Friday, October 13, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for October 22, 2017 (Pentecost 20/Trinity 19/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - A)

Texts:  Isaiah 45:1-7; Psalm 96:1-9 (10-13); 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22

Call to Worship
From the corners of worry and fear,
from the shadows where we huddle with our doubts,
God calls us to this place of sanctuary
where we can draw from Love's deep wells.
In every moment where we look for strength to continue,
in every time wonder if faith is worth it,
Jesus calls us to this time
where we can welcome the peace given to us.
In every person who embraces us with acceptance,
in every touch that offers healing and hope,
the Spirit calls us to see those around us
as God's beloved, our sisters and brothers of grace.

Prayer of the Day
Imitator of the Holy Spirit,
you grasp our hands
so, in finding hope and love
in your gracious touch,
we may reach out to those
we see as strangers
and welcome them as family.
You are greatly to be praised,
God who is coming to us.

Imitator of God,
you write new words for us
so, in listening to your whispers,
we may hear the voiceless,
stand with the forgotten,
and share the justice
which as been gifted to us.
You are greatly to be praised,
Jesus, who is coming
to teach us all we need to know.

Imitator of Jesus,
you composed new tunes
so, in the gentle breezes of the morning,
and in the chords of the stars,
we may hear the music
of peace, life, wonder, and joy
which you would have us share
with those who long for community.
You are greatly to be praised,
Spirit, who is coming
to walk with us in every moment.

You are greatly to be praised,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we join the imitators of grace
of every time and place, praying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We long to be like Jesus, but all too often we imitate the foolishness we find all around us.  Let us speak of our lives to the One who forgives us and calls us by name.  Let us join together, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   You know how insincere we are, God who is coming.  We say we want to help others, but lay traps along life's paths for them.  We pat others on the back, while plotting how to trip them so they fall flat on their faces.  We know we could speak kindly to others, but prefer to ask trick questions so their answers will make them appear foolish.
   Forgive us, God of everyone.  When we could hold grudges, help us to grasp grace.  When malice gnaws at our souls, feed us with mercy.  When we would give power control over us, pour the grace and love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into our empty hearts.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God takes our malicious words and transforms them into whispers of grace.  God uses hope to fill in the traps we dig for others, so we may walk hand in hand with everyone as sisters and brothers.
Thanks be to God, who summons us to new life.  We are no longer filled with fear, but are embraced in mercy and goodness.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts and lives in this moment, may we become imitators of you, Gracious God, who holds nothing back from us, but is generous and gracious with all that is yours.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
With the Spirit plinking the notes
on an old, battered piano and
the Word penning fresh lyrics,
you sang into the silence of chaos,
Composer of creations:
   birds caroling on foggy mornings,
   kittens purring on sunny carpets,
   crickets lullabying us to sleep.
These new songs, and more,
were shape-noted for those in your image,
   but we preferred death's dirges
   and sin's siren calls.
Prophets came, always mentioning you
and your longing for us to return,
   yet we continued to plot against you,
   malice our friend from childhood.
Finally, you sent Jesus to us,
so we might know of the welcome
you offer to each and every person.

With those who know your songs by heart,
with those who have trouble reading music,
we join in praising you greatly:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who comes.
The seas roar and fields dance with joy
   as all creation is glad and rejoices.  
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is impartial in loving.
Hosanna in the highest!

In your holiness, Framer of Light,
we discover your goodness and love,
and Jesus imitates you in his life and service.
He took off glory's garments
   so we might be stripped
   of death's grave clothes.
He was willing to work on our behalf,
   laying the kingdom's foundations
   with honor, strength, and beauty.
He was thrown into death's prison,
   but cut through the bars of sin,
   your resurrection power
   opening the gates of grace forever.

As we remember his life and ministry,
as we celebrate his death and resurrection,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:
Christ went before us into death.

Christ was raised, breaking the grave into pieces.
Christ will return to share resurrection's treasures with us.

Here in these moments of silence and singing,
with those gathered from every corner of life,
pour out your Spirit upon the gifts of the Table.
May that bread which is broken
become the healing strength
we can offer to all who have been excluded
by fear, prejudice, and hate.
May the grace which is poured
into the cup of mercy
become the nourishment which can transform
broken people into communities,
shadow dwellers into light bearers,
legalists into open handed lovers.

And when we are no longer bound by time and space,
welcome us around your Table of grace,
gathering us with our sisters and brothers,
teaching us new songs we can use
to praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

From this sanctuary of song and silence,
we will go to be with God's people.
We will carry hope to the fearful and worried;
we will share light with those in the shadows.
From  this time of healing and hearing,
we will go to share Jesus' justice.
We will bring strength to those who falter;
we will walk with those weakened by the world.
From the companionship of our sisters and brothers,
we will go with the Spirit into our neighborhoods.
We will embrace the forgotten;
we will work to set the oppressed free.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman