Friday, April 27, 2007

Easter 5-C

Call to Worship
Praise God, all people!
Praise the Lord, all creation!
whales doing backflips in the air,
squid and octopi dancing
on the ocean floor;
Giant redwoods stretching to the sky,
tomato vines cuddling around a stake.
Mountains blocking the sunrise,
moles tunneling through our front lawns;
5-year-olds sitting in a story-time circle,
grandparents singing 'their song.'
Redbuds decorating our backyard,
grass growing faster than our children;
seals getting a suntan on the rocks,
teenagers knotted together at church.
Praise the Lord, all creation!
Praise God, all people!

Prayer of the Day

Vision-Giving God,
when you put bandaids
on skinned knees;
when you hold the hand
of a teenager
grieving unrequited love;
when you wipe the tears
of parents at graduation day:
you show us
your new creation.

Brother to little chidren,
when you hang out
with the world's outcasts;
when you stay a little longer
with those we rush past;
when you will not take sides
in our petty little games:
you show us
the new earth.

Holy Spirit,
when you turn on the
'no vacancy' sign
as death comes our way;
when mourning becomes
a distant memory;
when pain is found
only in dusty history books:
you show us
the new heaven.

God in Community, Holy in One,
make us new,
as we pray as Jesus teaches, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We show others who we are by the lives we lead, the words we speak, the actions we undertake. Let us confess how we have not been God's little children, when we fail to love as we have been loved.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Who are we to get in your way, Holy God? We put people into neat, little boxes, but you rip them open, so folks can dance in your joy. We imprison others with our unmet expectations, and you set them free with a Word. We build walls around those we don't know, and you tear them down, so they can run wild in the kingdom.

Who are we to get in your way, Saving Power, especially in the way of your forgiveness offered to all! Give us your vision that sees everyone as equal - forgiven, graced, loved - even as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We know who God is by the love shown to us in Christ Jesus.
We will show others who we are - and Whose we are - by the loved poured out by our lives. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
Little children, lift your hearts to God.
We lift them to the One
who loves us forever.
Let us glorify the One
who has raised Jesus to new life.
We sing praises to God,
who makes all things new.

You commanded, Holy God,
and chaos yielded to your Word,
so all that is beautiful and good
might be created by your grace.
The sun and moon were shaped
so we would have days and nights
in which to praise you,
but we spent our time
denying your dreams for us,
living each moment for ourselves.
You fixed the boundaries for your Garden,
where we could have life and joy with you,
but we chose to play
on the garbage dumps of sin.
You told the prophets to 'Go!'
and bring your vision
of healing and restoration,
but we thought them to be fools,
standing on the edges of our lives.
When we had decided
to have nothing to do with you,
you chose to become one of us,
living, calling, creating once again
through Jesus the Christ.

Therefore, with those around the Throne,
and with those in every time and place,
we sing our praises to you:


Holy are you, Creator of the Universe,
and blessed is Jesus, your Son, our Lord.
When he could have left us
to deal with sin and death on our own,
he came to live with us;
when he could have chosen
the path to power and fame,
he walked the deadly road to Calvary;
when he could have called down
the angels to save him,
he cried out for forgiveness
for all your children.
When you could have left him
alone and forsaken in the grave,
you graced him with new life.

So as we sing our Easter Alleluias,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Pour out your Spirit
upon this Bread and this Cup, O God,
that they might become
your grace and peace for us,
so we might become your servants
of hope and joy to our world.
As we come to your Table,
remind us of your promises
that when the sea is no more,
you will flood us with your grace;
that when the earth is a hollow husk,
you will walk with us
through the streets
of the New Jerusalem;
that when the sun, moon, and stars
have burned out in space,
the Light of your love
will shine for us forever.

And when we sit down
at the Feast of the Lamb,
receiving grace from those we loved,
and passing it on to those we feared
until all people are served,
we will sing with one heart and voice:
"Glory to the One
who makes all things new -
even us;
Glory to the One
who comes in the name of the Lord -
for us;
Glory to the One
who makes no distinction -
among us!'
Glory to God in Three Persons,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Easter 4-C

Call to Worship
We gather in the presence of God,
where grieving people
and children with skinned knees
have their tears wiped away
We gather with the people of God,
to worship the One
who provides what we need,
not just what we want.
We gather at the Table of God,
to feast on the goodness of God,
to drink from the cup of mercy.

Prayer of the Day
Lead us, God of Goodness:
lead us into those places
where we discover your mercy
waiting to nourish and restore
our famished souls.

Lead us, Gentle Shepherd:
lead us to those places
where we have the joy
of filling the emptiness of others,
because the table you have prepared
is to be shared with all.

Lead us, Mercy's Mother:
lead us on the right paths,
and down the streets
where we can do justice
for all wronged by the world;
lead us to the living waters,
where we can fill our selves
and then empty them for those
parched by pain and loss.

Lead us, God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We know the wrong turns we have taken, the poor choices that shape our lives, the mistakes that have hurt God and others. Let us confess our sins to the One who leads us into life, praying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Taught by our culture to want everything, Comfort of the righteous, we confess that emptiness that sends us searching for still more. Our constant desire for greener pastures fills us with every lust and envy. Our belief that still waters are stagnant sends us thirsting for whitewater thrills and adventures. Our trust in the promises of the world turns us away from the shelter you offer.

Forgive us, Source of goodness and mercy. Call us back from our wayward lives, that we might find rest in your heart, healing from your hands, and unity in life together as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear God's voice: I will walk with you in every moment; I fill you with my grace and hope; I know you and love you.
Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Easter 3-C

Call to Worship
Sing, all people of God!
Sing the good news:
We cry ourselves to sleep
and God comes in with the dawn,
to awaken us with Joy's embrace.
Sing, in every land, in every tongue!
Sing the good news:
when our lives bottom out,
God takes us by the hand
to lead us into the light
Sing, in heaven and on earth!
Sing the good news:
Broken, hopeless, lost -
we cry out to God,
who hears our hearts.
Sing, all people of God!
We will sing the good news of Easter!

Prayer of the Day

You take away
the drab gray dress
of our despair
and clothe us
with hope and joy.
You fill our empty souls
with the resurrection feast
of peace and life.
You are worthy, Healing God,
and so we worship you.

You come to us,
not as a ravenous lion,
but the Lamb
who leads us into God's heart.
When we long
to keep you
in our pockets
like a good luck charm,
you challenge us to live
a love which goes beyond
mere friendship
You are worthy, Heaven's Light,
and so we follow you.

You make us speechless
with your mercy,
yet choose us to tell
God's story of new life
to all the world.
When our secret wounds
would sap our energy,
you pour your peace into us,
so we may be agents of healing.
You are worthy, Love's Spirit,
and we will praise you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you alone are worthy
of all that we have, and all that we are,
and so we lift our prayers to you,
saying as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We can carry our grudges around with us for years, just waiting for the right time for our hurt to erupt. But God gets angry for but a moment, while surrounding us with grace and mercy all the days of our lives. Join me as we pray to God, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
We sing loud songs to you, Morning Joy, trusting they will drown out our mean-spirited murmurs about those around us. We hope you will turn a blind eye to our behaviors, while we imprison our families and friends with impossible expectations. We pull a muscle stretching to pat our selves on the back, but our attitudes and actions towards the poor and outcast of the world reveal we are not worthy to be called your children.

You never give up on us, Healing God. You are quick to forgive us, and quicker to offer us ways to share your name with everyone we meet. As you continue to be loving and affirming towards us, let us go to share the good news of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do not cry. The Lamb of God has come, to lead
us into the kingdom, where we may praise our God,
and serve our sisters and brothers.
Songs of blessing, glad shouts of joy;
hearts for others, hands for service.
All these we offer, and more, to the One
who forgives us and makes us whole.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter 2-C

Call to Worship
Praise God with clapping hands;
praise God with hands comforting a child.
Praise God with silent hearts;
praise God with hearts broken by the world.

Praise God with electric guitars;
praise God with soft piano chords.
Praise God with be-bop and hip-hop;
praise God with rhythms that don't stop.
Praise God with a Hallelujah chorus;
praise God with a Gregorian chant.
Praise God with dancing steps;
praise God with feet walking for justice.

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Lover of your children:
the tomb has been opened,
and we dance into your future.
Your life has dawned upon us,
and we surround you with our praise.
You reach out your hand,
and lead us into your joy.

Jesus Christ,
Faithful Witness:
you pick open
the locked doors
of our hearts
and come in
to be with us forever.
You breathe peace
into our souls,
so we may bring healing
to a troubled world.

Holy Spirit,
Breath of peace:
you show us our hearts,
so we may give love to others;
you show us our hands,
and send us to serve the needy;
you show us your hope,
so we may live in joy.

God in Community, Holy in One,
who is, who was, and who is to come,
hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
When we keep our faults and failures locked
safely away, we have no need to confess. But
God comes into our hearts when we least expect,
so we can be filled with forgiveness, with hope,
with peace. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession

God of empty tombs and empty people:
when we hesitate to speak of your hope,
forgive us, and give us voice.
When we find it difficult to love another,
forgive us, and give us new compassion.
When we want to stand with the high and mighty,
forgive us, and put us next to the poor and oppressed.
When we stay locked behind our fears and doubts,
forgive us, and send us out to share your grace.
When we cannot believe your Word of new life,
forgive us, and fill us with your joy.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Christ comes into every shadowed corner of our
lives with the light of Easter. Christ comes into
the locked rooms of our faults, and gifts us with
grace and hope. Christ comes, to fill us with peace,
that we may proclaim the good news of mercy
and forgiveness.
Thanks be to God. Christ has come to us. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman