Tuesday, July 17, 2007

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 11 - Year C

Call to Worship
God has called us to this place.
What do you see?
We see people who model for us
God's joyous embrace of all people.
God has brought us to this place.
What do you hear?
We hear God's hope
that we are able to see each person
as our sister or brother.
God has challenged us
to open our lives and hearts to others.
What will you do?
We will do only one thing:
welcome everyone in God's name!

Prayer of the Day
You open our eyes
to a world
which would sell the poor
for the price of an SUV,
or trade the needy
for a pair of Guccis,
or haul the weak
into Judge Judy's court.
So come,
God of Justice,
to make us
as vocal as Amos.

You watch us
as we fill our days
with endless work;
as we keep a list
of all our worries,
never marking any off;
as we get easily distracted
by others' inactions.
So come,
Creation's Oldest Child,
to make us
as still as Mary.

You take notice
of how quickly
we can overlook
those who hunger
for their empty hearts
to be filled;
those who long
for a family
to welcome them;
those who thirst
for that relationship
which will revive
their souls.
So come,
Reconciling Love,
to make us
as welcoming as Martha.

God in Community, Holy in One,
come to make us your people,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

They are there in the Bible: men and women who are as weak, as foolish, as prone to sin as we are. Every page, every story reveals to us our brokenness. Yet every page, every story tells us of One who longs to make us whole. Let us confess our sins, and clear the way for God's reconciling love to work within us. Please join me, as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
In the mirror we call scripture, Revealing God, we see ourselves for who we are and are not. We whine about those who are not doing what we think they should and ignore our failings. We speak words which nibble away at the life in our family and friends. We step over the poor on our way to get more and more, ignoring their needs.

Forgive us, Reconciling Love. Sit us down at Jesus' feet, so we may learn the balanced life you intend for us. Then, and only then, we can set aside our grudges, to offer our gifts to our neighbors; we can stop licking at our hurts, to bring healing to others; we can reach out and welcome our sisters and brothers, even as we have been welcomed into your heart through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept.

Assurance of Pardon
Christ Jesus comes to reconcile us to God, so we can be reconciled to one another. Recreated in God's image, we are made whole.
When we are in Christ, everything becomes new. Our past is just that - our past!
Do you really believe this - that your past is done, and you are a new person? If so, go out and reflect it in your life.
Thanks be to God! We will go forth and live as reconciled people. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who embraces us be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift your hearts to the One
who makes you welcome in every moment.
We lift them to the Lord our God
who is our host at this meal.

People of God, offer your praise
and thanksgiving to the One
who comes bringing new life to us.
The sad dirges of our lives
become praise songs for the One
who makes us whole.

We will thank you forever,
God of Reconciliation.
Through your imaginative Word,
all things were created:
summer fruit to tingle our taste buds,
and winter's ice sculptures to delight us;
spring's breezes to disturb our complacency,
and autumn's rainbow leaves
to dance across our lawns.
Offered life in your garden of joy,
we took refuge in the world's shadows;
invited to build a home in your love,
we grasped the blocks of betrayal
to build our false lives on;
chosen to make known your grace for all,
we proclaimed the lies of the Evil One.
Yet, you would not let us wander
from sin to sin,
but sent the prophets to speak
in the presence of the unfaithful,
of your forgiveness and hope.
And when our sharp tongues
slashed their words to ribbons,
you sent the fullness of your life,
Jesus the Messiah,
to bring us back to you.

And so, we join our voices
with all who have gone before us
and all who will come after us,
singing your praises forever:


Holiness is who you are, Reconciling God,
and salvation is the blessing we receive
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
He came to bear the stain of our lives,
so we could be made squeaky clean;
he walked the streets of the world,
so we no longer needed to shuffle our feet
in the dust of our failed dreams;
in his life, death, and resurrection
he revealed the mystery
of your glorious hope for us,
before we had finished
reading the story.

As we would welcome your loving embrace,
we would proclaim that faith we long for:

Memorial Acclamation

Send your Holy Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and upon those
who will receive these gifts.
May the bread which is broken
make us one with each other;
may the cup which is shared
be the healing we need.
Then, when we be nourished by your grace,
send us forth to be your servants:
setting aside our worries
to welcome the weak and forsaken;
letting go of our grudges,
so we may receive
the grace the stranger brings to us,
releasing our fears and doubts
so we may embrace
your steadfast love.

Then when all time comes to an end,
and we are brought together at your Table
through him who reconciled us to you,
and who holds us together in his grace,
we will sing our praises through all eternity:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman