Monday, September 24, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for September 30, 2018 (Pentecost 19/Trinity 18/Proper 21/Ordinary 26 - B)

Texts:  Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Call to Worship
We come so that we can worship our God,
whose words restore us to life.
We come so that we can follow Jesus,
whose hopes for justice are crystal clear.
We come so that we can learn from the Spirit,
whose teachings help us to understand 
how to live as God’s people.

Prayer of the Day
If only you had given us great wealth,
Holy God,
we could be better people
and care for others, 
but you think 
an open hand and not a fist,
a journey with a stranger,
the courage to speak out
are all the gifts we need.  

If only you had established justice
throughout the world, Jesus
instead of simply telling stories,
the world would not be in such a mess,
but you tell us that
a cup of water, a simple meal,
a ride to the doctor, an open door,
are more than enough 
to offer to those around us.

If only you would teach us
with simpler words, Holy Spirit,
we might not have so much trouble
figuring out this following thing,
but you continue 
to simply whisper grace
   until it becomes second nature,
to sing hope
   until it becomes an ear worm 
   we can’t shake (and don’t want to).

If only you had called different people,
God in Community, Holy in One,
but you have chosen us instead,
so help us to listen, to learn, to live, 
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We don’t mean to, but all too often our words, our actions, our ignorance, become stumbling blocks for those around us, keeping them from being able to live as God intends for them.  Let us confess how we have not been careful with our lives, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   You offer us words which can restore lives, our and others, Teaching God, but we twist them into insults and accusations.  You would welcome us into the family of those who serve humbly, we like to hang out with the cheeky and spiteful.  You bless us with all manner of gifts, but we continue to envy what others have.  
   Keep us on our toes, Loving God, lest we continue to trip over our foolishness.

In your mercy, may we not offer a fist, but a helping hand to another; may we walk with the lonely, rather than push them away; may we look for the forgotten, rather than right past them; may we continue to listen to your Word of life, Jesus Christ, so we might trust in your grace and hope.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God’s hopes for us are crystal clear.  With forgiveness, God restores us to new life; with love, God sends us out to live as faithful people.
God uses the building blocks of grace, hope, love, and peace to create new hearts, new lives for us.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Like a master cook, you add these gifts we offer to the spices of grace, hope, joy, and peace to create new lives, new communities, new joy in those around us.  Receive our gifts in the name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of every word be with you,
and with you as well.
Let us open our hearts to God who hands us grace.
We lift them to the One whose love never ends.
Join in singing glad songs of praise to our God.
We will sing and praise with cheerful hearts.

When chaos was filled with cravings
for more and more emptiness,
you spoke, God of imagination,
   planting more than one kind of tree,
   flinging planets of a rich variety into the universes,
   filling the waters with creature beyond number,
as creation’s beauty and wonder sprang forth.
You offered all this richness and creativity
to those crafted in your divine image,
but we became jealous of the gifts of sin and death,
   choosing to grasp every temptation possible,
   not letting them go for any reason.
You called men and women to speak to us,
inviting us back into your heart,
   but we continue to long for the good old days,
   where our choices are so much better than yours.
But when you could offer us a fist,
you choose to give us a hand, 
sending your precious Word to us, 
so that we might no longer trip over the blocks
of foolish choices we dropped from our lives.

With those who seek to bring back the wandering,
with those who wonder where the journey ends,
we lift up our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who hears our broken hearts.
All creation sings praises to you in every moment.
Hosanna in the highest!

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

When we were filled with cravings 
which did nothing but make us hungrier
for everything that cannot satisfy, Holy One,
you sent you Child to become one of us,
so that we would know your hopes for us
without any doubt or hesitation.
Your Word,
   he came to restore us to life;
your Teacher,
   he came so we would understand
   all you long for us to know;
your Heart,
   he came so we would be filled
   with your love;
your Life,
   he came to give his for us,
   dying on the cross so that
   the power of sin might be broken
   and the fear of death left behind in the tomb
as resurrection hope is offered to all.

As we remember his life and teachings,
as we recall his death and resurrection,
we proclaim that faith which is a mystery:

Jesus died, not letting the cross
   be a stumbling block to trusting you;
Jesus was raised, death not becoming
   a stumbling block to your resurrection power; 
Jesus will come, time and space not able 
   to be stumbling blocks to your bringing us to life forever. 

If only we had a seven-course meal
instead of this everyday bread and ordinary cup,
but you take these simple gifts, Loving God,
and pour out your Spirit on them 
and your children who gather here.
With the broken bread giving us life,
may we go forth to offer
   joy to those who mourn,
   justice for those who are forgotten,
   a companion for the lonely.
With the cup of grace nourishing us,
may we reach out to give
   a cup of peace for scared kids,
   a listening ear for those no one hears,
   a voice to challenge cruel words.

And when the good old days are only a memory
as we are gathered with sisters and brothers
from every time and place,
we will join in singing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen. 

We will go now as God’s people,
to give a meal to the hungry,
to offer a ride to a neighbor.
We will go now as Jesus’ followers,
to give water to the thirsty,
to welcome the outsiders.
We will go now with the Spirit,
to offer a heart to the lonely,
to share grace and peace with all.  

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman