Sunday, October 25, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for November 1, 2015 (All Saints' Day - B)

Texts: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44
Call to Worship
See how God loves us!
God loves us enough to swallow up death forever.
See how Christ loves us!
Christ loves us enough to share our loss and grief.
See how the Spirit loves us!
The Holy Spirit loves us enough to offer us words
of hope we can trust.
Prayer of the Day
You have blessed us
with saints all of our lives,
God of the ages:
those who put up with us,
and those who prepared us for discipleship;
those who have touched us with their compassion,
and those who illumine the way for us.

Through the valleys and over the hills,
down the dusty streets of every village,
saints traveled with you,
Jesus, Child of grace and glory:
those who impetuously chased after you,
and those whose feet longed to turn back;
those who jostled for your attention,
and those who made sure little children
were able to meet you.
You surround us with saints,
even when we don't recognize
or much less appreciate them,
Spirit of wonder:
some live down the corner from us,
while others are on the other side of the world;
some run to catch the leaves spiraling to the ground,
while others make a meal for a sick neighbor's family.
For all the saints of every age, especially our,
we give you our gratitude and praise,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
Call to Reconciliation
Here in this community of those who seek God, we know we are not saints. We are wrapped in those strips of words, of thoughts, of actions which bind us to sin, not to God. But our God has promised us new hope, new life, fresh mercy, if we will but confess. I invite you to join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We come to you, Listener of our broken lives, with our hands soiled with the pain we have caused, with our ears stuffed with the words of those who speak falsely, with our hearts stained with those lusts and hungers we would be embarrassed for others to know.
     Forgive us and have mercy on us, Wiper of our tears.  As we seek to journey from the baptismal waters towards the feast you prepare in glory, may we turn our faces toward you in every moment, listen to your words in the depths of our hearts, and follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, every step of the way.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Lift up your heads, saints of God! Your sin is gone, your hands once full of foolishness are now empty. God has clothed you with garments of joy to wear to the feast.
Our former life has passed, our new life in Christ has begun.  All things are new - including us! Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Now, as God's saints in this time and place, we have the opportunity to feed others from the abundance of all we have, to swallow up the pain and suffering of others, to wipe away the tears of children who are lonely and fearful.  May the gifts we offer, and the lives we lead, reveal the One for whom we have waited and who invites us to spread grace over all the world.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all saints be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to God, all you who seek God's face.
We offer them to the One whose heart weeps with ours.
Lift up your heads, O people, singing glad songs of praise to God.
With joy in our hearts, with words of truth and life on our lips,
we give thanks to our God.

With a simple Word,
with a gentle Breath of life,
Wondrous God of glory,
you shrouded chaos with your imagination,
earth spinning and whirling through space
the seas teeming with new life.
All that is in creation is yours,
all that lives in it is your gift.
You shaped us in your image,
gathering us in your garden of joy.
But we turned our backs on you,
seeking the seductive face of sin.
You would show us the way,
filling us with hope's promise,
through the gifts of those saints
we call the prophets,
but we were deaf to their words.
So, deeply moved by our helplessness,
you sent Jesus into our presence,
the One we waited for that we might be saved.

So, with that community of faith
from every place and time -
with saints and sinners, with apostles and angels,
with those who know how deeply you love us,
we forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, strong and gentle.
As they await their renewal, heaven and earth glorify you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to call us from death.
Hosanna in the highest!
Gracious are you, Creator of suns and saints,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Sharer in our lives.
With clean hands and a pure heart
he descended from your holy side,
coming to wipe away our tears,
to remove the disgrace of our sin,
to walk with those who seek your face,
to stand with us at grief's doorstep.
With scarred hands and a shattered heart,
he descended into the grip of the grave,
taking off the swaddling clothes of death,
leaving them behind as you called
to him to come out of the tomb.
As we wait to come to this gracious feast,
as we remember the spirit in which Jesus
lived, served, died, and was raised,
we speak of that mystery we call faith.
In Christ, the shroud of death has been destroyed.
In Christ, all creation is given new life.
In Christ, we will be God's people forever when he returns.
Pour out your Spirit
upon these gifts of the Table
and on your children in this sacred space.
With a simple cup filled with hope,
with bread broken in love,
you make a feast for those
who are with this band of believers.
As we open our hands
to receive grace's brokenness,
may we go forth to dirty them
in service to all around us.
As we swallow the
well-aged hope of your Spirit,
may we discover our hearts
to be as broken as yours,
by the injustices of our world.

And when all things become new,
as we are gathered in the New Jerusalem
with our sisters and brothers of every age,
we will join our voices together,
singing before your throne of grace,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Now let us go to show others how much God loves them!
We will go to bring life into all the places where death seeks to swallow those around us.
Now let us go to how our sisters and brothers how much Christ loves them!
We will go to share in the loss and grief of everyone around us.
Now let us go to show the world how much the Spirit loves them!
We will offer words of hope to all filled with despair.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman




Monday, October 19, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for October 25, 2015 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - B)

Texts:  Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

Call to Worship
With our lips and with our hearts:
we bless God in every moment of our lives.
With our ears and with our hearts:
we will hear the cries of our sisters and brothers,
in every painful moment, in every broken place.
With every gift and with our hearts:
we will serve God and all of God's children,
with every moment of our lives.

Prayer of the Day
Wise God,
you name us your children:
feeding us with hope,
touching the cup of grace to our lips;
shaping us in your image,
that we might care for all creation;
raising us from despair,
rescuing us from our foolishness;
wrestling with our questions,
watching over us in every moment.

Brother Jesus,
Servant of the poor:
patiently, lovingly, tenderly
you listen to our voices,
some filled with hurt and bitterness,
others with loneliness and grief;
some trembling with fear and worry,
others overflowing with silence;
and you offer them all to God.
Spirit of Holiness,
creation's life-giving Breath:
you refuse to walk by
when we sit in the dust
of our despair and pain,
blinded by the ashes of our actions,
cloaked in the desires
of our sinful brokenness.
God in Community, Holy in One,
who names us as your children,
hear us as we pray together saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we cannot do it, God can! Anything and everything - our messes, the hurts we inflict on others, the way we stand around when we could be helping - God can renew, reshape, restore us. That is how much God
loves us, this is why God calls to us to come and be healed. Join me as we pray to our God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Gracious and holy God, we admit that it is easier to have pain-causing words on our lips, than praise for another. Our foolishness often keeps us from seeing the deep hurts and hunger of the suffering who are around us. We stand by the side of the road, afraid to step forward in faith, afraid to trust that you are with us, afraid to cry out for healing and hope.
     We are not people who repent in ashes and dust, but we do know we need your mercy, and ask that you forgive our faithlessness, our fears, our hurts.  Healer of all people, we lift our hearts and souls to
you, that through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we might find your grace, discover your love, and serve your people in your name.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart: God hears your prayers. Get up: God has healed your brokenness. Listen: God calls to you with hope, with forgiveness, with life.
Now, our eyes are opened and we can see;
now, our ears are opened and we can hear;
now, we can follow Christ into the kingdom.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts be used to answer the needs of those who seek you, O God, delivering them from their fears, listening to their cries for help, offering refuge to those who are searching for hope.  This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
O taste and see how good God is!
We hunger to be in God's gracious presence.
Listen for God's promises to you.
We call out to our God, and we are heard:
lives are made new, hope is restored.
Raise your hearts and voices in thanksgiving to God.
Glad songs of joy and praise will always be on our lips!
In the silence of chaos,
you serenely stood, Irenic God.
Then, with that singular Word,
craters were filled with water,
meadows rippled with crops;
with your Breath exhaled,
life flowed through all creation,
the heavens sparkled with your hope.
Blinded by our desire to be like you,
we chose the wrong role models,
thinking death could offer us life,
that sin would be our dearest friend.
Prophets came with your word,
encouraging us to change our hearts,
to repent in dust and ashes,
but we told them to keep quiet.
Then you took the initiative,
sending Jesus into our lives,
to call us back to you.

So, with those who shout out your name,
and with those who whisper of your wonder,
with our sisters and brothers in every time and place,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of majesty and grace.
Heaven and earth resounds with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who for all time is able to save.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed are those who take refuge in you, Radiant God,
and exalted in all creation is your Child, Jesus Christ.
Throwing off his glory,
Jesus sprang up to come to our side,
to do for us what we could not do.
Refusing to stand still and do nothing,
he walked among us, healing us,
calling us to follow him on the way
to that kingdom which is yours.
Blameless, he took our sins to the cross,
where broken, he made us whole,
where dying, he made us new,
where rising, he enables us to see you.
As we remember how he heals us,
as we celebrate how he saves us,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:
Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come in glory.
We seek you, Transcendent God,
and find you waiting at this Table,
your Spirit transforming these simple gifts
into food and drink for our hungry hearts,
your grace poured out on your children
who have gathered in this sacred space.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
as we drink from the Cup of hope,
may we hear the cries of the poor,
may we see you in their faces,
may we speak, calling them by name,
welcoming them as our sisters and brothers
in that community we call your kingdom.
And when we have fulfilled all our days,
when we gather with the humble and the glad
around that Table prepared for us in glory,
your praise will always be on our lips,
God in Community, Holy in One,
now and through all eternity. Amen.

Let us go to be God's blessings in the world.
With our lips and with our hearts, we will offer hope to all.
Let us go to be the ears and heart of Jesus.
Listening to the cries of our sisters and brothers,
drawing them into the refuge of grace.
Let us go with our arms full of the Spirit's gifts.
Welcoming every one, every moment of our lives.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for October 18, 2015 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 24/Ordinary 29 - B

Texts:  Job 38:1-7 (34-41); Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

Call to Worship
Welcome! There are many places you could be this morning,
but you have chosen to be here:
where we learn how to live in God's Kingdom.
Welcome to this place - full of music, of words, of prayer –
yet also filled with danger:
where we encounter a Wisdom we cannot always understand.
Welcome to God's House, the most dangerous place in town:
where we talk about and with God, and are reduced to silence
so we may hear the call to discipleship.
Prayer of the Day
Wind-riding God,
the blue skies, the sunshine,
the cool breezes cradling falling leaves:
all creation reminds us
of the delicate Artist
who has shaped us
and all that is around us.
We lift our songs
of gratitude and awe to you.

Servant-calling Jesus:
you humble our arrogance
with your acts of mercy;
you tip over our pretensions
with your modest nature;
you laugh at our hunger for power
with your words of grace.
Heart-keeping Spirit:
you bear our prayers
to the throne of grace
when they are only whispers
in our souls;
you unfold the road map
to show us the way to the Kingdom;
you transform our stuttering words
into praise and wonder to our God.
God in Community, Holy in One,
be with us in this and every moment,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We do not pray in order to alleviate our guilt, but to express our gratitude to God. For we know all the things we have said and done that we shouldn't, and all those words we could have spoken, all those actions we could have undertaken, but did not. Despite such lives, God still loves us, surrounding us with mercy and hope, waiting to restore us to new life. Please join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Creation's Heart, we look around and see how we fall short in our attempts at faithfulness. We often do things, not because it is what you call us to do, but in hopes of earning points with you. We can become so self-absorbed, we cannot see the suffering and struggles of friends, family, strangers.  We are so desperate to get to the front of the line, we push aside the very ones you seek to honor.
     Forgive us, Holy One. Remind us that the cup we are offered overflows with grace, that the waters of baptism cleanse and make us new, and that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the One who calls us to service, standing by our side, as we seek to be faithful disciples.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The One who poured the foundations of creation fills us with grace and hope. The One who numbered the clouds, tips over rain barrels of living water into our parched souls.
The One who writes anthems for the early morning stars, fills us with songs of joy. The One who provides food for all living things, feeds us with mercies which come fresh and new each day.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
May our gifts lay a foundation of hope for all in despair; may the brighten the shadows of those who wander alone; may they cause the voiceless to join the morning stars in singing your praises.  This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God bless your soul!
And also bless yours!
Lift up your hearts to God, beloved of the Lord.
We offer them to the One who clothes them with grace.
Bless God's name with songs of joy.
We praise the Lord with our hearts and with our lips.
You donned your Word-clothes,
calling the whirling Spirit to action,
Ingenious God,
and you laid the foundation of creation:
stretching a line of mountains across the fields,
sinking the seas into the hollows of the earth,
teaching harmonies to the morning stars.
You shaped humanity in your image,
calling us to life with you,
but we sulked at your invitation,
preferring the shadowy words
offered to us by sin and death.
You sent the prophets as your messengers,
their words of fire, as well as faithfulness,
ministering to us, but we ignored them
in our hunger for power and recognition.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to baptize us in your mercy,
to offer us the cup of salvation.
So, with those who surround you, shouting with joy,
with all, in every time and place, who seek to serve,
we lift our songs of thanksgiving to you:
Holy, holy, holy, God who is clothed with honor and majesty.
All creation overflows with your life.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes with loud cries and tears.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, God of questions,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, the only answer we need.
He did not glorify himself here on earth,
but became your Servant of mercy and grace.
He stretched out his hands, not to grasp power,
but to lead us to the back of the line,
where we can minister to your people.
He suffered, learning obedience to you;
he became obedient, so death might be mastered;
dying, he discovered the wonder of your resurrection;
rising, we finally grasp the truth
of your love and sacrifice for us.
As we remember his life, his death, his resurrection,
as we would comprehend your promises to us,
we would proclaim that mystery we call faith:
Dying, Christ became the Servant of all;
rising, Christ became the source of salvation for all;
coming again, Christ becomes your promise to all.
It is here at this Table,
your Spirit poured out upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and your children gathered in this place,
that we are transformed into your servants.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
may we go from this place
to give of ourselves in service to all;
as we drink from the cup of grace,
we are filled with your peace and hope,
and become the gifts for which the broken,
the hopeless, the lost are searching.
And when our journey of faith is complete,
when we gather around your feast in glory,
we will join our hearts and hands
in loud cries and tears, singing of your great love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God sends us forth as workers for justice.
To cover the oppressed with a flood of compassion.
Jesus invites us to work humbly by his side.
We would respond, 'Here we are; where do you need us?'
The Spirit hands us garments woven with strands of love and light.
We will clothe everyone we meet with these garments of grace.

(c)2015 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for October 11, 2015 (Pentecost 20/Trinity 19/Proper 23/Ordinary 28 - B)

Texts: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Call to Worship
We look in the mirror and what do we see?
We see people who try to be faithful,
even as questions and struggles challenge our faith.
We look in the mirror and how do we see?
We see with hearts which are open to God's love,
with lives which seek to trust when all the evidence
tells us not to be so foolish.
We look in the mirror and who do we see?
We see Jesus, the One who struggles with
the questions we raise, who models faithfulness
for all who would follow.

Prayer of the Day
Gracious God:
when we cannot see you,
you look in compassion upon us;
when we cannot speak a word,
you hear the sighs of our hearts;
when we are falling apart,
you hold us together with your grace.
Jesus, Healing Hand of God:
you reach out to take away all
which distracts us from discipleship;
you challenge us to give away everything
which keeps us from following you;
you surround us with people, even strangers,
who enfold us with your love and hope.

Loving Spirit:
when we are too weary to put
one faltering foot in front of the other,
you carry us in your strength;
as we seek to challenge
the unfairness of our world,
you stand beside us in your justice;
when we are afraid to come near,
you bear our prayers to the seat of grace.
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray together,
using the words we have been taught by Jesus,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Let us willingly embrace that which we believe is true - we can come to the seat of grace, bringing our prayers of confession to the One who is filled to overflowing with mercy and hope. Join me as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
    We stand before you, Saving God, stripped of our pretensions and pride, for nothing we do or say, or do not, can be hidden from you. You hear the angry words we preach to ourselves; you sift through the rubble of hurts we have caused; you see how we stumble, weighed down by all that 'stuff' which keeps us from following Jesus.
    We stand before you, Holy Grace. As you empty our hands of that wealth of unneeded things we cling so tightly to, fill them with your grace and hope. As we let go of all which might hold us back, give us the trust to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into that life with which he offers to each of us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news! Because God loves us, we lack for nothing; because God forgives us, we have everything we need; because God surrounds us with sisters and brothers, we do not journey alone.
Committing everything to God, trusting in the One who redeems us, we decide to live as God's faithful and forgiven people. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
When we look in the mirror, may we see our sisters and brothers in need - the lonely, the hungry, the searching, the aching.  And as we see them, we pray that these gifts we offer may be used to bring them food, hope, companionship, and healing.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of eternal life be with you.
And also with you.
In confidence, draw close to the Table of our God.
We bring our hearts, our lives to the Feast of Grace.
Sing glad songs to the One whose goodness fills our lives.
We rejoice that we may enter the kingdom of love and hope.

You turned to your right,
and there was nothing there;
you went forward and backward,
and there was only nothingness;
and so, in your wonder and majesty,
you created all that was good and true,
God of unparalleled imagination.
Your Word crafted the living and active -
waterfalls carving the sides of mountains,
butterflies flitting from flower to flower;
your Spirit bubbled with laughter,
and the bright morning stars were reflected
in clear pools brimming with hope.
All these gifts were given to those shaped in your image,
but we chose to contend with you,
mocking you, making faces at your glory.
When it became too hard for us
to enter your kingdom on our own,
you sent Jesus among us,
to deliver us from ourselves.
So, with those who raise their questions to you,
with those who struggle with your answers,
we lift our voices to you, singing your praises:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of mystery and hope.
All creation honors your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who calls us to faithful living.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, God of grace and truth,
and blessed is Jesus, Child of wonder.
He set aside the treasures of heaven,
to become one of us,
so we might know the riches of mercy.
He let go of the power of glory,
so he might know our weaknesses.
He went to the cross on Calvary,
committing himself to your love,
and it was you who took him from the tomb,
raising him to new life.
As we proclaim his death and resurrection,
as we break the bread and fill the cup,
we would live out that mystery we call faith:
Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come again in glory.
Here at the Table graced with your gifts,
here, upon your children gathered in joy,
pour out your Spirit of peace and life.
As we come to taste of that Bread which,
in its brokenness, makes us whole,
we would not go backward to our old life,
but go forth to bring hope to all
who cry out for justice in the world.
As we drink deeply from that Cup which,
by its grace, fills us with compassion,
we would offer the blessings we have,
that others might know the richness of your love and hope.
And when the age to come has arrived,
when our lives are gathered up in your mercy
and we are at one with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place around your feast,
we will join our hearts and voices for you,
singing through all eternity of your love,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go forth as God's people to serve those around us.
We will honor each person as if they were our family.
Go forth as sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will share the gifts of grace and hope with everyone we meet.
Go forth as those strengthened by the Spirit.
We will stand with others searching for God's justice in their lives.

(c) Thom M. Shuman