Saturday, July 28, 2018

Liturgy with communion for August 5, 2018 (Pentecost 11/Trinity 10/Proper 13/Ordinary 18 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35

Call to Worship
 Lead a life worthy of your calling.
We cannot do this alone,
we dare not try this alone,
so we gather as God's people.
Lead a life filled with the gifts of your calling,
gifts to be used with service and meekness.
We come to build up Christ's Body,
in humility and gentleness,
with patience and love.
Lead a life which reflects your calling,
that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
We rejoice in our oneness in Christ;
we would share the grace offered to us.
Live a life worthy of the calling
to which you have been called.
We gather as God's family
at the Table prepared for us,
waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.


Prayer of the Day
Gentle God:
   we have traveled through many waters
   to reach this place,
   but share one baptism;
   we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
   yet share one faith;
   we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
   and are members of one Body;
   we have different dreams and doubts,
   yet our hearts beat with one hope;
   we are graced with different gifts,
   so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we try to sugarcoat what we have done, scripture stares us down, reminding us of our faults.  When we seek to romanticize why we have failed to live as faithful people, God refuses to go along, waiting for us to confess our sins.  Let us join together as God's children, lifting our prayers to the One who is generous in love.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
  Compassionate One:  like David, it is not easy for us to confront those deeds which do not please you.  We are so busy looking for the miracles we desire, we cannot see the gift of your presence in others.  We are so intent on indulging our appetites and slaking our thirsts, we cannot taste that Bread which gives life.  We spend so much of our lives bemoaning the acts of others, we have no time to look in the mirror and see our secret faces.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love.  Grace us with your mercy, so we might be made whole. Touch our inner being and heal us, so we might know joy and gladness.  Create new hearts within us, so they might beat as one with each other, and with your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Silence is kept
 
Assurance of Pardon
Despite knowing our sin, God chooses to forgive us;
seeing our emptiness, God chooses to feed us;
holding our shattered hearts, God chooses to heal us.
This is the good news:  God loves us.
God has graced us with mercy and created new life from our brokenness.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Use the gifts which we offer to you, Holy God, to restore joy to the despairing, to give food to the hungry, and willing spirits to us, that we might be servants to all your people.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, people of God.
We lift them to our Lord so they might be filled with a new spirit.
Let us give thanks to God who loves us.
May our willing spirits offer praises to the One who feeds us..

Our greatest joy is to offer you our thanks and praise,
Creator, Grace-giver, Healer of our brokenness.
All that is beautiful was created for our eyes;
all that is wonderful was created for our awe;
all that is majestic was created for our praise;
all that is mystery was created for our silence.
But despite everything you have given us,
we are not satisfied.
Believing life is about our appetites,
we choose the moldy bread of the world;
knowing our only hope is from you,
we continue to rebel;
called to live in unity with one another,
we cling to all which divides us.

Yet you refuse to let go of us,
sending your only Son, Jesus,
to call us to life in you.
We have fallen,
and you lift us up;
we have forsaken you,
and you redeem us;
we are broken,
and you make us whole.

Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices, here and now,
with the faithful of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every mercy.
All creation praises one God and Father, one Lord, one Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gifts all of God’s people!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of grace and tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Though we look for him for all the wrong reasons,
he holds out the bread of life to us;
though we offer the cross to him,
he graces us with life;
though we thirst for more and more,
he offers us the cup of salvation;
though we gossip and slander one another,
he speaks the truth in love to us;
though we would divide each other
by class, race, or condition,
he calls us to oneness in you.

Recalling your steadfast love in Christ,
and knowing we cannot understand your grace
until that eternal day
when we can know your heart,
we take this bread and this cup,
praising and blessing you
for these gifts of hope and joy.
Great is the mystery of faith.

Christ died, a seeming prisoner of death.
Christ was raised, so all might be freed in resurrection love.
Christ will return, finishing the work of God.

Holy God of Truth,
though we come to your Table as many,
may your Holy Spirit make us one body and one spirit.
As you feed us with the Bread of Life,
may we feed those who know true hunger;
as your justice illumines our hearts' darkness,
may we be a beacon to the oppressed and lost;
as you speak to us the truth in love,
may we be a voice for the powerless and forgotten;
as you restore us to wholeness,
may we bind up our shattered world.

Through Christ who saved us,
all glory and honor are yours,
God, who created us in your own image,
through the Holy Spirit, in our midst making us your people,
now and forever.  Amen.

Sending
Let us go into the world with God’s gifts.
We will perform God’s works of mercy and life.
Let us go into the world with the Bread of heaven in our hands.
We will share Christ’s grace which gives life to everyone.
Let us go as the one body of faith and fellowship.
We will to witness to the one Spirit of hope and faith.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for July 29, 2018 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 -B)


Texts:  2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145:10-18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21

Call to Worship
God comes with hands filled with grace;
God offers justice like a neighbor with tomatoes from the garden.
For this reason, we come to worship our God.
Jesus comes to hold up those whose legs wobble;
Jesus picks up all who stumble over their faith.
For this reason, we come to follow Jesus.
The Holy Spirit comes, as close as every breath we take;
the Spirit makes clear God’s hopes for us.
For this reason, we come to learn from the Spirit.

Prayer of the Day
We fill sacks with groceries
and hand them out to
hungry neighbors and strangers;
we run, walk, wheel
with kids and teens
to help pay medical bills
for one of their friends;
and you strengthen our faith
with these and so many other
ways to serve, Holy God.

A couple hold their grandchild
for the first time as she
beams up at them;
a carer holds our hand
as we prepare for another round
of treatments which weaken us;
and you dwell in us
through these and so many others,
Jesus our Companion.

You awaken that dormant
commitment to peace and justice
which has been gathering dust;
you till our souls with
goodness and compassion
so we can welcome refugees
into our communities;
and you continue to plant us
deep into the rich soil of hope,
Spirit of wonder.

Through these ways and opportunities,
these people and challenges,
you show us the dimensions of your love,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we lift the prayer you have taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Confession
We get out our yardsticks, our calculators, our laser distance measurers, determined we can figure out just how many square feet of grace we can expect.  But the dimensions of your love cannot be figured out, any more than the depths of your mercy.  And so, we know we can bring our prayers for hope as we speak of those foolish lives we have been leading.  Hear us, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Believing you exist to save us, Holy One, we think we can do anything we want, no matter the consequences; we can speak any words that are on our lips, no matter how much they hurt those we love; we can hoard everything, and anything, we wish, no matter how much need others have in their lives.
   Yet you choose to redeem us, God of imaginative justice, not so we can keep living the lives we have, but we might be transformed into those who praise you, not just with our songs, but with hands that lift others to their feet, with hearts that love those ignored by the world, and with hope that has been planted deep within us by the Master Gardener, Jesus Christ, our Brother.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
There is more than enough grace for everyone.  We may not understand why, or how, or when; but God will make it happen.  And that is all we need to know.
When it comes to grace, hope, peace, forgiveness – there are so many leftovers from God’s abundant heart, that we can put them in to-go boxes to share them with everyone we meet.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
When we worry about having enough to feed the hungry, to clothe the cold, to shelter the homeless, to embrace the lonely, you simply ask us to share but some of our abundance, and you will multiply it beyond every expectation.  Receive our gifts, and use them we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who feeds us be with you.
May God be with you as well.
Let us open our hearts to the One who fills us with grace.
We lift them to our God who touches us with hope.
Let us join our voices in praising our God.
Taught by the Word, we sing the melodies of the Spirit.

Gathering up the fragments of chaos,
Innovative God,
you took them and, giving thanks,
shaped them into creation’s wonders:
   little children willing to share with everyone;
   little birds that swirl in autumn breezes;
   lightning bugs twinkling over summer lawns.
You even crafted us in your image of love and hope
so that we might live in joy with you,
   but we withdrew into the embrace of death,
   preferring to sail sin’s tossing seas.
Giving them your words of faith,
you sent prophets to call us back,
   but we did not think it was enough
   to keep us from ignoring you.
So, you chose to send your grace to us,
becoming one of us so we might
be brought back to your heart.

With those who have been fed by your grace,
and those who hunger for hope,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who knows our hearts.
The faithful join all creation in glorifying you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who feeds the hungry.
Hosanna in the highest!

You could choose to stay apart
from us, God of all that is good,
but you cross to the other side of your holiness
to become one of us in Jesus.
In him, you became weak,
   so that we might be pulled up
   from where we have fallen;
in him, you became a laughing stock,
   so that we our tears could be wiped away
   by your grace and hope;
in him, you took on death,
   breaking its power once and for all,
   and denying sin’s claim on us,
   as you raised him from the grave.

As we remember his compassion for the most vulnerable,
as we prepare to receive the gifts of life and grace,
we sing of that faith which knows no reason:

For this reason, Jesus set across the rough seas of fear and death;
for this reason, Jesus was raised in resurrection love;
for this reason, Jesus will return to gather us in hope.

As your people gather at this Table,
where the Holy Meal awaits,
pour out your Spirit on the gifts
of the bread, the cup, and your children.
As we eat of the bread
which is as broken as your heart,
may its love and hope
not become leftovers we throw away,
   but strength for those broken by life,
   peace for those torn by conflicts,
   wonder for those dulled by disappointment.
And may grace filling this cup
not be poured down the drain,
but be offered in love
   to those who have no friends,
   to those who long for justice,
   to all who listen for words of affirmation.

And when you have accomplished more
than we could ever dare imagine,
gather up all of us from every time and place,
so that together we may forever praise you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
With words and whispers of the heart,
God has spoken to us in these moments.
For this reason, we shall go out to share good news with everyone we meet.
With ways to care for others, with bread for the journey,
Jesus sends us to care for those around us.
For this reason, we shall go out to be
with the hungry, the broken, the lonely.
With seeds of hope planted deep within us,
the Spirit prepares us to be hope and peace to others.
For this reason, we shall go to the places we try to avoid,
to serve those we usually ignore.  

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, July 20, 2018

Liturgy with communion for July 29, 2018 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - B)

Texts: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21

Call to Worship
The foolish say, "There is no God!
We are alone, on our own."
We gather to declare
the glory of God in our lives.
The foolish say, "It is your life;
you are accountable to no one."
We gather, strengthened by the Spirit,
trusting that Christ dwells in our hearts.
The foolish say, "Everything I have is mine;
I owe nothing to anyone."
We gather to praise the One
who calls us to serve others in love.


Prayer of the Day
Your glory flows
through all generations,
as you name every family
in heaven and on earth.
And so we come to you this day,
O God.

Your grace is
higher than the farthest star;
your peace is
deeper than our greatest emptiness;
your love spans
the abyss of death;
your hope stretches
into all eternity.
And so we come to you this day,
O Christ.

When our lives bottom out,
your grace is still our bedrock;
when our spirits run dry,
you fill us with your joy;
when we falter in our faith,
you strengthen us
to serve with hope and peace.
And so we come to you this day,
O Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we come to you this day,
praying as we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
God looks at us, to see if we are wise enough to offer confession, to receive forgiveness, and to seek to know the healing love of Christ.  Let us prove our wisdom, and set aside our foolish pride, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Wisdom's Heart: deep within, we know how we have failed to be your people.  Our hardened hearts are closed to the love of Christ; our lust for more and more blocks the fullness of your grace from transforming our lives; our trust in the powers of the world reveals our foolish nature.
   Have mercy, God of every generation.  Pour out the rich blessing of forgiveness on our parched souls.  Feed us with Heaven's Bread, so we might be nourished by your gentleness.  Shape us as your people, and restore us to faithful living, as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in service to everyone we meet.


Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The wideness of God's mercy, the range of God's forgiveness, the infinite love of God, the Heart of hope which is never empty:  all these gifts are ours, as God restores us to the fullness of life meant for us.
Grounded in love, rooted in discipleship, we offer ourselves in service to others, recognizing the limitless grace which is ours to share in Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
In our hands, the gifts seem so paltry, but in yours, they can bring plentitude of grace to those who are so hungry for hope.  In our hearts, we wonder how effective our ministries might be, but joined with yours, we can indeed bring healing, community, peace, and joy to our struggling communities.  Bless us and our gifts, multiply our hopes and our efforts, that your wonders might come into the world around us.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God feed you at this Table of grace!
And also feed you!
God desires to dwell in us,
and so we open our hearts to welcome God.
Let us rejoice in the God who loves us,
as we sing songs of thanksgiving to God.

Chaos foolishly thought there was no God,
until you spoke and sent it astray,
as creation burst forth from your imagination,
   grace racing the breadth and length
      planting wonders and joys beyond count,
   laughter filling the height and depth
      of every corner of the universes.
You prayed that we would have the power
to understand that all these gifts were shaped
for the life of those crafted in your image.
   But early one evening we gazed sin bathing,
   and felt it so beautiful that we inquired
   of death how to gain it.
You sent the prophets to us,
their words continuing to challenge us
to see if we had grown any wiser,
   but we continued to confound your plans,
   seeking refuge in the alluring embrace of temptation.
Finally, you sent Jesus to us,
who continually called to us,
‘do not be afraid; I am here.’

So with those who have come through the storms of life,
with those foolish enough to rely more on themselves than on you,
we lift our voices in glad song to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of who feeds all people.
All creation is filled with the fullness of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who came be the bread to feed our emptiness.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of every moment,
and in your Child, Jesus, we find that love we cannot understand.
He could have stayed on the safe shores of glory,
   but came to bring us hope in every storm we face.
He could have kept your abundance for himself,
   but took your gifts and poured them out for us,
   so much that there were leftovers to share with those around us.
He could have left us to our foolish lives,
   but confounded the plans of sin
   by defeating death at its own game,
and restored us in that refuge called the resurrection.

As we try to understand his willingness to restore
   our fragmented lives through his brokenness,
as we ponder that miracle which is beyond death,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

We know God’s love, by the death of Christ;
we received the grace of God, by the resurrection of Christ;
we will be fed in glory, by the return of Christ.

We gather at this Table which is blessed
by your Spirit of transformation,
the common gifts being set aside for your holy use.
The broken pieces of the bread
are just enough to strengthen us
so we can go out to serve our fragmented world.
The cup of grace overflows with hope,
so we can see those around us,
   the families without hope,
   the children without food,
   the elderly without friends,
   the world without peace.

And when that time comes, when you show
how truly foolish you are by gathering
those of every time and place around your Table,
we will join our hearts and voices
in singing our praises to you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Sending
Let us go now, foolish enough to believe in God.
We will see God in everyone we meet.
Let us go now, foolish enough to follow Jesus.
We will share grace with those who need it the most.
Let us go now, foolish enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit,
We will serve with the Spirit in calming the fears of the world.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman