Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for November 2, 2014 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - A)

Texts: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

 Call to Worship
When we stand at the edge of fear and worry,
God invites us to step into the waters of faith and trust.
When we stand at the edge of the world's pain and need,
Jesus invites us to step into the land of humble service.
When we stand at the edge of our hunger and thirst:
the Spirit invites us to sit at the Table of grace.

Prayer of the Day
you draw us near to your heart,
so that, cradled in compassion,
     we might see the brokenness
     of all who are around us.

you draw us near to yourself,
so that, by following you,
     we may discover the deep joy
     of serving the broken of the world.

you draw near to us with your peace,
so that, reconciled and restored to God,
     we may be the healers
     of a world shattered by despair.
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we draw near to you in this time,
we lift the prayer you have taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We know how easy it is to do exactly the opposite of what we learn from our Teacher, Jesus. So, let us draw near to our God, for in confessing our failures, we will discover the grace and mercy God has in store for us. Join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     When we come to the edge of your holiness, Constant Love, we know how we have not lived as your children. We dam up for ourselves your rivers of love, while the lives around us turn into deserts of loneliness. All too quickly, we place our feet on the quicksand of fear, not wanting to step across to your faith. We tie up our angers and worries and burden our families and friends with them.
     Forgive us, Listener to our hearts. By your patient grace, give us more time to practice our calling to discipleship, so we might learn all we need to live as sisters and brothers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Silence is kept

 Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news: God hears you, God forgives you, God is with you as you journey into that land called Promise.
Let the redeemed of God say: this is indeed great news! Accepting God's word of joy and grace, we will live as God's children in all the days to come. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer our gifts in gratitude, Holy One, for all your blessings in our lives.  Use them to touch the lives of all who stand on the edge of hope, of peace, of community that they might step into these promises of yours with confidence.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May creation's Guide be with you!
And also with you!
Weary wanderers, offer your hearts to God;
who takes us by the heart to lead us back to faithfulness.
Do not hesitate, but step forward in joy into God's life.
We will do so, singing to the One who immerses us in hope.
Standing at the edge of chaos,
you cried out, Exalted Love,
     and all creation sprang forth
     from the goodness of your Word.
Grace overflowed from your heart,
     racing through the deep valleys of hope.
Creating us in your image,
breathing life and joy into us,
you drew us near to you,
so we could live in joy with you.
     But we chose to wander
     through the deserts of death,
     paving over Eden's promise with our sins.
Like a parent with her children,
you encouraged us to change,
sending the prophets to bring us back.
     But we would not listen,
     tying up the burdens of our lives
     and putting them on their backs.
Then you chose to send Jesus,
to be the Witness to your
never-ending love for us.
So, with wanderers and witnesses,
with those who cried out to you,
and those who followed your promises,
we lift our songs with our sisters and brothers
who forever sing your praises:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of steadfast love.
All creation overflows with your grace and mercy.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who calls us to humble service.
Hosanna in the highest!

You are holy, Creation's Guide,
and Jesus Christ, your Son, our Teacher,
is the One who comes to redeem us.
Seeing the barren lives we lead,
he came to till the rich soil
of your hopes and dreams,
     that it might bear life in us.
Watching us stumble
along sin's side streets,
he takes us by the hand,
     to lead us to your feast.
When we would allow our pride
to become entangled with death,
he gently takes this burden
from off our shoulders,
     carrying it to the cross,
     and leaving it behind in the tomb,
as he strides forth into
the promised land of resurrection.
As we remember his words and witness,
as we would let his teachings shape our lives,
we speak of what we believe, great is the mystery of faith:
Christ was sent to be God's Witness.
Christ is our Teacher of the Way.
Christ will come to welcome us home.

Pour out your Holy Spirit
upon those gathered
from every corner of the world,
and upon the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As your grace fills us,
may we go forth,
in thanksgiving and humility,
     to feed the hungry around us.
As the cup turns our parched souls
into fountains of hope,
may we overflow in service
     to those who wander in our midst.
Then, when all time has ended,
when the truly humble find themselves
seated beside you at the Table in eternity,
we will join our voices in thanksgiving to
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go forth as God's people into the world.
We will go to serve those who stand at the edges of life.
Go forth as sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will go to teach the world the ways of peace and hope.
Go forth as those filled with the Spirit.
We will go to share our lives with everyone we meet.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 26, 2014

All Saints Day - Year A

Texts:  Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Call to Worship
At all times we are called
to bless God’s name.
Our lips are drenched with praises,
our hearts exult in God.
The proud will bend knees in worship,
the humble will lift glad songs.
We are free from our fears,
we have searched for God and been found.
Our faces glow with thanksgiving,
our spirits overflow with grace.
God has wiped away our tears,
God has fed us from the storehouses of hope.
Prayer of the Day
They are gathered around you,
God of Forever and Ever.
Some are well known, like
Martin Luther,
Mother Theresa,
C. S. Lewis,
Helen Keller,
and so many more.
Some have been forgotten, like
Agnes and Cadoc,
Tuda, Mary of Egypt,
and Ebba,
while others have days named after them.

But many are ordinary folk,
such as the teacher from second grade
who guided our fingers under the words;
the nurse in the hospital
who held our hand while blood was taken;
the coach who trusted us with the ball,
not the end of the bench.
There is an old man who left retirement behind,
and a barren woman who laughed at your promise;
there are popes, princes, and power-brokers
who are taught heaven’s hymns
by the paupers and pretenders;
there are those who moved mountains
and those who murmured in the wilderness;
there are those who founded the church,
and those who floundered on the waves of Galilee.

All saints,
just like us,
singing your praise forever and ever,
and we join in their anthem
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

 Call to Reconciliation
 When God sets the table of the Lamb, all will be welcome – the young and the old; those who were faithful, and those who failed; those who followed Jesus, and those who lost their way.  Let us confess to our God our unsaintly ways, knowing how quick God is to forgive.

Unison Prayer for Confession
We did not listen, when the Teacher spoke, God of sinners. 
Rich in pride and arrogance,
     our spirits have no need for a kingdom;
taught to not let anyone see us cry,
     we refuse your comforting arms;
seeing the greedy and self-indulgent have their way,
     we yearn to inherit their hardened hearts;
noticing the hungry standing by the side of the road,
     we make sure we get more than our share
     of the world’s resources;
taking note of how the merciful are pushed aside,
     we develop calluses on our souls.

Forgive us, Saint Maker, that we follow the wrong examples and listen to false teachings.  It is the peacemakers who live into your hope; it is those whose hearts are shaped by yours, who are able to see you in the poor and broken; it is those who give themselves to serve others who are your saints, following the example of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, our Shepherd, guiding us to the wellsprings of life.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
When we seek God, we are found;
when we cry out, we are heard;
when we confess, we are forgiven and made new.
We can taste the yeasty flavor of grace, we can drink the deep wine of hope, we can find our home in God’s heart, receiving mercy and new life.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We seek, not to be saints so much, but simply your people.  We have been blessed beyond imagination and so pray, as we offer these gifts, that they would be used to touch the lives of the broken, the lonely, the seeking, the hungry, the hopeless - all those who are our brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of saints and sinners be with you.
And also with you.
Join me in glorifying our God.
We offer our hearts as we praise our God.
Let us bless our God at all times.
Songs of thanksgiving will flow from our lips forever.
You stood before chaos, God of all time,
and cried out with a loud voice,
calling all that is good and beautiful into being:
     wiggly worms tilling the rich soil,
     owls watching over the gathering dusk,
     butterflies flittering through gardens.
You created humanity in your image,
the Spirit breathing life into our lungs,
all so we could live with you in creation’s wonder.
     But we tasted the tempting goodies of sin,
     and saw all the promises death offered to us,
          and we placed our hopes in them.
Hearing our souls cry out to you,
you sent the prophets to us,
to remind us that we were your children.
     But we continued to fall on our faces,
     worshiping the false gods of hopelessness.
So you sent Jesus to us, to reveal you to us
as the One who will redeem us from ourselves.
We join our voices with those
of every time and place,
joyfully sing with loud voices:
Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and ever!  Amen!
Holy are you, God who wipes away all tears,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the Lamb who is our shepherd.
Rich in your glory and honor,
     he came to bless the poor in spirit;
Word by which creation’s life came forth,
     he came to comfort all who stand at gravesides;
exalted by all the choirs of heaven,
     he came to give the meek their heritage;
emptying himself of all he might claim,
     he came to feed us with your righteousness;
compassionate beyond all imagination,
     he came to offer mercy to all he encountered;
true Prince of Peace,
     he came to share that gift with God’s children;
persecuted for being God’s righteousness,
     he came, to bring God’s kingdom into our midst;
reviled and crucified on the cross,
     he offers us that resurrection
     which is great in heaven.

Knowing that what we will be has not been revealed
but trusting that we will be like him,
we join all the saints in proclaiming our faith:
Christ died, so we might have life;
Christ arose, so we might have this hope of resurrection;
Christ will be our guide, leading us to the living waters.
See what love God has given us!
Here at the Table where the Feast of Joy
has been prepared for all of God’s people,
the Spirit comes upon the gifts of the bread and the cup
and upon all who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
As we eat of this bread, we will taste God’s goodness,
going out into the world as God’s people,
     to offer shelter to those who sleep on the streets,
     to feed those whose hunger is palpable,
     to speak out for those who endure
          the great ordeal of oppression.
As we drink from the Cup, we will see God’s hope,
committing ourselves to serve others
that they might see Christ as he is:
     Healer of the broken,
     Brother of the poor,
     Servant of all who are lost.
And when we gather with those from every nation,
those from all tribes and peoples and languages,
we will fall on our faces worshiping and praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go now to be saints of God this week.
Not to be holier-than-thou folks, but people 
who keep an eye out for those the world has overlooked.
Go now to be servants of Jesus this week.
Not to be those who are better than others,
but those who humble themselves in service. 
Go now to be companions of the Spirit this week.
Not those who are on the inside path,
but those who walk with all who have lost their way.
(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for October 26, 20114 (Pentecost 20/Trinity 19/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - A)

Texts: Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

 Call to Worship
We are invited to share in Christ's ministry of compassion.
We will widen our hearts so we might cradle the lost.
We are challenged to learn more about God each day.
We will open our minds so we might discern God's dreams for us.
We are summoned to let the Spirit be planted within us.
We will deepen our souls so we might grow in love.
Prayer of the Day
Every generation has found
its home in you,
God our provider,
and discovered that every moment
spent in your holy presence
lasts beyond all imaginable time.
You watch over us in the night,
cradling us in your arms
as tenderly as a nurse
cares for her children,
and her neighbor's.
Full of wisdom,
Imagination of Creation,
you humbled yourself
that we might learn
to love those
who have been swept aside
by a callous and cruel world.
Witness to God's grace,
you call us to act
in ways of love of peace
to all we meet in this life.
In the fresh breeze
on a summer's day;
in the leaves dancing
across autumn's lawns;
in the crisp, new snowfall
crunching beneath our feet;
in the new life
flowering in the spring:
from everlasting to everlasting
you proclaim God's grace to us,
Spirit of Life.

God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to be the dwelling place
of our minds, our hearts, our souls,
even as we pray as we have been taught,
 (The Lord's Prayer)

 Call to Reconciliation
We have been entrusted with the message of the gospel, but all too often act as if the memos from sin and death have more influence in our lives. Let us confess our sins, so we might know God's great love for us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     As you know, God our healer, we stand on the edge of your promises and hopes, yet cannot seem to let ourselves cross over into the life you intend for us. We seek praise from our families, yet are unable to tell them how much we love them; we care more about our needs and desires, than for the struggles of our neighbors; we think more about the trash we read and see than focusing on the Spirit of wisdom.
     Forgive us, Everlasting God. Renew our lives with your grace; restore our hopes with your vision of tomorrow; refresh our spirits with your joy which comes to us new in each moment in the gift of your Child, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 Silence is kept.
Assurance of Pardon
This moment, this morning, this day, and in all the days to come, God's compassion and hope fill our lives. What joyous good news!
Our hope is not in vain. God forgives our sins, and is the dwelling place for all people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of compassion be with you!
And also with you!
Each morning, God feeds us with steadfast love.
Each day, our hearts are filled with God's call to serve.
Children of God, sing your praises to God all our days.
We lift our joy to the One who is the dwelling place of all generations.

Refusing to let chaos
become our dwelling place,
God of the ages,
you called forth creation.
Whether in the blink of an eye,
or in moments spanning thousands of years,
deep valleys of hope were carved,
carpeted with grace renewed each morning.
You created humankind in your image,
knowing us face to face in love.
But we turned our gaze
towards that land of temptation,
chasing the false dreams offered by death.
Caring so deeply for us,
you sent prophets to call us home,
but their words withered in our hearts.
So you sent Jesus to bring
the message of good news,
and to lead us to
the promised land of eternal life.
Therefore, with those filled with the spirit of wisdom,
and those who were full of themselves,
with saints and sinners, prophets and pharisees,
we sing of your everlasting joy:

Holy, holy, holy, God our dwelling place.
You satisfy us with your love each morning,
you comfort us in your grace each night.
Blessed is the One who comes calling us to love:
     to love you without reservation,
     to love others without expectation,
     to love ourselves without self-condemnation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God our Peace,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Way of life.
Mindful of your hopes for us,
he came, so we might
discover you in our neighbor.
Soul of your soul,
he came, so we might
overflow with your grace.
Loving us more than himself,
he came, to defeat sin
and destroy death's grip on us,
so we might spend eternity
embraced in your life.
With remembrance of his life,
in the joy of the resurrection,
in anticipation of his return,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:
Christ came, that we might know God's love;
Christ died, that our souls might be healed;
Christ will come again, that our hearts will be united with God's.

Pour out your Spirit of wisdom
on the gifts of this Table,
and on those who prepare to feast
on your bounty of grace.
As the bread fills us
with your love and hope,
we would go out to love
our neighbors with hearts
shaped by your joy.
As the cup refreshes
our minds and souls,
we would show our
everlasting love for you,
by serving the lost and forgotten
with lives molded by your compassion.
And when time, which was first wound at creation
has ticked its last moment,
when friends, neighbors, and strangers
are gathered around your Table,
we will join our voices singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

And now go forth,
to love God with all your heart, your mind, your soul:
with passion, with prayer, with intelligence;
to love your neighbor:
with forgiveness, with service, with love;
and to love yourself:
with hope, with joy, with peace.

(c) Thom M. Shuman