Saturday, June 24, 2017

Liturgy for July 2, 2017 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - A)

Texts:  Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
Sing, sing of God's unalterable love!
We will rejoice as we walk in the light of our God.
Tell everyone around you of God's faithfulness.
We will share the stories of the One who experienced
our life in all its fullness.
Shout out loud of God's presence with us,
on this day and in all the days to come.
Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us;
truth and love walk by our side.

Prayer of the Day
In a world shaped by conflict,
where we seem to be slipping
back into tribal divisions,
   you call us to welcome those
   with whom we have absolutely
   nothing in common.
In a culture full of inequalities
which only seem to be widening,
   you call us to treat each person
   as our sister and brother.
In a time of intensifying injustices
which are found in every community,
if not in every neighborhood,
   you call us to yoke ourselves
   to your radical hope.
In a lifestyle which idolizes the individual
to the exclusion of all others,
   you call us to notice
      the parent who works three jobs,
      the dementia-diminished senior,
      the refugee family on the corner.

May we offer not just cups of cold water,
but all that we are and all we have
to those who are in our midst,
even as we pray to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The idol of our times is personal independence, but in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our poor choices, the hurts we cause to others.  Yet, by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions, so let us join in offering our confessions to the One who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It seems so simple, God of compassion, to offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person, yet we know we worry more about how that might inflate our bill at the end of the month.  We are to open our hearts to others, but they may need to be careful lest they slip on our icy attitudes towards them.  People are looking for places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms continue to be the place where only the dust bunnies sleep.
   Forgive us, Radical Hope.  You did not have to become one of us, but you did, so we might know your love.  You did not have to welcome us into your family, but you do, so we might experience unexpected grace in our lives.  You did not have to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we might have life with you forever.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are filled with living water; longing for a renewed relationship with God, we are welcomed with open arms by the One who forgives us.
Without a doubt, God's love never comes to an end.  We will tell our kids and grandkids of the grace and peace which is ours.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We are not blessed by God so we might hoard them for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who are looking for a community, to feed those who hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the world has cast aside.  Here are our gifts, Holy God.  We pray you will use them as well as us in the work of your kingdom.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of constant love be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who welcomes each and everyone of us to this Table of grace.
We bring our broken hearts so they might be made whole.
Join hands with your sisters and brothers and sing to the One who fills us with hope.
Together we will praise God, who has made us one.

When chaos slammed the door on you,
God of faithfulness,
you whistled up creation and
she tagged along at your side
as your hospitality flowed forth:
   springs to refresh our wearied feet,
   sweet corn to fill our hunger,
   beds of pine needles on which to rest.
We were formed by you
so we might belong to you,
   but we let ourselves be held
   captive by lust, greed, and fear.
Prophets came, seeking to call us back
to you, fulfilling your words of welcome,
   yet we continued to obey our passions.
Jesus came, offering us cups of living water,
words of hope and grace,
wrapping us in arms of joy.

With those who seek your peace,
with those who work for your justice,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of radical hope.
All creation welcomes your words.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in your light.
Hosanna in the highest!

Compassionate God, you are the Voice
behind the Word who comes in Jesus Christ.
When sin would hand us
a pay envelope stuffed
with evil's crumpled bills,
   he fills our pockets
   with your gifts so
   we may be a blessing to others.
When temptation and worry
become our jailers on death row,
   he comes, with your pardon
   in his hands, setting us free
   so we may walk in
   the new light of your hope.

We remember his love and grace offered to all,
we hear his welcome extended to each of us,
as we speak of that mystery of our faith:

Christ died, welcoming our death as his own;
Christ was raised by the gift of God's hope;
Christ will come to fulfill God's words.

Your compassionate welcome is extended
to anyone, any time, any place
as your Spirit is poured out
on the gifts of the Table of life
and on your people gathered for the feast.
Your life, which is broken in love,
becomes the wholeness which strengthens us
   to feed those for whom hunger
   is a constant companion,
   not a skipped meal.
Your grace, which is poured into us,
becomes the hospitality by which
   we welcome itinerant immigrants
      into our communities and hearts;
   we open our arms to every child
      held captive by poverty.

Then, when your glory becomes our home,
and we are gathered around your table -
con artists and poverty's prophets,
the most vulnerable and power brokers -
we will join in singing your praises
through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen  

Let us go forth to walk in God's light.
We will show others the way to God's heart.
Let us go to bring hope and healing to the world.
With a gift as simple as a cup of water,
and as complex as our lives, we will join Jesus in serving those around us.
Let us go forth to gather up the little ones
of our communities into our homes and hearts.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit,
we are no longer strangers but God's family.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 25, 2017 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - A)

Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10: 24-39

Call to Worship
Troubled prophets and struggling families,
you listen to our voices, whoever we are.
There is no one like you, God of the listening heart.
Those who live in fear, and those who look for signs,
you fill us with hope and surprises.
There is no one like you, God of steadfast love.
Seekers of power, as well as those who serve the vulnerable,
you challenge us to use our gifts for others.
There is no one like you, God of all people. 

Prayer of the Day
God of those empty of hope
and those who are cast out:
into the chaos of every life
you enter with the silence of love;
when we choke on bitter memories,
you hand us the cup of healing;
when we wander down lonely streets,
you bring us home to your heart.

Jesus Christ,
conqueror of sin's power:
into our deepest pain
where life has bottomed out,
you dare to enter;
when we cry out with fear,
you cradle our hearts;
when we face death,
you stride out of the grave,
pointing the way to the kingdom.

Spirit of the forsaken
and bearer of compassion:
you are the mist shimmering
over the valleys,
stirring the waters of creation;
you are the dew bathing
the flowers every morning,
anointing us with resurrection's grace.

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

Call to Reconciliation
We struggle daily with that human tendency to always do wrong, say hurtful things, turn our back to others.  But God will never hold our sins against us or our foolish nature.  Let us confess to our God, who frees us forever from judgment, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     In baptism, we are promised new life, God of  grace, yet we continue to focus on those old ways which are so comfortable and seductive.  We are so good at fooling others that we are convinced we can trick you as well.  We have been called to walk with you, and run down those paths paved with foolishness and fears.
     Forgive us, God of steadfast love.  You have claimed our lives in baptism, so we might be set free from sin and be raised to new life.  Just as you save us, so give us the strength to be willing to take up whatever task you give us, and the faith to be willing to lose our lives for others, so we might find life forever with you, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news:  God hears our prayers, our cries, our hearts.  And, in Christ, we receive new life.  We are free, free to walk in the Light of the Lord.
So, this is what we will do.  We will open our hearts to God's grace; we will live as people who have died to sin and who live for Christ.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We offer our gifts to you, as well as our lives, Loving God, so they might find their way to those who need your grace, your hope, your joy, and your peace in their lives.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of steadfast love be with you.
And also with you.
Saints of God, lift your hearts to the One who saves you.
We offer them to God, who sees our hearts and minds.
Sing to the Lord; praise God's name.
We lift our voices to the One who hears our need-felt songs. 

Chaos tried to restrain you,
but failed, Glorious God,
as you cried out, "Create!"
     and gases spun into galaxies,
     rivers rushed to become seas,
     flowers danced in summer breezes.
You shaped us in your image, pointing to all
that had been crafted from your joyous imagination,
and gifting us with all your love.
     But we loved sin and death
     more than you, and followed them.
You sent prophets, those women and men,
whose hearts burned with your voice,
and called us back to you,
     but we kept fooling ourselves,
     playing our childish games with temptation.
You sent Jesus to us,
so we might once again walk with you.

With reluctant prophets and fearful followers,
we draw near to you with songs of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every hope. 
Creation sings praises to you in every moment. 
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who delivers the needy.
Hosanna in the highest!

There is no love like you, Steadfast God,
and Jesus Christ is our hope and grace.
Seeing us going down the wrong paths,
   he showed us the streets of the kingdom;
seeing us drowning in pools of seduction,
   he was baptized, so we might be pulled to safety;
seeing us held captive by our worst selves,
   he died and was burined,
   so sin's plans would be destroyed,
   and death would fall flat on its schemes,
and he brought the gift of the resurrection
from the grave.

As we live through these ordinary days,
as we seek to be faithful followers of Jesus,
we speak about that mystery called faith:

Christ put on death, to set us free;
You clothed Christ in resurrection, so we might believe;
Christ will come, to clothe us in eternity. 

You turn to us, Holy God,
your arms full of the bread and cup,
your Spirit transforming these gifts
   into a holy feast.
The Table is made ready for your children
who will eat of your salvation
and go forth to remind
   the broken, the lost, the young, the old
   that they are of more value to you
   then the finest songbird.
We will drink of your grace
so we may turn to
   the hungry, the homeless, the fearful
   and embrace them in your love.

And when we gather with the faithful
of every time and of every place,
our sisters and brothers baptized in grace,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

As you leave this place, remember that you may be the only grace
someone will meet this week.
We go, to share God's graciousness with all.
Remember you may be the only love someone will encounter this week.
We go, to be the love of Jesus for all.
Remember you may be the only peace  someone will find this week.
We go, to share the Spirit of hope and reconciliation with all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 18. 2017 (Pentecost 2, Trinity 1, Proper 6, Ordinary 11 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 100; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35 – 10:23

Call to Worship
We come to worship our God,
who has done wonders in our lives.
God anoints us with joy and light,
gifts from the treasures of God’s heart.
We come to follow Jesus,
who bears our lives with grace and hope.
Jesus would send us into the brokenness
of the world to bring healing.
We come to be touched by the Spirit,
who brings gentleness and peace for all.
The Spirit would enable us to offer
reconciliation and justice to everyone we meet.  

Prayer of the Day
We would sing glad songs
to you, Commissioning God,
   as we enter your heart
   with thanksgiving on our lips,
for you are
   that love which never ends;
   that joy which overflows;
   that faith which is always full.

We would proclaim our praise
to you, Voice of compassion,
   as you would send us
   into the world in which we live,
for you are
   the Word we can speak to power;
   the healing we can offer to the broken;
   the justice which can replace oppression.
We would offer our hands and hearts
to you, Imaginative Spirit,
   as you teach us new steps
   in this dance we call life,
for you are
   the cleanser of our messy hearts,
   the breath of hope for shallow lungs,
   the password for access to grace.
With our hearts, voices, bodies, souls,
we offer joyful noise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as taught by you,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We hunt for those links which offer life, but they are all broken.  We keep searching for hope, only to be sent from one false site to another.  But God, freely and faithfully, offers us the access to grace we need, through Jesus Christ.  Let us join in offering our prayers to the One who is our hope, our life, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
   Of course, we will do everything you ask, Faithfulness of creation, even as we cross our souls behind our backs.  Yes, we could go where people are suffering, but we like the comfort of our homes.  Yes, we could be with others as they seek to endure life, but compassion is often hard to share.  Yes, we could offer hope to the hungry and homeless, but we barely have enough for ourselves.
   Forgive us, Steadfast Love, and have mercy on us.  Remind us that is was when we were most foolish, that you became fallible; it was when we were vile, that you became so vulnerable; when the world would not welcome us, that Jesus came – to listen to our emptiness, to comfort our grieving hearts, and to cast out death’s power over us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God as done it!  God has carried away our foolishness.  God has brought us out of despair and hope, and made us God’s precious treasure.
We give thanks to our God, whose love is fresh and new in every moment, whose faithfulness is forever.  Amen.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could be the healing for those who suffer;
we could be the strength for those who long to endure;
we could be the hope for those buffeted by the world, and so,
we offer ourselves, as well as our gifts,
in hopes that you will bless others who are in your heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of faithfulness be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open our hearts to God in this moment.
We offer our hearts to the One who does all things for us.
People of God, lift your voices in songs of praise.
We will make a joyful noise to the One who is our life.
Before time began, your faithfulness  
was ever present, God of Grace,
and your never-ending love
poured out beauty and goodness,
transforming chaos into
   full moons treading across the night,
   dinosaurs lumbering through valleys,
   bees pollinating flowers and making honey.
All this – the earth, the rivers, the wonders –
were for those you formed in your image,
   but when we could go anywhere,
   we chose the comforts of sin and death.
You called women and men as prophets,
sending them out with only your hopes in hand,
   but we turned away from them, offering contempt,
   not compassion, when we saw them.
So, you sent your precious Treasure
to become one of us that
we might become your holy people.
With all those who make a joyful noise,
and those who only rumble the notes,
we sing glad songs of praise to you:
Holy, holy, holy, are you, God of steadfast love.
Not only we, but all creation sings of your faithfulness.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes to everyone, everywhere.
Hosanna in the highest!
When the time was right, Heart of holiness,
you looked with compassion on us,
and sent your Child to be our hope and blessings.
He came, not with judgment on his lips,
   but proclaiming your grace;
he came, not to aggravate us,
   but to palliate our foolishness;
he came, not to knock us down,
   but to lift us when we stumble;
he came, not to watch us die,
   but to stand at the emptiness of death,
   pointing and proclaiming we have nothing to fear,
because of your steadfast love
which became our resurrection hope.
As we would seek to see others through his compassionate eyes,
as we would go to serve his people,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:
Christ suffered for us, so we might endure;
Christ died for us, showing us the character of grace;
Christ was raised for us, resurrection bringing us hope;
Christ will come for us, and we will not be disappointed.
At this time, ever faithful God,
pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup
and all your children gathered here.
May the bread of broken life
strengthen us so we may
   go wherever there is need,
   feed whoever is hungry,
   cleanse the world of fear and worry.
As we drink from the cup of grace,
may we be nourished
   to offer access to grace to everyone,
   to bring healing to the lonely,
   to mourn with those who grieve.
Then, beyond the end of time, gather us
with our sisters and brothers from all places
around your Feast of faithfulness,
as we sing of your steadfast love forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
God sends us out to bear witness to grace.
We will speak of all God has done.
Jesus sends us out into every neighborhood and community.
We will go to bear the burdens of everyone we meet.
The Spirit sends us out on a journey of faithfulness.
We will go to see everyone through the eyes of compassion.
© 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Liturgy with communion for June 11, 2017 (Trinity - A)

Texts:  Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

Call to Worship
God, whose imagination saw all
that is good, beautiful, and loving,
continues to see us as beloved
children in the divine family.
The Word which called forth
the stars in every universe,
speaks to us of giving ourselves
through the baptismal life.
The Spirit, which moved over creation,
breathing life into all things,
fills us with peace and patience,
with hope and healing to share.

Prayer of the Day
Like creation on that first morning,
may we tingle with anticipation
of your goodness and wonder
flowing into our lives,
God who shapes all things.
May we join all creation
in worshiping you,
who is as close as a heartbeat.

As God whispered into the silence,
you ran forth with creatures
of every size and shape at your side,
Word of wonder,
as river filled the valleys and ran to seas,
as flowers sprang forth in meadows,
as grace unfathomable sprang forth.
May we join all creation
in emulating you,
who is as close as our flesh
which you wore.

As God’s mind overflowed with dreams,
you brooded over the waters,
stirred the clouds with your wind,
breathed life into all that is,
Spirit of fanciful faith,
planting the seeds of peace.
May we join all creation
in dancing with you,
who is as close to us
as every breath we take.

May we join all creation
in worshiping, emulating, dancing
as we offer our prayer to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we have been taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know too well our foolishness, our brokenness, our human ways of doing things.  But God knows our hearts, our hopes, our desire to be made new.  As we offer our prayers of confession, let us open ourselves to God, who will forgive us and give us new life.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We have been created for goodness by you, Artist of all things, but we continue to be filled with bitterness.  Your Word would enable us to speak of joy to others, but we offer only judgment.  The Spirit which breathes hope into us could be shared with everyone we meet, but we are tempted to hold our breath until we turn blue, rather than giving peace to those around us.
   But you have said that everything created is good, even we foolish children of yours, God of wonder and grace.  With the Spirit as our sister, we know we can bring healing and hope to those who need it most.  With your Word, Jesus Christ, as our brother, we know we can tell others of your mercy and of our love for them in every moment.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
By God’s grace, our chaotic choices become creative grace for others; our foolishness can be transformed by God’s goodness; our lives can become new by the Spirit of our God.
The good news is as true as it was on creation’s first morning: Creator God is the redeeming Word who is the Breath of life for all people, even us.  Thanks be to God for forgiveness and grace in our lives.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Like the gifts of creation, we are but steward of all we possess.  And like the gifts of creation, they are not to be hoarded, but shared with the hungry, the lonely, the lost, the struggling.  As we offer our gifts, receive our thanks and praise in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
I pray God in Community be with you!
And also with you!
May the Holy Three who are One be in your hearts.
May we be filled with imagination, with words, with life itself.
Let us sing our praises to God who makes us one with all people.
We join all creation in singing glad songs to our God.

You poured your imagination into chaos,
stirring all your dreams and hopes and,
placing them on that palette called your heart,
began to paint on the blank canvas of creation,
   azure for clear morning skies,
   bright yellows for marigolds,
   deep green for grass in the meadows,
   red and orange tickling lazy sunsets.
Simply, faithfully, graciously, all
was offered to those created in your image,
   but we preferred the absence of color in sin,
   and would paint our lives in death’s greyness.
You sent prophets and artists,
singers and poets, to point up
back to your beauty and art,
   but we preferred the bleak mirages
   offered by temptation and foolishness.
Finally, you appealed to your Word
to bring us the good news
of your salvific heart.

With those who see and worship,
as well as those who doubt and despair,
we offer our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Majestic Name.
All creation joins in praising your goodness and wonder.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is with us to the end.
Hosanna in the highest!

Word of justice and love,
you pointed to the Holy One
in every word and deed, even
as God blessed your every step and breath.
A baby,
   you showed us God’s vulnerability;
a young child,
   you taught us to draw closer to God;
a storyteller,
   you reminded us of the One
   who would run to scoop us up
   in arms of love and welcome;
a lover,
   you enter into sin’s embrace,
   taking the kiss death intends for us,
   so that, as resurrection’s hope,

      you offer us life with you forever.

As we struggle to understand such a gift,
as we seek to live such faithfulness,
we live in that mystery called faith:

Christ died, your Word silenced by the world;
Christ was raised, your Word singing of resurrection joy;
Christ will come, the Word which will call us home to you.

Like a storm, you blew over creation’s oceans;
with a gust, you blow open our shuttered souls;
with a light breath, you give us life, so now,
Breath of God, Spirit of all that exists,
touch the simple gifts of the bread and the cup
with the sacredness of your peace,
and stir us all from our fear and apathy.
The bread which is broken is filled with your strength,
   so that we can go and offer freedom to the prisoner,
   so that we can breathe hope into our dying neighborhoods,
   so that we can be peace for an angry world.
The cup is never drained of your grace,
   so that we may silence all hatred,
   so that we might put evil in the past,
   so that we might renew your fragile creation.

And when we are gathered in that place
to which you will direct us at the end of time,
we will join with our sisters and brothers
in forever praising your glory, your love,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Created and called to be faithful stewards,
we are sent forth by our God.
We will take all that is good to places of brokenness,
all that is beautiful to those who live in despair.
Called and commissioned to be faithful disciples,
we are sent forth by Jesus, Word of hope.
We follow Jesus to every place he would lead us,
to every person who will bless us.
Called and filled with the very breath of peace,
we are sent forth by the Spirit, God’s grace.
We will join the Spirit in bring life where there is fear,
in offering love where hate seeks to take hold.
And now,
may the peace of creation’s Imagination,
the peace of grace’s Word,
the peace of hope’s Spirit,
and the deep, deep peace
of God in Community, Holy in One,
be with you this day and for always.  Amen.

© 2017 Thom M. Shuman