Sunday, May 25, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for June 1, 2014 (Easter 7 - A)

Texts:  Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John

Call to Worship
L:  At the presence of God, we rejoice:
P:  glorifying the One who is Parent of all orphans.
L:  In the presence of Jesus Christ, we listen:
P:  to the Voice who calls us to humbly serve others.
L:  Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we speak:
P:  making God's love known to the world-forsaken in our midst.

Prayer of the Day
Giver of power and strength,
you take a rag-tag bunch
of denying disciples and
feckless followers,
creating a new community
of servants who seek
to do your will.

Keeper of all time,
you are enthroned on the
rubble of death's shattered power,
calling us to your side
and giving us a new vocation,
by which we serve the
broken of the communities
in which we live.

Constant Presence of hope,
you strengthen us so
we never give in while
confronted by evil;
you continually pray for us
that we never quit when
faith proves to be more
of a challenge than we imagined.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our hearts to you,
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know what we should do, yet don't.
We know the words people need to hear,
but utter the ones that hurt them.  Yet,
we also know that if we confess our failings
to God, we will receive forgiveness and hope.
Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     God of glory: we are so busy watching the
skies for signs of your presence that we forget
to look around to see those we can serve in
your name.  We are so intent on finding just
the right way to tell someone off, that we
forget the words of reconciliation you have
taught to us.  We are so convinced we can
figure out your schedule that we forget to
open ourselves to the presence of your Spirit
within us.
     Mighty source of our lives, forgive us for
all that we have done to others.  Fill us with
the wisdom to resist evil in our lives and
strengthen us in that faith which is given to us
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  Beloved, do not be surprised.  Our God is
gracious to all, restoring us to new life.
P:  This is the good news which is for us, and
for everyone we will meet in the days to come.
Thanks be to God.  We are forgiven.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May Easter's God be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  People of God, exult before the Lord.
P:  We lift our hearts to the One who showers
          us with that grace which never ends.
L:  Sing to the One who blesses you, Beloved.
P:  Glad songs of thanksgiving are offered forever.

You would break the grip of chaos,
Worker of Wonders,
and so you uttered a Word
     and cattle gaze up at the rain
          falling from the sky,
     while rabbits play leapfrog
          in green meadows.
You shaped us into the exact image
of yourself, so we might be your people,
living with you forever.
     But we wandered down to the
     basement where sin and death
     lurked in the shadows to steal us away.
You stood firm in your belief
that we would return, and sent prophets
who called us to humble ourselves.
     Yet we were convinced that
     it was not time to come back to you.
Then, you sent Jesus,
the Pascha of our salvation,
to come to us, to reveal your heart.

So with those who always keep an eye on you,
and with those who look around wondering
if anyone will notice their presence,
we rejoice in your gracious presence:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of all grace.
     All creation sings loud songs to you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who will come again.
     Hosanna in the highest!

You are the One only holy God,
and Jesus Christ is the Brightness of your glory.
Looking around at all the places
where we had wandered,
     he came to bring us home to you.
Hearing our cries of loneliness,
     he came to be one of us,
     so we might all belong to him.
Seeing sin rejoicing in our suffering,
     he went to the cross
     on our behalf, dying
     and then being raised to new life.,
baffling death with your gracious love.

As we remember Christ's life and ministry,
as we rejoice in the hope which is ours in him,
we celebrate that mystery called faith:

P:  Christ died, that we would know that sin is death;
     he was raised, so we would know that new life is;
     he will come again, in the same way he went into heaven.

In fulfillments of Christ's promise,
pour out your Spirit on us
and the gifts which grace your Table.
We eat the Bread of life
so we might be strengthened
     to spend ourselves so others
     might be made rich in your grace.
We drink deeply from the Cup,
knowing you thirst for self-surrender,
so we might offer ourselves
as a fountain of faith
to be poured out for the world,
     especially the we-forsaken
     who are all around us.

And at the Great Wedding Feast of the Lamb,
we will gather around your abundant table,
our sisters who suffered for you on one side
and our brothers who humbled themselves
to lift others to their feet,
we will join hands, hearts, and voices
in forever singing your glad praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

L:  The hour has come to go into the world,
P:  where our worship of God will continue
     in every moment of our lives.
L:  The hour has come to serve those around us,
P:  to shoulder the burdens of our sisters,
     to ease the pain of our brothers.
L:  The hour has come to glorify God,
P:  with our prayers as well as our praise,
     with songs as well as acts of service.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for May 25, 2014 (Easter 6 - A)

Texts: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

Call to Worship
L:  Come to worship, people of God,
     with praises on your lips.
P:  We glorify the One who
     holds our hands when we slip.
L:  Come into the presence of the One
     who calls us into this sacred space.
P:  Where the doors to grace
     are thrown open so all may enter.
L:  Come and hear the stories
     of the One who loves you.
P:  We will tell of the joy and of the love,
     of the peace and of the hope which is ours.

Prayer of the Day
When it doesn't seem
to do any good, Creator God,
we dare to be your people,
     to love those the world
          would have us reject;
     to be just in the face
          of every reason to mistreat;
     to be unafraid
          of whatever awaits us.

When all the odds seem
stacked against, Jesus our Savior,
we dare to live as
your sisters and brothers,
     serving others
          with our hands and hearts;
     sharing in the burdens
          of our world;
     refusing to leave justice
          orphaned with no hope.

When the wind seems to be
knocked out of us
by the blows of life, Eternal Companion,
we dare to breathe
     joy upon those
         caught in the net of hopelessness;
     peace into all
         the broken places around us;
     wonder for all those
          who have lost sight of you.

In you, we dare to live and breathe and be,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
What is our hope?  Simply put, it is that God
does not give up on us.  With such good news,
we can dare to bring our prayers to the One who
will not cast aside our words or our hearts.
Please join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We admit, Knowing God, that from plastic cards
to websites, from handheld devices to stock options,
we are surrounded by a variety of gods who demand
our worship.  We can all too easily believe that work
is our life, that wealth is the reason for our being,
and that success is the very air we breathe.
     Forgive us, God of mercy.  You are not found in a
computer chip, but in the child who holds our hand.
You are not a simple tweet, but the Word that can
transform our very lives.  You are not a disembodied,
constantly recalculating voice, but the One who calls
us to life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L;  Despite everything we do, God loves us.  This
grace is why we can dare to hope.
P:  We will witness to this hope in every word we
speak to every person we meet.  Thanks be to
God, we are forgiven.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God who knows us be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Lift your hearts to the One who will not leave you stranded.
P:  We offer ourselves to God who is always with us.
L:  Bless God, all you who love the Lord.
P:  We sing praises to the One who loves us.

You gathered up that orphan, chaos,
into your heart, God of wonder,
and with a simple Word created a family:
     with horses munching meadow grasses;
     of birds gliding gently on summer winds;
     of snails, snakes, and tree-climbing squirrels.
Gathering up handfuls of dirt, you shaped us,
and with a simple breath, gave us life
so we might be with you in wonder,
     but we crawled out of our strollers
     and toddled off after temptation.
You did not panic, but sent prophets
to come to us and show us the way,
     but the smoke of our offerings to sin
     kept us from seeing them.
Refusing to leave us as orphans,
you sent your Child to us
to reveal your true Self.

With those who praise you every day,
with those who have lost all hope,
we would bring our songs to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God our joy.
     All creation pays their vows to you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who is our salvation.
     Hosanna in the highest!

You cannot be contained by any human
imagining or endeavor, for your are the Holy God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ, is our hope in life.
When we could have been left
as orphans in sin's foster home,
     he came to reveal himself
     as our brother, our sister,
     our mother, our father.
When despair threatened
to take away all our strength,
     he came to plant hope
     deep within us.
When we thought death
was our final destination,
     he came to show us
     the Resurrection Way home.

As we remember the grace with which he loved us,
as we welcome the Comforter he sent to us,
we proclaim that mystery which is faith:

P:  Christ died, doing what was right for us;
     Christ was raised by the One who was in him;
     Christ will come, just as the hope within us
             witnesses to us.

As your Spirit of truth comes in these moments
to transform the bread and the cup
and those gathered around the Table,
you show us how much you love us.
As we are strengthened by the broken Bread,
you would send us
     to plant hope in all the places
          where pessimism has taken root;
     to help love stand on the corners
          where hate's gangs hang out.
As you nourish us with the Cup,
you would have us
     take peace into the
          warzones on human hearts;
     bring healing to
          all the broken ones around us.

And when we gather around that Table of love,
with our sisters and brothers, our enemies and friends
seated side by side, as we pass grace to one another,
we will join in forever singing your praises,
as we celebrate your being in us as we are in you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

L:  Go from this place, speaking of what God has done.
P:  We will remind everyone that, despite everything,
     God loves us.
L:  Go from this place, singing of what God is doing.
P:  We will rejoice that God has not left us orphaned,
     but makes us one with everyone around us.
L:  Go from this place, imagining what God will do.
P:  We will witness to that hope which seems to distant,
     yet is as close to us as our hearts.

© 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for May 18, 2014 (Easter 5 - A)

Texts:  Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Call to Worship
L:    We are God's household,
       crafted by the Architect of creation:
P:    our hearts a shelter for the outcast;
       our hands open to the stranger.
L:    We are God's people,
       created in the divine image:
P:    to tell others of God's love,
       to offer mercy as freely as we have
       received it.
L:    We are God's children,
       called to give of ourselves:
P:    chosen to serve the lost and lonely,
       gifted to minister to a hurting world.

Prayer of the Day
Our Way:
you call us
   to celebrate your peace
      in a world which worships war;
   to celebrate your freedom
      in the face of oppression;
   to celebrate the seed of faith
      planted in the doubts of our hearts.

Our Life:
you would have us
   celebrate the safe ground of hope
      emerging from the flood of our tears;
   celebrate those who love us
      in the midst of hurt and hatred;
   celebrate our salvation
      as we struggle with sin.

Our Truth:
you teach us
   to celebrate our new life
      in the gift of the Risen Lord;
   to celebrate the grace of your heart
      which melts our fears;
   to celebrate that all our moments
      are cradled in your hands.

Our Way, our Truth, our Life,
we lift our prayers to you as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Considered to rough for their smooth plans, the
builders cast out the Stone they needed.  But
God builds salvation on the One who is the
foundation of all hope.  Let us confess our sins
to God and one another, trusting we will not
be put to shame,

Responsive Prayer for Forgiveness
     Hear the brokenness of our lives, Precious God.
We cover our ears so we cannot hear the cries of
those in need, or you urging us to respond.  We
rush together to defend every issue that matters
to us, but quickly disperse when you would call us
to be your holy people.  We shout as loud as we can
to cheer on our sports teams, but can manage only
whispers when it comes to sharing the good news.
     Forgive us, our Eternal Guide, and do not hold
our sins against us.  We lay the garments of our
foolishness at your feet, so you might clothe us
in grace and hope.  We would feed on the spiritual
food which flows from your heart so we might be
strong enough to follow Jesus as he leads us in the
Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  You are no longer alone - you are God's Beloved.
        You are not of this world, but residents of God's
        Kingdom.  You, who once had no hope, have
        been filled with forgiveness.
P:    Each one of us, all of us, have received God's
        mercy in Christ.  Forgiven, redeemed, made
        whole - we are a people made one in faith.
        Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts so that others may not feel alone, eat alone, live alone, be alone, but that they may be surrounded by your grace and love through us and the lives we offer to the.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of every way be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  Lift your hearts to the One who is the Truth
        for God's own people.
P:  We offer them to the One who warms them with love.
L:  Sing praises to God, who is our Life.
P:  Glad songs are offered to the One
     who provides shelter for us.

You made a way through chaos,
Constructing God,
the Word echoing on mountaintops
and whispering in valleys;
the Spirit teaching songs to the stars,
and breathing life into those created
in your image as your precious children.
You longed to cradle us in your lap,
breastfeeding us with grace and hope,
     but we slipped out of your grasp,
     covering our ears as you called us
     to come back home to you.
Prophets came to remind us that
you would not put us to shame,
psalmists sang to us of your longing
to cut the net of sin and death and set us free,
      but , together, we rushed
     into the open arms of temptation.
Then you sent Jesus, so that
in knowing and believing in him,
we would know and believe in you.

With those who have nothing
and with those who give everything away,
we lift our voices to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God who pulls us to safety.
     All creation kneels down to worship you.
     Hosanna in the highest!

     Blessed is the One who shows us the Truth.
     Hosanna in the highest!

You shape a safe place for us, Imaginative God,
and send your Child, Jesus, to show us the Way.
Born a tiny baby as we are,
     he shows us how to grow into your people.
The cornerstone of your kingdom,
     he uses us to build a spiritual home for all.
Committing his spirit to you,
     he entered the emptiness of death,
     so we might stand on the solid ground
                of the resurrected life.

Even as we celebrate the Life which was his,
as we claim the Truth that all are one with you,
we take refuge in that mystery called faith:

P:  Christ died, trusting in God's promises;
     God raised him from the dead, promising the same for us;
     Christ will come, fulfilling all the promises of God.

Once, we were nobodies, alone and hopeless,
but by your mercy, Living God,
we are now a family,
gathered in your love around this Table,
where the Spirit sanctifies the bread and cup.
You lean over to serve us the bread,
enveloping us in your grace
so we might go to be your people.
You offer to us the cup of hope,
which can heal our troubled hearts
and strengthen us to serve our world.

And when the Way leads us home to you,
when your Life gathers us with our sisters and brothers
around the Table which is prepared by your Truth,
we will sing glad songs of praise to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

L:  May the blessings of the One who is the Way
     be with you in the days to come.
P:  May God guide our feet wherever we go.
L:  May the blessings of Jesus who is our Life
     be with you in the days to come.
P:  May he lead us by the hand to those who are
      our sisters and brothers in need.
L:  May the blessings of the Spirit of Truth
     be with you in the days to come.
P:  May we journey with the Spirit to that
     way which is everlasting.

© 2014  Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for May 11, 2014 (Easter 4 - A)

Texts:  Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; ! Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10

Call to Worship
In the laughter of children,
we hear the voice of the Gate of the Way,
and find our way home.
In the lap of a parent,
God's compassion cradles us
in the still waters of love.

The Shepherd of our lives
leads us through that door
into life with him forever.
We are baptized with living waters
which refresh us, restoring us
to follow Jesus all our days.

The Holy Spirit, Keeper of truth,
is the Light which guides us
through every shadowed moment.
The Breath of life stills our worries
and fears, as we are lead to that
peaceful place of God's heart.

Prayer of the Day

Buoyed by your living waters,
we are at peace in seas
of stress and success;
detoured onto those walkways
leading to your joy,
we find our way out of mazes
of meetings and deadlines;
nourished at your picnic
in that garden of grace,
our shredded souls
are anointed by your healing;
you slow us down just enough,
as we try to escape
the very lives we think we want,
so goodness and mercy
can catch up with us
and carry us into your heart.

God in Community, Holy in One,
may you always be with us on our journey,
as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Day by day, God would lead us to the places of hope and healing, while moment by moment, we continue to follow sin down all the wrong paths.  Let us confess our lives, as we draw near to the One who would restore us to wholeness.  Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     The wrong paths to foolish lives and repeated mistakes?  We know all to well where they are, Gate of our lives.  Stirring up the waters with trouble comes all too easy to us, we confess.  And locking the doors of our hearts so we don't have to love others is second nature to us.
     Forgive us, our Goodness and Mercy.  May our hearts overflow with hope for others, as you anoint us with healing oil.  May we share from our abundance with all who hunger for life.  May we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to the places of service and life with you forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Our Comforter leads us to that place where God's Table is spread with forgiveness and overflowing with grace.  Here, we are called to life and love.
We will live as God's people: forgiven to serve, blessed to share, loved so we might care.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of gates be with you!
And also with you!
God calls us to open our hearts to others,
for they are filled to overflowing with grace.
Every day, let us rejoice in the Restorer of our lives.
We sing glad songs to the One who leads us.
You watched over creation,
God of patience,
as it emerged out of nothingness:
     meadows where sheep could rest,
     still pools of water teeming with tadpoles,
     paths worn smooth by mountain goats.
You shaped us in your divine likeness,
anointing us with Spirit's breath of life,
so we could wander the garden by your side.
     But that thief, sin, and that bandit, death,
     climbed into Eden by another way,
     and we followed these strangers' voices.
Day by day, you sent prophets to us,
who challenged us to lead God-centered lives,
     but we devoted ourselves to that life
     which is empty and bitter.
So then you sent Jesus,
shaped in human likeness, to us,
so we would know you are with us.

With those who walk your paths,
with those who long to find their way,
we offer glad and generous hearts to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Guardian of our souls.
All creation praises you day after day after day.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who trusted in you alone.

Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, Gate of the Way,
and Jesus Christ,  your Child, is Shepherd of life.
He kept to the path of righteousness,
     so we might learn how
     to walk in his footsteps.
Knowing our voices, he followed us
     to the gate of death,
     where the keeper let him in,
     locking the gate behind him.
But you came another way
and, knowing your voice,
     Jesus followed you
     out of the tomb,
     receiving life, abundantly,
for all your children.

As we gather in prayer and worship,
as we seek to devote ourselves to following Jesus,
we sing of that mystery known as faith:

Christ bore our sins in his body on the cross;
Christ was raised by you out of death;
Christ will come, so we might live for righteousness.

You lead us to this Table
where we want for nothing,
for your Spirit transforms
everyday foods into a sacred feast.
Your bread and cup comfort us,
nourishing us so we might be together
in everything with our sisters and brothers.
The broken bread strengthens us
     to provide clean, still waters to all;
     to build shelter for those who sleep rough;
     to feed those who are hungry.
Your grace overflows into us so we may offer
     companionship to those who
          wander shadowed valleys;
     an open gate to those
          longing for a community;
     voices of compassion
          and hope to the oppressed.

When we follow goodness and mercy
to the end of time, we will find you
coming out of the kitchen,
setting dish upon dish of peace and hope
on that great table prepared for all your children,
and we will join our hearts and hands
as we sing praise and wonder to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Day by day, God will lead us:
to those pools of peace where we can
gather with our friends and strangers
Day by day, Jesus will call us:
to give ourselves in service,
to anoint others with hope.

Day by day, the Spirit shows us:
the people we might be,
the community we might become.

© 2014 Thom M. Shuman