Monday, May 27, 2013

Proper 4/Ordinary 9/Pentecost 2/Trinity 1 - C

Texts: 1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39; Psalm 96; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10

Call to Worship
With loud engines at the race track,
and with soft-spoken wisdom:
sing to God new songs of wonder!
With planets spinning in the galaxies,
and with jack hammers tearing up our streets:
sing to God new songs of joy!
With fireworks in summer's night skies,
and with winter's ice crunching under our boots:
sing to God new songs of grace!
With crowds at exciting sports venues,
and with children whispering dreams to their pets:
sing to God new songs of hope!

Prayer of the Day

we would take our
   fears, doubts, broken dreams
         and set them to death's
                mournful dirge,
you take them, rearranging the notes
          and rewriting the lyrics for
     drums, electric guitar, tambourines
                 and keyboard,
   singing a new song
                     of joy
               to us.
Composer of Creation,
we give you the glory!

the world considers us
     putting us out on the
          BOGO clearance table
               on the sidewalk,
   you come under the awning,
telling the proprietor
     to put us on your
          (which you will
              pay in full
              before the next billing cycle
Liberator of our lives,
We give you the glory!

day after day,
           we cannot seem
     to break the cycles of
you come, proclaiming
          the good news,
     speaking the Word
           which heals
Spirit of Peace, we give you the glory!

God in Community, Holy in One,
to you be the glory forever and ever,
as we pray, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We go limping along, convinced we can make it on our own, that we are too busy for God.  But when we look at our mistakes, the words we wish we could take back, the hurts we long to heal, we know we must confess, so God can forgive us and wrap us in steadfast love.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     We want you to know, Holy God, that we do try.  Between the politicians and the pundits, it is easy to become confused as to how we should live.  We spend so much time trying to win the approval of certain people, that we forget our call to serve those around us.  We are so busy telling others 'go there' or 'do this,' we cannot hear your whispers of love.
     We do not presume to come to you expecting easy grace, for we are aware of what it cost you to forgive us, Tender God.  But speak the word, and we will know your mercy; speak the word, and we will be made whole; speak the Word, Jesus Christ, and we will find that faith to trust you in every moment.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God comes, not to punish, not to condemn, but to judge - with that righteousness which brings redemption, with that truth which sets us free.
Let it be known this day.  The Lord indeed is God, who brings forgiveness and hope to all people.  Glory to God!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May creation's Lord be with you!
And also with you!
Here at this Table, dear ones, draw closer to God.
We come, to offer our hearts to God.
Join the chorus of the universes in praising God.
Our voices unite with all of God's people in songs of joy.

All creation is grounded in you,
Sovereign God, who spoke the Word
and let it be known that you were coming
     so seas might roar your majesty,
     so fields might exult your glory,
     so trees might sing your joy.
You formed us in your divine image,
letting it be known that we were yours,
the people of your heart and hopes.
But sin and death called our names,
     and we chose to follow those petty gods,
     limping along, letting our dance partners
     lead us as seduction's sirens sang their songs.
You sent the prophets to intercede,
hoping that we would listen,
     but we made no answer, gave no response.
So you decided to come closer still,
sending Jesus to bring us your healing.

With those who gave you glory in every time and place,
with those from all over this wide earth,
we sing that new song which has echoed down the generations:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Sovereign of the universe.
All creation joins in singing your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

You indeed are God, Holy One,
and Jesus Christ is your blessed Child.
When we limped along through the world,
     he came to strengthen us to walk in your way.
When our petty gods became too busy for us,
     he came to listen to our faltering prayers.
When we would cling to sin in every moment,
     he went to the cross
          so sin would have no voice to call us,
          so death would be left empty-handed.

As we rejoice in his coming to us,
as we remember we would have no hope without him,
we declare that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, breaking the power of sin;
Christ is risen, breaking the cycle of death;
Christ comes, bringing the power of the gospel for all.

We sing glad songs to you,
God of honor and majesty,
for here at the Table,
you pour out your Spirit
on the gifts of your creation
set apart for sacred use.
The grain of exultant fields
is shaped into the Bread of life,
     which strengthens us to go forth
     to intercede for those who
     are not highly valued by our world,
     yet who need healing and hope.
The fruit of creation's vines
becomes the sweet nectar of grace,
which fills our emptiness until it overflows
into justice for the oppressed,
       release for all held captive,
       recovery for the addicted,
       good news for the broken-hearted.

And when all our times have come to an end,
     when the new seas roar with wonder,
     when newly planted meadows exult with laughter,
     when the trees of life sing for joy,
we will lift our voices with our sisters and brothers,
singing the new songs of eternal life with you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter - C

Texts: Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21; John 17:20-26

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 kept

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.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of wonder be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to the One who invites you to this Table, calling, "Come, Come!"
Thirsty for life and hope, we bring our hearts to this feast.
Rejoice in the Lord, all you people!
We sing glad songs of thanks to God's holy name!

Disturbing chaos at the very beginning,
Dawn for the righteous,
you created wonder and beauty.
   Coastlands were filled with life's abundance,
   clouds scudded across the skies,
      justice became the foundation for hope.
Crafted in your image to behold your glory,
   we believed the boasts of worthless idols,
   bowing down to worship sin and death.
Prophets came, speaking your word,
   but we accused them of disturbing our peace.
When you saw your hope
of our returning on our own,
you sent Jesus, who came,
not only on behalf of those who knew him,
but also for all who would believe in him.

So with those who thirst for righteousness,
and with those who hunger for justice,
we lift our voices to you:

Holy, holy, holy, Joy of the upright in heart.
All creation beholds your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who testifies to all things.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are most high over all Creation, Holy One,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Joy, our Hope.
You gave him your glory,
   which he shares with all your children.
The Bright Morning Star, he came
   to illumine the shadows of our lives.
Bringing the testimony of your salvation,
   he proclaimed the good news to all who listened.
Desiring that we might be with him wherever he is,
   he went to the cross,
      throwing open death's imprisoning doors,
      that we might have life eternal.

As we celebrate his life and love,
as we testify to his peace and hope,
we witness to that mystery called faith:

Christ died, that we may enter the holy city by the gates;
Christ arose, that we may receive the water of life as a gift;
Christ will come soon, your grace calling us home.

Come, Holy God, come,
pouring out your Spirit upon this feast,
transforming your children
with the simple gifts of the bread and cup.
As we eat of the bread,
we find you within us,
   uniting us, wherever we are divided,
   healing us, where we are broken,
   sending us, when we are reluctant,
      to throw open wide all that imprisons
      our sisters and brothers throughout the world.
As we drink from the cup,
we realize how deeply we know you,
   and will go forth to witness to all around us,
      that the love with which you have loved us
      may be in them, and we in them.

And when the end of all time has come,
when the Alpha and Omega invites us to "come,"
we will gather around your Table in the holy city,
clothed in your grace with all the saints,
we will sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman