Saturday, January 27, 2018

Liturgy w/communion for February 4, 2018 (5th Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary 5 - B)

Texts: Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

Call to Worship
We gather to worship God,
whose creative imagination never fails:
For the sake of God, we will search for the outcasts.
We gather to praise our God,
whose steadfast love never weakens:
For the sake of Jesus, we will lift up all who have fallen.
We gather to offer our best to God,
who walks with us through eternity:
For the sake of the Holy Spirit, we will walk with the weary.

Prayer of the Day
You lift up those
we step over
in our race to success;
you soak our aching feet
in the waters of life;
you massage hearts
bruised by others.
We praise you,
Rebuilder of crumbling souls

You pick those not chosen
on the playgrounds of life;
you cover open sores
with your grace;
you wander our streets,
inviting those
who huddle in doorways
to feast at your Table.
We follow you,
Bread of Heaven.

You gather those
who are cast aside
by a throwaway society,
and call them by name;
you melt hearts hardened by cynicism
with the warmth of your hope;
you energize us
so we can sprint into the kingdom.
We welcome you,
Delightful Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we come to you as your people,
praying as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We walk through life, confident, strong, boasting of all our achievements.  But God sees the hurts we have inflicted on others, the weariness in our bones from chasing after bad choices, and all the foolishness we trip over in the busyness of life.  Let us come to God, for the One who listens to our faltering words is the One who gives us the Word filled with grace and mercy.  Join me as we pray together, saying, 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We cannot hide from you, Everlasting God, even if we were to go from one edge of creation to the next.  you speak to us of compassion, but the ways in which we treat others show we have not been listening.  You explain your hopes to us, and we act as if we don't have a clue as to what is going on.  We run as fast, and as far, from you as we can, and wonder why we have no energy to follow Jesus.
     Yet you search for us in all the deserted places we flee to, Never-wearied God, so you can take us by the hand to show us the way to life with you.  You heal our broken hearts so we can offer them to others.  You fill us with your strength so we can bind ourselves to Jesus, our Savior, following him to serve all of your children.

Silence is kept 
Assurance of Pardon
Have you not been listening.  God never tires out, nor is there is an expiration date on God's forgiveness.  God is ever with us, healing us with mercy, and strengthening us for service.
If God numbers the stars, surely our names are known by the One who loves us and offers us grace.  This is indeed good news for all!  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You lift us to our feet so we can walk with you, Loving God, and you fill us with your gifts so we may pour them out for those around us.  Take what we offer and use them in that kingdom work which strengthens the weary, feeds the hungry, and gives hope to the despairing.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
May God be also with you.
People of God, open your hearts.
We open our hearts to God and to each other.
Let us give thanks to the Living God.
With joy and praise, we offer our thanks to the One who offers abundant life.

In the morning, Awakening God,
you took creation and flung it
to the far corners of chaos,
   naming the stars twinkling in the night,
   shaping deserted places for prayers,
   feeding all the creatures in the fields.
You longed to walk with those
created in your image, so we would not weary,
   but we listened to the boasting of death,
   as it proclaimed sin's opportunities.
You sent the prophets, who cried out,
'haven't you been listening; don't you
realize what God is trying to do for you?'
   but we continued to delight
   in all which opposed you.
So, having created all things,
you became the one thing we needed,
our Savior.

With those so weary that cannot take another step,
with those revived by your grace and hope,
we lift our praises to you now and forever:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of all knowledge.
All creation sings glad praises to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who came for our sake.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Star Namer,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
He became weak,
   so the power of the world
   would be shattered;
he became poor,
   so we might be filled
   with the riches of your grace;
he went to that deserted place
we call the grave,
   so death might be
   knocked off its pedestal,
as you breathed new life
into his knackered spirit.

As we search for him in our time,
as we would proclaim the gospel,
may we find that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, not boasting in himself;
Christ was raised, the gospel lived out in him;
Christ will come to take us by the hand, giving us strength.

Here is that Bread, which though broken,
   can strengthen the powerless;
here is that Cup, which though emptied,
   can fill the weary with hope.
Pour out your Spirit not only on these gifts,
but upon your children gathered around the Table.
We come, bone-tired,
   so make us bone of your bone,
   and flesh of your flesh.
We can barely take another step,
   so empower us to walk
   beside the lonely and the homeless.
We are so fatigued by our despair,
feed us with your hope and joy,
   so we may proclaim your kingdom
   to everyone we meet.

And when the day comes
to gather with all your children
around the Feast of the Lamb,
we will join hands
and dance around the Table,
singing your praise forever and ever:
God our Creator,
Christ our Servant,
Spirit of Newness,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

God sends us forth into the world,
so we will go to walk miles in the shoes of others.
Jesus calls us to serve everyone we meet,
so we will become all things to all people.
The Holy Spirit encourages us to let go of our gospel-given rights,
so we may breathe new life into the faint.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Liturgy w/communion for January 28, 2018 (4th Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary 4 - B)

Texts: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

Call to Worship
We gather in this sacred space,
to offer our thanks to God with all our hearts.
We gather with this community of faith,
to follow Jesus, who longs to lead us into life.
We gather in these moments,
to learn all we can of grace from the Holy Spirit.

Prayer of the Day
You pull on your work boots,
   crafted from love;
you hang justice and peace
   on your tool belt;
you take on rebuilding neighborhoods
   when we would walk away.
What have you to do with us, Holy God?
You model compassion for us.

You take us by the hand
   to lift us to our feet;
you show us the path
   which leads to humility;
you leave a trail of grace crumbs
   so that we might follow.
What have you to do with us, Brother of the poor?
You call us to serve by your side.
You plant words of peace
   deep into our hearts;
you raise up little children
   to whisper hope to us;
you stand by the side
   of all who look for life.
What have you to do with us, Spirit of grace?
You teach us how to build up others with love.
What have you to do with us,
God in Community, Holy in One?
Everything it turns out, everything,
as we lift our prayer to you,
(The Lord’s Prayer)
Call to Reconciliation
Though we think we know it all, our lives reflect how little we respect others, how often our words and actions damage those around us.  Let us come to our God, with our prayers as ell as our hearts, so we may be healed with forgiveness.
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We come on this holy day, God our God, to speak of how we live.  Politicians, celebrities, talk show folks have become our so-called gods.  Our choices often cause those around us to trip over our anger and slip on our pride.  The words we speak to others show how we really want nothing to do with you.
   Forgive us, Holy God, and have mercy on us.  May we silence our fears, so words of hope may be spoken.  May we give thanks not only with our hearts but with the grace we can share with others.  May justice and peace be the tools we use as we serve beside Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
We know who God is – the One who comes to love us, to forgive us, and to save us.
Thanks be to God.  We will spread this good news, and share this grace and hope, with everyone we meet.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Gather our gifts, our hearts, our very lives, Loving God, and use them in your work of reconciliation, grace, and hope for all your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God be with you.
And also with you.
In this gathering of God’s people, lift up your hearts.
We offer them to our God who fills us with hope.
In this sacred space of joy, sing glad songs.
We join in giving thanks to our God.
You are indeed to be praised, O God,
for you poured your Spirit into chaos,
and with your Word raised up
   towering peaks kissing the sky,
   snowflakes blanketing the meadows,
   little birds flitting from bush to bus.
All was formed and offered to us,
your children shaped in your image,
   but we listened to sin and death,
   imposters calling themselves gods.
Because you knew us,
you continued to send prophets to us,
to call us back to you,
   but we said, ‘what do you have
   to do with us?’ ignoring their words.
So, you sent your Child to us,
so that we might know who you are.
With the upright and faithful,
with those who stumble along the way,
we will give wholehearted thanks:
Holy, holy, holy, are you, Awesome God.
All creation delights in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who teaches us with grace.
Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy indeed, Majestic God,
and you astounded us by sending Jesus,
your very Self, to be with us.
By his humility,
   he teaches us
   to serve others;
by his weakness,
   he models the strength
   to challenge injustice;
by his silence,
   he helps us to listen
   to hearts, not just words;
by his death,
   he shows us how
   to trust in resurrection hope.
As we come to the Table,
we proclaim the mystery
that Jesus came, not to destroy us,
but to save us:
Raised up on the cross, he died as he lived,
   trusting in you;
raised from death he points us
   to your resurrection love;
raising us from our fears, he promises
   to have everything to do with us.
As you pour out your Spirit
on those gathered in this place,
you provide the bread and the cup
from the simple gifts of creation,
blessing them with your love.
As we eat of the broken bread,
may it bring us closer to all
we are called to serve:
   the hungry, the hurting,
   the cold, the oppressed.
As we drink from the cup,
may its grace raise us up
to go out and become
   carers of the forgotten,
   workers of justice,
   builders of shelters.
And when we gather in the company
of our sisters and brothers of every
time and place around your table,
we will give thanks with our whole hearts,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.  
Now, let us go from this sacred space,
to be with the homeless on the streets,
with the lonely in the hospitals.
Now, let us leave this family of God,
to care for those who have been forgotten,
to lift those shoved aside by the world.
Now, let us set aside this holy time,
to go into the moments of hunger for little children,
to be with those whose days seem to have no end.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 12, 2018

Liturgy w/communion for January 21, 2018 (3rd Sunday after Epiphany/Ordinary 3 - B)

Texts: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

Call to Worship
The Word of the Lord came,
hope for all people cradled in his arms.
the Word of the Lord comes,
calling us out of our comfort zones,
to go where grace is needed most.

The Word of the Lord will come,
gathering all the outsiders and insiders
into one community of the kingdom.

Prayer of the Day

When we try to ward off
your call to proclaim
the kingdom's good news
to those we would never
welcome into our tight circle,
you remind us that we can never
set boundaries on how far
your mercy, your love, your hope
will extend, God of persistence.

Looking at your watch,
you announce, 'it is time,'
opening your arms to welcome
all the outlanders we build fences
to keep out of our lives,
opening your heart to draw
all the odd ones out
into the safe shelter
of your heart, Calling Jesus.

Each morning,
you break your fast
with those for whom
we have no place at our tables;
each day,
you set out
to meet those who stand
at the edge of our narrow-mindedness,
to show them the path home;
each evening,
you take our foolish fears
and gently blow them away
from our hearts, Companion of Grace.

We wait and trust in you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Now is the appointed time.  Pour out your hearts to God, bringing those harmful words you spoke, the chances to help you turned your backs on, and the foolish choices of your lives.  Offer them to the One who longs to hear us, trusting that God will forgive us.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Our comfortable lives convince us we do not need to follow Jesus, Steadfast God.  Our work provides for our wants, so we have no need for your grace.  Our friends are found through social media, so we do not need your community.  Our fear of the beliefs and cultures of others makes us sure that we do not need to share your grace with them.
   Forgive us for dragging our feet as Jesus' disciples, Compassionate God.  May we get up from our comfort zones and step out in faith.  May we go to all the uncomfortable places to bring hope.  May we proclaim with our lips, but especially with our lives, that the kingdom of love is near, brought by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Now, after we confess, we hear the good news proclaimed: God hears our words, God sees our changed hearts, God's steadfast love is poured out upon us! 
We will trust in God, in whom our salvation rests.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory

May these gifts we offer show we recognize your claim upon us, Holy God.  Use them so your grace, your love, and your hope may be shared with everyone who needs them.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the outsiders be with you.
And also with you.
Open your hearts to God, dear friends.
We pour them out to the One who redeems us.
Sing songs of gladness to our God.
We join in the chorus of all who believe. 

Into the swirling mist
of chaos and destruction,
you tossed the seeds of creation,
Persistent God:
   whales that power through the seas,
   puffins that gather on rocky islands,
   gases which coalesce into stars.
All your wonders were gifts for your children,
   but we chose to stew in sin's acid.
You longed to rescue us from death's belly,
sending even the most reluctant prophets
to proclaim the nearness of your compassion,
   but we refused to change our minds,
   sure we could bribe our way out of sin's grasp.
Persistent to a fault,
you sent Jesus to proclaim your good news.

With the intimates who prove to be unfaithful,
with the interlopers who trust and believe,
we sing songs of joy to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of steadfast love.
All creation waits in trust for you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who brings the kingdom near.
Hosanna in the highest!

Leaving that safe place which
is your holiness, Gracious God,
Jesus came at the time appointed by you.
He set aside all he possessed,
   so we might have the riches
   of your merciful heart.
He refused to let our fears
prevail against his life of grace,
   continuing to draw us
   near to your kingdom.
He went a little farther
than we dared imagine,
   walking for three days
   in death's cool shadows,
before coming forth into
the bright joy of the resurrection.

As we would faithfully follow Jesus,
going a little farther with him each day,
we proclaim that kingdom called faith:

Christ died, claiming the promises of hope;
 You raised Christ, claiming him from death;
 Christ will return, claiming us for you. 

Now is our time fulfilled, Blessing God,
as we gather at this Table,
the bread and the cup made sacred
by the presence of your Spirit.
We eat of the bread,
praying that its grace might strengthen us
so we would become as persistent as you
   in confronting injustices,
   challenging oppressive actions,
   reaching out to lift the fallen.
We drink from the cup,
trusting that its hope will spill
out from us upon
   the lonely and he lost,
   the hungry and the homeless,
   and especially on the outsiders.

Then, when the appointed time comes
and you gather us with our sisters and brothers
around the Supper of the Lamb in glory,
we will sing our praises to you forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now, take the word of God into the world.
we will place hope in the arms of others.
Now, take the word of Jesus into the world.
We will follow to serve beside him in all the broken places.
Now, take the word of the Spirit into the world.
We will bring others near to the kingdom where all are welcome.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Second Sunday after the Epiphany/Ordinary 2 - B (January 12, 2018)

Texts:  1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

Call to Worship
In the silence of a lonely night,
in the songs children sing in the morning,
God calls to us.
We are here, God who is always with us,
listening for your words of life and love.
When we would decide to go it alone,
when we think no good can be found anywhere,
Jesus calls to us.
We are here, Friend who knows our longings,
ready to come and see where you would lead us.
When we think we have license to do whatever we want,
when we are convinced we need no map,
the Spirit calls to us.
We are here, Peace we are longing for,
so that we might help others find the way to life.

Prayer of the Day
When the good news
is hard to find, Knowing God,
you swaddle us
in your comforting hope,
   so that we may decide
   to go wherever
   you call us to serve.
When the good news
is seen as fake,
Brother of our journey,
you call us to speak
of the truth that God
   offers grace to
   a world which has decided
   to believe in lies.
When the good news
seems out of fashion,
Spirit of wisdom,
you weave kindness
into a shawl for the lonely,
   you knit comfort
   for all who grieve.
When your good news seems so rare,
may we decide to share it more and more,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)   
Call to Reconciliation
We are foolish enough to think you do not know our hearts, hear our words, see the mistakes we make, and the pain we cause.  But because you are not only holy and know, you are gracious and forgive.  Hear us now, as we offer our lives and hearts to you, praying together,
Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Because we are so focused on ourselves, God of every life, it is hard to see the lives which others endure.  When we are so worried about how the economy will affect us, we do not notice those in need around us.  As we grumble about our aches and pains, and about how difficult it is to get out of the bed each day, we easily ignore the broken.
   Forgive us, God of goodness and grace.  Speak to us of healing, so we might bring help to others.  Speak to us of grace, so hearing, we may share it with everyone we meet.  Speak to us of love and life, so we may offer it as freely as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, brought it to us.

Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
Come and see!  God grace is poured out on everyone, God’s hope is freely shared in every moment, forgiveness is the gift which mends our foolish lives.
Thanks be to God.  We are surrounded by God’s love and mercy, now and to the very end!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We are hesitant to offer our gifts in this moment, Loving God, because in the back of our minds we wonder if any good will come of helping the poor, feeding the hungry, reaching out to the stranger.  But by your grace, not only goodness, but hope and healing will pour out of what we give in these moments.  Bless our gifts, we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of our moments be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, let us offer our hearts to the One
   who is with us in this place and time.
We lift them to the One who fills us with grace.
Children of hope, join in singing praises to God.
With hearts and voices, we lift glad thanksgivings.

When chaos refused to listen,
you called creation out of emptiness,
God from beginning to end,
   rabbits burrowed under snowy meadows,
   porpoises gliding through warm oceans,
   eagles soaring in empty skies.
These, and all your gifts, were offered
to those created in your image
so that we could be with you in every moment,
   but we decided to do what pleased
   sin and death more than you.
Prophets came, calling to us, hoping
to help us see you searching,
   but we thought no good
   could come from their words.
Then, you sent your heart to us,
so that your good news would
not remain hidden from us.
With little children filled with questions,
with those worn by years of wonder and service,
we offer our thanksgivings to you:
Holy, holy, holy, are you, God of our every moment.
We join all creation in praising you.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who heard you calling
Hosanna in the highest!

We cannot begin to comprehend
your holiness, God who searches,
so you revealed it in the One
who chose to become flesh and blood.
Deciding to go to us
when we were avoiding you,
   Jesus found us to put us
   back on the path to you.
Deciding to go into the silence
which surrounded our stubborn pride,
   Jesus calls us to follow him
   with his voice of welcome.
Deciding to challenge the power of sin
by dying on a barren hill,
   Jesus helps us to see
   your resurrection love
   as he was brought out
   of the grave’s cold grip.
As we wonder if any good can come from following him,
as we listen for your word in these moments,
we speak of that mystery we call faith:
Trusting you were with him at the end,
   Jesus died;
loving him from the beginning,
   you raised Jesus to new life;
knowing our hopes and fears,
   Jesus will come with resurrection hope.
Before we gather, you are at the Table,
pouring out your Spirit on the gifts
prepared for your people.
In the breaking of the bread,
may we hear the
      cries of hungry children,
      the groans of weary workers,
      the whispers of lonely strangers,
   so that we can say, ‘here we are,’
   as we reach out to serve.
Through the grace of the cup,
may we listen to your heart which seeks
      justice for the overlooked,
      peace in violent settings,
      hope in despair’s shadows,
   so that we may not only hear
   but act as your hands and feet,
   your voice and your love.
And when all time comes to the end,
we will find you waiting beyond,
seating us with our sisters and brothers
around the wedding feast of the Lamb,
where we will rejoice in you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
God sends us out,
so that grace will not be rare in our time.
Here we are, ready to go and share
love and mercy with those around us.
Jesus calls us to go out,
so that justice will not be rare in our time.
Here we are, ready to speak truth to power,
walking with those on oppression’s mean streets.
The Spirit fills us with compassion,
so that peace will not be rare in our time.
Here we are, offering hope to those living in fear,
working for reconciliation in brokenness.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman