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  

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