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