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