Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Easter 7-C

Call to Worship
We come to this place of prayer,
for here we can bring our hopes and dreams,
our hidden fears
and the doubts we wear on our sleeves
We come to this place of grace,
for here we learn compassion and joy,
and discover how deeply we are loved.
We come with these people
called the church,
to be blessed by the variety of gifts,
to live as one for our God.

Prayer of the Day
In your presence,
Creator of the Universe,
mountains melt into
muddy puddles
and stars whisper
your name to us.
Faithfulness and justice
are the scuffed shoes
you put on each morning,
clouds are your prayer shawl
in the evening.

When you could have
kept God's glory in your pocket,
Servant of the poor,
you took it out
and spent it on us.
Confident in that love
which was yours before
the world began spinning,
you came to walk
the dusty path of death.

Spirit of Blessing,
like a crossing guard
you keep your eyes on us
as we cross the busy streets of life,
ready to pull us out of the way
of oncoming sin.
You take us by the hand
to lead us to the shade
of the tree of life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
make us one Body from many individuals,
as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Plastic cards, shiny cars, brick and glass homes - what idols we fashion with our hands, how much energy and time serving them occupy our hearts! Let us confess how we have misplaced our priorities, and seek the One who asks us to be first in our lives.

Unison Prayer of Confession
Enslaved to sin, we cannot see the lives we lead, God of Glory. Each day, and every day, there are those times when we ignore you and your dreams for us. Each week, and every week, we find the time to ridicule others, when we could have affirmed them. Each moment, and every moment, though we do not want to admit it, we seek our own way rather than skipping down your path of joy and obedience.

We come asking forgiveness for our foolish lives, Eternal Blessing. Deliver us, and break the chains of sin and death which hold us captive. Open us to that grace you offer, and give us the gift of the Spirit so we may live as people of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
In the beginning was God, and at the end will be God, and in every moment in between, there
is God: creating, redeeming, sustaining us.
And through Christ, gracious love is poured into our empty souls; through the Spirit, peace becomes the gift we can share with those around us. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Easter 6-C

Call to Worship
God calls us to this place,
a haven for healing and hope.
We come, with the pain of our burdens;
we come to hear God's Word for us.
Together, we will sing songs of joy;
each of us will hear God whisper our name:
'Beloved of my heart.'
We join our voices in prayer and praise;
we sing of our longing for new lives.
Here, our shadowed corners are filled with Light;
here we discover that God dwells with us.
And not just us, for God would teach all to love;
God's Spirit would lead all peoples in peace

Prayer of the Day
Lord God the Almighty,
you bless us wtih all
that you have created:
you teach us to swim
in the bright crystal water of life;
you cook breakfast for us
in that eternal city;
you open your heart to us
and will never close its doors.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ, Lamb of God:
you stand at the door,
your hand on the knob,
your coat over your arm,
ready to go away.
Yet you do not leave us
but fill our emptiness
with your peace.
We praise you.

Holy Spirit, God-sent Gift:
you come to our defense
when we are falsely accused;
you rescue us
from the school yard bully
who picks on us;
you sit by our beds
and comfort us
when the nightmares of life
keep us awake.
We open our hearts to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we sing for joy to you,
even as we pray with all people,
as Jesus taught us saying,
Our Father . . .

Cal to Reconciliation
How easy we can learn of God's love - how hard it is to live it! The world distracts us with its easy choices, while we know how intentional we must be to love one another. Join me as we confess our failures to love and we open our hearts to God, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Because you dwell in our hearts, Eternal God, you know how the anger, the pain, the bitterness of our lives try to crowd you out. The noise of the world deafens us to that Word which can heal us. We want our children to be good, kind, and gentle to others, and then they hear us call others names, and speak of them with demeaning words. Our desire for revenge towards those who have hurt us shows that your peace, indeed, is not within us.

You promise a new heaven and a new earth, so create new spirits and lives within us, O God. Shattered by our sin, your heart can still heal our brokenness. Your Spirit, living deep within our souls, can teach us faithful ways. Your Word, Jesus Christ our Lord, whispers to us of your mercy, your hope, your love.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
The Word which can transform is not some idle
gossip, but good news for us. It fills us with
forgiveness, equips us for service, and sends us
forth to love others as God loves us.
In our midst, the Holy Spirit teaches us all we
need to know, gives us what we need in order
to be faithful, and fills us with peace. Thanks
be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord our Brother be with you.
May the Spirit our Sister be with you.
Children, lift your hearts to God.
We lift them to the One who,
like a mother, protects us.
Household of God,
sing of your joy and hope.
It is good for us to alleluia the One who,
like a father, nurtures us.

With a vision of goodness and beauty,
Imaginative God,
you replaced the shadows of chaos
with the light of your glory;
you gave voice
to all living creatures
to sing your joy;
you gave us the water of life
to quench our thirsting souls.
Shaping a garden to be our home,
you pleaded with us
to live in peace and grace.
But we wanted
to walk our own paths
hoping to inherit
the false promises
and empty hope of the world.
You urged the prophets
to try to open our hearts,
but we were not eager to listen.
That is when you blessed us,
God our God,
sending Jesus to teach us
all that we had forgotten.

Therefore, with those gathered around the Lamb,
and with those before, behind and beside us,
we sing of your glory,


You bless us, Gentle Creator,
and your face shines upon us
in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Like a brother,
he shows us that gentleness
which is true strength;
like a sister,
he stands at our side
when our friends tease us.
Like a mother,
he keeps his word
in every moment;
like a father,
he listens eagerly
to our dreams.
To make us your family,
he went away into death,
so he could come to us
in the joy of the resurrection,
to lead us home to your heart.

As we would keep his word in our hearts,
so we would speak of that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Mothering God,
send your Holy Spirit
to grace this bread and this cup,
and to bless our hearts
with your gentle healing.
As we keep Christ's word
by feasting at this Table,
may we go forth
to proclaim the good news.
As you come
to make your home with us,
may our homes become
those palaces of love
and sanctuaries of laughter;
those havens of healing
and harbors of hope
which all are seeking:
hearts which welcome all,
and whose doors are never closed,
especially to the prodigals.

And when we gather
around the tables of the Wedding Feast,
our love lighted by the life of the Lamb,
and our souls healed of all brokenness,
we will be your family at last,
singing of your glory, forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman