Saturday, September 30, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for October 8, 2017 (Pentecost 18/Trinity 17/Proper22/Ordinary 27 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

Call to Worship
From north and south,
from east and west, we come:
God's people called to the Table
where simple grace nourishes us.
From down the street to across town,
from single households to apartment dwellers:
God's people are called to community,
where we live and serve one another.
From every class, every race, every status;
from little ones with sippy cups to elders with overflowing hearts:
God's people are called to witness to God's hope,
to offer peace to a shattered world.

Prayer of the Day           
Seeing your children
in bondage and despair,
     you brought them to freedom
     by your compassion and hope.
Longing to create a people
who would care for one another,
     you spoke simple truths
     about integrity and justice.
Fill our worship
with sighs more precious than
all we value, Word Speaker.

You came,
not to build a grand scheme,
     but to be our foundation of faith.
You came,
not to choose sides like we do,
     but to be that peace
     which brings us together.
You came,
not worrying about what
lay ahead for you,
     so we could see
     your kingdom prepared for us.
Fill our worship
with your grace more precious
than our deepest fears, Word Bearer.

When we cling
to all which holds us back,
     you empty our arms,
     putting our past in a rummage sale.
When we hesitate
to stand with the lost,
     you nudge us forward
     with the wind of justice.
Fill our worship
with your peace more precious
than the brokenness we grasp, Word of Wisdom
God in Community, Holy in One,
hear the words of our hearts
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
 (The Lord's Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
We are good at rules: making them and then breaking them. Paul reminds us that, when we gain Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive exactly what we need - forgiveness, grace, hope. Let us confess our sins to God, that we might know God's healing love for us!

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   If we were to name all the gods we have before you, Rock of Redemption, we would be here a very long time. We elevate politicians into saviors, though they are as broken as we are. We misuse your name so much during the day, we have trouble speaking to you in prayer at night. We are so busy, we do not notice how creation witnesses to your goodness and grace.
   Forgive us, God our Hope. Help us to let go of what we value most, so we may open our emptiness, our hearts, our lives to the healing and loving presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
Persistently, patiently, lovingly, God pours out grace and joy into our lives, healing our brokenness, forgiving our sin.
Loved, we are sent to love;
forgiven, we are freed to forgive;
graced, we can offer our gifts to everyone we meet.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We can hoard the gifts with which you bless us, God of generosity, or we can share them with others.  May what we offer in these moments be the very blessing, the very hope, the very peace others need.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the composer of heaven's music be with you!
And also with you!
Beloved, God has created you for faithful living.
We lift our hearts to the One who calls us to be Christ's Body.
People of God, sing to the One who cleanses us of our fears.
We will dance with joy to the Table of peace and hope.
Chaos trembled as you spoke,
not wanting to hear

your goodness breaking it apart,
Rock and Redeemer of all.
     Creation sang oratorios for you,
     while earth drummed out the rhythm.
Each day testified 'God is good';
     each night whispered 'Glory!'
All that was beautiful and true was created for us,
but wanting to know sin and death,
     we exchanged the best you gave to us,
     for the garbage they offered.
Using words and wonder,
silence and speech,
prophets came to call us back
into your covenantal love,
     but we continued to yearn
     for what we could not have.
Finally, you sent your Son,
in love, in hope, in peace,
that we would accept him
and the gift of new life.
So, with those who trembled at
the foot of your holy mountain,
and with those who press on to follow you,
we join our voices in praise to you:
Your Word opens our eyes to all creation;
your Word is the sweet taste of joy for hungry hearts;
your Word endures through every trial and triumph.
Blessed is your Word who comes in your name.

Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, God of all creation,

and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Yearning for us to know you,
     he came to be your face
     of love and compassion for all.
Hungering for reconciliation
between you and your children,
     he became the broken Bread of Life.
Aching for our release
from the agony of sin and death,
     he suffered on the cross,
     so we might be made well.
As we remember his goodness and gentleness,
As we celebrate his life in us,
we would speak of that mystery we call faith:
Setting aside all he valued,
     Christ became our treasure;
setting aside his own life,
     Christ rescued us from sin;
setting aside our doubts and fears,
     we yearn for Christ's return in glory.
Here at your Table,
Redeemer of all creation,

pour out your Spirit
on the gifts of the bread and the cup,
and on our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Your Spirit gives us life,
     so we may go and serve others.
Your Spirit heals our brokenness,
     so we may bring healing to all.
Your Spirit graces us with peace,
     so we may be peacemakers
         for our communities.
And when we stand around your Table,
all hurtful words silenced,
all pain left behind,
with hope and grace our closest friends,
we will join our hearts and voices
with our sisters and brothers
who forever sing of your glory,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.
You are a blessed people.
We will go to be a blessing in the world.
You are the face of Jesus.
We will go to be love and compassion to all.
You are the family of God.
We will go to serve our sisters and brothers
wherever we may find them.
© Thom M. Shuman















Sunday, September 24, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for October 1, 2017 (Pentecost 17/Trinity 16/Proper 21/Ordinary 26 - A)

Texts:  Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Psalm 25:1-9; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32

Call to Worship
We come, so God can teach us
goodness and love for each person
We will complete God's love
by having the same compassion as God.
We come, so Jesus can lead us
into lives of service and obedience.
We will complete Jesus' hopes
by putting others before ourselves.
We come, so the Spirit can help us
to empty ourselves for God and those around us.
We will complete the Spirit's peace
by sharing our lives with others.

Prayer of the Day
Because all lives are yours,
Mercy Rememberer,
grace is offered
   in softened hearts
   and children wandering corn mazes;
hope is heard
   from grandparents' stories
   and parables lived out by neighbors;
wonder is found
   in scientific minds
   and builders of sandcastles.

Because all justice is yours,
Self Emptier,
transform our minds
  so we can challenge hatred;
temper our stubbornness
   and transfigure us for service;
reshape our selfish desires
   into gifts for all who have nothing.

Because all hope is yours,
Sharing Spirit,
stretch our shriveled hearts
   with compassion that does not break;
tickle our serious natures
   with lap-climbing kids who tell silly jokes;
humble our arrogance
   with the willingness to stand
   in the muck cleaning flooded homes.

Because all is yours, even us,
God in Community, Holy in One,
we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
What do you think?  Someone is always saying, 'sorry,' while doing the same foolish thing over and over.  Another never thinks they are wrong, but then God's grace transforms them and they do the completely unexpected.  Which is faithful to God's hopes for them?  Let us reflect for a few moments in silence, and then pray together the words for forgiveness.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We could do what you hope, God of our salvation, but we get so distracted, we don't.  We continue to fill ourselves with temptation's empty calories, and wonder why we are still hungry.  We put ourselves first, and so never notice those behind us who struggle in life.
   Forgive us, Mercy of our lives.  May we complete your love by caring deeply for those who make life so difficult for us.  May we complete your hope, by reaching out to those in need.  May we complete your grace, by emptying ourselves for all around us, just as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, did for us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Plant this good news deep in your thoughts: God loves you; God forgives you; God strengthens you for service.
May God's compassion make us more passionate to serve;
may God's forgiveness make us more merciful;
may God's love make us more loving to everyone.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As we share from our abundance, Loving God, may we empty ourselves of our desires for more, but seek to share grace, love, hope, and wonder with everyone we meet.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of truth be with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer our hearts to God.
We empty them of all our desires
so God might fill them with humility.
We will join in praising our God in these moments.
One mind, one heart, one love,
we will offer thanksgivings to our God.

If there is any beauty
around us, God of glory,
it is because of the creation
you crafted out of nothingness:
   sea horses and coral reefs,
   tree-lined mountain slopes,
   fields ripe with wild berries,
   falling stars streaking night skies.
All was imagined for those in human form,
named by your as your children,
   but we refused to humble ourselves,
   crossing over to be at death's side.
Women and men came again and again
to help us remember your mercy,
   but we questioned their authority
   and refused to believe them.
But you chose to remember us,
sending Jesus, whose only interest
was in being obedient to you.

We join little children and wise elders,
folks who are humble and those who serve,
in proclaiming your great goodness;

Holy, holy, holy are you, God our Teacher.
All creation is completed by your love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who models obedience for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

If then there is any holiness,
it is found in you, God of truth,
and in your Child, who chose
to become the same as us.
If then there is any hope,
   it is found in Jesus,
   who came to serve
      the arrogant with humility,
      the fearful with faith,
      the oppressed with justice.
If then there is any grace,
   it is in Jesus dying on the cross
   emptying death of its dread power,
      and filling our empty hearts
      with your resurrection love.

As we seek to have the same mind and heart,
as we seek to be obedient and humble,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

On the cross, Christ emptied himself of life
      that we might know your grace;
on that third day, Christ was raised by resurrection grace,
      that we might know your love;
on that promise given to us, Christ will come,
      that we might be made complete by your hope.

If then there is any sharing,
God for whom we wait,
it is here in these moments
and with these sisters and brothers
where your Spirit is poured out on us.
Here, the brokenness of your heart
strengthens our faltering service
   so we may bend down
   to lift all who have been knocked don
   by injustice and fears.
Here, the cup of humility
nourishes our hearts and souls
   so we may remember those
   whose names have been forgotten
   by the arrogant and uncaring.

And when there is only your time,
when we are gathered with our
sisters and brothers around your Table,
we will join in singing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Let us have the same mind as God.
We will see each person as God's child.
Let us have the same justice as Jesus.
We will stand with each person who struggles.
Let us have the same hope as the Spirit.
We will put others before us in all we do.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Liturgy w/communion for October 1, 2017 (Pentecost 17/Trinity 16/Proper 21/Ordinary 26 - A)

Texts:  Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32

Call to Worship
Becoming a baby,
Christ transformed all of us into his sisters and brothers.
Telling us stories we had forgotten,
God helps us to walk the paths of discipleship.
Becoming foolish in the world's eyes,

the Spirit teaches us all we need to find our way into the kingdom.

Prayer of the Day

When we think your job
is to listen to our petty quarrels,
you lean over,
put your finger to our lips,
     'let me tell you a story.'
Rock Splitter,
we worship you.

When we want to ask you
all sorts of questions,
and demand to see
your background check,
you put your arms around us,
     gently saying,
     'i want you to meet
     some friends of mine.'
Self Emptier:
we follow you.

When we are burned out
by our chronic anger,
when our throats are parched
by our litany of laments,
you take us by the hand,
     'let's go get a cold drink
     down at Rock's cafe.'
Sharing Spirit,
we adore you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you are God, to whom we pray,

as Jesus teaches,(The Lord's Prayer)

 Call to Reconciliation

All too often, we tell God we will do better, and be better, and then just go on living the same way we always have. Let this be the moment when we tell our God of our failures and faithlessness, so we can go forth to work in that kingdom of grace and hope. Join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We would want to be fountains of hope for others, God of glory, but people find only hardened hearts. We would like to be transformed people, but our stubborn pride prevents us from bending a knee to you. We long to stand with those who are in need, but our selfishness keeps our backs rigid with judgment.
     Forgive us, God who came down to us.  Humble us, that we might be true servants to the broken and lost. Split open our
frozen hearts, that compassion might flow freely to those who are hurting.  Fill our minds with the presence of your Spirit, that we might learn how to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, into
that kingdom of grace and hope.

Silence is kept

 Assurance of Pardon

This is the good news: in Christ, God's plan for salvation was accomplished.  You are forgiven, you are made new.
We will complete God's joy, by sharing compassion, forgiveness, hope, with everyone we meet. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May the simple gifts we offer this day become a fountain of blessings for others, bringing them hope, healing, joy, and peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who comes in humility be with you!

And also with you!
Beloved, lift your hardened hearts to God.
We offer them to the One who will split them open
so grace can flow into the world.

Children of God, sing to the One who turned the world upside down.

We open our mouths, praising God who shows us the way.

Streams of water flowed forth
when you split open chaos,
God of Wonder.
     Rivers divided to create valleys and hills,
     the sun became the beacon for each day,
     the moon and stars our night lights.
You breathed your children to life,
and longed to hold us in your lap,
     telling us stories of your goodness.
But while we told you
we would always do your will,
     we went running off to join
     with sin and death
     in their quarrels with you.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of all
we had known and heard,

     but we mocked them,
     not letting them sway us.
Then you sent Jesus
to be the One
to work out our salvation.

So, with those who sing your praise,
and those who complain bitterly,
with those who wandered in the wilderness,
and those who stand in places of worship,
we lift our voices in wonder to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Transforming God.
All creation flows toward your heart.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who stands with those who have nothing.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of Imagination,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
He put on humility's garb,
     so we might be clothed
     in the garments of grace;
he lowered himself
to walk the world with us,
     so we might be lifted
     from the depths of sin;
he suffered the death
of a common criminal,
     so we might receive
     the extraordinary gift of life
          forever with you.

As we remember his willingness to give up glory,
as we celebrate his resurrection giving us hope,
we tell of that mystery we call faith:

Christ emptied himself on the cross,
   that we might be filled with life;
Christ was called forth from the tomb,
   that we might confess him the Risen One;
Christ will come again, calling us by name,
   that God's joy be made complete.

Pour out your Spirit,
Nourishing God,
upon this Table of joy
and those who gather around it.
As you transform the simple gifts

of the bread and the cup
into grace beyond all imagining,
     may we be changed
     into fellow servants
     with Jesus Christ our Brother,
people willing to offer ourselves
in service and humility
     to those who have been
     defeated by the world.

And when all time has ended,
and we are at home with you forever,
we will gather around the Lamb's Table,
joining our hands, hearts, and voices
in never-ending praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Go forth to share God's love with all.
We will become a river of love through the world.
Go forth to share Christ's grace.
We will be a fountain flowing in the barren places.

Go forth to share the community of the Spirit.
We will become a pool of peace where all may be refreshed.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for September 24, 2017 (Pentecost 16/Trinity 15/Proper 20/Ordinary 25 - A)

Texts:  Jonah 3:10 - 4:11; Psalm 145:1-8; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Call to Worship
We come to praise our God,
whose steadfast love is always with us.
God does not stand by idly,
but fills us with grace to share.
We are here to praise Jesus,
who chooses to be gracious with all.
Jesus does not stand by idly,
but brings justice to all treated unfairly.
We will praise the Spirit in these moments,
who is always at our side.
The Spirit is with us now and always,
so we may live as faithful people.

Prayer of the Day
All generations praise you,
Mind Changer, for every day
   your unbounded love surrounds us,
   your grace is shared abundantly,
   your unsearchable nature is revealed
      through all of creation.

All generations praise you,
Justice Singer, for in every place,
you show us the kingdom
   standing by the side of the oppressed,
   showing your concern for the last,
   always with us wherever we are.

All generations praise you,
Peace Giver, for in every time,
you do not stand idle, but
   share our struggles to be faithful,
   heal all who have been wronged,
   declare God's hopes for us.

All generations praise you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We think we know how God will react if we confess our lives - a rap on the knuckles, sending us to our rooms without dessert, or even an eternal time-out.  But instead, we receive forgiveness, constant love, gracious justice.  Let us lift our prayers to the One who always surprises us, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It is true that we grumble too much, Patient God.  We are easily stampeded by the promises of those around us, only to wonder how we end up where we find ourselves.  We see so much of everything on our devices, and become convinced we deserve more.  Though we know others have the same struggles, we have trouble standing by their side.
   Forgive us, Unpredictable God, as you continue to shower us with your steadfast love.  You as so slow to get mad, yet rush to share your grace with us.  May we continue to seek to live in the way of justice, hope, and peace shown to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Unlike us, God chooses not anger, but mercy; not punishment, but peace; not just what we earn, but more grace than we can begin to imagine.
Now we know what the kingdom of heaven is like - steadfast love, joy and laughter, the life for which we have yearned.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May we offer our gifts, not with grumbling under our breath about what you might do with them, but with thanks that you will use them to bring healing, hope, grace, and peace to all whose lives are empty of such needs.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the unpredictable God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us open our hearts to God.
We will welcome the constant love of our God.
Let us not stand idly by, but rejoice in the grace of God.
We will sing glad songs of praise forever.

When you saw chaos standing idle,
you chose to give us creation,
Imaginative God:
   squirrels chittering in trees,
   luminous rings around planets,
   glaciers carving out lochs and fjords,
   towering trees shading toadstools.
You did all this to show those created in your image
what the kingdom of heaven is like,
   but we thought we should receive more,
   so went to work in temptation's junkyards.
Prophets, both reluctant and willing,
came so we might know how gracious you are,
   yet we chose to stand side by side
   with death, grumbling every moment.
Given the chance to respond in anger,
you did not do it, but sent
your steadfast love to us in Jesus.

So with those eager to serve you,
and those pouting because of your generosity,
we bless you forever and ever:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who cannot be predicted.
All creation sings of your justice and grace.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

When you saw us standing idly by the world's side,
in your holiness, you chose to give us your heart,
Jesus, who shows us what the kingdom  of heaven is like.
When we would hoard all we have,
   he shows us how to share abundantly.
When we would mumble about life,
   he calls us to serve all
   oppressed by fear and hate.
When we would whisper behind the backs of others,
   he turns us to face them
   so we can see you staring back at us.
When we would mutter
of how little you have done for us,
   he went into death's foul depths,
   so we might receive resurrection
   from our unpredictable God.

As we reflect on Jesus' works and words,
as we would live according to his way,
we proclaim that mystery revealed in faith:

Living, Christ showed us how to live;
dying, Christ showed us how to trust;
raised, Christ revealed resurrection hope for all;
now and always, Christ is with us.

We would not be idle by-standers
but come eagerly to the Table
which you have prepared for us.
Here, the Spirit is poured out
on the bread and the cup
and those gathered for this feast.
Here, the bread which is broken
strengthens us so
   we may proclaim your grace
   to those forgotten by others.
Here, the cup which overflows with grace
enables us
   to give honor and hope to all
   pushed to the back of the line.

And when the evening of all time comes,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
at your Table of eternal joy,
each receiving the same as everyone else -
the grace, the love, the peace of
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now go to be with those forgotten by the world.
We will share God's constant love with everyone.
Now go to be generous with those around you
as well as those far away.
We will share Jesus' justice and hope
with all who need it.
Now go to live as faithful people.
We will join the Spirit in standing side by side
with those who are lonely and afraid.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman