in your heart.

In this kingdom
where folks turn anorexic
gorging on greed,
while the poor scratch
in famine's fallow fields,
   you wander in,
   offering top dollar
   for the pearls of grace
   they uncover.

In this kingdom
where hope and faith,
patience and peace
have been sold as showpieces
for fancy museums,
   you come,
   purchasing them back,
   polishing off the dust,
   handing them back to us
   so we can see the reflection
of that kingdom
you forged for us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray, saying
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
It is not our past which keeps us from God, for that is behind us.  It is not our present, for God is with us on this day.  And our future is held tight in God's hands.  It is true - there is absolutely nothing which can separate us from God.  Whatever sins we have committed, God's forgiveness and love take them away forever.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     What can we say about our foolish lives, God of Love?  Too often, we choose to worship power when we could serve others in humility.  We toss and turn at night, all those things over which we have no control keeping us wide awake, when we could turn them over to you.  No matter how many times we hear the news that death has lost its power over us, we dread that day and try everything we can to postpone it.
     For believing that our sins are more powerful than your mercy, forgive us, Grace of the world.  You cast out your net of grace so that all might be gathered into your kingdom.  Your Spirit carries the whispers of our hearts to you, and we are embraced with your hope, blessed with your love through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Who has the right to judge us?  Only Christ.  Yet Christ died for us, Christ was raised for us, Christ reigns in power over us - Christ even prays for us!
This is the love which binds us to God forever.  There is nothing in this world, or beyond, which will keep us from being God's children.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts to you, Steadfast Love, not because you need them, but so others might be as blessed as we are by your presence, your power, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God whose life is stronger than death be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who searches your hearts.
We open them to God, who justifies us.
Let us give thanks to God who shows us steadfast love.
We sing to the Lord, whose grace is kept in our hearts.

What then are we to say, God of creative thought?
You carved mountains out of valleys,
     poured rivers to the seas,
     created galaxies so numerous they cannot be counted,
     and shaped us from the dust of the stars.
You walked before us in righteousness,
inviting us to follow in your footsteps,
     but we bought fields filled with fools' gold,
     and threw out our nets until they
          overflowed with temptations.
Prophets came, to impart wisdom to us,
but tears ran down their cheeks as
we continued to be conformed to sin.
Turning to us, you were gracious enough
to send Jesus to us, to help us in our weakness.

With those who listen and understand,
with those who seek a discerning mind,
we sing our thanksgivings to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who justifies us.
All creation rejoices in your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who reveals your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest!

What then are we to say,
Searcher for God's most precious possessions?
Like a farmer,
     you plant seeds into insignificant people,
     watching them grow into servants.
Like a baker,
     you mix the least with the mighty,
                    the poor with the rich,
                    the weak with the strong,
     to shape your inclusive kingdom.
Like a lover,
     you withhold nothing from those
     you carry in your heart,
          even dying so that we might
          have life forever with God.

As we rejoice that Jesus gave us everything,
as we remember nothing stands between us and God,
we speak of that mysterious faith which is ours:

Christ died, giving up his own life for us;
Christ was raised, God's treasure brought forth
          from the potter's field;
Christ will intercede for us, with joy and hope.

What then are we to say,
Spirit of the Sighs?
In the bread shaped for the healing,
you unfold the Word to us,
     feeding us on God's hopes
     until we seethe over
     the injustices of our time.
In the cup prepared for the pouring,
     you fill us with light,
     so we can journey into
     the shadows of our world,
     searching for those thrown
     aside by our society.

And when time ends,
when there is nothing more to say,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth to proclaim God's constant love.
We will live out that love for everyone we meet.
Go forth to unfold God's Word to the world.
We will gather up the tears of those around us,
as we offer the healing grace of Jesus.
Go forth to tell stories of hope and peace.
We will spread the Spirit of life all around us.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 23, 2017 (Pentecost 7/Trinity 6/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 44:6-8; Psalm 86:11-17; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30,  36-43

Call to Worship
From the moment we open our eyes each morning,
until we close them at night, God is with us.
There is no one like you, our God!
In times when we are surrounded with struggles,
in all the surprising places we find hope, Jesus is with us.
There is no one like you, our Brother!
When we feel orphaned by the world,
when we are welcomed into faith's family,
the Holy Spirit is with us.
There is no one like you, Witnessing Spirit!

Prayer of the Day
You we praise, Steadfast Love,
for your presence never abandons us,
but is at our side in all of life.
There is no cobwebbed corner
that is not claimed by your grace.

You we praise, Teller of parables.
Your words challenge us in moments of doubt,
as well as in our times of great faith.
When we run around in circles
chasing our worries and fears
like a dog after it's tail,
you whisper hope to us.

You we praise, Spirit who calls to our hearts.
Your voice is that gentle whisper
in a world filled with angry shouts;
your joy is that refreshing shower
when despair parches our souls;
your wonder opens our eyes and ears
to the gifts which surround our lives.

You we praise, God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we fail to live as God's people, we are like flowers which give way to weeds.  But God seeks us out, not to condemn us, but to comfort, to forgive, and to bring us home.  Let us stop playing hide-and-seek with our God, as we confess our sins together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Insolently we turn against you, God of truth.  When we follow those desires that control us; when we live for ourselves, shutting off the gifts of those around us; when we think we do not need to share love, hope, peace with others, we show how we have joined that league of hooligans who ignore your way of life.
     Yet, you have chosen to adopt us as your children, God-who-stands-with-us, forgiving us and making us inheritors with Jesus of your grace and joy.  So lead us by the Spirit, that we might follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into creation which groans for love and healing.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In sorrow so deep we cannot find our way out,
      God cradles us in comfort;
in moments so shadowed we trip over our fears,
      God lights the way for us;
in joy which cascades into our souls,
      God fills us with healing.
Even when we cannot see it, God's hope is all around us, surrounding us with peace and healing.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven !  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

Your steadfast love is but one of the many gifts you pour into us.  Our offerings are but a part of the ways in which we can serve you and your people.  Bless them, and bless us, to ministries of healing and hope.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of hope be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift your hearts to your Creator.
We offer them to the One who fills us with wonder.
Children of God, join in glad songs of praise to God.
We join the psalmists and prophets, the disciples and the doubters in glorifying God.

Who is like you, whimsical God?
You could have kept creation for yourself,
but instead you
     poured light into the shadows of chaos,
     planted seeds for crops to strengthen all,
     shaped companions to journey with us.
You freely give these gifts to those
who are made in your loving image,
     but from old, we choose over and over
     to trust in sin and death,
     believing their tangible temptations
     to be of more value than your unseen hope.
Prophets come along to teach us your way,
so we might walk in your truth,
     but we consider them to be a
     troupe of troublemakers
     and chase them away.
Finally Jesus came, to gather up your children,
so we might shine like the Son in your kingdom.

With those who remain indebted to the flesh,
with those who owe their life to the Spirit,
we join our voices in praising you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
All creation groans, awaiting your redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gives us listening ears.
Hosanna in the highest!


Who is like you, Story Teller?
You left the crowds of angels
and came into our world.
With parables and simple truths,
you opened our ears so we could listen
     to words of joy and comfort.
Grounded in that hope no one can see,
you opened our eyes so we can glimpse
     touch, taste, and live in the kingdom.
You suffered on the cross to break
the hold sin and death have on us,
     so by the grace of your resurrection,
     we become your sisters and brothers,
     joint heirs of God's constant grace.

As we wait with eager longing for you,
as we celebrate this feast of heaven,
we declare that faith which is a mystery:

Christ died, refusing to fall back into fear;
God raised him, revealing glory to us;
Christ will come to gather us into the kingdom.


Who is like you, Spirit of Creation?
You plant the seeds that become
the grain which is turned into bread;
you warm the vines that nurture
the grapes which are for the cup;
you transform these simple gifts
into a meal set at the children's Table.
May the broken bread give us strength
     so we may go to serve
     the vulnerable with our whole hearts.
May the cup offered to us open our ears
     so we may listen to the oppressed
     with attention focused only on them.

Then, when all creation is gathered up at the end
and all your children from every age and place
gather around that Table prepared from your hope,
we will spend all eternity forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will greet everyone as one of the family.
Go forth as followers of Jesus.
We will serve everyone we meet, especially those who have been thrown aside by the world.
Go forth with the gifts of the Spirit in you.
We will be that hope which everyone longs to see.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 16, 2017 (Pentecost 6/Trinity 5/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65:1-13; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Call to Worship
Fresh corn dripping with butter,
juicy peaches topping our cereal:
praise is due to you, God of the harvest!
Children chasing fireflies in evening's shadows,
families picnicking in the backyard:
Praise is due to you, God of summer days!
Mothers tightening training wheels on bikes,
fathers teaching kids to bait a hook:
praise is due to you, God of our lives!

Prayer of the Day

You open our hearts, O God,
as you put a sail on your hope
so it may reach the furthest
shores of our despair.
Your showers of grace
fall softly upon the loose soil
of our dried-up dreams.

Your words do not return
empty to you, Story-teller.
They take root deep within us,
blossoming into gentleness
which can comfort a broken heart,
into compassion which can transform
a cold shoulder into an embrace,
into kindness which can make
a curmudgeon break into laughter.

You move into our lives,
Spirit of life,
quietly taking those fears
which trip us in the night hours
and putting them out in the trash;
gently watering the seeds
planted in our inept souls
until they become bushels of grace.

We join all in coming to you
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We could offer seeds of hope, but don't.  We could help a friend with a difficult problem, but won't.  We could smooth the way for someone stumbling through life, but can't.  Let us confess our harvest of sin to our God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We know the seeds we have sown, Harvesting God: anger which springs from our flinty hearts; bitterness which flows like a rushing river into another's heart; hurtful words which wrap their thorny briars around a friend's kindness; passion which poisons an innocent relationship.
     Forgive us, Loving God, and have mercy.  Your grace can turn our fallow hearts into rich fields of love.  Your hope can smooth the rocks in our way, so we can go to be reconciled to another.  Your love for us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, can untangle the thorny mess we have made of our lives.  Bless us with these gifts, we pray.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
No ifs, no ands, no buts.  Now there is no condemnation - period!  God answers all our hurts, our wrongs, our sin with salvation.  Believe this good news, my friends.
We are stunned by your grace, and embraced in your love, Forgiving God, and lift our thanks to you.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

What we offer may not seem significant in a world of so much, Caring God, but we pray they may become seeds of hope, of grace, of change, of life to all those around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Sower of grace be with you!
And also with you!
Seeds of hope and joy are planted in you.
May our hearts yield a rich harvest for God.
Join your voices with the valleys and mountains in praise.
We rejoice in the One who welcomes us at this Table.

You cast your seeds upon chaos,
Sower of creation, and
     pastures overflowed with flocks,
     valleys brought forth flowers to welcome you,
     mountains sang out their praises to you
          as trees clapped out the beat.
We were shaped in your image
to enjoy all these generous gifts,
     but we chose to walk the rocky paths
     of sin and death, their thorny temptations
     choking us off from your hopes for us.
Prophets came to us with joy,
hoping to lead us back to you in peace,
     but we sent them away empty-handed,
     scattering their words on our sinful paths
     like bread crumbs left for birds of prey.
Yet you would not leave us condemned,
and sent Jesus to accomplish your hopes.

With those whose ears are wide open,
with those who struggle to walk with you,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Presence.
All creations is stunned by your deeds.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Sower of the good news.
Hosanna in the highest!


Your holiness fills the earth with hope,
and Jesus Christ is the everlasting sign
we will not be separated from you.
He walked the dusty paths,
     picking us up from where
     the world had cast us aside.
He  gathered up all the rocks
which fill our lives,
     so your word might take root
     deep within us.
He prunes all the twisted briars
of sin and death
     so that your resurrection
     might bloom for us all.

As we gather for this memorial feast,
as we seek to hear and understand his words,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, condemning sing to death;
God raised Christ, giving him new life;
Christ will come for us again, refusing to return to God empty-handed.


The Sower casts out the seeds
and the grain comes forth
to provide substance for the Bread.
The rain and snow refresh the vines,
the plump grapes ripened
to fill the Cup of life.
Your Spirit gathers us these gifts
and prepares the Table for your people
who, blessed with your presence, go forth
     to bring hope and life to others;
and who, set free from sin and death,
    go to release neighbors and strangers
    from hunger, fear, doubts, and loneliness.

Then, when time has ended,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
around your table of grace and peace,
and satisfied with your goodness
we will join all creation in praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
Go forth as God's people.
We will sow seeds of love and joy in the world.
Go forth as Christ's true friends.
We will sow seeds of justice and hope in oppression-strewn paths.
Go forth as the Spirit's love.
We will sow seeds of peace and reconciliation in every corner of creation.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Liturgy with communion for July 9, 2017 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 9/Ordinary 14 - A)

Texts:  Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Call to Worship
Come to our God, all who hunger for life:
for it is God who nourishes us at the Table of Grace
Come to our God, all who are worn out by life:
for it is God who provides the rest we need.
Come to our God, all who are weighed down:
for it is our God who carries our burdens with us.

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God:
you sing a song
of silence
to our noisy hearts,
inviting us to still
our fidgeting souls,
and find our peace
in your cupped hands
which cradle us.

Jesus Christ,
Wanderer of the kingdom:
you are called
to reveal God to us
and do so in
    the tenderness of your touch,
    the gentleness of your words,
    the goodness of your heart,
    the peace of your shared yoke.

Spirit of Rest:
your childlike presence
opens our eyes
to the wonders of the world.
As we hand you
our anger, our hurt, our sin,
may our burdens
become our songs of joy.

May we find our rest, our hope, in you,
God in Community, Holy in One
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Fretful, agitated, longing for more and more of this and that, we spend our lives in a never-ending, never-fulfilled search for that which satisfies.  But Christ knows that we will only find the end of our journey in God, and so invites us to that peaceful place known as God's heart.  May we let go of our burdens of anger, hurt and sin so we can find our rest.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We are so skilled at being in control, at taking charge, Sabbath-Taking God, that we are not very good at resting.  We think we have to be constantly busy, so we have no time for you.  We are trained to be extremely productive, and so create our harried, stress-filled lives.
   Forgive us, Shalom Giving God.  Help us to let go of our distractions, so you can act in us; calm our creaturely activity, so you can re-create us; help us to follow Jesus, not only into discipleship, but into our rest with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It sounds so simple, we think it is too simple.  But which is the burden you would choose: hate or love; anger or forgiveness; pain or peace?  God invites us to receive the gifts which make it possible to have lives of faithful obedience.
This is the good news:  God forgives us and takes our burdens from us.  We would let go of them and welcome hope, joy, grace into our lives.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You invite us to offer our pain, our burdens, our troubles to you, and we do so easily.  Yet when you challenge us to offer our abundance for others, we resist and grumble.  Help us to be as welcoming, as caring, as generous as you, Loving God, as we share our gifts with you and the world.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
and also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who invites us to rest in the heart of the Trinity.
People of God, give thanks to the One who offers you rest.
We bring our thanksgiving to God, who sings to us of peace.

With hearts filled with joy,
we bring our praise to you,
God of Rest.
On the first morning of creation,
you whispered of peace,
and the cacophony of chaos
was stilled.
You walked softly
through the grasses of the earth
and all creation
sang of your goodness.
Created to find our peace with you,
our fretful desire to be in control
led us into a nomadic existence
of rebellion against you.
Prophets spoke and angels sang
to invite us home,
but our stubborn pride
only grew stronger.
When the burden of our sin
became too great for your heart,
you sent Jesus to carry it for us.

With those who have found their rest in you,
with those who long for their burdens to be lifted,
we join in singing your praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of the weary.
All creation celebrates your name in all generations.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who yokes himself to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of our footloose hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son,
our Lord and Savior.
Watching our restless striving
for more and more,
he modeled the life
of self-denial and service;
seeing us weighed down
with the burdens of sin and death,
he picked up his cross,
carried it to Calvary,
where he died to give us life.

As we remember his life and his rest in you,
as we celebrate the good news of lightened burdens,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

Christ came, that we may have life;
Christ died, so that the burden of death might be lifted from us;
Christ was raised to new life, so grace might be revealed to every generation;
Christ will return, to yoke us to God through all eternity.

Pour out your Spirit of rest and shalom
upon this bread and this cup,
that these gifts might nourish us.
As we find our rest in you,
may we become restless
in service to your children;
as we engage with you
in solitude,
may we build a community
of justice and righteousness;
as we listen to your silence,
may we speak out
for all whose voices
are ignored by the world.

Then, when we gather with all
who have found their rest with you
at the Table of the Lamb,
we will sing our praise for all eternity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
We leave with the presence of the Holy,
so we may show others the way to grace and hope.
We leave with Jesus, who draws living water for us,
so we can share it in the heat of summer,
and in the bitterness of winter.
We leave with the Spirit, who teaches us how to listen,
so we may hear the cries of the lonely
and the voices of all who are ignored.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Liturgy for July 2, 2017 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - A)

Texts:  Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
Sing, sing of God's unalterable love!
We will rejoice as we walk in the light of our God.
Tell everyone around you of God's faithfulness.
We will share the stories of the One who experienced
our life in all its fullness.
Shout out loud of God's presence with us,
on this day and in all the days to come.
Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us;
truth and love walk by our side.

Prayer of the Day
In a world shaped by conflict,
where we seem to be slipping
back into tribal divisions,
   you call us to welcome those
   with whom we have absolutely
   nothing in common.
In a culture full of inequalities
which only seem to be widening,
   you call us to treat each person
   as our sister and brother.
In a time of intensifying injustices
which are found in every community,
if not in every neighborhood,
   you call us to yoke ourselves
   to your radical hope.
In a lifestyle which idolizes the individual
to the exclusion of all others,
   you call us to notice
      the parent who works three jobs,
      the dementia-diminished senior,
      the refugee family on the corner.

May we offer not just cups of cold water,
but all that we are and all we have
to those who are in our midst,
even as we pray to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The idol of our times is personal independence, but in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our poor choices, the hurts we cause to others.  Yet, by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions, so let us join in offering our confessions to the One who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It seems so simple, God of compassion, to offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person, yet we know we worry more about how that might inflate our bill at the end of the month.  We are to open our hearts to others, but they may need to be careful lest they slip on our icy attitudes towards them.  People are looking for places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms continue to be the place where only the dust bunnies sleep.
   Forgive us, Radical Hope.  You did not have to become one of us, but you did, so we might know your love.  You did not have to welcome us into your family, but you do, so we might experience unexpected grace in our lives.  You did not have to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we might have life with you forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are filled with living water; longing for a renewed relationship with God, we are welcomed with open arms by the One who forgives us.
Without a doubt, God's love never comes to an end.  We will tell our kids and grandkids of the grace and peace which is ours.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We are not blessed by God so we might hoard them for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who are looking for a community, to feed those who hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the world has cast aside.  Here are our gifts, Holy God.  We pray you will use them as well as us in the work of your kingdom.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of constant love be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who welcomes each and everyone of us to this Table of grace.
We bring our broken hearts so they might be made whole.
Join hands with your sisters and brothers and sing to the One who fills us with hope.
Together we will praise God, who has made us one.

When chaos slammed the door on you,
God of faithfulness,
you whistled up creation and
she tagged along at your side
as your hospitality flowed forth:
   springs to refresh our wearied feet,
   sweet corn to fill our hunger,
   beds of pine needles on which to rest.
We were formed by you
so we might belong to you,
   but we let ourselves be held
   captive by lust, greed, and fear.
Prophets came, seeking to call us back
to you, fulfilling your words of welcome,
   yet we continued to obey our passions.
Jesus came, offering us cups of living water,
words of hope and grace,
wrapping us in arms of joy.

With those who seek your peace,
with those who work for your justice,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of radical hope.
All creation welcomes your words.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in your light.
Hosanna in the highest!

Compassionate God, you are the Voice
behind the Word who comes in Jesus Christ.
When sin would hand us
a pay envelope stuffed
with evil's crumpled bills,
   he fills our pockets
   with your gifts so
   we may be a blessing to others.
When temptation and worry
become our jailers on death row,
   he comes, with your pardon
   in his hands, setting us free
   so we may walk in
   the new light of your hope.

We remember his love and grace offered to all,
we hear his welcome extended to each of us,
as we speak of that mystery of our faith:

Christ died, welcoming our death as his own;
Christ was raised by the gift of God's hope;
Christ will come to fulfill God's words.

Your compassionate welcome is extended
to anyone, any time, any place
as your Spirit is poured out
on the gifts of the Table of life
and on your people gathered for the feast.
Your life, which is broken in love,
becomes the wholeness which strengthens us
   to feed those for whom hunger
   is a constant companion,
   not a skipped meal.
Your grace, which is poured into us,
becomes the hospitality by which
   we welcome itinerant immigrants
      into our communities and hearts;
   we open our arms to every child
      held captive by poverty.

Then, when your glory becomes our home,
and we are gathered around your table -
con artists and poverty's prophets,
the most vulnerable and power brokers -
we will join in singing your praises
through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen  

Sending
Let us go forth to walk in God's light.
We will show others the way to God's heart.
Let us go to bring hope and healing to the world.
With a gift as simple as a cup of water,
and as complex as our lives, we will join Jesus in serving those around us.
Let us go forth to gather up the little ones
of our communities into our homes and hearts.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit,
we are no longer strangers but God's family.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 25, 2017 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - A)

Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10: 24-39

Call to Worship
Troubled prophets and struggling families,
you listen to our voices, whoever we are.
There is no one like you, God of the listening heart.
Those who live in fear, and those who look for signs,
you fill us with hope and surprises.
There is no one like you, God of steadfast love.
Seekers of power, as well as those who serve the vulnerable,
you challenge us to use our gifts for others.
There is no one like you, God of all people. 

Prayer of the Day
God of those empty of hope
and those who are cast out:
into the chaos of every life
you enter with the silence of love;
when we choke on bitter memories,
you hand us the cup of healing;
when we wander down lonely streets,
you bring us home to your heart.

Jesus Christ,
conqueror of sin's power:
into our deepest pain
where life has bottomed out,
you dare to enter;
when we cry out with fear,
you cradle our hearts;
when we face death,
you stride out of the grave,
pointing the way to the kingdom.

Spirit of the forsaken
and bearer of compassion:
you are the mist shimmering
over the valleys,
stirring the waters of creation;
you are the dew bathing
the flowers every morning,
anointing us with resurrection's grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as we have been taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We struggle daily with that human tendency to always do wrong, say hurtful things, turn our back to others.  But God will never hold our sins against us or our foolish nature.  Let us confess to our God, who frees us forever from judgment, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In baptism, we are promised new life, God of  grace, yet we continue to focus on those old ways which are so comfortable and seductive.  We are so good at fooling others that we are convinced we can trick you as well.  We have been called to walk with you, and run down those paths paved with foolishness and fears.
     Forgive us, God of steadfast love.  You have claimed our lives in baptism, so we might be set free from sin and be raised to new life.  Just as you save us, so give us the strength to be willing to take up whatever task you give us, and the faith to be willing to lose our lives for others, so we might find life forever with you, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news:  God hears our prayers, our cries, our hearts.  And, in Christ, we receive new life.  We are free, free to walk in the Light of the Lord.
So, this is what we will do.  We will open our hearts to God's grace; we will live as people who have died to sin and who live for Christ.  Amen.


Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We offer our gifts to you, as well as our lives, Loving God, so they might find their way to those who need your grace, your hope, your joy, and your peace in their lives.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
Saints of God, lift your hearts to the One who saves you.
We offer them to God, who sees our hearts and minds.
Sing to the Lord; praise God's name.
We lift our voices to the One who hears our need-felt songs. 

Chaos tried to restrain you,
but failed, Glorious God,
as you cried out, "Create!"
     and gases spun into galaxies,
     rivers rushed to become seas,
     flowers danced in summer breezes.
You shaped us in your image, pointing to all
that had been crafted from your joyous imagination,
and gifting us with all your love.
     But we loved sin and death
     more than you, and followed them.
You sent prophets, those women and men,
whose hearts burned with your voice,
and called us back to you,
     but we kept fooling ourselves,
     playing our childish games with temptation.
You sent Jesus to us,
so we might once again walk with you.

With reluctant prophets and fearful followers,
we draw near to you with songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every hope. 
Creation sings praises to you in every moment. 
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who delivers the needy.
Hosanna in the highest!


There is no love like you, Steadfast God,
and Jesus Christ is our hope and grace.
Seeing us going down the wrong paths,
   he showed us the streets of the kingdom;
seeing us drowning in pools of seduction,
   he was baptized, so we might be pulled to safety;
seeing us held captive by our worst selves,
   he died and was burined,
   so sin's plans would be destroyed,
   and death would fall flat on its schemes,
and he brought the gift of the resurrection
from the grave.

As we live through these ordinary days,
as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus,
we speak about that mystery called faith:

Christ put on death, to set us free;
You clothed Christ in resurrection, so we might believe;
Christ will come, to clothe us in eternity. 


You turn to us, Holy God,
your arms full of the bread and cup,
your Spirit transforming these gifts
   into a holy feast.
The Table is made ready for your children
who will eat of your salvation
and go forth to remind
   the broken, the lost, the young, the old
   that they are of more value to you
   then the finest songbird.
We will drink of your grace
so we may turn to
   the hungry, the homeless, the fearful
   and embrace them in your love.

And when we gather with the faithful
of every time and of every place,
our sisters and brothers baptized in grace,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
As you leave this place, remember that you may be the only grace
someone will meet this week.
We go, to share God's graciousness with all.
Remember you may be the only love someone will encounter this week.
We go, to be the love of Jesus for all.
Remember you may be the only peace  someone will find this week.
We go, to share the Spirit of hope and reconciliation with all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 18. 2017 (Pentecost 2, Trinity 1, Proper 6, Ordinary 11 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35 – 10:23

Call to Worship
We come to worship our God,
who has done wonders in our lives.
God anoints us with joy and light,
gifts from the treasures of God’s heart.
We come to follow Jesus,
who bears our lives with grace and hope.
Jesus would send us into the brokenness
of the world to bring healing.
We come to be touched by the Spirit,
who brings gentleness and peace for all.
The Spirit would enable us to offer
reconciliation and justice to everyone we meet.  

Prayer of the Day
We would sing glad songs
to you, Commissioning God,
   as we enter your heart
   with thanksgiving on our lips,
for you are
   that love which never ends;
   that joy which overflows;
   that faith which is always full.

We would proclaim our praise
to you, Voice of compassion,
   as you would send us
   into the world in which we live,
for you are
   the Word we can speak to power;
   the healing we can offer to the broken;
   the justice which can replace oppression.
 
We would offer our hands and hearts
to you, Imaginative Spirit,
   as you teach us new steps
   in this dance we call life,
for you are
   the cleanser of our messy hearts,
   the breath of hope for shallow lungs,
   the password for access to grace.
 
With our hearts, voices, bodies, souls,
we offer joyful noise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as taught by you,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
 
Call to Reconciliation
We hunt for those links which offer life, but they are all broken.  We keep searching for hope, only to be sent from one false site to another.  But God, freely and faithfully, offers us the access to grace we need, through Jesus Christ.  Let us join in offering our prayers to the One who is our hope, our life, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
   Of course, we will do everything you ask, Faithfulness of creation, even as we cross our souls behind our backs.  Yes, we could go where people are suffering, but we like the comfort of our homes.  Yes, we could be with others as they seek to endure life, but compassion is often hard to share.  Yes, we could offer hope to the hungry and homeless, but we barely have enough for ourselves.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love, and have mercy on us.  Remind us that is was when we were most foolish, that you became fallible; it was when we were vile, that you became so vulnerable; when the world would not welcome us, that Jesus came – to listen to our emptiness, to comfort our grieving hearts, and to cast out death’s power over us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God as done it!  God has carried away our foolishness.  God has brought us out of despair and hope, and made us God’s precious treasure.
We give thanks to our God, whose love is fresh and new in every moment, whose faithfulness is forever.  Amen.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could be the healing for those who suffer;
we could be the strength for those who long to endure;
we could be the hope for those buffeted by the world, and so,
we offer ourselves, as well as our gifts,
in hopes that you will bless others who are in your heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of faithfulness be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open our hearts to God in this moment.
We offer our hearts to the One who does all things for us.
People of God, lift your voices in songs of praise.
We will make a joyful noise to the One who is our life.
 
Before time began, your faithfulness  
was ever present, God of Grace,
and your never-ending love
poured out beauty and goodness,
transforming chaos into
   full moons treading across the night,
   dinosaurs lumbering through valleys,
   bees pollinating flowers and making honey.
All this – the earth, the rivers, the wonders –
were for those you formed in your image,
   but when we could go anywhere,
   we chose the comforts of sin and death.
You called women and men as prophets,
sending them out with only your hopes in hand,
   but we turned away from them, offering contempt,
   not compassion, when we saw them.
So, you sent your precious Treasure
to become one of us that
we might become your holy people.
 
With all those who make a joyful noise,
and those who only rumble the notes,
we sing glad songs of praise to you:
 
Holy, holy, holy, are you, God of steadfast love.
Not only we, but all creation sings of your faithfulness.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
Blessed is the One who comes to everyone, everywhere.
Hosanna in the highest!
 
When the time was right, Heart of holiness,
you looked with compassion on us,
and sent your Child to be our hope and blessings.
He came, not with judgment on his lips,
   but proclaiming your grace;
he came, not to aggravate us,
   but to palliate our foolishness;
he came, not to knock us down,
   but to lift us when we stumble;
he came, not to watch us die,
   but to stand at the emptiness of death,
   pointing and proclaiming we have nothing to fear,
because of your steadfast love
which became our resurrection hope.
 
As we would seek to see others through his compassionate eyes,
as we would go to serve his people,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:
 
Christ suffered for us, so we might endure;
Christ died for us, showing us the character of grace;
Christ was raised for us, resurrection bringing us hope;
Christ will come for us, and we will not be disappointed.
 
At this time, ever faithful God,
pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup
and all your children gathered here.
May the bread of broken life
strengthen us so we may
   go wherever there is need,
   feed whoever is hungry,
   cleanse the world of fear and worry.
As we drink from the cup of grace,
may we be nourished
   to offer access to grace to everyone,
   to bring healing to the lonely,
   to mourn with those who grieve.
 
Then, beyond the end of time, gather us
with our sisters and brothers from all places
around your Feast of faithfulness,
as we sing of your steadfast love forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
 
Sending
God sends us out to bear witness to grace.
We will speak of all God has done.
Jesus sends us out into every neighborhood and community.
We will go to bear the burdens of everyone we meet.
The Spirit sends us out on a journey of faithfulness.
We will go to see everyone through the eyes of compassion.
 
© 2017 Thom M. Shuman