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.

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