Friday, September 28, 2007

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 22 - C

Call to Worship
We gather, as God's people,
bringing our fears and pain,
knowing that when our spirits
have grown cold,
God rekindles the gift of faith in us.
We gather, as God's people,
hanging our broken hearts
on the branches of the tree of life,
knowing that while friends
may turn against us,
God transforms enemies
into sisters and brothers.
We gather, as God's people,
hungering for healing and hope,
knowing that even when life is no picnic,
God prepares a feast for us.

Prayer of the Day
Singer of Songs:
when we have lost
the melody of your hope,
you reshape the notes of our hearts;
when we can find
no resting place,
you are the lap
that cradles us;
when we are held captive
by our complaints,
you free us for praise.

Seed Planter,
you only did
what you ought to have done:
traveling the empty roads
of our world;
listening to
our midnight cries;
overtaking us
to shoulder our burdens.

Spirit of Love,
as you enter our hearts
to ease our loneliness:
may we not foget
who our protector is;
may we remember the faith
which has been gifted to us;
may we be stewards
of the good treasure that is ours.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our prayers as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Our faith has been placed in our hands by our parents and grandparents. But we know we have not always done what we ought to have done. Let us lift our prayers to the One who is always ready to place forgiveness in our hearts.

Unison Prayer of Confession
We stand before you in this moment, Listening God, and state what you already know. Our cheeks are carved with the tears of the pain we have caused. Our hearts are so empty we cannot comfort others. Our desires have taken us places where we cannot sing your praises.
Heart-seeking God, forgive us. Plant a tiny seed of hope that it might grow into a bouquet for others. Increase our faith until it spills over in thanksgiving to you. Fill us with the love that overwhelms all our complaints and rekindles our desire to follow faithfully Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
While our failures and frailty are fresh, God's grace has been ours before time began. This is great news - we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God, who has given us the promise of life in Christ Jesus our Lord! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you
and also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One
who cradles our hearts in loving hands.

People of God, let us give thanks
to the God who sets a Table for us.
We praise the Lord our God
who welcomes us with open arms.

It is our greatest joy
to sing our songs of praise to you,
Gardener of Creation.
You planted the seeds of faith
in our ancestors
who sought to pass it on to us.
But your gifts of love and self-discipline
found no resting place in our souls.
Your tears washed
the streets of the kingdom,
when we abandoned them
to walk the world's lonely paths.
We do not remember who protects us,
and we rely on those false gods
who would lead us into despair's captivity.
But you will not forget us,
or leave us orphaned.
Hearing us crying in the night,
you sent our Hope, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, we lift our voices,
singing our praise with those in every time, and in every place, who have been brought out of death's exile,
and who forever sing your joy.


Holy are you, Speaker of our hearts,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Promise of Life.
When we had hung our souls
on the branches of loss,
he handed them back to us,
teaching us the ageless
harmonies of grace.
When the world left us
by the side of the road
like rusty automobiles,
he came to restore us to newness.
Splashing in pain's puddles,
he washed our feet
and dried them with his love,
leading us into the kingdom.
Daughters of despair,
widows of woe,
orphans and outcasts -
he gathers us all up
in his arms of mercy
wiping out death,
and sitting us down
at the family Table.

As we remember his grace and love,
as we dare not forget his sacrifice for us,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Holy Spirit,
as we offer the gifts
of the bread and the cup
for your blessing,
so we present ourselves:
our accomplishments, our failings,
our hopes, our realities.
Make us weak,
so we might rely
on your strength.
As we have heard the Word,
may we listen
to the cries of the poor.
As we are family
with those sitting beside us today,
may we love our sisters and brothers
in every corner of creation.
As you hold out
the bread and cup to us,
may we reach out to enemies
to clasp hands as friends.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
all honor and glory are yours,
Almighty God,
now and forever. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, September 24, 2007

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 21-C

Call to Worship
The word has come for us from God:
who promises to shelter us
under the wings of hope and grace.
The word has come for us from Jesus:
who encourages us to remember
the good news we have received.

The word has come for us from the Spirit:
who reminds us to place our
hope and trust in God.

