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