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.

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