Saturday, October 27, 2007

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 26 - C

Call to Worship
We gather in awe
standing in the presence of the One
who crafted the stars, the mountains, the seas.
We gather in faith,
trusting that the One who has held little children
holds our lives in the heart of God.

We gather in need,
seeking the One who longs for justice
to grace each and every person in creation.

Prayer of the Day
You stirred the dust
and created us for service;
you breathed into our lungs
so we could share your good news;
you shape our hearts
with the tools of compassion
so we will seek justice for all.
We thank you, God of gifts.

In the hospitality of Zaccheus,
we see your openness
for all who are different;
in the grumbling of his neighbors,
we hear the echoes
of our own prejudices and fears;
in his transformation
into a new person,
we see your grace
which is prepared for us.
We thank you,
Companion of the poor.

You cradle us in the peace
of the resting night;
you awaken us
with the light of dawn
and the warmth of your gentleness;
you walk with us
through each day,
nudging us to be that blessing
we are called to be to others.
We thank you,
Surprising Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our thanks to you,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
Our Father. . .

Call to Reconciliation

How patient is God! We run around trying to do
everything our way, and God just waits. We try
to buy life and happiness, and God waits. We
hurt others and walk away from those in need,
and God waits. God waits, and upon hearing
our heartfelt prayers and cries for help, God
touches is with forgiveness and new life.
Come, join me as we pray to the One who
waits to hear - from us!

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Surrounded by so many seductions, Patient God, we
find it difficult to see you in our lives. Justice has a
hard time surviving when there is so much persecution
and affliction towards the little ones of the world.
Our neighborhoods, our families, even our churches,
are filled with strife and contention.

We cry for help, Listening God; forgive us! As we
wait for your grace to fill our lives, may we open our
hearts to your hope and healing, always giving thanks
for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Rich, poor;young, old; sinner, saint.
We are all God's children, and God
transforms each of us into the people
we are meant to be.
Broken, we are mended;
separated from others, we are made one;
longing to serve, we are sent forth.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 25-C

Call to Worship
This is the day the Lord has made:
a day for praise and prayer;
a day for gratitude and generosity.
This is the time God has given us:
a time for singing and silence;
a time for speaking and listening.
This is the life to which God calls us:
a life of humility and service;
a life of faith and trust.

Prayer of the Day
Pour out your Spirit
upon us as we gather,
God of our salvation:
so your grace
might strengthen us
for service;
so your peace
might calm
our troubled souls;
so your hope
might mend
our broken hearts.

You poured out your life
that we might be filled
with the gift of salvation.
You humbled yourself
that we might be raised
to eternal life.
Take hold of our hands,
Servant of the world,
so we might cross
the finish line together.

You are in our midst,
Spirit of wholeness.
You enabled us
to cling to faith,
when hope runs
through our fingers like sand.
You open the gateways
of our hearts
morning and evening,
that we might sing
our praises with all creation.

God in Community,
Holy in One,
we pour out our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus taught us,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
When we pray to God, do we do so with pride in what wonderful people we are, or with that humble hope which recognizes how we have not lived as God’s children, and how we need God’s forgiveness and grace in our lives? Join me as we pray to our God, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Watching God, like the Pharisee, we think we can stick our thumbs into life, pull out a prayer, and congratulate ourselves for being such good Christians. Then, we remember the harsh words we have spoken this week, the hurt we have inflicted on someone we love, the lack of compassion we failed to offer to someone who needed our help.

Forgive us, God of Grace, and deal gently with us. May we become more like the tax collector - humble, penitent, acknowledging our faulty lives to you. Then, may we receive the mercy promised to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Forgiven and healed, we open ourselves to the grace, the peace, the hope offered to us through our loving God. This is the good news we have received!
Graced and blessed, we are able to offer our lives for others, taking them by the hand to reach that finish line called the Kingdom. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 07, 2007

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time/Proper 23 - Year C

Call to Worship
Whether we live in an apartment or a house;
if we reside in the suburbs or the city:
God tells us to pray for the places
where we live.
Whether we are exiles or prisoners for the gospel;
if we are young, old, insider, outcast:
God says, when you search for me,
you will find me.
Whether we have been wandering and lost;
or if we have lived in the same place all our lives:
God says, i will gather you from all your places
and bring you home.

Prayer of the Day
Awesome Creator:
you bring us together in this sanctuary,
calling us from all those places
where we live and work and play,
so we can recognize you
in faces lined with wisdom;
so we can hear you in the questions
of the smallest child;
so we can sit up and notice
all that you do in our midst.

Cradler of Grace:
you speak your words,
so we might hear the sighs
of the outsiders of our world.
You walk the borderlands
of our joys and sorrows,
so we might embrace your healing.
You enter our hearts,
despite our best efforts
to close them to your presence.

Enduring Spirit:
when we are tempted
to imprison the good news
with our politics, our fears,
our prejudices, our doubts,
whisper that Word
which shatters all chains,
and sets us free to be God's people.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray as Jesus, our Brother and Savior,
has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Despite our foolish and angry words, God continues to speak of mercy to us. Despite our best efforts to be faithless in our living, God remains faithful in keeping the promise to forgive us and restore us to wholeness. Let us confess our sins to God, that God's hope and grace might endure in our brokenness.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God beyond borders, we know that on our way to worship, we may not have noticed the exiles in our neighborhoods. We admit how easy it is for us to wander down the street of temptation, pausing at the corner of easy choices. We fall silent in the presence of those who speak words of anger and hate. We tolerate a culture that suspects all who are different from us.

Have mercy on us, O God, for surely you take the side of justice. Open our hearts to all the wonders you are performing in our lives. You gift us with those of other cultures, that our lives might be blessed. You send us friends out of places we least expect, that our community might be enriched. You call us to be generous with our blessings, so others might be graced with the gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
God challenges us, God encourages us. God confronts us, and God accepts us. God works wonders in our midst, and gives us the eyes, the hearts, the souls to see such miracles.
God forgives us, God guides us through the wilderness of the world, God leads us home. Thanks be to God. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman