Saturday, December 26, 2015

Liturgy w/communion for January 3, 2016 (2nd Sunday after Christmas - C)

Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:1-18
Call to Worship
Here in this place, now in these moments,
we gather to meet our God,
whose Word runs sprints
through the rough streets of our lives.
Here in these people, now with shared cares and prayers,
we hope to see our God,
who transfigures our shadows into light,
who transforms our grief into gratitude.
Here in our silence, now in our songs,
we long to know our God,
who gathers us in from every far place,
who melts our frozen hearts with love.
Prayer of the Day
God of winter and spring,
God of summer and fall:
You come to offer us
every spiritual blessing imaginable
(and those we never expect):
   our loneliness joined with others
         into a community of wonder;
   our despair transformed into hope;
   our death resurrected into new life.
Powerful Word of God,
by Your weakness
You teach us humility;
Changeless Word,
Your steadfast love fills our emptiness;
Creative Word,
You take us by the hand
to lead us out of our self-imposed exiles
to new life in Your kingdom.
Holy Spirit,
the warmth of Your grace
loosens our fear-wedged souls;
the durability of Your peace
enables us to risk all on God;
the vulnerability of your compassion
opens our eyes to the One
who keeps us safe and brings us home.
In grief and joy, in every season of life,
we can lift our prayers to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we have been taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation   
We have gone places we should have avoided; we have wandered the wrong streets; we have spoken those words we cannot take back; we have squandered our inheritance from God. Let us confess all those ways we have not been God’s children, as we pray together,
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God who has chosen us before we ever were, we confess how we have heard Your Word, but not allowed that grace and truth to transform us.
   Offered life, we choose death;
      furnished hope, we cling tightly to our despair;
         extended fellowship, we walk in our loneliness;
      granted peace, we idolize power and might;
   offered forgiveness, we are convinced we can save ourselves.
Forgive us, God of promises.  The mark of being Your people is seeing how completely dependent we are on You: for life, for hope, for love.  All these, and more, You give to us in your Word of Truth and Your Child of grace, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
This is God’s good news: wherever we have wandered, God gathers us up and brings us home; whatever we have done, God forgives us; whoever we are, we are God’s child, enveloped in God’s love.
Blessed be our God, who gives us voices to sing our joy and who sets our feet dancing in praise.  We are forgiven!  Amen.
Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We not only have spiritual blessings, but tangible ones as well.  So, we pray that you will gather up these gifts we offer and will transform them into food for the hungry, hope for the despairing, healing for the broken, and peace for those who are torn apart by war and fear.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all new things be with you.
May God fill you with newness.
Let us lift our hearts to the One who touches us with ever-new love.
We open them to God, who gathers us in this place.
We have received the good news that grace was born in Bethlehem.
We will sing songs of joy and wonder to One who is with us in these moments.
Your Spirit blew through chaos, Speaking God,
and Your Word tamed its havoc as
   horses galloped through meadows,
   beavers built homes in rivers and lakes,
   rain fell softly up mountaintops.
In those moments, You chose us to be your children,
Heirs of all the goodness You desire for us.
Singing to us in Eden’s morning,
You invited us to glorify You forever,
   but we walked into the shadows of the world,
   leaving our music behind.
Yet You persisted in Your plan
for us, knowing that
   where no life is anticipated,
   where no future is seen,
   where no hope is expected,
it is there You gather us up
and carry us into Your kingdom.
Therefore, with angelic choirs of every region,
with the shepherds who caroled a refugee family,
with those who came home from exile singing,
we lift our voices in joy and gladness:
Holy, holy, holy are You, ever-blessing God.
All creation joins in showering praise upon You.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who was born to bring us grace and truth.
Hosanna in the highest!
You alone are holy, God of Bethlehem,
and You are Father of Jesus,
Bearer of grace and Singer of truth.
When we lost our voices in exile,
   You sent Your Word to teach us
   new hymns of joy and praise.
When our ears were stuffed
with the lies of the world,
   Jesus came, speaking Your truth.
When we were marked for death,
   He came running to us,
   defeating sin and death,
marking us as Your own
with the kiss of the Holy Spirit.
As we come to this Table in remembrance,
as we speak of his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
we proclaim that faith which is so mysterious,
as well as the One in whom we set our hope.
The Word of creation was silenced on the cross;
in resurrection love, the Word became the promise of redemption;
at the right time, the Word of love will come to lead us home.
In these moments, and in these people,
may Your Spirit come to fill us
with the bread of righteousness and the cup of hope.
Flow through us, we pray, like living waters
so we might be a river of reconciliation.
Grant us Your peace,
so we might share it with others;
set our hope on Christ,
so we might bring that same hope
to our neighborhoods and communities.
Then gather us,
no longer broken but made whole,
no longer exiles, but citizens of the Kingdom,
no longer strangers, but brothers and sisters of Christ,
around the Table of peace and life,
where we will forever praise You,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
Let us go, remembering the gift of the Word.
We will go to sing of the good news to a silent world.
Let us go, filled with the gifts of the bread and the cup.
We will go to feed the emptiness of those around us.
Let us go with the gifts of the water and the oil.
We will go to anoint all brokenness with the peace of God.
© 2015 Thom M. Shuman

New Years Day

 Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25:31-46

 Call to Worship
We wake up in the morning
and see the sunrise:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We are warmed by the sun;
the rain cleanses all creation:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We watch the moon light up the night,
we fall asleep to the lullabies of the stars:
how majestic is Yyour name in all the earth!

Prayer of the Day
You call us
     to be Your children;
You gift us
     to serve all people;
You send us to proclaim
     Your good news to all:
Glory to You,
Creator of all that is new!

When you are lonely,
     we have a chance to visit you;
when you are hungry,
     we can share our food with you;
when you are naked,
     we can give you
          the clothes off our backs;
when you are sick,
     we can nurse you back to health:
Glory to You,
Savior of the world!
You whisper in our ears,
     so we may praise You;
You fill our souls,
     so we may serve You;
You lead us into the kingdom,
     so we may live with You:
Glory to You,
Spirit of Gentleness!
Glory to You,
God in Community, Holy in One!
Hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Will this year be a time of new life, new ways for us - or will we continue to live the same old way? Let us confess to our God our failures, as well as our hopes, as we begin this year.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We admit that we always find the time to fill our stomachs, God of every moment, but not our souls. We spend hours watching television, but not the wonders of Your creation. We arrange outings with our friends, yet ignore Your invitation to sit and talk. We make resolutions to change every aspect of our lives, except for that which pertains to You.
Forgive us, God of Glory, and make us new. In the moments to come this year, remind us that if there is a time for everything, than we do have those moments for grace, for hope, for joy, for a relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It's over - last year is gone. Our words, our thoughts, our deeds are in the past. Today, we begin anew. Today, and every day, God offers us life and hope.
Here, now, forever - we are forgiven and healed. This year, let us live as such people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May we not keep our blessings, but give them away, so that others might learn new dance steps, so children might be fed, so bridges might be built, and so grace may flow to all in Your world.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of new beginnings be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who makes all things, including us, new.
Children of God, sing praises to the One who gives you new life.
We praise the One who continues to surprise us with hope and grace.
Before there was time,
Hope of Eternity,
You took a moment
     to bring creation out of chaos.
You took time to create mountains,
     and carve deep canyons;
You made the time to fill the oceans
     and to plant food for all creatures;
You found the time to plow rivers
     to water a Garden,
     and to shape us in Your image.
But we did not have time for You,
          preferring to spend our days chasing sin,
     and our nights seeking death.
You always made time for us,
speaking of Your hopes
     through the prophets,
sharing Your dreams
     through the angels.
Then, one day You decided
to do a new thing,
becoming one of us
as Jesus become human
to bring hope and grace to us.
So we join with the saints in heaven,
and our sisters and brothers on earth,
who sing of Your glory:
Holy, holy, holy, God of every time and space.
All creation sings of Your majesty and glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who gives us the water of life.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are You, Keeper of our days,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who is with us in every season of life.
He comes, not to judge us,
     but to forgive us;
He comes, not to cast us out,
     but to gather us into
     the new Jerusalem;
He comes, not to watch us suffer,
     but to die on the cross,
           that we might live with You.
As we give thanks for his life,
and remember his death and resurrection,
we would talk of that mystery which is our faith:
Christ died, so sin would have no more power over us;
Christ rose, destroying death's grip on us;
when the new heaven and new earth come,
     Christ will make all things, including us, new.

In these sacred moments,
send Your Spirit
to sanctify the bread and the cup,
and to open the hearts
of those who approach the Table.
As the Bread of life touches our lips,
     may we be strengthened to serve
     those whom the world has forgotten.
As the Cup of salvation quenches our thirst for You,
     may we be enabled to bring relief
     to those who wander
     the desert wastes of our society.
And when all time ends,
and all people are gathered
around Your Table in Heaven,
we will rejoice in Your presence,
and sing your praises forever:
One God, Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Let us go from this time of silence and song, to be God's voice,
to speak out for the oppressed of our communities and world.
Let us go from this time of community, to be Jesus' faithful,
to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, to be a friend to the prisoner.
Let us go from this sacred space, to share the peace of the Spirit,
to work for reconciliation in our neighborhoods,
to put an end to violence and death as solutions for fear.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Holy Name of Jesus

Texts: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 2:15-21

Call to Worship
We come, in need of blessings;
we come, seeking closeness with God.
Let us go, to find our God.
We come, from the shadows of our lives,
seeking light and hope.
Hurry, let us go to find the One we have heard about.
We come to God, seeking peace
for our lives, for our world.
Come, let us go, believing the Word we have seen.
Prayer of the Day
Majestic God,
we cannot begin to imagine you,
     yet you have made us in your image;
we wonder why you notice us,
     when we are surrounded by creation's glory;
we have been made stewards of life,
      and you choose to share your own with us.
Name above all names:
you call us 'sister' and 'brother'
     claiming us to share in your work;
exalted above all creation,
     you humbled yourself for our sake;
able to do all things,
     you choose to work through us.
Spirit of Grace:
when we look for majesty,
     you bring us to a manger;
when we yearn for glory,
     you hand us a mop;
when we want to exalt ourselves,
     you point us to the Cross.
God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray to you as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We've been to the stable, and met the Babe.  But tomorrow, when we go back to work, or school - will others know where we have been?  Let us admit to God our reluctance to reflect transformed lives.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God of Bethlehem:
you bless us richly,
forgive our reluctance to share;
you hold us close to your heart,
forgive us for keeping others at arm's length;
you shine in the shadows of our soul,
forgive us for not sharing the Light;
you lift us from where we have fallen,
forgive us for not offering a helping hand;
you grace us with Joy,
forgive us when we worship fear.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
If we believe the songs of the angels, and have seen the Child in the manger, we must go out and tell others this good news.
We will go: glorifying God, praising the Lord, and confessing to everyone we meet how God has richly blessed us. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we offer our gifts to you, Namer of Jesus, may we empty ourselves in service to all who are lonely, all who are hungry and homeless, all whose names have been forgotten by a world which no longer cares for them.  We pray this in the holy name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to our God.
Sisters and brothers of Christ, give thanks to our God.
We lift our songs of praise to the One who loves us.
We will indeed sing your praises,
God of Blessings,
creator of heaven and earth.
You brought forth all that is good and beautiful,
     so chaos could not keep hold of us.
You lifted up the dust of creation,
shaping it into your likeness,
     breathing your life into our lungs.
When we fell into sin,
you did not turn away from us,
     but kept your promises.
You sent prophets to remind us
of our covenant with you,
     but we continued to bow down
          to death's idols.
Finally, you sent your Beloved,
Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem,
to become one of us,
so we could be made one with you.

So, we join our voices
with the angels in heaven and the beasts in the field,
with those who have gone before us,
and those who will follow,
glorifying you forever:
Holy, holy, holy are you, God of blessings.
All creation glorifies and praises you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to redeem us.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, Shining God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
Emptying himself of glory,
     we are filled with grace;
reviled and cursed by coarse humanity,
     he is given the Name above all names;
dying a criminal's death
and cast into death's cold arms,
     he is lifted to your Heart
          to rule over all creation.
As we come to this Table,
we speak of that mystery
we cannot explain:
Christ was obedient to God, even to death;
Christ was exalted by God, raised to new life;
Christ will be proclaimed by all as Lord and Savior.
Come, Spirit of Blessing
upon these gifts of the bread and cup,
and those who come to receive them.
As we bow to receive the Bread of Heaven,
     we would stoop to lift up the fallen;
as we bend to take the Cup,
     we would kneel to comfort your children;
as we worship you,
     we would serve your people.
Then, when all are gathered for your Feast in heaven,
we will sing our glory to you:
God in Community, Holy and One,
now and forever. Amen.
The One who blesses you will keep you close:
we will go,
not keeping the blessing for ourselves, but to share it with others.
The One who is gracious to you, shines the Spirit upon you:
we will go,
to reflect the Light of Christ in gracious words and deeds.
The One who turns towards you gives you peace:
we will go, turning to everyone we meet, saying,
"The peace of God be with you."

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman