Saturday, August 04, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for August 12, 2018 (Pentecost 12/Trinity 11/Proper 14/Ordinary 19 - B)

Texts: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34:1-8; Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2; John 6:35, 41-51

Call to Worship
You are the One for whom we search, O God,
and we worship you because you have found us.
You are the hope for which we yearn, O Christ,
and so we follow you to serve at your side.
You are the peace which can calm us, Holy Spirit,
and so we open our brokenness so you might fill us.

Prayer of the Day
In the touch of a lover’s hand,
in the tickling fingers of a child,
in the brush strokes on a canvas,
in the notes played on a violin,
You Are the grace of life
in our hearts.

In the meals neighbors bring during grief,
in the cold lemonade of children on the corner,
in the cookies and milk offered after school,
in the sacks of groceries shared with the homeless,
You Are the Bread of life,
in our moments.

In the gentle showers of summer,
in the cool breezes of autumn,
in the brittle stars of winter,
in the butterflies of spring,
You Are the Spirit of life,
in our midst.

In our midst, in our hearts, in our moments,
You Are, God in Community, Holy in One,
and so we lift the prayer we are taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We say we know you, and what you hope for us, but our words and actions, our silences and failures to care, show that we have so much to discover about our God.  Let us gather up our foolish lives and offer them in prayer to the One who longs to forgive us and save us from ourselves. 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   If we are to speak truth in these moments, Giver of the Bread of life, we must admit that we are not very gracious folk, with our words or with our actions.  It seems enough to hold grudges, not to speak grace to those who hurt us.  It seems enough to get into arguments with others, rather than find paths of peace.  It seems enough to pour out bitterness to those around us to drink, rather than cool cups of love.
   Forgive us, Merciful God, so we might live in love, as your children.  May the grace which was in Jesus fill us with grace.  May the hope which was in Jesus fill us with hope.  May the life which was in Jesus fill us with life.  As Jesus was your heart to us, may we be your heart to those around us.  This we pray, even as we offer our lives to you in silence.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
When we love others, we imitate God.  When we help others, we imitate God.  When we offer mercy to others, we imitate God.  May others continue to see God in us, even as we are loved, helped, and forgiven by our God.
We see God’s grace in the eyes of a child; we taste God’s goodness in a meal with friends; we live God’s peace when we offer justice as a sacrifice for others.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven.  Amen. 

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Too often, we think it is enough to offer the spare change we have on our dresser, or the few dollars returned after paying for dinner.  But you offer us grace, hope, mercy in abundance beyond imagination, and call us to be as generous and loving as you.  Receive our gifts, and make as more giving, we pray.  Amen. 

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of fragrant offerings be with you;
and also with you. 
Children of God, taste and see the goodness offered to you.
We offer our hearts to the One who fills us with wonder.
People of faith, join in singing glad songs to our God.
We will rejoice in the One who shelters us in grace and love.

Creation is the fragrant offering
shared with us from the moment chaos shattered
and the tangy smells of the ocean,
       the sweet breath of pines,
       the perfume of roses and crocuses
filled us with wonder and peace.
These gifts and so many more were intended
for your children shaped from dust,
   but we preferred the aftershave of sin
   and the stench of death in our lives.
Time and again you sent prophets,
those women and men who spoke
your words of truth to us, but
   we continued to mutter under our breath,
   refusing to listen to their words.
Then you sent your Child to us, 
so that we might know where he came from,
your heart which was broken over us. 

With those who know the sting of harmful words,
with those whose speak grace and hope,
we offer our praises to you: 

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who searches for us.
All creation tastes and sees how good you are.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who shows us the way to you.
Hosanna in the highest! 

Hope is the fragrant offering
you pour out for us in Jesus, our brother.
We think we know who he is,
   but discover him abiding 
   in the most vulnerable among us.
We think we know where he comes from,
   until we see him in the Separated Ones
   at the border of fear and anger.
We think we know why he comes,
   and then watch him embrace death,
   challenging sin’s dread power over us,
   and singing “I AM the resurrection”
   as he breaks free from the tomb.
As we remember that he came because you called,
as we seek to be faithful to our call,
we whisper of that mystery we call faith:

The Bread of life was broken on the cross;
the Bread of life was made whole in the resurrection;
the Bread of life will come from heaven, 
   and we will rejoice.

Life is the fragrant offering
given to us at this table
as your pour out your Spirit 
on your people gathered in these moments,
and on the bread and cup which are made ready.
The broken bread is more than enough
to strengthen us so we might
   speak hope to those who need it;
   show wonder to those who wander;
   gather children into our hearts.
The cup of grace is more than enough
to fill us, so we might empty ourselves
   of grudges which keep us from forgiving;
   of fears which prevent us from welcoming;
   of doubts which keep us from serving.

And when we no longer need to search,
but are gathered up in your love
with our sisters and brothers from all time,
we will taste and see your grace
at the great feast of the Lamb,
as we sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.    

The God of gentleness sends us forth,
so we may go to offer words of grace 
to those who need them most.
The Bread of Life has fed us,
so we may go to offer justice
as a gift to those held captive by fears.
The Spirit of peace gifts us with truth,
so we might speak out against cruelty,
so we might offer good news to the broken.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman