Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Liturgy w/communion for November 9, 2014 (using alternate OT lessons for Ordinary 32 - A)

Texts: Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Call to Worship
We gather to worship our God:
not only with those whose hearts
     overflow with joy,
but with those who long to offer
     their deepest sorrows.
We gather to follow Jesus:
not only with songs and prayers,
but with lives of service and peace.
We gather to be filled with the Spirit's presence:
not only so we can wait patiently
     for the Bridegroom to come,
but so we can be with those who are impatient
     for justice and hope in their lives.

Prayer of the Day
We think we can put you
in a tiny cage made out of
our expectations, where you will stay,
but you come,
     composing songs in strange languages,
     replacing pianos with steel drums,
     gather us in pubs at closing time,
so we can learn that to worship you
is to be with your children in every place.

We will only have the patience
to wait for you,
     when we become impatient
     enough to challenge the excuses
     of all who tell the poor to just wait;
we will only have enough faith
     when we trust that you
     know what your are doing
     and do not stand in the way;
we will only have enough justice
     when we make sure
     that the have-nots are
     as valued as the haves.

You would have us keep nothing
from God, Spirit-who-brings-the-new,
so teach us to pray with abandon,
bringing all that that knocks
     us off our feet,
and all that takes
     our breath away;
revealing the messy rooms
     of our souls,
opening the empty
     cupboards of our souls
so you can stock them
     with grace and wonder.

Be with us now in these moments,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are not people who have no hope.  Despite our foolish ways of living, in the face of all the mistakes we make, God does not waste time, but comes to fill us with forgiveness and hope.  Join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     With insta-this and insta-that, we are an impatient people, God our help.  We are so focused on our hand-held electronics, we do not notice the changing seasons.  We are so rushed to get to our next activity, we do not see the victims of injustice by the side of the road.  We are so determined to get right the date of your return, that we forget you are waiting for us to focus on what we can do with our days.
     Forgive us, God our rescuer, and teach us patience.  As we wait, may we continue to seek to do your will.  As we do your will, may our eyes be opened to those around us.  As our eyes are opened, may we see Jesus Christ, our Lord the Bridegroom, coming toward us with justice and righteousness as his companions.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God is please to pour salvation upon us, drenching us in the waters of grace and hope.
Thanks be to God!  We will rejoice and be glad in the One who delivers us from our brokenness and who makes us whole.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
It seems like just a drop, the gifts we offer to you from our abundance.  But our drop added to hers, then to his, then to theirs soon become a river of hope, a flood of peace, a torrent of grace rushing into and through our world.  May it be so, Just God, may it be so.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the prophets be with you.
May the God of the Bridegroom be with you.
Lift up your hearts, all you who wait for God.
We open them, that God might fill them with righteousness.
Join in the glad chorus of all who sing to our God.
Our songs will be of justice and hope for all people.

You could have brought the ordinary
out of chaos, Unpredictable God,
every planet the same size and shape,
every creature a lookalike of the next,
     but you spun rings around Saturn
          and layered Jupiter with gases;
     you stretched the neck on the giraffe
          and webbed the feet of ducks.
Then, you envisioned us in your image,
shaped by your hands, given life by your Breath,
so we might enjoy the wonders of your mind.
     Yet, we chose to seek shelter in sin
     and picked death as our boon companion.
You would not have us be ignorant
but sent Amos and others to remind us
of your love and mercy toward us,
     but we jumped feet-first
     into temptation's alluring pools.
So you sent Jesus to us,
your salvation flowing from
your heart to ours.

With those who wait patiently for you,
with those who fritter time away,
we offer our songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of wonder.
All creation finds joy in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Bridegroom who comes to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Your kingdom is as unpredictable
as you, God who comes to us.
You could have dammed up
all your hope, but you sent Jesus
so we might see it face to face.
You could have kept your dreams
locked away in your heart,
but you sent Jesus so we
might hear them for ourselves.
You could have withheld salvation
from those who had no hope,
but you sent Jesus, so it might
sweep away death's grasp as
it flooded out of the empty tomb.

AS we wait patiently for the Bridegroom,
as we seek to live as those with hope,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Christ died for those who are alive today;
Christ rose, to snatch us out of death's grasp;
Christ will bring all who die into your kingdom.

Come quickly, Holy Spirit, , and grace
the bread, the cup, and all who gather here.
Feed us with the Bread which,
though broken, can make us whole,
strong enough to lift up
the poor and the needy.
When our sense of justice
is so parched we cannot speak
for the oppressed and voiceless,
may the Cup of righteousness
flood through our lives into our world,
bringing hope and new life to all.

And when the Bridegroom comes
to gather us all for the Wedding Feast,
we will join our sisters and brothers
in praising you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go forth as God's people!
We will take hope to all who have none.
Go forth as the Bridegroom's beloved!
We will open the floodgates of God's compassion for all.
Go forth to share the Spirit!
We will be rivers of justice flowing through the world.

(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman