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