Prayer of the Day

When we fall into the traps
of groundless fears,
you deliver us.
When an epidemic of worry
threatens to overcome us,
you protect us.
When harmful words
are flung at us,
you answer our cries for help.
Gracious God,
we worship you.

When our lives crumble,
you urge us to buy hope's fields.
When we are tempted by wealth,
you point us to those
who have nothing but share all.
When we are eager
to grasp senseless lies,
you wrap our hands
around God's promises.
Servant of the poor,
we follow you.

When the world silences our hope,
you give us the words to make
the good confession of faith.
When we have lost our way
and can no longer endure
the emptiness of our lives,
you satisfy us from the abundance
of God's grace and joy.
Sheltering Spirit,
we seek your peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our Refuge, our Trust, our Hope,
we lift our prayer to you
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
In God's presence, our lives are exposed, our words are shown for their hollowness, our need is revealed. Let us confess who we are, as we ask God to embrace us with grace and hope.

Unison Prayer of Confession
We need to confess, God of Abraham and Lazarus, how often we are not content with the simple gifts and lives you offer. Tempted by wealth, we can become insensitive to those who have nothing. Encouraged by the world to accumulate more, we may miss the chance to gather your goodness and godliness. Chasing after everything that has no value, we may not have the energy to pursue the faith, the love, the gentleness you have for us.

Forgive us, God of Reversals. Help us to remember how you have redeemed us, and in remembering, may we make that good confession that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, now and forever.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news that comes from God: I will hear your prayers, I will answer with hope and peace, I will deliver you from your sins.
God has covered us with grace; under God's hope we will find shelter. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 20-C

Call to Worship
We gather together to celebrate
the joy in our lives.
God's love fills our hearts
to overflowing with laughter
We gather, in God's presence,
to find comfort and hope for our pain.
God's grace wipes away our tears
and knits us together as one people.

We gather together, in God's presence,
to worship God in faith and truth.
Alleluia! Amen!

Prayer of the Day
Healing God,
when dismay
is our daily companion,
you come to touch us
with your healing hope.
When grief falls on us
like a wall of bricks,
you rebuild our joy
with your comfort and love.

Jesus Christ,
Faithful Spirit,
when bullies pick on us,
you stand by our side.
When neighbors taunt us
for choosing to be faithful,
you commend us
for our wisdom.

Teaching Spirit,
when we are heart-sick
over the brokenness of our lives,
your compassion races
to bring your gentle balm.
When our joy is gone
and we are stained
by the world's cruelty,
you bathe us in the tears
flowing from God's broken heart.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Before we speak, God knows our needs, yet our words open our hearts to God's grace. Let us prepare ourselves for God's healing as, in words and silence, we tell of all that separates us from God and one another. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
First of all, Everlasting God, we must confess how we have not lived as your people. We serve many masters - work, wealth, power, addictions - yet find no hope in them. We hear the cries of the poor, and shut the doors of our hearts to them. We ridicule those who expose their hopes and dreams to us.

Forgive us, Compassion's Heart, and heal us of our brokenness. Make us well, so that by our healing, we might be the hope and love others need in their lives, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, brought these gifts to us, calling us to be faithful with the grace, peace, and joy entrusted to us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Now that we have let go of the pain, the bitterness, the anger of our lives, let us be kind, tender-hearted, and gentle towards each other, forgiving as God has forgiven us.
We are God's beloved children, and will model God's grace and love in our hearts. Thanks be to God! We are forgiven! Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, September 10, 2007

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 19 - Year C

Call to Worship
The foolish say,
'there is no God.'
We come, trusting in Jesus,
the face, the voice, the presence
of the God who loves us.
The scoffers of our age ask,
'why do you seek after God?'
We come, in this time,
because God's grace has
spilled over in our lives.
The hopeless around us think,
'no one cares about me.'
We come, in this time, to this place,
because Jesus has found us
and brought us home.

Prayer of the Day
When we are short-sighted
and think we can't see you,
you show us a mother
cradling her sick child.
When we are anxious,
certain you don't care about us,
you are confident enough
to trust us with your grace.
When we are cynical,
sure that nothing matters,
you are optimistic enough
to become one of us.
God, you are our Hope.

You sweep the streets
of the world,
to uncover the people
we consider to be trash.
You shine your grace
into sin's shadows
to find us when
we have lost our way.
You would leave us
to go find the sister
we left behind.
Jesus, you are our Joy.

When we walk
the dusty desert of desolation,
you refresh us
with showers of grace.
When our lives
lie in ruined rubble,
you come and build
a foundation for us
out of love and faith.
Spirit, you are our Life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
our Hope, our Joy, our Life,
hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Which of us has not hurt someone this week? Which of us has not spoken (or thought) ill of a sister or brother in Christ? Which of us has failed to do good when given the chance? Which of us - all of us and each of us! But Christ came to save people just like us, so I invite you to join me as we offer our prayers to God, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Although we believe we are experts at faithfulness, Holy God, we must confess we are unskilled workers at doing good. Too often, we turn a deaf ear to the cries of
people we have judged to be fools. We easily scoff at those we believe have nothing to teach us or share with us.

How foolish, Searching God, how foolish we are! Forgive us, and restore us to your goodness. Then, send us forth to search for all who sit in the shadowed corners of our world, yearning for someone to come and find them, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, came to find us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Our actions sometimes show we do not know God. Our words and lives show we do not understand God's hopes for us. But with utmost patience, God sets aside our foolishness, and fills us with mercy.
Mingled with faith and love, grace is poured into our sin-parched souls, giving us new life, restoring us as God's children. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, September 01, 2007

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 18 - Year C

Call to Worship
We gather in the presence of God:
who knows us when we wake up
and when we go to sleep,
and in all the moments in between.
We gather in the house of God:
who has created a family for us:
here, as well as in Baghdad,
in Belfast, and in Nairobi.
We gather to be the people of God:
who appeals to us to follow
in love, in faith, in service.

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God our Potter:
you come to us
before we come to you.
You send your Heart,
Jesus Christ, to us
before our hearts
are turned to you.
You send your Spirit to us,
when our spirits
wander far from you.
You set a Table for us,
when our souls are hungry,
when our hearts are empty.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Our sins are not to be hidden from God. Rather, we bring them into the Light and lay them on the Table, trusting in the One who shaped us for goodness and will transform our brokenness into wholeness. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Searching God: we are so attached to our possessions, we have trouble sharing them. We are so connected to our pleasures that we cannot feel the pain of those around us. We are so stuck on ourselves, we cannot sense our souls slipping away into the shadows.
Most merciful God: loosen us from the grip of the world, so we may feel your healing touch. Sever us from our sin, so your Spirit might bind us to you. Reshape us, redeem us, renew us, so we may take up our crosses and follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The God who calls us is the God who created us; the God who formed us is the God who forgives us. This is the good news - we are God's new creation.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Potter of life be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up you hearts.
We lift them to the One
who reshapes them into grace.
People of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
We praise the One who has shaped us
for love and service.

With joy we praise you,
Creating God.
You stooped down and took the clay
lying on earth's floor,
shaping us in your image.
But we wondered
what it would be like
to follow our own paths
and detached ourselves from your side.
We counted the cost
of being your children,
and found it to be too much for us.
We pondered your words
and found them useless for our lives.
But you did not take your hands from us,
but continue to recreate us,
to reshape us, to redeem us.

Giver of breath, shaper of words,
all the living find voice to praise you,
as we celebrate with the people
of every time and place,
singing to your glory:


Holy are you, Redeeming God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior.
Traveling with us,
he points out the paths
we are to walk.
When he could command
us to do whatever he wants,
he appeals to us
to follow his example.
Whatever wrong we have done,
whatever good we have failed to do,
Christ charges them to his account,
that we might be counted
as your beloved children.

So, as we come to the Table
of grace and hope
we remember that mystery
we call faith:

Memorial Acclamation

Spirit of the Living God,
renew us with this bread and this cup
which have been set aside for sacred use,
even as you refresh our hearts.
Fill us with all the goodness of the kingdom,
that we may do good for Christ
as we serve others:
in the ways in which we treat our families;
in our willingness to draw
the outcast to our side;
in our efforts to be your healing hands
to the sick and grieving.

Then, here at the Table
and beyond;
here, in this moment,
and through eternity:
remind us that we are always with you,
God of all places and times,
Christ of those who suffer,
Spirit of justice and hope.
God in Community, Holy in One.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman