Sunday, August 12, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for August 19, 2018 (Pentecost 13/Trinity 12/Proper 15/Ordinary 20 - B)


Texts:  Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34:9-14; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

Call to Worship
With voices and instruments,
with hearts and with hands,
we play music for our God.
At all times, with each person;
in ever place, through every moment,
we give thanks in the name of Jesus.
Turning away from evil, doing good at every chance;
seeking peace, and sharing hope everywhere,
we will walk in the Spirit’s way.

Prayer of the Day
Rainbows replacing thunder and lightning
on stormy, summer days;
snowpeople slowly dripping into puddles
on winter afternoons;
meteor showers crossing night skies
to enthrall sleepy-eyed gazers:
we watch in wonder and joy
at the gifts of your creation, 
Imaginative God.

Stubborn enough to believe 
that children should not be separated
from their parents;
speaking love and grace
to those whose hate-filled words
drip with bile and bitterness;
digging in your heels
until justice becomes the right
of each and every person:
we watch in hope and grace,
even as we seek the courage to join you,
Servant of God’s people. 

Shaper of words which
we can sing to offer comfort
to everyone around us;
the peace which we chase after
until you turn around 
and sweep us up in your arms;
we watch in silent awe
as you lay the path for us to walk,
Wisdom who teaches us all we need.

As we watch you move and work among us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift the prayer you have taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are convinced that God watches us, just waiting to catch us using the wrong words, doing the dumb thing, hanging out with the trouble-makers.  But the truth is, God watches in love, in hope, in grace – just waiting to forgive us whenever we mess up.  Let us bring out messy lives to God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It is not easy to admit, Watching God, but we are not very careful with our lives.  We could find a home in your heart, but seem to stay in the Airbnb run by fear.  We could sip the Spirit’s best vintage, yet get drunk on cheap bottles of bitterness.  We could learn your ways of wise choices, but prefer sin’s silly paths.
   Forgive us, God of mercy.  Remind us that we no longer need to live in the old ways, or to yearn for those good ol’ days.  But we are free to listen to your hopes, to learn from your heart, and to walk with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Are you watching what God does, as love embraces us, as grace forgives us, and hope gives us the wisdom to walk in God’s ways?
Our God restores our lives with the peace of the Spirit, so we may feast on the gifts of mercy and grace offered to us by the Bread of heaven.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts to you, O God, may we not stand by thinking we need only watch you go to work.  But may we join you in feeding the hungry, in offering a welcome to outsiders, and building communities of peace and justice.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of life be with you,
and with you in these moments.
Let us lift our hearts to God with joy.
God promises to fill us with all good things.
We will join together in praising our God.
We lift our hearts and voices in songs of glad thanksgiving.

Ducks waddling down to ponds,
children imagining games on summer evenings,
meteor showers which are worth staying awake to watch –
these and so many good and beautiful wonders
sprang from your creative mind, God of surprises.
They were not for your enjoyment alone,
but gifted to those formed in your image,
   yet we wear ourselves out chasing evil,
   and believing the easy promises of sin.
Your words dwelt in the prophets you sent,
and they could not contain them, but
offered them to us time and again,
   yet we could not set aside our childish ways,
   and wandered down paths paved with foolishness.
That is why you came to us in Jesus,
to abide in us, so we would know
your love and hopes for us.

With those who desire what you want,
with those who struggle to follow,
we lift our voices in songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who builds our hearts.
All creation reveres you in every moment.  
Hosanna in the highest!  

Blessed is the Living Bread who feeds us with your grace.  
Hosanna in the highest!  

In these moments of holiness
offered by your generous heart, O God,
may we come to learn words of hope,
   so we will no longer whisper evil;
may we listen to the cries 
of the lonely and forgotten,
   so we may welcome them
   as our sisters and brothers;
may we learn that,
in your unimaginable suffering, 
  sin has lost its grip on us, 
  and death’s power is broken forever,
  by the unexpected gift 
  of resurrecting love of the One
  rejected by a world of anger and fear.

As we continue to live in these ordinary days,
as we reflect on the extraordinary life of Jesus,
may we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Jesus came, so grace might abide in us;
Jesus died, so sin would no longer control us;
Jesus was raised, so resurrection hope would live in our hearts;
Jesus will come, so we might dwell with you forever.

We gather at this Feast of love,
as you pour out your Spirit 
on the bread and the cup which have been prepared
to bring life and hope to all your children.
This is the living Bread which, though broken,
   heals those broken by fear,
   rebuilds hearts crumbled by rejection,
   creates communities from those who were once enemies.
This is the cup of grace which, when imbibed,
   nourishes us to bearers of hope to the despairing,
   opens our hearts to welcome the refugees,
   transforms our bitter hearts into vessels of peace.

And when that time which began at creation
comes to an end and we are gathered
with our sisters and brothers at the Table of the Lamb,
we will give thanks to you in every moment, for everything,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Sending
YOU ARE grace and wonder, God of our lives,
and so, we will go to offer mercy to everyone we meet.
to share your good news in every place.
YOU ARE the Bread of Life, Jesus of our hearts.
and so, we will go to feed those whose stomach ache for food,
and whose souls hunger for hope and justice.
YOU ARE the Wisdom which builds communities, Holy Spirit,
and so, we will go to gather all rejected by our society,
to welcome them into our hearts and lives.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman