Saturday, October 28, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy for November 5, 2017 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - A)

Texts:  Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

Call to Worship
We are witnesses to the love of God.
We see it in the father putting kids to bed;
we tell of the teacher patiently teaching a student to read.
We are witnesses to the justice of Jesus.
We hear it in the student who stands up to a bully;
we sing of it at vigils of hope for shattered communities.
We are witnesses to the peace of the Spirit.
We receive it from the sister who listens to our loneliness;
we whisper it to the little brother who falls off his bicycle.

Prayer of the Day
You stand at our side,
holding our hand when
we are most frightened.
Your heart is a warm shelter
when others turn a cold shoulder to us;
you do not push us off your lap
but draw us close to you.

When we stumble about
with tears in our eyes,
wandering through the maze
carved by the unjust,
you take us by the hand,
Lost and alone, we see you
in the distance, beckoning
the way to the front porch
where supper and a warm bed awaits.

Why do we continue to stress,
befriending worry every chance we get,
You fill us with overflowing joy,
teaching us songs of wonder
which we offer to you in every moment,
using every instrument imaginable,
like the best marching band in the land.

As we praise you, we will hope in you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
our shelter, our justice, our heart,
even as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are so busy putting awards on the walls and trophies in the case, we do not notice how our silence and self-centeredness hurts those around us.  Let us offer our foolish lives to our God, who is always ready to forgive us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We could live humbly with others, Sheltering God, but then they would not know how awesome we really are.  We could speak humbly to others, but we prefer to put them in their place.  We could act humbly in dealing with others, but then they would take advantage of us.  We could humbly serve the most vulnerable, but we would rather coddle the wealthy and the powerful.
   Have mercy on us, God of compassion.  Instead of putting letters after our names, may we spell out hope for those recovering from disasters.  Rather than jockeying for a seat at the head table, may we sit in the kitchen with the cooks and dishwashers.  Tempted to overlook injustice, may we abhor it as deeply and intently as did your Child, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God loves us.  God forgives us.  This is not fake news, but the reality offered to us by the One who shelters us.  So life changing, this good news always causes us to respond with praise.
Thanks be to God!  We are heard, we are accepted, we are filled with mercy and hope.  Amen.  Amen!

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May not only these gifts, but our very lives, bear witness that there is justice for all who have been pushed aside; there is hope for all who live in the shadows of power; there is love for all who have been rejected; there is healing for all the broken.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the Table be with you!
And also with you!
Let us offer our hearts to God.
God hears our hearts and answers with love and hope.
Lift your voices in song to the One who serves us.
We will praise God with our voices and lives.

When no answer was coming
out of the void, you spoke, God of our hearts,
calling forth creation in all its beauty:
   chipmunks dashing across lawns,
   eagles soaring over valleys,
   comets streaking night skies.
This was brought forth for us,
those created in your image,
   but we longed to live in sin's shadows,
   and so wandered down death's paths.
You repeatedly sent prophets to us,
women and men who called us to return,
   but we would not practice what they preached,
   but continued to play in temptation's yard.
So, you gave us the answer of your heart,
becoming on of us in Jesus,
so we could be filled with your hope.

Here, in these moments of silence and word,
here, as we gather at your feast of grace,
we join in offering praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is with us.
All creation joins in singing glory to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who serves the most vulnerable.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God who speaks to us,
and Jesus is blessed by your love and goodness.
Like a father teaching kids to drive,
   he is your patience with us.
Like a brother who shares baking secrets,
   he is your compassion to us.
Like a sister who shows us how to bend the ball,
   he is your wisdom towards us.
Like a mother who confronts our deepest fears,
   he is your life and hope
   which comes out of the tomb,
   having defeated the power of death.

As we recall his life and ministry among people,
as we remember his death and resurrection for all,

we speak of that faith which is often a mystery to us:

Your witness to weakness over power,
   Jesus died on the cross;
your witness to love overcoming hate,
   Jesus was raised from death;
your witness to promises yet to be fulfilled,
   Jesus will come again.

As we gather around this Table,
pour out your Spirit upon us
and the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we eat of your brokenness,
   may we live humbly with others;
   may we speak with humility to power.
As we drink from your grace,
   may we act humbly in seeking justice;
   may we serve others with humility and love.

And when your light has overcome all shadows,
when we are all brought to your Table in glory,
we will join our sisters and brothers
of every time and from every place
in praising you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Let us go to be witnesses to God's love.
We will tell of it in our neighborhoods;
we will live it in every moment of every day.
Let us go to be witnesses of Jesus' justice.
We will challenge those who harass others;
we will help rebuild broken lives and neighborhoods.
Let us go to be witnesses of the Spirit's peace.
We will embrace the lonely with acceptance and joy;
we will fill the empty with wonder and grace.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman