Saturday, May 26, 2018

Alternate Texts Liturgy w/communion for June 3, 2018 (Pentecost 2, Trinity 1, Proper 4, Ordinary 9 - B)

Texts:  Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Psalm 81:1-10; 2 Corinthian 4:5-12; Mark 2:23 - 3:6

Call to Worship
We gather on this day,
to praise our God, who is our strength.
We gather on this holy day,
to join with Jesus in relieving the burdens of others.
We gather in this sacred space,
to be fed by the Spirit with grace and hope.

Prayer of the Day
You alone are holy, Wondrous God,
yet you choose to use us
to bring about your dreams and hopes.
You could create a small group
around you who are perfect,
but you choose the fragile, the forgotten,
the voiceless, the overwhelmed
to be your household in this life.

You could come with a long list of rules,
Child of the Holy One,
but you choose to focus on relationships.
You see the refugee, not as a threat,
   but as a sister;
you see the bullied, not as weak,
   but filled with courage;
you see the suffering, not with pity,
   but those who can teach grace to all.

You could teach us words of judgment,
Wise Heart of the Holy,
but you write songs of grace and hope,
   so we can learn them from the broken;
you write poems of laughter,
   so we can hear them in children
   playing in the bathtub;
you craft visions of wonder and joy,
   so we can see them as each day
   becomes sacred by your love.

You make every moment sacred,
you create every day to be Sabbath,
you shape every person in your love,
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
What a front we put up for people - strong, successful, unafraid, undiminished by life.  Yet, our lives and words reveal to others how fragile and foolish we truly are.  Let us bring our brokenness, our lives, our hearts to God, so we might be filled with grace and hope.  Join me as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   God of mercy, on ordinary days we crush others under the weight of our unrealistic expectations.  We knock down friends and neighbors in our rush to get more for ourselves.  We bully those around us with stupid words and angry gestures.  We worship strange gods - plastic cards, athletes, celebrities - as we turn away from you.  We forget how you have set us free, when we turn our backs on the strangers around us.
   So on this holy day, Gracious God, we pray for your forgiveness.  When we could promote ourselves, let us honor those who care for us in ways we do not notice.  Instead of pushing people into the shadows, may we walk with them in your light.  May we open our hands to serve others with the grace, hope, and peace poured into us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
No longer are we held captive by our foolish choices or our damaging words.  On this holy day, as well as all the ordinary days, our God blesses us with hope and mercy. 
With every instrument possible, but especially with our hearts and lives, may we praise the One who fills us with forgiveness and grace.  Thanks be to God.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
You have chosen to put your blessings in us, fragile containers of questions, and rules, and fears.  So give us the courage to offer these gifts to you in trust and hope, so that all might know of your grace and peace in their lives.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of Sabbath be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts to God.
We offer them to the One who fills us with grace.
Sing glad songs to the One who is always faithful.
We shout for joy to our God who is our strength.

By the time you decided to take a break,
God of incredible imagination,
the Word had whispered
   and birds began their morning songs,
   as owls were learning their lullabies;
the Spirit had breathed
   and waters sparkled in the moonlight,
   as babies took in great gulps of wonder.
You shaped us in your image,
handing us tambourines and lyres
so we could rejoice with your forever,
   but we listened to the silent whispers of sin
   and preferred to play death's dirges.
Prophets, those women and men who knew you,
came to bring us words of hope and healing,
   yet we continued to be bullied by fear,
   and to be burdened by temptation.
That is when you decided to send your Heart,
your Child who would come
so we might find our way home to you.

So with those who are full of themselves,
as well as those who empty themselves for others,
we join our voices in praising you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of the Sabbath.
All creation shouts for joy to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who teaches us true Sabbath keeping.
Hosanna in the highest!

In your holiness, God of the faithful,
you could have remained aloof from us,
but you chose to know our lives
by having your Child come to us.
In becoming one of us,
   the Babe made every birth a sacred moment.
In walking our streets,
   Jesus made every neighborhood holy ground.
In sharing your hopes for us,
   Jesus made every day a Sabbath from fears.
In knowing our pain,
   Jesus gave us the strength not to be crushed.
In hearing our cries for hope,
   Jesus turned our voices into songs of grace.
In experiencing our death,
   Jesus broke sin's power over us,
   as your resurrection grace
   became the promised hope of everyone.

As we remember his life and ministry among us,
as we give thanks for his death and resurrection,
we speak of that mystery we call faith;

Christ died, not because of rules, but for relationships.
Christ was raised, so the resurrection grace is for all.
Christ will return, so we will be joined with you forever.

Here on this holy day, and in this sacred space,
pour out your Holy Spirit on your people
and the gifts of the bread and the cup.
Though we often feel like empty, fragile containers,
may the broken bread give us the strength
to go out to serve your people:
   those bullied by classmates,
   those dealing with pain and grief,
   those overwhelmed by fears.
May the cup of grace nourish us
to be able to go into the world:
   to stand with the forgotten,
   to bring healing to the broken,
   to lift up those knocked down by hate.

And when we are united with those
of every place and from every time,
we will join our sisters and brothers
around your table of holiness and grace,
shouting our joy to your through eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now, our God sends us from this sacred space.
We will go to feed the hungry with food,
to share hope with those in despair.
Now, Jesus invites us to join him this holy day.
We will go to serve those bullied by the world,
to lift worries and fears off our sisters and brothers.
Now, the Spirit scatters us on this day.
We will to be with the Spirit in caring for all,
making every day holy and healing for everyone.

(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman