Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for October 4, 2020 (Pentecost 18/Trinity 17/Proper 22/Ordinary 27 - A)

 Texts: Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-15; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

Call To Worship
We come because we want to know God,
who seeks to shape us as faithful people.
Not that we already are, 
but we strive to be the community of grace.
We come because we want to know Jesus,
who would plant justice deep in our hearts.
Not that we always do, ,
but we seek to welcome each person.
We come because we want to know the Spirit,
who shines hope on all people.
Not that we always are able,
but we seek to share the light of peace in our world.

Prayer of the Day
Planter of grace and goodness:
with compassion's eyes,
you see us struggle in life
   and come to rescue us;
with the voice of hope,
you call forth communities
to live in faith and service;
with a love that never ends,
you call us to be your Body,
those who share your grace
with everyone we meet.

Wordsmith of wonder:
you shape the paragraphs
of comfort which sustain us;
you craft the poems of peace
which bring healing
into the brokenness around us;
you amend our lives
so that we might become
the people whom you imagine.

Spirit of Confidence:
you bathe us in life-giving waters,
which cleanse us of our fears;
you strike a spark in our souls
which can consume all injustice;
you are the gentle breeze of hope
which nudges us out of our comfort
into neighborhoods longing for attention.

God in Community, Holy in One, 
we come to this place in these moments
to know more about you,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The world teaches us it is all about success, measurable goals, winning at every cost.  But like Paul, we gain what it is we truly need - forgiveness, peace, and hope - when we have Jesus as part of our lives.  Let us remind God and ourselves of how human we are, so we might embrace the grace and joy God offers to us.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We certainly have reasons to brag, Watching God.  We know all the rules and keep them (well, most of them).  We have dotted our i's and crossed our t's, even if we have trouble with words like forgiveness and hope.  We polish our trophies and mount our diplomas on the walls, but ignore those who haven't had the advantages which were such a big part of our lives.
   Forgive us, Merciful God.  We believe we are such a rich bouquet of wine, but our tangled lives often produce sour grapes for others to taste.  Whether it is our pride, our achievements, our success which we value the most, may we let them go to grasp that which all too often eludes us - that love, that peace, that hope which Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior presses on to offer to us in each and every moment.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Let us not boast, but simply open ourselves to the grace, the forgiveness, the hope given to us by our God.  It is that faith in Christ which restores us to new life, faith beyond anything of any value.
Thanks be to God for this good news.  We are prized, we are loved, we are valued.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We certainly have reason to boast of how successful, how well-off we are.  But in doing so, we ignore those in need of food, of shelter, of life, and of hope.  Let us close our mouths and open our resources so others might be blessed, even as we are.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
May God also be with you.
People of God, offer your hearts to the Planter of love.
May God pour the seeds of grace and peace into our hearts.
Children of God, let us offer thanks to God.
We join in glad songs of praise to the Vintner of hope.

   Stars followed by watchers
   in Bethlehem and Barcelona;
   rains which water crops
   in Cameroon and Canada;
   grass which feeds cattle in Ghana
   and cradles children in backyards,
if anyone has reason to boast,
it is you, Composer of creation.
Gently and softly, your Spirit filled the lungs
of those created in your image,

   but in our zeal to be like you,
   we gave into temptation's passions.
You gave us laws to shape communities,
   and we broke them;
you sent prophets to call us back to you,
   and we mocked them;
so finally, you gave us yourself,
pressing on to the prize of resurrection.

And so with believers here and everywhere,
with those whose voices echo off walls
and those whose hopes are never heard,
we join all creation in praising you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of who cares for us.
All creation wants to know your love and grace.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who forgets what lies behind us.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holiness, God of the ages,
and if anyone has reason to boast,
it is Jesus, our blessed hope, our grace.
The songs of peace and good will
sung at his birth are the songs
he would have us teach others.
When temptation's seductive whispers
echo in our hearts and souls,
this Word whispers of your life for us.
And forgetting whatever lay ahead of him,
he carried his cross to Calvary,
so we might enter into your resurrection.

As we remember his ministry, life, and death;
as we would hope to be like him in hope,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:

All that he valued,
   Jesus set aside to share in our suffering;
pressing on into death's embrace,
   you raised him to resurrection love;
wanting to know us,
   Christ will come so we will have a future with you.

If anyone has reason to boast
at this Table, it is you, God of goodness,
but instead you pour out your Spirit
on the gifts of the bread and the cup
and on those who are gathered in this place.
Through the brokenness of the bread,
may we be strengthened 
to offer ourselves to healing your creation;
through the gracious goodness of the cup,
may we be given the peace 
which we can share with everyone we meet.

And when all divisions and barriers are gone,
when harmful words and hate-filled voices are silenced,
when the hurt and shame we have caused are healed,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
from every place and from every time,
to rejoice at your Table and sing your goodness,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.


We will go now, as faithful people,
so others might know God.
We will seek to invite others 
into this community of grace.
We will go now, as seeds of justice,
so others might know Jesus.
We will seek to welcome all 
who have been rejected by the world.
We will go now, to be lights of hope,
so others might know the Spirit.
We will seek to illuminate the shadows
of brokenness with peace and life.

(c)  Thom M. Shuman