Sunday, July 31, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for August 7, 2016 (Pentecost 12/Trinity 11/Proper 14/Ordinary 19 - C)

Texts: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40

Call to Worship
We are people who have been called
to follow where God leads us.
By faith we can obey,
even when asked to walk into
an unknown future.
We are people who have been challenged
to tell God's story to others.
By faith we have the ability
to share the good news.
We are God's children who are invited
to feast at the Table of grace.
By faith we will embrace
our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Prayer of the Day
Creator of the light:
when our sins
stain our lives,
     you dissolve them
     with your mercy;
when our souls become calloused
by the hardness of our hearts,
     your grace makes them as soft
     as a cashmere sweater,
          so we can be dressed
                to serve others.

Creative Word:
when you had enough
of our hollow words
and empty promises,
     you came to listen
     to the echoes of your hope

          deep within our hearts.
When you became bored
with our endless meetings
and petty squabbles,
     you took delight
     in our willingness
          to follow you.

Breath of Creation:
when we could be sitting
at home watching television,
     you encourage us
          to rest in stillness with the grieving.
When we could be out shopping,
     you nudge us to share our abundance
          with the poor and needy.
When we could be relaxing
in our achievements,
     you sit us down next to a child,
          struggling to read.

God in Community, Holy in One,
as we seek to grow in our faith,
hear us as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We would like to keep our sins hidden and our failures a secret. But God would not have us keep silent, but speak our confessions out loud, so we may be blessed with God's mercy and grace. I invite you to pray with me, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     You have a vision of all people as your beloved children, Imaginative God, but we see folks whose language, dress, and skin make them different. You have a vision of a universe filled with goodness and beauty, and we damage it with litter, with violence, with poor choices. You have a vision of a Table where we can feast on your grace and hope, but we line up at the fast food counters of sin and greed.
     Forgive us, Visionary of Mercy, as we confess that we are not "insiders" but immigrants searching for our true home. By faith, may we be willing to be as gracious, as compassionate, and as hopeful as you are.  You love us enough to want us to be with you forever, so may we take the hand of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who leads us into your kingdom.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
There is nothing to fear. God's hope is more tenacious than our despair; God's joy is more resilient than our grief; God's love is more compelling than our hate.
By grace, we are gathered to God.  By faith, we rest in God's promises of forgiveness and restoration. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
It is by faith that you bless us, hopeful God.  So, it is by faith that we offer back to you a portion of what we have and who we are, trusting that you will take these gifts and use them in the work of that kingdom of justice and hope, of grace and wonder, which is yours.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to God, followers of Jesus.
We open them, so the Light of Love shines through us.
People of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is our greatest joy and honor to offer thanksgiving to God.

You called the heavens and the earth
out of the deep emptiness of chaos:
     soft breezes caressing our cheeks,
     songbirds caroling your glory,
     children tap dancing through mud puddles -
all that we see, hear, and feel
have sprung from your imagination,
Creating God.
All that you thought, dreamed, and wondered
was shaped for us
     that we might live with you in peace and hope.
But we wondered what we would do with your glory and power;
we dreamed of being divine and thought we were your equal.
     So we reached out for wealth and power,
     those false idols who enticed us
          even as they ensnared us with their lies.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of your vision for us,
and to assure us of your hope for us.
But we took no delight in their words.
Then, your Word took on flesh
and came to us as Jesus the Christ,
to summon us out of the empty lives
we had created for ourselves.

Therefore, we gather with your faithful ones,
in this time and in this place,
joining our voices with the heavenly choirs
who sing of your justice and grace:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
The mountains sing your praises,
     the valleys echo your glory.

We welcome the One who comes in your name,
who comes to call us to life.

Holy are you, God of infinite imagination,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son,
our Hope, our Lord and Savior.
He should have been clothed
in royal robes of purple and gold,
     but put on the uniform
     of a condemned prisoner,
          so we could be clothed in your grace.
He should have been given
every honor the world has,
     but was cursed
         so we might receive your blessings.
He should have had a long and healthy life,
     but was put to death at an early age,
          so we might live forever with you.

Remembering that is not our words which save us,
     but your imaginative Word of beauty and love;
remembering that it is not our achievements,
     but our hope in Jesus Christ which assures us of your love,
we celebrate that mystery we call faith:

Lord Jesus, you call us:
     open our eyes that we may see you,
          open our souls that we may long for your presence,
               open our hearts so we may follow you.

God of Gentleness:
pour out your Spirit of grace and peace
upon these, your simple gifts,
which become the Bread of Heaven
and the Cup of Salvation for us.
As we taste the goodness of Christ,
and let his brokenness heal us,
     may our eyes be opened
     to the oppression and injustices
         the world would keep us from seeing.
As the rich wine of hope and joy
refreshes our hearts and souls,
may we be ready
     to share all we have been given,
     to speak up for the voiceless,
     to gather the lost into our family.

And when all time has stopped moving
and all the faithful have been gathered,
when we sit down at the feast prepared for all,
we will join hands to sing
the eternal anthem of your vision
of hope and peace for all creation,
proclaiming forever and ever your glory:
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

By faith, let us go out as God’s people.
We will gather others around us and dance into God’s kingdom.
By faith, let us go to follow Jesus to serve with compassion and grace.
We will share the good news of hope and peace with everyone we meet.
By faith, let us go to join the Holy Spirit in welcoming all of God’s children.
We will add as many chairs as are needed, so all may feast on God’s love.

© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for July 31, 2016 (Pentecost 11/Trinity 10/Proper 13/Ordinary 10 - C)

Texts: Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

Call to Worship
God of the past who whispered in the prophets' ears;
who rescued us from sin's slavery:
we are here to thank you.
God of the future, who is tearing down the old world,
and building your kingdom in our midst:
we are here because we trust you.
God of the present who, in the giftedness of our diversity,
creates us to be one people:
we are here to praise you.
God of life that surprises us when we find it within us:
we celebrate your grace.

Prayer of the Day

Steadfast Love:
like a child
running down the sidewalk
to play with her best friend
on a summer's day,
you eagerly come towards us.

Child of God:
with the anxious heart of a mother
waiting at midnight,
you long for us
to come home,
your arms aching to hold us.

Fullness of Grace:
when all others
have turned away from us,
you throw open
the gates of the kingdom,
inviting us in to share
at the Table of hope
prepared just for us.

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

Call to Reconciliation
When we could be revived by God's grace, we find ourselves fearing God's judgment, doubting God's joy in us, fearing God has turned away from us. Let us come to the One who heals us and calls each of us by name. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     How can we forget them, Calling God, those who have been thrown aside by the world, those whose cries are no longer heard by the powerful?  How can we judge them, those who make choices with which we disagree, those who are so different from us?  How can we still follow the hurlers of angry words, the purveyors of prejudice?

     Continue to teach us better ways of living and doing, God of grace.  You gather us from our foolishness, so we might be led into acts of mercy.  You redeem us from our mistakes to we might bend down and feed those who hunger for hope.  Your compassion, so warm and tender, is gifted to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do not be afraid. More than anything else, God would rather turn fetid swamps into pools of crystal clear water; bonds of sin into cords of compassion; sinners into servants.
God loves us. God forgives us.  God lifts us to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We offer not only our gifts, Compassionate God, but our time, so we might spend more moments with the lonely; our words, so the voiceless might be healed; our hands, that the hungry might be fed; our hearts, so that the rejected might find a home.  We pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
May God also be with you.
People of God, open up your hearts.
We open them to God and one another.
People of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks to the One who offers us lives filled with grace.

When we were children
running footloose through grace,
you loved us, Tender God:
     dappling the night skies
          with the bright stars of morning,    

teaching us to walk
          the paths of that first dawn,
     telling us of your dreams
          for all you created.
When, in our hurry to greet you,
we fell, skinning our knees,
     you lifted us up in your arms,
     holding us to your cheeks
          wet with joy.
When we missed your calling
us to wash up for dinner,
     you came and found us,
     taking us by the hand
          to feed us from Eden's abundance.
But when we grew up,
we knew more than you,
     turning to the idols of wealth and power,
          who promised to serve us
          even as they shackled us;
     giving ourselves over
          to anxiety's sweet caress.
Yet you are God,
not a foolish human.
You remain in our midst,
not to punish or destroy,
but to reach out
and bring us home to your heart.

Therefore, we joyfully lift our voices,
with those who have gone before us,
and those who stand beside us,
singing our praise for your great love;

Holy, holy, holy, God of steadfast love.
All creation thanks you for your wonderful works.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes to lead us by a straight way.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, God of infinite tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
your Son, our Lord and Savior.
Breaking the enslaving bonds of sin,
     he binds our wounds
          with cords of compassion;
walking with us
when we had lost our way,
     he shows us the paths
          to the kingdom;
stripping himself of glory and honor,
     he clothes us in the new life of faith;
leaving aside his equality with you,
     he became one of us,
          so we might be one with you.

Remembering that you did not give up on us
or hand us over to sin and death
but showered us with your mercy in Christ Jesus,
we take the bread of life and the cup of grace
and joyfully celebrate that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, his life hidden in God.
Christ was raised, to be seated by God's side.
Christ will come again, that we might be revealed with him in glory.

Compassionate God,
pour out your gracious Spirit on us,
and on these, your simple gifts.
Fill us with the broken bread
     that we might be made whole;
touch our parched lips
with the cup of salvation,
     so we might proclaim your gospel.
Then send us forth:
     our hearts recoiling
          at the oppression suffered
          by our sisters and brothers;
     our hands willing to build shelter
          for those cast out by the world;
     our arms surrounding
          the lost and the least,
          in the embrace of common humanity.

And when we are clothed with our new self,
when we are united with our sisters and brothers
gathered around the Table of glory,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you satisfy the thirsty with your grace,
and fill the hungry with your love. Amen.

Let us go with God to offer life to those around us.
We will gather up the broken to offer them healing.
Let us go with Jesus to wrap people in hope.
We will reach out to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless.
Let us go with the Spirit to love all those in our midst who have been forgotten.
We will take them in our arms and welcome them to our hearts.

© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for July 24, 2016 (Pentecost 10/Trinity 9/Proper 12/Ordinary 17 - C0

Texts: Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19); Luke 11:1-13

Call to Worship
It is in this place of holiness that we can come with our fears,
our doubts, all the questions of our hearts.
We come to this place, to hear the words of peace,

of hope, of joy God speaks to us.
It is in this place of discovery
that we can come searching.
We come to this place, to find
the One who has been looking for us.
It is in this place of openness
that we can come knocking.
We come to this place, to be embraced
by the One whose heart is never locked.

Prayer of the Day
Loving God of heaven and earth:
the morning breezes
     whisper your holy name,
the trees clap their hands
     in time to creation's songs of joy.
You build your community in our midst,
     despite our best efforts to tear it down.
Your simple gifts of love and peace
     are of more value than all
          the world promises us.

Jesus Christ, Teacher of our hearts:
you walk with us
through the streets of fear and failure,
     holding our hands
     so we have no need
          to reach out for the Evil One.
You give us words to speak
     when the worries of our lives
          turn us speechless.

Spirit of Grace and Hope:
your river of mercy
tumbles through us
     washing our hearts of all
     we cannot release,
          so we may reach out and embrace
               all who have hurt us.
Your peace defends the weak,
     your glory shines in the oppressed,
     your justice embraces all people.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus has taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are invited to pray - all who have hurt someone else, and all who have been hurt by another. We are called to pray: for hope, for healing, for mercy. We pray to the One who seeks to make us whole; whose will it is to restore us to new life. Join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     We do not find it easy to speak of how we do not live as your people, but you invite us to share our weaknesses and failures with you, Inviting God. Tempted to think your salvation is for a select few, we put up barriers for others.  Clinging to all you give to us, we are reluctant to share with those in need. Surrounded by evil and violence, we find it easier to close ranks with those just like us, rather than seeking peace and reconciliation for our world.
     Forgive us, Salvation's God. Open our eyes to our sisters and brothers all around us. Open our ears to the word of hope you speak to us.  Open our spirits to the presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who flings wide the open doors of your kingdom, that all might find life with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Here is the good news, my friends: Christ came searching for us, calling us by name, leading us into God's kingdom.
In Christ, we become new people: broken, we are made whole; lost, we are found; forsaken, we are restored to new life. Thanks be to God.  Amen.

 Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As you have done with us, may we do for others, holding nothing back, but offering our treasures and lives that hope may be restored, that healing might touch the broken, that the suffering might be revived, and that all might know of your steadfast love in their lives.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of grace be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who shares good gifts with us.
Children of the living God,
give thanks to the One who loves us.
We sing our praises to the One
who embraces us with righteousness
and showers us with kisses of peace.

Our greatest joy is to sing
our songs of thanksgiving
to you, Lord of all eternity.
When you first spoke,
creation was conceived and brought forth:
     birds to swoop through the clear blue skies
     and butterflies to flit about
          in the gardens of Eden.
We were offered the chance
to run free in your good universe,
     but we immersed ourselves
     in the petty philosophies of pride,
          and were enticed
          by the empty lies of the world.
You sent the prophets
to knock on our hardened hearts,
asking us to turn to you,
     but we continued to dance
     in the arms of sin and death.
That is when you sent Jesus,
to put on flesh's body,
so we might throw off
the chains of our captivity.

Therefore, we join with those in every time and place,
who have searched, and found you,
who have asked, and been answered,
who have knocked and been welcomed
in your all-forgiving grace and love,
singing our praises forever:

Holy, holy, holy, God of steadfast love.
Righteousness and peace are lifelong lovers in your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes
     to open the door to your forgiveness.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of restored lives,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
In him,

you turned away from your anger,
     so we might turn to you
     to receive forgiveness.
In him,

you set down your indignation,
     to hand us the Bread of Life.
In him,
death and sin were defeated
     so we could be revived to life.

So, as we gather at this Table,
remembering how he not only lived and died,
but was raised to life by your love,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Christ died, that salvation might be given to us;
Christ arose, ending the search for life forever;
Christ will come again, knocking on the doors of our hearts.

Pour your Spirit of peace and hope
upon these good gifts
of the bread and the cup
and upon those who have gathered here
at your gracious invitation.
May the Bread which is broken
make us whole,
     so we may go forth
     to speak peace to a world
          which has been fed violence and death.
May the Cup which is shared
open our hearts to the pain
of those around us,
     so we may bring healing and hope.
When we leave this Feast,
may we follow your righteousness
into the streets of the world,
     taking all we meet by the hand
     to show them the path
          to your heart.

And when our wills have been subsumed into yours,
and when your kingdom has come in its glory and grace,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers

from every time and place,
embracing and kissing all children of the living God,
sitting down at the great Feast of the Lamb,
singing your glory through all time and space,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

You have heard the words of peace and hope from God, so go.
We will go to speak to those filled with fear and doubt.
You have been reminded of the One who came looking for us, so go.
We will go to search for all tossed aside by the world.
You have been embraced in the love and grace of the Spirit, so go.
We will go to open our hearts to all searching for hope.
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for July 17, 2016 (Pentecost 9/Trinity 8/Proper 11/Ordinary 16 - C)

Texts: Amos 8:1-12; Psalm 52; Colossians 1:15-28; Luke 10:38-42

Call to Worship
God has called us to this place.

What do you see?
We see people who model for us
God's joyous embrace of all people.

God has brought us to this place.

What do you hear?
We hear God's hope that we are able to see each person
as our sister or brother.
God has challenged us to open our lives and hearts to others.
What will you do?
We will do only one thing:
welcome everyone in God's name!

Prayer of the Day
You open our eyes to a world
which would sell the poor
     for the price of an SUV,
or trade the needy
     for a pair of Guccis,
or haul the weak
     into Judge Judy's court.
So come, God of Justice,
to make us
     as vocal as Amos.

You watch us
as we fill our days
     with endless work;
as we keep a list
of all our worries,
     never marking any off;
as we get easily distracted
     by others' inactions.
So come, Creation's Oldest Child,
to make us
     as still as Mary.

You take notice
of how quickly
we can overlook
those who hunger
     for their empty hearts
     to be filled;
those who long
     for a family
     to welcome them;
those who thirst
     for that relationship
     which will revive
     their souls.
So come, Reconciling Love,
to make us
     as welcoming as Martha.

God in Community, Holy in One,
come to make us your people,
even as we pray as Jesus has taught us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation

They are there in the Bible: men and women who are as weak, as foolish, as prone to sin as we are. Every page, every story reveals to us our brokenness. Yet every page, every story tells us of the One who longs to make us whole. Let us confess our sins, and clear the way for God's reconciling love to work within u. Please join me, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness

     In the mirror we call scripture, Revealing God, we see ourselves for who we are and are not. We whine about those who are not doing what we think they should, and ignore our failings. We speak words which nibble away at the life in our family and friends.  We step over the poor on our way to get more and more, ignoring their needs.
     Forgive us, Reconciling Love. Sit us down at Jesus' feet, so we may learn the balanced life you intend for us. Then, and only then, we can set aside our grudges, to offer our gifts to our neighbors; we can stop licking at our hurts, to bring healing to others; we can reach out and welcome our sisters and brothers, even as we have been welcomed into your heart through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Christ Jesus comes to reconcile us to God, so we can be reconciled to one another.  Recreated in God's image, we are made whole. 

When we are in Christ, everything becomes new. Our past is just that - our past!
Do you really believe this - that your past is done, and you are a new person? If so, go out and reflect it in your life.
Thanks be to God! We will go forth and live as reconciled people. Amen.

 Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Because we trust in your never-ending love, Gracious God, we offer not only our thanks, but our gifts, knowing that what you have done in the past – rescuing the lost, healing the broken, feeding the hungry, loving the poor – will continue to be accomplished through our gifts.  Bless all that we offer to you, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who embraces us be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift your hearts to the One
who makes you welcome in every moment.
We lift them to the Lord our God
who is our host at this meal.
People of God, offer your praise and thanksgiving

to the One who comes bringing new life to us.
The sad dirges of our lives become praise songs

for the One who makes us whole.

We will thank you forever,
God of Reconciliation.
Through your imaginative Word,
all things were created:
     summer fruit to tingle our taste buds,
          and winter's ice sculptures to delight us;
     spring's breezes to disturb our complacency,
          and autumn's rainbow leaves
          to dance across our lawns.
Offered life in your garden of joy,
     we took refuge in the world's shadows;
invited to build a home in your love,
     we grasped the blocks of betrayal
          on which to build our false lives;
chosen to make known your grace for all,
     we proclaimed the lies of the Evil One.
Yet, you would not let us wander
from sin to sin,
but sent the prophets to speak
in the presence of the unfaithful,
of your forgiveness and hope.
And when our sharp tongues
slashed their words to ribbons,
you sent the fullness of your life,
Jesus the Messiah, to bring us back to you.

And so, we join our voices
with all who have gone before us
and all who will come after us,
singing your praises forever:

Holy, Holy, Holy, God of every season.
All creation trusts in your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to proclaim your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holiness is who you are, Reconciling God,
and salvation is the blessing we receive
through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
He came to bear the stain of our lives,
     so we could be made squeaky clean;
he walked the streets of the world,
     so we no longer needed to shuffle our feet
          in the dust of our failed dreams;
in his life, death, and resurrection
he revealed the mystery
of your glorious hope for us,
     before we had finished
          reading the story.
As we would welcome your loving embrace,
we would proclaim that faith we for which we long:

Christ died, suffering for our sake;
Christ was raised, our servant of resurrection;
Christ will come, the hope of glory

Send your Holy Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and upon those
who will receive these gifts.
May the bread which is broken
     make us one with each other;
may the cup which is shared
     be the healing we need.
Then, when we be nourished by your grace,
send us forth to be your servants:
setting aside our worries
     to welcome the weak and forsaken;
letting go of our grudges,
     so we may receive
     the grace the stranger brings to us;
releasing our fears and doubts
     so we may embrace
          your steadfast love.

Then when all time comes to an end,
and we are brought together at your Table
through him who reconciled us to you,
and who holds us together in his grace,
we will sing our praises through all eternity:
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God sends us from this place, with our eyes wide open.
May we see all who hope for healing and for justice.
Jesus calls us to leave this place to go to listen.
We will hear the cries of those ignored by the world;
we will open ourselves to the anguish of those around us.
The Spirit challenges us to welcome everyone as our sister and brother.
May we offer our lives and hearts to all we meet.
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Liturgy w/communion for July 10, 2016 (Pentecost 8/Trinity 7/Proper 10/Ordinary 15 - C)

Texts: Amos 7:7-17; Psalm 82; Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37

Call to Worship
Blessed is God, who created us and loves us beyond measure.
Blessed is God, who calls us to stop measuring out our love.
Blessed is God, who speaks and tells us stories about ourselves.
Blessed is God, who reveals to us who we are

and who we could be.
Blessed is God, whose compassion is poured out
on every single person.
Blessed is God, who gives us compassion to share

with every single person,
even people we do not know or care about.

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God,
Rescuer of the weak:
given every reason to judge us,
     you seek justice for us.
You stand with the poor
in the ditches
     where we have discarded them.
You plant your Word of truth
in the One who gives us
     unexpected answers.

Jesus Christ,
Word of Truth:
you will not pass us by,
     but stoop to lift us up
     and carry us out of our pain.
You love the faithful enough
     to tell us stories
          which will shatter our complacency
     and send us forth
          to carry mercy to others.

Holy Spirit,
Giver of mercy:
you carry hope in your mouth
     and breathe it into our souls.
You take us by the hand,
     leading us out of the ditches
     we have dug for ourselves,
          into the brightly lit streets of the kingdom.
You pray for us in every moment,
     especially when we are unable
          to pray for ourselves.

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

Call to Reconciliation
Are you in love with God? Do you show it in your words, your thoughts, your actions? Are you in love with your neighbor? Do they know this by your presence, your grace, your friendship?  Or are you so obsessed with yourself, that you have no time, no room, nor pity for others, or for God?  Let us confess the limits we place on our love, so we might be filled with God's limitless mercy.

Unison Prayer of Confession
They may not be beaten down or lying by the road,

but there are people we pass by, Watching God.
Some are family and friends
     we take so much for granted
          we cannot see how we have stripped
           them of our love and compassion.
Others are neighbors:
     who have been left half-dead by crushing work;
     who have fallen into the hands of despair;
     who have been abandoned by all those
          who walked on by them.
Many are strangers, people we don't know,
but quickly judge:
     they are weak,
         or poor,
     or the enemy
         or because they remind us of whom
          we once were, or could become.
Rescue us from the power of our sins,
Righteous One of all generations.
     Pour out your justice on us,
     rather than your judgment,
          that we would be moved with pity,
               and spurred to action;
          that we would hear of the hope that is ours,
                and share it with our sisters and brothers;
          that we would shower mercy on all we meet,
even as we have received forgiveness for our sins
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Children of the Most High: you are forgiven and brought into the kingdom. Be filled with spiritual wisdom, lead lives worthy of your inheritance, bear fruit in all you say and do and think.
God has rescued us and redeemed us from our sins, setting aside judgment to shower us with mercy. We will go and do likewise.  Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May these gifts which we offer be used to bring justice to the weak, a family to the orphan, fairness to the outcast, and hope to the needy.  This we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of justice be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, open your hearts to the One who restores you.
We bring our hearts to God, who has rescued us.
Faithful sisters and brothers, sing songs of praise to God.
Our voices unite in a chorus of thanksgiving.

We would not cease singing
our songs of thanksgiving to you,
Innovative Creator.
You imagine a sky
as wide as eternity,
     and fluff it with billowy clouds.
You shape mountains
     and top them with snow.
You notice our uncertainty of the dark,

     and shower us with fireflies
          to twinkle our fears away.
All this, you thought and did, for us.
You would teach us your ways
of kindness, peace and compassion,
     but we filled our minds
          with the empty words of a wayward world.
You sent the prophets
to retell your story of hope,
     but we urged them to go
          and preach to someone else.
But when the world turned its back on us,
when others pass by our pain,
you sent Jesus to come and find us
and to carry us into your heart.

Therefore, we lift our songs of joy to you,
joining our voices with those in heaven and on earth,
who forever praise your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Rescuer of the weak and needy.
All the hope in creation gives glory to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who shows us mercy.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of Wonder,
and blessed is Jesus Christ your Son.
Your heart, your soul,

your mind, your strength,
he was willing to love you enough
to become one of us;
loving us as much as he loved himself,
     he endured the battering of the world,
          and stripped of his glory and grace,
he was left by the side of the world
     by the gang of sin, evil, and death.
Moved by his love and sacrifice,
     you came and found him,
          alone and forsaken in the tomb.
Anointing him with the waters of baptism
and the oil of hope's gladness,

     you brought him into the new life
          of your resurrection love.

As we remember his life of great love,
we praise you,
that as we break the bread of life,
and drink from the cup of grace,
we know the risen Christ is among us:

Christ was broken, that we might be made whole;
Christ was raised, that the gospel might bear fruit;
Christ will come, that we might inherit eternal life.

We come to this Table
looking for answers to our questions
and for healing for our brokenness.
So, pour out your Spirit upon your children,
and upon the gifts of the bread and the cup,
that nourished and fed by you,
     we might we strengthened
          to serve our sisters and brothers around us.
As we get up from our seats at your Table,
     may we stand up for the rights of the lowly.
As you pour out your grace upon us,
     may we wrap it around the orphans and weak;
as you whisper your dreams for us,
     may we speak out on behalf of the poor;
as you offer us the bread and the cup from your hands,
     may we reach down and lift up those
          who have fallen through the cracks of our society.

Then, when all time has come to an end,
and there is only life forever with you,
we will join hands with all your children,
singing our joy and thanks to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Now go, to be God’s blessing to others.
We will not stop measuring out our love by the spoonful,

but shower everyone with it.
Now go, to tell share the story of Jesus’ love and hope for all.
We will go to speak of the One who, with grace and wonder,
shows everyone who they are and who they might be.
Now go, to pour out the Spirit’s compassion in every corner of your life.
We will go to care for everyone, even those we do not know.
© 2016 Thom M. Shuman