Sunday, May 31, 2015

Liturgy w/Communion for June 7, 2015 (Pentecost 2/Trinity 1/Proper 5/Ordinary 10 - B)

Texts:  1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15); Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1; Mark 3:20-35

Call to Worship
On this day, we gather with thanksgiving in our hearts.
For God's love is ever constant in our lives.
On this day, we would talk of all that is ours.
Grace upon grace has been poured into our lives.
On this day, we would speak of what we believe.
We will sing glad songs for all that God has done.
Prayer of the Day
When we are too weary
to take another step
on the road to the kingdom;
when our hearts are worn down
by the pain always rubbing
against our lives;
when we are wasting away
because of fears and worries,
you come, Soul Strengthener,
stretching out your hand
to hold us in your love.
When everyone else has turned
their backs on us and walked away;
when we cry out in the night
only to find the world has
turned a deaf ear to us;
when folks think we are crazy
because we believe that
good can overcome evil,
love can conquer hate,
hope can replace despair,
you do not forsake us,
but stay at our side,
Brother to all people.

When our doubts rub
a callous on our souls;
when we wonder if we
are able to see your kingdom
emerging all around us;
when others seem to want
only the worst for us,
you pull us out of harm's way,
Spirit of faith and hope.
Grace upon grace are the gifts
we have received from you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and we give you our thanks
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know what it is like to be rejected, but we also remember turning our backs on others.  We have experienced conflict, as well as caused pain to others. Let us confess our foolish lives to the One who seeks to forgive us on this day, and every day.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Everybody else does it, Watching God, and we confess that we do as well. We listen to those whose promises are sold to the highest bidder.  We idolize celebrities as if they were teachers of ethics. We long for that one person who will make everything right, once again, once and for all.
     Is it any wonder we are a disappointed people, God of Hope? Forgive us for turning our backs on you, even as you continue to stretch out your arms to us. Forgive us for trusting in those who prove to be false, rather than having faith in your love.  Forgive us, and fill us with the spirit of faith which is given to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 Silence is kept

 Assurance of Pardon
Do not lose heart! God seeks to strengthen our souls, filling us with forgiveness, wonder, and joy!
Glory to you, God of mercy and grace. You want only the best for us, and so we sing praises to you.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We believe, and so we will speak.  We speak, and so we will live.  We will live, and so we will be generous, because we know that, by your grace, these gifts we offer will extend hope, peace, and life to more and more people.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you!
And also with you!
Sisters and brothers of Christ, lift your hearts to God.
We open ourselves to the One who fills us with grace.
Beloved of the Lord, sing glad praises to God.
Songs of wonder are offered to our God.

Catching a glimpse of goodness and beauty,
you shattered the stillness of chaos
with your imaginative Word, your Spirit of faith
moving, transforming, shaping, creating.
What had not been seen before sprang forth:
suns and moons spinning in the galaxies,
rivers racing one another to the seas,
gentle grains whispering in the breeze.
This garden of wonders and hopes
were shared with those you created in your image,
but we wanted to do things our way
and forsook you for the temptations
offered to us by sin and death.
You would not forsake us
and sent the prophets to us
with words of hope and grace,
but we rejected their words
as having no meaning for us.
Your love was steadfast
and your faith for us did not diminish
as you sent Jesus to call us
back to your heart.

With those whose faith is strong and firm,
with those who struggle to believe,
with all of every time and place,
we sing our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of our hearts.
All creation praises you with words of hope.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to strengthen our souls.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God of hope and forgiveness,
and Jesus Christ is your love made human.
He could have come to divide us,
but came that we might be one with you
and with our sisters and brothers.
He could have come to judge us,
but came to pull us out of harm's way.
He could have come to defy us,
but came to reject Death and sin's claim on us,
defeating their power once and for all.
As we remember how we have turned our backs on him,
as we hear his invitation to this Table of grace,
we speak of that faith in which we believe:

Christ died, showing us the way of obedience;
Christ is raised, showing us the way of new life;
Christ will come, showing us your glory.
You surround us with your care,
stretching out your hand upon
those gathered in this place,
your Spirit transforming ordinary gifts
into sacred grace and hope.
We taste the bread and drink from the cup,
and notice what we have not seen:
the hunger of the world,
the loneliness of those around us,
the child with no hope,
and we do not lose heart,
trusting that you will use us
to serve these needs around us
so that grace upon grace
might be shared with our sisters and brothers.
And when you stretch out your hands to lead us home,
and we are gathered around the Feast of the Lamb
which we can only glimpse in this moment,
we will sing of your steadfast love and faithfulness
forever and ever, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

On this day, let us leave with thanksgiving in our hearts,
going to share God's love with everyone we meet.
On this day, let us go to speak of what Jesus has done,
pouring grace upon grace into all the lives around us.
On this day, let us go to share what we believe,
singing glad songs of the Spirit to our silenced world.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 17, 2015 (Easter 7 - B)

Texts: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

Call to Worship
From comfortable pews,
from tricycle seats,
from easy chairs in front of TVs:
God gathers us in, giving us the
words with which to proclaim the gospel.
At kitchen sinks,
at laptops and blackboards,
at nursing stations:
Christ calls us to share
in serving all creation.

In communities gathered to pray,
in memories of those who served,
in families grilling in the backyard:
The Holy Spirit fills us with God's joy.

Prayer of the Day
We do not notice,
Holy God,
but you give us:
   so we can think
   about your Word;
   so it may fill
   our emptiness;
   so we may know
   the path to walk.

We do not notice,
Risen Christ,
how you have not given
   just a piece of yourself,
   or a portion of your grace,
but all of who you are:
for us  -
and yet,
you regard US
as God's amazing gift
to you!

We do not notice,
Nourishing Spirit,
how you remove our fears,
   simply by sitting with us
   and holding our hearts;
or how you swirl around us,
   pulling us deeper and deeper
   into love, grace and peace,
until we find ourselves
rooted forever in the One
who watches over us forever.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We gather as God's people, believing the promises fulfilled in Christ.  We do not need to confess out
of dread or fear, but in trust that God is faithful to forgive us and make us new.  Join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
How foolish we are, Calling God,
to think we could be happy
when we sit in seduction's comfortable seats,
    and scoff at your call to discipleship;
or run down the easy streets of sin,
    rather than following Jesus;
or idolize the celebrities and superstars,
    and not see you in those who wait on us
    in stores, restaurants, and sport arenas.

Forgive us, Author of Life.
Keep us from our silly selfishness
as we seek to become
    those branches children can climb on;
as we hope to provide shade
    for fellow pilgrims;
as we long to be continually nourished
    by the Living Water of Jesus Christ,
    our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We are no longer blown about in the winds of the world, we are grounded, yesterday, today, tomorrow in God's
forgiveness, hope and love.
Today, tomorrow, forever:  we can bear fresh fruit, sharing God's peace and joy with everyone we meet.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
As we offer our gifts, remind us that they will be used to heal the broken often lost in the systems we have created, to feed those who don’t have the forms filled out correctly, and to bring hope to those who wander the shadowed alleys of despair.  This we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of joy be with you.
And with you as well.
We are called to share the gospel with all we meet.
God fills our hearts, as well as our hands,
to bring healing and hope to the world.
Join in singing God’s praise as we gather around the Table.
As streams of joy and wonder pour into us,
so our songs of thanksgiving flood through all creation.

You stood among chaos, Ever Watchful God,
and called forth creation in all its beauty:
   rooting oak trees in the rich loam of your Word,
   watering seeds with the Spirit’s showers,
   using goodness to pave the paths
through the garden of hope and grace designed
for those you shaped in your image.
You called to us to pay close attention,
   but we chose to follow sin’s directions,
   making death our ultimate destination.
Prophets were sent to take the witness stand,
placing their hands on our hearts
to offer testimony concerning your hopes,
   but we continued to listen
   to temptations broken promises.
So Jesus came to show us how
   to walk the right paths,
   to do the right things,
   to be people of righteousness and justice.
With those who listen to your heart,
with those who stumble along the way,
we lift our praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God who gives us eternal life.
All creation joins in praising your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who sanctifies us.
Hosanna in the highest!
In your holiness, Tender God, we find life,
and in that blessing names Jesus, we find our Friend.
Seeing us sitting in chairs warmed by foolishness,
   he came to pull us to our feet,
   to offer us a seat handcrafted by his grace.
Noticing how we tended to listen only to seductive whispers,
   he came singing songs composed
   in the depths of your compassionate heart.
Watching our tendencies to drift through life
like dandelion seed heads floating on temptation,
   he came to plant us deep within your forgiveness,
   watering us with the spring showers of resurrection
   he brought with him on that first Easter morning.  
As we seek to walk the paths of righteousness,
as we long to bear witness to Jesus in our time,
we speak of that mystery called faith:
Dying, Jesus destroyed the power of death;
being raised to life, Jesus destroyed death’s sting;
coming for us, Jesus will guide us from death to eternity with God.
It is here at this Table,
where the Spirit is poured out
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
that we know of your love and grace.
Made whole by the brokenness of the bread,
we would go to bring words of hope
to all who have been told they are worthless,
to strengthen all weakened by grief and loss.
Watered by the goodness of the cup,
we would offer compassion
to everyone who has been hurt,
we would carry hope to all
whose hearts are emptied by despair.
And when we are gathered with our sisters and brothers
around your Feast of the Lamb in glory,
we will bring our songs of joy to you,
planted forever and ever in the depths of your heart,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

From the comfort of this place,
to the discomfort of discipleship,
we will go to serve your people, Loving God.
Weeding community gardens which feed the hungry,
tutoring children after school,
we will go to wrap others in your grace, Jesus our Brother.
Listening to the stories of the ignored,
learning the language of our newest neighbors,
we will go to discover the truth you share in every moment, Spirit of Wisdom.

© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for May 10, 2015 (Easter 6 - B)

Texts:  Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17

Call to Worship
We gather to worship the One
who crafted creation out of chaos,
our cries of joy join the anthems of the universe.
We gather to lift our praise
to the God who gives us voice,
we bring the songs which have echoed
in our hearts all week long.
We gather as the children of God,
our joy unbroken in God's love.
young and old, tone deaf and perfect-pitched
lift the new, new songs of faith.

Prayer of the Day
You raise your hand
and gently begin
the concerto of creation:
birds carry the melody
while stars keep the beat;
mountains dance in merriment
and little children clap
their hands with joy.
Love's Composer,
our new songs are lifted to you.

The old, old song
is made new in our hearts:
Christ is Risen!
Sing Alleluia!
You invite us to sing to a world
deafened by despair
and haunted by the tunes of fear.
Lord of the Dance,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Believing we cannot
carry a tune,
we hesitate to join in
the chorus of praise
sung by all creation.
So, you softly and gently
hum the melody in our hearts
until they burst with you,
raising a rousing chorus
of Amazing Grace.
Music-making Spirit,
our new songs are lifted to you.

Every song, old and new, is offered to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we lift the prayer Jesus teaches,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Beautiful music, every note perfect, joining together in graceful harmony - this is what we imagine our lives to be. Yet our love is flat, our anger often sharp. Let us confess how we struggle to keep the measured beat of God's life-giving melody in our lives, even as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Joy-giving God, we know who we are: people who hear the harmony of your grace and love in our souls, but sing off-key so often. We want to learn new songs, but those haunting tunes of our past mistakes run through our heads. We long to make a joyful noise to you, but the hurts inflicted on us, and the pain we have caused others, silence our voices.
     Sing to us, Conductor of Grace: sing of your forgiveness, your hope, your love for us. Strike a chord of humility in our hearts so our eyes could see all you have done for us; and in seeing, we might believe how much you love us; and in believing, we would echo that new song of hope and life composed through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Listen to the melody of the good news: Christ is risen, bringing joy into the world. The One who was dead now lives, and wraps us in the delight of life forever with our God.
Now, our dirges have turned to joy;
our requiem has been rearranged as a hymn of hope;
our laments are lost in a cantata of praise.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
Take our gifts, Composing God, and weave a song of healing for the broken, of nourishment for the hungry, of hope for those who despair, and peace for those torn by violence.  We sing our praises, as we offer our treasures, as well as our hearts, in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of creation choruses be with you!
And also with you!
God sings of hope and grace to your hearts, people of God!
We open them to be filled with the wonder of love.
God welcomes your songs of praise and joy.
We lift our hearts and voices in thanksgiving to the composer of all!
Maestro of the Universe:
the song began low and quiet,
barely disturbing chaos,
but then it slowly grew in tempo
as you beat out the rhythm of creation,
light, sharp and clear,
like the blast of a trumpet;
the hills and valleys bursting forth
like the beat of the tympani;
water running clear and free
like arpeggios on a piano.
You composed all this, and more,
for those created in your image,
and filled with the music of your heart.
We thought your tunes burdensome,
and turned our ears to the discords
of sin, temptation, and death.
You wrote new tunes,
to the same words of hope and promise,
sending the prophets to play them
in the streets where we wandered,
but we continued to dance
to the music only we could hear.
So you sent Jesus to us,
loving us enough to send us
the very One who could bring us home.

So, with those who have sung the song
of grace and hope in every time and place,
and with all who are just learning the words,
we lift our voices in praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of beauty and joy.
All the ends of the earth sing praises to you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to sing a new song.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holiness is the melody of who you are, Gentle God,
and blessed is the Song of your heart, Jesus Christ.
As he loved you, so he loved us:
keeping your word close in his heart,
he came singing of your gracious love;
abiding in your promises of hope,
he came bringing the harmony
of peace for our fragmented lives;
coming to judge the world with righteousness,
he laid down his life for his friends,
trusting and believing that the funeral dirges
they sang on that sad Friday,
would be rearranged as Easter cantatas
on that first morning of the new creation.
As we remember his life, death and resurrection,
as we seek to follow his command to love,
we sing of that mystery we call faith:
The Singer was not silenced by death;
the Singer was raised to new life;
the Singer will come to lead us home to God.
Pour out your joyful Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup
and on your children gathered at your feast.
We would open our hearts
to receive the bread of life,
not with silenced gratitude,
but with glad songs of joy.
We would empty ourselves
to be filled with the cup's compassion,
not with speechless thanks
but with shouts of praise.
As we learn the new song
of sacrifice on behalf of others,
we would go to serve the brokenhearted;
as we are given the instruments of praise,
we would turn them into the means
to transform the lives of the hungry,
the homeless, the forgotten, the outcast.
And when our music has ended,
and there is only the plainsong of life forever
in the tender embrace of your peace,
we will gather at the Table once again,
hands and hearts, brothers and sisters,
joining in the never-ending praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
As God has loved us,
so we will go to love those despised by the world.
As Jesus has forgiven us,
we will go to forgive everyone who has hurt us
and to bring healing into their brokenness.
As the Spirit calls us ‘friends,’
so we will go to befriend the outcasts,
the lonely, and the lost of our society.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman