Sunday, September 27, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for October 4, 2015 (Pentecost 19/Trinity 18/Proper 22/Ordinary 27 - B)

Texts: Job 1:1, 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

Call to Worship
Welcome to this place:
where children and seasoned citizens sit side by side,
where heaven and earth embrace in peace,
where God has been, is, and always will be.
Welcome to this place, as we gather with all of God's children:
where we find God's love,
where we hear the tender voice of Jesus,
where the Spirit teaches us new songs.
Welcome to this place, where all is made ready by our God:
where we bring our hunger, and find food;
where we bring our brokenness, and find healing;
where we bring our very selves, and find acceptance.

Prayer of the Day
We will not find
that needed justice
in our apathy;
we will not find
that elusive wholeness
with our quarreling;
we will not find
our hoped for unity
with our doctrines;

we will not find
our misplaced love
with our hating;
we will not find
that rest we crave
in our overflowing planners;
we will not find
the peace you offer
in our well nursed grudges.

we will find you
     in the brokenness of the Bread
     and in the breaking of our hearts;
we will find you
     when we drain the Cup,
     refill it with our gifts,
     and offer it to a little child;

we will find you
     when we squeeze closer together,
     making room at the Table
     for all your people.
Help us to find you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We marginalize peace, yet it is the horizon towards which we journey. We are divided from others, not so much by belief, but by fear. On this day of unity around God's Table with our sisters and brothers throughout the world, let us confess how we have not lived as God's beloved children. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We have not been your people, Preparer of Peace. When we could see our brother Jesus in others, we turn away from those who are unlike us, who scare us. When we could offer peace to those around us, we break our promises, we hoard grudges in our hearts, we pander to prejudice. When we could speak of hope, we fling words that shatter another's heart. When we could live as one with all people, we try to push them as far away from us as possible.
     Redeem us, Lover of Peace, and pour out your grace upon us. May the warmth of your tenderness melt our frozen souls, may the balm of your words mend any broken hearts we have damaged, may we be as trusting and vulnerable as a little child, as we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Brother, into your kingdom of joy.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The forgiveness of God be upon you;
the peace of Christ rest upon you;
the grace of the Holy Spirit be the gift
which is placed in your life, this day and forever.
From this day to the end of eternity, we are God's children:
citizens of God's kingdom, brothers and sisters of the Prince of Peace. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We love your house, Holy God, but love your people even more.  So, may our gifts be used to bless those considered worthless by the world, but so valued in your heart, that as they are blessed by your grace and hope, they might sing songs of thanksgiving and praise to you, even as we have just done.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord be with you, little children of the kingdom.
And also with you.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, open your hearts to God.
As we seek to walk in integrity in the kingdom,
we offer our hearts to God for wisdom and peace.
Come to the Table which has been prepared for you,
with songs of thanksgiving in your hearts.
With this people gathered in this place, we give thanks
to God for all the blessings which are ours.
Long ago, so long ago
only you can remember, Imaginative God,
you brought creation into being,
subjecting chaos to your will.
It was fitting for you to do this,
for your Word shaped glory
into mountains, fields and streams;
your Spirit breathed hope
into all that has life in you.
You spoke to our ancestors,
inviting them to walk in your integrity,
but their hearts became hardened
by the sweet words of seduction,
their hands were full of sin's bribes.
Prophets were sent by you,
pleading, cajoling, calling all your
children back to your side,
but we continued to consort with hypocrites.
So in your steadfast love,
you sent Jesus to us, that we might receive
your kingdom of peace and redemption
as your little children.

So, with those who gather around tables
of peace and hope in every corner of our world,
and with those who are with you in glory,
we offer our praises to you with glad songs:
Holy, holy, holy, God of glory and goodness!
All creation joins in one voice in glorifying you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Pioneer of our redemption.
Hosanna in the highest!

There is no one like your Servant, Jesus our Brother,
God of holiness and grace.
Walking in your integrity,
he wandered the world's ways,
calling us to follow him into the kingdom.
Walking in peace with you,
he invites us to set aside
all differences and divisions,
so we might live as one in you.
Walking in trust towards you,
he tasted death for everyone,
that we might feast at your Table
of forgiveness through all eternity.
As we remember his gentle words and tender heart,
as we celebrate the gift of his resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:
Christ has died, destroying death;
Christ was raised, bringing peace to all;
Christ will come again, proclaiming God's name to his sisters and brothers.

 Pour out the Spirit of the Prince of Peace,
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
not only on those gathered in this place,
but on all your children throughout the world:
on those who gather around war-scarred tables
and at the tailgates of military vehicles,
longing to pass the Bread of life
from hand to hand, mouth to mouth,
until all have been fed;
and on those who stand on both sides
of walls built by hatred and fear,
daring to share the Cup of salvation
with those labeled as the 'enemy'
until all are graced.
And when the eons of our fighting and destruction are done,
when all of your children are gathered in peace
around your Table of glory and grace in heaven,
we will bless you in that great congregation,
singing our love, our hope, our joy to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

We will go from this place,
to sit at the side of those forgotten by the world,
as we are welcomed by their grace and God's holy presence.
We will to wherever your children gather,
to be blessed by their love, as they echo Jesus' gentle voice.
We will go with our hunger, and be fed;
we will go with our brokenness, and be healed;
we will offer ourselves, and be accepted by the Spirit,
who lives and works in every person we will meet.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for September 27, 2015 (Pentecost 18/Trinity 17/Proper 21/Ordinary 26)

Texts: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Call to Worship
We have walked with you, O God,
from many parts of the world to this time and place.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to serve all people.

We leave behind our old securities;
we leave behind our reliance on worldly goods.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to live with all people.

We leave behind all which holds us back;
we leave behind all which keeps us from following you.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the world to work with all people.

We leave behind the fears which bind us;       
we leave behind the hurts which damage us.
And we will walk with you, O God,
into the peace you offer to all people.

Prayer of the Day

Wherever the stories of Jesus are told,
wherever gifts are offered in service,
wherever hope is a part of healing,
wherever songs of joy are sung,
in every land, in every heart,
in every village, and every place:
Bless to us, O God,
the tenderness of your heart.

Bless to us, Christ of Peace,
the path which people walk
seeking to follow you:
    worn smooth by the feet of pilgrims,
    yet still rocky in places;
    the destination unknown to many,
    yet the way to life and hope.

Bless to us, Salty Spirit,
the companions you give to us:
    mentors and mischief-makers,
    curmudgeons and gigglers,
    builders and believers,
    brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles;
    neighbors and strangers
who gather in dusty villages
and centers of power
to feast on the goodness of your grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
give us your peace, as we pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Sometimes our words and actions show how we are salt for the world.  But then come those moments when we lose our flavor and our way.  Let us confess our sins to our God, so we might be restored and forgiven.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Called to be your people, Living God - why do we find it so hard to answer?  You ask us to speak out against injustice, and we whisper because we are afraid someone might hear us.  You ask us to see the pain and poverty around us, but we close our eyes.  You tell us that everyone, and each one, is created in your image, yet we persist in noticing the differences between us and others.
   Forgive us, God of the Past and Creator of the Future.  May we be the ones who go out into the world, bearing your gifts of peace, of hope, of healing, of joy to every one who is broken, even as we have been made whole through the gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Touched by the healing hands of our Lord, filled with the grace of our God, led by the compassion of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are opened and we discover we are forgiven and at peace with God.
Those who are created to love the unlovable; those who are created to bear grace; those who are created to embrace all people: we receive our forgiveness, giving thanks to our God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
May we open our hearts and offer our gifts to others so, that as the hungry are fed, the homeless are housed, the grieving are comforted, and the lost are led home, may they bring healing to your heart which breaks at all the brokenness in our world.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers, may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are lifted high to God.
Beloved of God, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts, and praise is on our lips.

It is our hearts true longing
to praise and glorify you,
God of all glory.
You shaped us in your image,
so we might reflect your grace;
you breathed the Spirit into us,
so we might live your hope.
But we were wiser than you
and so chose another path.
You spoke to our grandparents of the faith
in a shrub burning with the cries of captives;
in the thunder of stuttering prophets;
in the still, small voice of a weeping mother.
Yet we persisted in our stubbornness,
hardening our hearts towards you.
And so, you whispered to us one morning
in the borning cries of a Child
in the dirt and grime of a stable.

Therefore, we join our voices
with our sisters and brothers in all the world,
and with those of every time,
singing songs of joy to your heart:

We adore you, Holy God,
in all the congregations of the world,
and we bless you, for by the gift of Christ,
you have redeemed all creation.

We praise you in this congregation, Holy God,
and bless your Son, Jesus our Lord.
Stamped with your image,
he walked among us
so we could see who we could become.
When he spoke your Word of peace,
he shattered the walls of war and violence.
When he was offered the easy way out
of his suffering and death,
he carried his integrity to Calvary,
where he was broken to make us whole,
where he died so we might live with you.

We remember, and in remembering,
we would tell others of your wonderful love,
and would be peacemakers for the world,
even as we live out that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, so peace might be our companion;
Christ has been raised, so life might be our eternal promise;
Christ will come again, to take us to God's glory.
Pour out the Spirit of the Prince of Peace
not only on us
and the gifts of the bread and the cup,
but on all your children throughout the world:
who gather around war-scarred tables
and at the tailgates of humvees
   to pass the Bread of Life
   from hand to hand
   until all the hungry are fed;
and who stand on both sides
of those walls built of our fears and hurts
    and dare to offer the Cup of peace
    to those known only as 'the enemy'
    unto all are graced
    and embrace one another in love.

Through your Son, Jesus, who is our peace;
through the Spirit, who empowers us to be weak;
we honor and glorify your hopes
for all people in all creation,
Great God our hope and our joy,
now and forever.  Amen.
May God walk with you this day,
as we seek to walk with the lonely and afraid.
May Jesus walk with you this day,
as we follow Jesus, leaving all our fears behind us.
May the Holy Spirit walk with you this day,
as we go to serve all who have been tossed aside by the world.
(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for September 20, 2015 (Pentecost 17/Trinity 16/Proper 20/Ordinary 25 - B)

Texts: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

 Call to Worship
Our world offers many wide avenues
and beautiful boulevards to walk;
Our God invites us to walk the road
of service and sacrifice.
Our society suggests we put down our roots
in the shallow soil of pleasure and greed.
Our God seeks to plant us on the banks of hope,
watered by the rivers of joy and grace.
Our culture promotes achievement, success,
climbing to the top, ringing the bell.
Our God tells us if we want to be first
we need to go to the end of the line.

Prayer of the Day
You are in the kitchen all night,
slicing, preparing, cooking, baking
food for all of your children
so we can feast at your table.
You do not clench your fist
tight around your grace,
but let it pour from your open hands
upon those who need it most.
We are blessed by such a God as you!

You sit into the wee hours,
telling us your stories,
until our weary souls
fall fast asleep.
You wrap us in
the swaddling clothes of faithfulness,
sending us forth to serve
the broken of our world.
We are called by such a Servant as you!
Tenacity and grace
are the work clothes
you put on each morning,
so you might mentor your children.
Sagacity is sprinkled
throughout your words,
sympathy trips off your tongue.
We are taught by such a Spirit as you!
In you, God in Community, Holy in One,
we have found all we need and long for,
and we offer the prayer we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
While we try to live in God's way, we know how often we follow the wrong advice, or walk down sin's shadowed streets. Yet, God watches over us and calls us to confess, so we might be welcomed into the embracing arms of mercy and healing. Let us pray as we say,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We confess how much we are like those first disciples of Jesus, Wisdom from on high. Our cravings for more and more toss us about like leaves in the fall winds. We boast of our great wisdom, yet do not understand your ways of peace and gentleness. We do not plant ourselves in your hope and grace, and so reap harvests of disorder and conflict.
     Draw near to us, Gracious God, and forgive us. Draw us into your tender arms, and teach us peace, gentleness, the willingness to put the other first, the wisdom to serve instead of seize, so we might bring forth a harvest of righteousness, justice, and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the wisdom from above: God plants in us the forgiveness and healing we need, so we might share the good harvest of joy and mercy with everyone we meet.
Bathed in the living waters, fed by the Bread of life, we are given new life and hope. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Rather than boast of all that we have and are, may we humble ourselves, as we offer our lives, our hearts, and our gifts, in putting others first, that they might discover the wonders of the kingdom of grace and hope.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who plants us by streams of living water be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to the One who does good for us all the days of our lives.
We offer them to our God who feeds us with joy and hope.
Children of God, let your thanksgiving be on your lips in every moment.
Our hearts overflow with gratitude to the One who offers us the cup of grace.

You considered chaos, God of fruitfulness,
and planted creation deep in its barrenness.
Your Spirit whispered over the waters,
stirring into life that rich variety from your imagination;
the Word tagged close behind,
calling the sun, moon, and stars to shine,
shouting to the fields to blossom.
You shaped us in your image,
seeing us as most precious of all created,
willing to put our hands to work
in the peace and beauty of your garden.
But paying our money to the purveyors
of bad advice, we chose to wander
down the streets of sin and death.
Longing to feed us with your love,
you sent the prophets,
their words a feast of hope,
but we continued to chew
on the moldy bread of unfaithfulness.
Then, taking Jesus in your arms,
you placed him tenderly among us,
reminding us that if we would welcome him,
we could embrace your salvation.

So, with those who have sought to do good
all the days of their lives,
we lift our voices in praise:
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All creation sings of your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is your Child who comes among us.
Hosanna in the highest!
We glorify you, God of holiness,
that by your love and mercy
you sent Jesus to live among us,
walking the paths of the world with us.
In the midst of conflicts and divisions,
he seeks to attract us with his gentle peace;
in facing the walls of rejection we build,
he would tear them down with his
gracious acceptance of all people;
in taking up his cross,
he became the servant of all,
and when death thought he was
in its selfish grasp at last,
he was raised to new life by you,
the promise of the resurrection for all.
Though we may not always understand,
we remember his willingness to be last,
we celebrate his triumph over death,
and we proclaim that he is the bread of life:
Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come again.
Pour out your Spirit
upon those who gather
in this place, in these moments,
and upon the gifts of your feast.
As we bring our famished souls to your Table,
strengthen us with the bread of life,
so we might go forth to offer
hope and grace to the needy around us;
as we open our parched hearts to you,
fill us with the servant spirit of the cup,
so that, setting aside our thirst for greatness,
we might offer our lives in service,
taking peace and reconciliation
to the brokenness of our world.
And when we come to the end of our journey,
gathering by the eternal streams of living water
with all those who have gone before and come after,
we will delight in your glory and grace through all eternity,
our glad songs of thanksgiving offered to you always,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go to walk the road of service.
We will feed others with God's hope.
Let us go to break down the walls of resentment.
We will join the Servant of the world in embracing the refugees of despair and fear.
Let us go to teach kindness in our world.
We will gather up our sisters and brothers, and rest in the Spirit's peaceful lap.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for September 13, 2015 (Pentecost 16/Trintiy 15/Proper 19/Ordinary 24 - B)

Texts: Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 19;James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38

 Call to Worship
We are not our own:
so, neither our will nor our wisdom
should get in the way of God's hopes for us.
We are not on our own:
so, we should not choose what is easiest
or the most gratifying way to live.
We are not our own, we are God's:
so, let us choose to live for God,
and serve all of God's children.
We are not on our own,
as we walk the streets of God's kingdom:
so, as far as is possible, we will forget ourselves
and follow Jesus Christ.

Prayer of the Day
All around us, O God,
creation preaches a silent sermon
about your glory.
The full, orange moon
declares your constant watchfulness;
the early morning mist over a schoolyard
speaks of your steadfast love;
the cool breeze through slowly changing leaves
whispers of your grace.
Holy Jesus,
you ask questions
which turn us speechless;
you tell us things about yourself
we imagine we need to correct;
you offer us a way of life
we dare not refuse.
Spirit of Wisdom,
you stand in the midst
of rush hour traffic
crying out to us
about our fascination with foolishness
and stretch out your hand
to point to the One
who walks towards us
offering a cross.
God in Community, Holy in One,
in this time together,
may we hear you in the silence and the songs,
and discover you in the people around us,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We all make mistakes, many of them. We hurt ourselves, we hurt others, we hurt God with our words and deeds, with our silence and inaction. Let us confess to God our sins, trusting in the One who blesses us with mercy.
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Spring of Wisdom, we confess that we have not denied ourselves and followed. We turn our backs on your outstretched hands of grace, and stumble into the arms of the world. We speak poisonous gossip about others, rather than tell of their glory as your child. We fire off words that find no rest until they pierce another's heart.
     Forgive us, Rock and Redeemer. Give us speech which flows like cool water through another's parched spirit; give us silence with which to witness your wonders; give us words to proclaim Jesus is the Christ, our Lord and our Savior, the One who leads us to life.

 Silence is kept

 Assurance of Pardon
With gentleness, God speaks to us;
with graciousness, God forgives us;
with joy, God embraces us.
With our lips, we praise God;
with our words, we thank God;
with our silence, we find God
in our hearts. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
All around us, we are reminded that we are not on our own, but our lives intersect with the poor, the hungry, the hopeless, our sisters and brothers.  As we seek to follow you, may we share from the abundance you have poured out upon us, so all might experience your grace and life.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of glory be with you.
And also with you.
Lift your hearts to the One who whispers hope and grace to you.
Our hearts rejoice in the wonder of God.
Sing glad songs of praise to God.
We join all creation in proclaiming God's giftedness.

The heavens tell the story,
God of glory and wonder,
of how your Wisdom moved
and the waters churned with life;
of how your Word danced
through the fields of creation,
the valleys and mountains
singing their praise to the end of the world.
You stood at the corner of grace and hope,
calling us to play with you in Eden,
but we refused, turning our backs
as we raced down the dim alleys
of temptation and seduction.
Your prophets came among us,
with words of sound advice,
but we ignored them, our ears
stuffed with the siren songs of sin.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to teach us the cost of redemption,
the suffering he would endure
that we might have life with you.

Now, with the wayward and the foolish,
with the wise and the faithful of every time,
we lift our voices to you:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Rock and Redeemer.
All creation proclaims your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who cries aloud in the streets 
      of your redeeming love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, True God of all life,
and blessed is Jesus, your Anointed Child.
He came to us,
standing in village squares
to declare your good news for all,
walking the streets of the city,
to call us to follow him.
Though we smack his hands away,
he continues to stretch them out to us,
the Friend and Companion
our hearts yearn for in every moment.
Despised by those who didn't understand,
rejected by those closest to him,
he took up his cross
and followed you into death,
where you raised him to new life,
that we might know him for who he truly is.
As we give thanks for his life and death,
as we celebrate his ministry and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:
Christ died, losing his life for our sake;
Christ arose, taming death's poison;
Christ will come, that we may proclaim his name.
Here, in these moments, and in this place,
pour out your Spirit of life and hope
upon the wayward and the foolish,
on the wise and the faithful,
who are gathered around your Table,
and upon the gifts of the bread and cup.
As the healing touch of the bread of life
rests upon our tongues and hearts,
may we use them as a blessing,
speaking words of hope and grace,
becoming the voice of those ignored
by the powerful of our world.
As the taste of the cup of salvation
tingles deep within our souls,
may we go to take up our crosses,
following Jesus into service and sacrifice
to all made in your beloved likeness.

And when the Son of Man comes in your glory,
when we are gathered around the banquet in the kingdom,
we will join our voices with our sisters and brothers,
singing of your grace, your peace, your love forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go now with God:
who covers us with tender mercies;
Go now with Christ our Lord:
who is our good companion;
Go now with the Spirit:
who gives us good food at the Table
and living water to nourish us.
Go knowing that God will direct your path:
bringing us joy and delight
as we continue on our journey of faith.

(c) Thom M. Shuman