Thursday, November 21, 2013

Liturgy for November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving Day, USA)

Texts: Deuteronomy 8:7-18; Psalm 65; 2nd Corinthians 9:6-15; Luke 17:11-19

Call to Worship
L:  Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
P:  We glorify our God with songs of thanksgiving and joy.
L:  God has done great things for us, filling us with grace.
P:  God fed our ancestors in the wilderness,
     God clothes us with hope.
L:  We will offer our hearts to God, always saying, 'Thank you!'
     to the One who loves us.
P:  We will sing our praises, shouting of God's presence in our lives.

Prayer of the Day
Hot showers in the morning
     and cool breezes in the evening;
work that provides for our families,
     and abundance that makes us generous;
silly jokes told by third graders,
     and the silent tears of a grandmother
          lost in her childhood forever.
What blessings are ours, Creation's Joy!

Teachers who patiently help us with our math,
     and mentors who keep us on the right paths;
friends who shovel snow off sidewalks before we waken,
     and employers whose hearts are greater than their profits;
piano teachers who smile at our repeated mistakes,
     coaches who teach us (one more time)
          how to curl the ball into the goal.
What blessings are ours, Servant of Joy!

Dogs who bounce us awake early in the day
     and cats who lullaby us to sleep at night;
grandfathers who teach us how to whittle
     and sisters who give up a date to baby sit;
little boys who always forget to wipe their mouths
     and folks who always remember to say 'thank you.'
What blessings are ours, Joyous Spirit!

God in Community, Holy in One,
thanksgiving is in every word we speak,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We wonder what's for lunch, we worry about work tomorrow, we fret about the
test that is coming up. So much worry, so much time waster over things we
cannot control. The One who showers earth with rain, who places the stars in
the autumn sky, is the same One who wraps mercy tight around you, who feeds
us on healing and hope. Let us confess how our worries keep us from trusting
the God who hears us and restores us to new life. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     Because we live in this modern, tech-driven, twittering age, we often
forget what you have done for us, God of every blessing. We pat ourselves on
the back for our ability to learn new computer skills, but have forgotten
that life is more than a machine. We have more than we could ever use yet,
like squirrels, store up more and more. Our faith is often pushed to the
back of the closet, to make room for all the fears we wear so easily.
     Forgive us, Restorer of life. As you clothe us with your grace and
mercy, may we share with those who have so little.  As our hearts overflow
with your love and wonder, may we offer them as gifts to everyone we meet.
As you feed us with your joy and hope, may we welcome to the Table all those
who lives are filled with tears and pain. As we gather with family and
friends during this season, may we continue to give thanks for the gift of
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  This is the good news: as God dresses creation in wonder, so you will be
clothed in grace; as God pours out abundance upon the earth, so you will be
blessed with peace and joy.
P:  We don't say it often enough, but thanks be to God for healing, for
life, for wonder, for mercy. We are blessed, for we are forgiven. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  The Lord of blessings be with you.
P:  The Lord be with you, also.
L:  Be glad and rejoice, God's people,
     lifting your hearts to the restorer of lives.
P:  We offer them to the God who clothes us in grace.
L:  People of God, come to the Table where you shall eat and be satisfied.
P:  With shouts of joy, we gather to praise the name of God!

Your mouth was filled with laughter,
God of our every moment,
     as you sang creation into being.
The heavens rang with shouts of joy,
     as fruit-bearing trees sprang up,
     as green pastures rippled with wonder.
Crafted in your image, you would
satisfy us with the bounty of grace,
     but we chose the destroyer, death,
     hanging out with the life-cutter, sin.
Prophets and psalmists were sent by you,
longing to restore us to your side,
     but we put their words to shame.
So that everyone might be saved,
Jesus came to be with us,
     herald of your grace,
     bringer of your truth.

With those who lifted thanks by crossed rivers,
with those who offered gratitude for simple gifts,
we join our voice in praising your name:

P:  Holy, holy, holy! God of wonder and delight.
     All creation is filled with your joy.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who comes to clothes us in grace.
     Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Restorer of broken lives,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Mediator of salvation.
Seeing the nightmare of our lives,
     he became one of us, so we
          might see the dreams you have for us.
Knowing how our hearts overflowed
with fear, bitterness, and worries,
     he came with peace and comfort.
Teaching that the body is more than sin,
that life is more than death,
     he became our ransom on the cross,
           our salvation by rising from the grave.

As we give thanks for his life and death,
as we shout with joy for his resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:

P:  Christ died, the righteousness for all.
     Christ rose, the resurrection for all.
     Christ will return, the fulfillment for all.

Pour out your Spirit
doing great thing with the bred and the cup.
Empty, we will be filled
with the plenty of your grace,
the broken bread strengthening us
     so we might bring healing to a world
          shattered by violence and despair.
Longing for hope, we shall be satisfied
with the cup of blessing and hope,
     our lives overflowing
     with your love and compassion,
          pouring ourselves out for the
          poor and marginalized of our time.

And when all our worrying hours have ended,
when we are clothed in your mercy forever,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers,
our mouths filled with laughter,
our hearts echoing glad songs of joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Liturgy with communion for November 24, 2013 (Reign of Christ/Christ the King - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 33:1-6; Luke 1:68-79; Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:33-43

Call to Worship
Blessed be the Lord God who looks with kindness on us.
We are the inheritors of the promises
made long ago to our ancestors.

Blessed be the Lord God who gathers us here in this place.
From across the street, from halfway around the world,
God brings us home to the heart of grace.

Blessed be the Lord God who has remembered us.
Scoffers and singers, watchers and wigglers,
we are those redeemed by God.

Prayer of the Day

Gathering God:
when we have only
a few pennies of hope
in our pockets,
     you multiply us
     into a blessing.
When the world whispers
seductively to us,
     you tell us
     of your joy for us.
When everyone has forgotten
even who we are,
     you shout out our name
     with delight: "My Beloved!"

Dawn from on high:
when we would divide people
by class, by race, by age,
     you cast your lot
     with the outcasts of society.
When we get lost
from the muddled directions
the world gives us,
     you lead us down
     that path called Peace.

Spirit of wisdom:
when we grow impatient
with all the trivial matters of life,
     you surround us with serenity.
When the world puts us on
the route to sin,
     you transfer us
     to the streets of the kingdom.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we trust you will remember us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We know that we have not lived as God hopes.  But however fragmented we become, God longs to hold us together in grace and peace. Let us come with our prayers of confession and need to the One who prepares the way for our words.

Unison Prayer of Confession
In these moments, Remembering God,

we bring to you all the ways we have not lived as your people:
     we stand by watching
          while those in need struggle to survive;
     we cast our lots with those
          who worship power and success;
     we offer insults rather than words of grace
          to those who care for us;
     we scoff at your words
          which call us to a different lifestyle.

Forgive us, God of Mercy, for not knowing what we do to you, to others, to ourselves.  Speak to us through Jesus Christ, our King and our Savior, who bears words filled with your tender mercy and gracious hope.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God remembers!  Not our sins, not our foolish lives, not our rebellion. God remembers us -  and redeems us!
God prepares the way for us - the way to grace, to hope, to new life.  Joyfully, we offer our thanks to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the peace of God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One whose has favored us with grace.
God's beloved children, sing of your hopes and dreams.
We bless the One who remembers us and redeems us to new life.

Joyfully, we lift our songs
of praise to you, O God.
From the fragments of chaos,
you created all things.
Those that are visible to us
     in the leaves drifting to the ground,
     in the children playing hopscotch,
     in the moon shimmering at night -
and those that we cannot see,
but gift our lives beyond measure:
     grace, which heals our longing;
     hope, which fills our emptiness;
     love, which embraces our loneliness.
All were shaped and blessed for us,
but we chose to cast our lots
with sin and death,
     believing their powers to be greater
     that your hopes and dreams for us.
The prophets came to speak
about the One from on high
who yearned for us to come home,
     but we grew impatient with their words
     and mocked their faithfulness.
Finally, you sent Jesus
to gather your scattered children together
and to bring us back to your heart.

Therefore, we join our voices
with rulers and reprobates,
with the fruitful and the foolish
of every time and place,
who forever sing of your joy:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God our shelter.
All creation makes glad your heart.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who is exalted among the nations.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God who remembers us,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
Dawn from on high and creative Word.
Creation's true Light,
     he rescues us from the darkness of death;
speaker of promises
to our grandparents in the faith,
on the cross
     he kept the vows made to them;
the first-born of all creation,
he was born again
from the grave,
     so we could all be with you
     in eternity's kingdom.

As we reflect on his life, his ministry, his love,
we remember all that he has done for us,
that mysterious story we call faith:

Christ died, having done nothing wrong;
Christ arose, having done God's will;
Christ will return, having reconciled us to God.

As we come to this Table of peace,
pour out your Spirit of life upon us,
and upon the gifts
of the Bread of life
and the Cup of salvation.
You nourish with grace,
     so we may go wherever
     the broken and lost live,
          that we might feed them.
You fill us with hope,
     so we would have no more fear,
     but would boldly reach out
     and gather up all
          whom the world has cast aside.

And when time has come to an end,
and all creation has been reconciled to you,
we will gather around the feast in heaven,
singing our joy and praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Liturgy for November 17, 2013 (Proper 28/Ordinary 33/Pentecost 26/Trinity 25) - C

Texts:  Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19

Call to Worship
This day! This day we will give thanks to God,
who cradles us in the waters of baptism.
This day! This day we will trust in the One who has saved us,
who strengthens us.

This day! This day we dance to the fountain of life,
drinking deeply of salvation's goodness.
This day! This day we praise our God for every blessing;
telling everyone of God's amazing grace in our lives and in our world.

This day! This day we sing God's praises;
testifying to all creation of our God.
This day! This day our songs are filled with joy,
for God is with us, this day and in all the days to come!

Prayer of the Day

Creating God:
you grasp chaos
and shake it into
     new heavens brimming with light,
     new earth teeming with life.
You delight in your children so much that
     before we finish our sentences,
          you have heard our hearts;
     before we whisper our dreams,
          you fill our needs.

Word of God,
you shape our lips
and loosen our tongues
     that we might witness
     to your kingdom
          where enemies take naps together;
          where meat-eaters become vegetarians.

Spirit of Wisdom:
open us,
     that we might trust
          without fear;
fill us,
     that we might discern
          our call to faithfulness;
teach us,
     that we would make known
     our thanks to the farthest
          shores of the universe.

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

Call to Reconciliation

God does not take our sins and stick them up on a shelf, in order to remember them - God forgets them! God does not hold them against us, but forgives us! Join me as we pray to the One who delights in us, as we say,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     We confess that our lives weaken us, Strengthening God. We do not exercise our faith as we should, and so fatigue easily. We see houses as investment property, not as homes built on love, hope, and dreams. We whimper our petty complaints about our friends and families, rather than shouting our hosannas to heaven for the gift of their lives.
     You are our hope, Tender God, so forgive us. Create in us new hearts, and fill us with new energy to serve our sisters and brothers, bringing them to the deep wells of salvation, where they can fill their parched souls, even as we have been led to them by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Rather than remaining white hot, God's anger melts into streams of living water, washing us clean of our sins and refreshing our spirits with hope and joy.
This day! This day we give thanks to the God who is our strength and our salvation. Praise God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

Behold, God is your salvation!
And also yours!
With joy, draw hope from our God.
We will fill our hearts with the grace of our God.
Say on this day, 'I will give thanks to God, who loves us."
Surely God is our song, and our salvation!

When nothingness seemed to stretch
into forever, you spoke, Mindful God,
and the days of creation sprang forth,
     throwing down all chaos,
     shaping all that is marvelous and new
          from its shattered pieces.
In our foolishness, we were led astray
     by temptation and sin's sweet words,
but the end did not follow immediately,
for you sent the prophets to sing your praises.
But though they spoke to us, we would not listen.
So you sent your Beloved Child,
rejoicing in him, so you could delight in your people.

So with busybodies and those who are never a burden,
with our sisters and brothers from every time and place,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy is God who saves us.
All creation is glad and rejoices in your forever.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who makes your deeds known to all peoples.
Hosanna in the highest!

Surely you are the One who saves us, Holy God,
sending Jesus to become one of us, for us.
He did not remain idly by your side,
     but came so that we might
          no longer be children of calamity.
Betrayed by those who knew him,
he was placed upon the cross,
     but his opponents, sin and death,
     could not withstand the power of his love,
          or contradict his sacrifice on our behalf,
for by the endurance of his faith,
we gained our souls once again.

As we remember his death offered for us,
as we celebrate his life shared with us,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:

Christ died, trusting in God completely,
Christ arose, drawing resurrection from the springs of salvation;
Christ will return, to create us as a joy.

Pour out your Spirit of grace and hope
upon the Table and its simple gifts of life,
and upon your people gathered in this place.
On this day, as we are fed by the Bread of life,
we will give thanks to you,
     even as we go to build houses for those who have none,
     to fed all who do not have enough to nourish them.
On this day, as we drink from the Cup
drawn from the springs of salvation,
we will remember your great deeds,
     by opening our ears to the sound of weeping
     in among our friends, and those we do not know,
          offering relief to those who cry with distress.

And when all days have come to an end,
and we discover that the Holy One is in our midst,
we will cry aloud, singing out our joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
forever and ever. Amen.

© Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Liturgy for November 10, 2013 (Proper 27/Ordinary 32/Pentecost 25/Trinity 24) - C

Texts: Haggai 1:15b-2:9; Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17; Luke 20:27-38                       

Call to Worship
The God who is greater than we will ever understand,
is humbled to become one of us.
The God who is more loving that our hearts dare imagine,
gives us more grace than we ever realize.
The God who is wiser than we will ever know,
teaches us all we need to become God's children. 

Prayer of the Day
Why should we fear,
God of compassion?
     You choose us
     to be bearers
     of grace and justice
          to a broken world;
     you call us to be words
     of hope and joy
          to people deafened by despair.
We will extol you.

Why should we fear,
Brother of justice?
You call us to follow you
     so we may serve all
     who have been abandoned
          by a society focused on self.
You model kindness
     so we might bring healing
          to a fractured culture.
We will bless you.

Why should we fear,
Spirit of grace?
When we run around in circles,
     you fill us with your peace;
when we stumble through each day,
     you energize us with your hope;
when our spirits are empty,
     you come and dwell in us.
We will praise you.

Why should we fear,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you listen to us pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
We often think God is 'out there' somewhere, distant and uncaring. But God hears our hearts, God shares our struggles, God walks with us as we try to be faithful disciples. Let us come to the One who is as close as the very breath we take in this moment to confess the brokenness of our lives. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     We are so easily confused by what the world tells us, Watching God, that we forget the stories of faith we heard as children. We are so fearful of tomorrow, we are not aware of your Spirit with us today. We are so busy wondering 'what if?' or 'suppose?’ - we cannot hear the promises you whisper to us.
     So once again, Gracious God, have mercy on us.  You know our hearts so well - touch them with your grace. You see our deepest fears - heal them with your peace. You hear our secret longings - speak to them of your hope. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon The One who searches our broken hearts has found the way to mend them and make us new people. The good news is that everything God has done in Christ is for us, that we might be made whole.
With kindness and with justice, God makes us new people. We will sing our thanks through all eternity.  Great is God and greatly to be praised!  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals our brokenness.
Let us offer our thanks to God, who has prepared this Table for us.
We will bless the One who offers us life in every moment.

We thank you for your greatness,
God of the living, and fall silent.
When there was only chaos,
you whispered your Word,
     and creation sprang forth.
The sun and the stars
     filled the heavens with your splendor,
           and the earth sang your glory.
You filled us with your dreams
of life with you forever,
     but we confused your hopes
     with our desires and went chasing
          after the seductions of sin and death.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of the stories
we had been told as your children,
     but we thought them
          to be myths and fables.
So once again, you sent your Word
to speak sense to our lives.

Therefore, in this time and place,
with those who have gone before,
and those who will come after,
we join in the song of all creation:

Holy, holy, holy, God of unsearchable greatness!
The glorious splendor of your creation sings your praises.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes according to the promises made.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of understanding,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
When we had been deafened
by the songs of the world,
     he came to speak of hope,
          and to offer us justice.
When we were easily confused
by the promises of sin,
     he came to make clear
          your dreams for us.
When we thought
we could save ourselves,
     he offered himself on the cross,
          that we might spend eternity
               in your presence.

As we come to the Table of grace,
as we are offered all your gifts,
we remember what Christ has done for us:

Christ died, holding fast to God's promises;
Christ rose, opposing the so-called god death;
Christ will return to fill our hearts with splendor.

Send your Spirit upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and upon your children
who gather in this place.
Place into our empty hands
your Bread made with life and mercy,
     that we might take
     justice and peace
          to the outcasts of our world.
Fill our parched hearts
with the Cup of grace,
     that we might be poured out
     for the broken and lost
          in these times and places.
Heal us with the peace
of this joyous feast,
     that we might become
          your people of hope.

Then, when this world passes away,
and time has come to an end,
we will gather around the Table
in your kingdom of grace,
singing our praises to you for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman