Sunday, September 29, 2013

Proper 22/Ordinary 27/Pentecost 20/Trinity 19 - C

Texts:  Lamentations 1:1-6; Psalm 137; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10

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 forget
          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,
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 to 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 kept

Assurance of Pardon
While are failures and frailty are fresh, God's grace has been ours before time began. This is great news - we are forgiven.
God plants the seed of faith deep within us, growing a harvest of grace and hope. 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:

Sung: (tune: Bunessan
God of Creation, Lord of all beauty,
All creatures join in singing your love;
Holy Compassion, Joy of our mornings,
Fill us with grace which comes from above.

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 sin's puddles,
     he washed our feet
     and dried them with his love,
          leading us into the kingdom.
Daughters of despair, sons of sadness,
orphans of woe -
     he gathers us all up
     in his arms of mercy
          wiping out death,
     and sits 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:

Sung: Christ of the outcast, Comfort of mourners,
Neighbor to strangers, Love without end;
Bearer of burdens, Grace ever with us,
Blessing our children, Brother and Friend.

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 the cup to us,
     may we reach out to enemies
          to clasp hands as friends.

God in Community, Holy in One,
all honor and glory are yours,
as we sing our praises through all eternity:

Sung: Spirit of kindness, Breath of forgiveness,
Faithful Companion, just as Christ said;
God's little children gathered together,
Drink of salvation, feast on your Bread.

© Thom M. Shuman