Friday, March 23, 2007

Palm/Passion Sunday - C

Call to Worship
On this day of palms and celebration,
Jesus continues his journey with God.
We will go with him, for a while,
until he turns towards Calvary
From the top of Olive Mountain,
Jesus prepares to travel through
the valley of heartache and loss.
We will follow Jesus, for a while,
cradling hope in our hearts.
In the streets of Jerusalem,
Jesus hears the cries of those
who adore him.
We will shout Jesus' name, for a while,
until we cry out, "Crucify him!"

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Architect of our grace:
from your house
we praise you.
Your love is never taken from us;
your goodness is the constant in our lives.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ,
Sorrow of our salvation:
you dared to listen to God
instead of the cheers
of the crowd
and the jeers
of your enemies.
We walk with you.

Holy Spirit,
Glory of God:
you give us light
so we might see
the One who comes;
you open our ears,
so we might hear
the whispers of hope;
you sustain the weary,
so we might journey
through this week.
We welcome you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Petty squabbles don't belong in such a story of high drama and sacrifice, but they are there,
just as in our lvies, along with the other ways we fail to be the disciples of Christ. Please join
me as we pray.

Unison Prayer of Confesssion

Sustainer of the weary, we know how we sang for joy when Christ came into our lives, and how we have not followed him when he leads us on this journey. We have hidden our faces from the pain and suffering of our world. We have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed. We trust in the slick promotions of the world, and not in your words that can transform our lives.

Forgive us, Steadfast God, and shine your face upon us. Help us to have the same mind as Christ, so we would know your promises; help us to have the same heart as Christ, so we might serve your children; help us to have the same Spirit as Christ, so we might go wherever you lead us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God does not turn away when we fail to be faithful. God does not reject us when we do not trust fully. God continues to love us, to forgive us, to restore us.
It is God who helps us; it is God who saves us. It is all we need or ever will need. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord is coming to be with you.
and also with you.
People of God, lay down your coats
and lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One
who comes in God's name.
Let us praise God for the
mighty works we have witnessed.
It is right that we praise our God.

It is our highest joy to praise you,
God of enduring love.
All that is good and beautiful,
all this is just and true,
is your doing.
Morning by morning,
you whispered your dreams
and hopes into our hearts.
But we chose to listen
to different voices,
turning our backs on you
in rebellion and sin.
You sent the prophets
to waken our ears
to your songs of grace,
but we rejected them
as adversaries to our desires.
But you would not turn your face from us,
and sent the One who is named Salvation.

Therefore, we join ourvoices in thanksgiving,
with those in this place, and in every place,
with those in every moment, and in this moment,
singing with all creation to your glory:


Holy are you, God of goodness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who comes in your name.
When he could have remained with you,
he poured himself into
the emptiness of our souls;
casting aside his unity with you,
he gathered up our brokenness
to make us whole;
proclaimed by the choirs of heaven,
he humbled himself as a servant,
so we might be raised to glory;
faithful to the point of death,
even shameful death,
you exalted him to new life
so we might stand with him
in eternity with you.

Remembering the One who came for us,
remembering the words he taught,
remembering his passion and his resurrection,
we proclaim the One who is the Bread of Life:

Memorial Acclamation

Holy Spirit,
as we come to this Table,
bless the gifts of the bread and the cup
that they might be the sustenance of grace.
Strengthen us with the Bread of life,
so we would not turn our backs
on those who hunger;
nourish us with the Cup of hope,
so we might sustain the weary;
so fill us with the good news,
that we dare not remain silent,
but must shout out God's desire
of justice and peace for all people.

Through Jesus Christ,
all glory and honor are yours, God our Father,
with the Holy Spirit, in your holy church,
this day and forevermore. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lent 5-C

Call to Worship
Whatever God did in the past,
the future is that much better!
(even in Jerusalem)
We will not stop looking
for the newness God has for us!
Whatever we have achieved to this point,
we have not completed our journey.
(even into the unknown)
We will quicken our pace
to follow Jesus wherever he leads.
Whatever obstacles we put in the path,
God will make a way to our hearts.
(even in the desert of death)
We will move onward,
through our doubts and fears.

Prayer of the Day

Holy God,
Water Tamer:
you humble our pride,
so we might open
our hearts
to your healing;
you restrain our fears,
so we might reach
for your joy.

Jesus Christ,
Living Water:
you gather up our tears
and wash away
the dust of our despair;
you sit at our feet
and anoint us
with your costly love;
you wipe away our sin
and make us new.

Holy Spirit,
Impudent Joy:
you grace us
with gifts so abundant
they become a river
bursting its banks
in our lives.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers and our joy
as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Even now, God makes a way for us to be made whole. God wants to bring us out of despair and to fill our hearts with laughter. Please join me as we pray to the One who forgets our past to offer us a new future,

Unison Prayer of Confession
God, whose name is Grace: we confess that all too often we asume we have it made and there is no need to advance in our faith. Because the poor are always with us, we believe we can ignore them. We want Jesus to be with us, but not if it means a lot of struggle and pain.

Forgive us, God of Mercy, and repair our broken lives. You have rearranged the price tags on everything we value, so we might set down all that holds us back, to push ahead in following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God comes to us to give living water to
thirsty people; God comes to us to anoint
us with the grace that wipes away our sin;
God comes to fill us with joy.
Our tears are turned into rivers of grace;
our weeping becomes glad cries of praise.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lent 4-C

Call to Worship
Do you feel it?
's kingdom is beneath our feet.
We live in the new creation
shaped by God out of our brokenness
Do you know it?
God's reconciling love in Christ
has shattered our ways of viewing people.
No longer do we label our sisters and brothers,
we welcome them with open arms.
Do you believe it?
God has made everything, including us, new,
and sends us forth
to share this good news with everyone!

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Word Shaper:
you are not our accountant,
but our lover;
you are not angry at us,
but you forgive us;
you are not our enemy,
but the One who runs towards us
with wide open arms,
throwing steaks on the grill
to celebrate our newness!

Jesus Christ,
Shaper of our story:
you travel to that distant country
called our sin
to bring us home once again;
you share your inheritance with us
so we might be blessed;
you know the famine of our spirits
and fill it with your hope.

Holy Spirit,
Life Shaper:
surrounded by your grace,
we offer glad cries of salvation;
encircled by your constant love,
we shout for joy;
enclosed in your comforting arms,
nothing can overwhelm us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
from no on we will remember our life in you,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We know our faults -- the way we have treated others, our alenation from God, our unwillingness to be faithful people. We will not hide our sin or remain silent, but confess them to the One who surrounds us with steadfast love. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We admit, Waiting God, how we have sinned against you. We treat others as strangers, not as our brothers and sisters. Like the elder son, we become green-eyed with jealousy, when you throw your arms around those who are different
from us. We are quick to see the faults of others, but do not recognize our own brokenness. We are not

You interrupt our confession, Tender God, to run and embrace us. There are no limitations on your love, there is nothing you will not give to us. You fill us with your compassion, and treat us as you do your own Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L: God rolls away everything that stands in our way - our past, our sin, our pain, our hesitation,
and reshapes us into new people living in the new creation. What wonderful grace. We
are forgiven!
P: Broken, we are made whole;
lost, we are brought home;
empty, we are filled with songs of gladness.
We rejoice and give thanks to God who has
graced us with mercy. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lent 3-C

Call to Worship
When our pockets are empty,
God allows us to purchase what we need,
charging it to grace's account.
God thinks differently than we do.
When our souls are parched,
God hands us a glass of living water.
God's ways are different from ours.
When we grow weary of searching,
God takes our hand and leads us home.
God's love is different from ours.

Prayer of the Day
God of Grace:
we would max out every credit card
and empty our bank accounts
if we thought we could buy
that peace, that hope,
that mercy, that joy
which always seem to elude us.
Yet you wrap them up
and hand them to us,
with no price tag attached.
We hold our empty lives
out to the world,
begging to be filled to the brim
with all that will only disappoint us.
Yet you would grace us with living waters,
which never run dry.
We lie awake at night
from the insomnia of our stress,
whispering of our fears.
Yet you would lullaby us
with your love which never ends.

We would lift our hearts to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
trusting that you will listen to us,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Gifted beyond measure, we grumble that we don't have enough. Seeking to get our own way, we do not see the ways God wants to forgive us and restore us to new life. In this season of reflection and repentance, let us turn to the One who waits for us with hope.

Unison Prayer of Confession
We continue to be tempted, Faithful God. We are blessed with gifts to use for others, but we want to keep them for ourselves. We easily notice the mistakes of those around us, but do not want to look in the mirror at our lives. We turn our desires into idols, so we do not have to recognize how they can damage us.

Forgive us, Steadfast God. Fill the poverty of our spirits with the richness of your grace; feed our selfish hunger with the bread of compassion for the world; pour the living waters of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into our hearts until they overflow with love.

Silence is kept.

Assurance of Pardon
God is faithful. God's love is an eternal bargain
which will not be broken, God's grace is the gift
which will not be taken back.
Such abundant mercy, such extravagant grace!
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman