Friday, October 26, 2018

Liturgy with communion for November 4, 2018 (Pentecost 24/Trinity 23/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - B)

Texts: Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34

Call to Worship
You are welcome in this place,
where God meets us in love.
Why are we here?
We are here to love God
with all that we have and all that we are.
You are welcome in this place,
where God loves us as children.
Why are we here?
We are here to love ourselves
as deeply as God loves us.
Welcome to this place,
where God serves us at the
Table of love and grace.
Why are we here?
We are here to be sent forth
to love others as deeply as
we love God and ourselves.

Prayer of the Day
Living God:
when there is a famine
in our souls,
you feed us with grace;
when there are pockets of poverty
in our love for others,
you bless us with generosity;
when we are empty and alone,
you move into our hearts.

Jesus, Bearer of the good things
which have come to us:
you bend down
to lift us from despair;
you embrace those
who haven't a friend in the world;
you open the eyes of those
struck blind by arrogance and ambition.

Eternal Spirit:
you walk with us
wherever we go;
you take the fragments of our lives
and reshape us into holy people;
you are with us,
and not even death can separate us.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray
as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The world teaches us many ways to love, but all are based on selfish desires and needs. God teaches us how to love: completely, uniquely, unconditionally. Let us confess our difficulty to be as loving as God teaches us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are hesitant to confess, Holy God, how hard it is to love as you wish. It is easy to love you with all that we are, except when you ask us to love our neighbor with all that we have. We find it hard to love our neighbor, when it is linked to the way we love ourselves. And it is difficult to love anyone - even You - more than we love ourselves.
      Forgive us, Love Eternal. As you took a risk in creating us, help us to take risks to love others compassionately, to love ourselves genuinely, and to love you as completely as you love us in Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In God's Kingdom, all are loved for who they are, not what they do;
in God's Kingdom, all are forgiven for what they do, and don't;
in God's Kingdom, all are welcomed and fed by God's grace and hope.
Forgiven, loved, sent forth -
we are not far from God's Kingdom!
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering As we offer our gifts, our hearts, our lives to you, may we see your kingdom of hope and wonder, of healing and kindness unfolding in our midst.  This we ask in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers, may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are lifted high to God.
Beloved of God, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts, and praise is on our lips.

We will sing praises to you all life long,
O Lord our God,
maker of the earth, the heavens, the seas,
and all that dwell in them.
You made us in your image
so we might be your people
and worship you forever.
But blinded by the seductions of the world,
we wandered far from your Kingdom,
putting our trust in those powers that cannot save us.

Despite our turning our backs on you,
you have clung to us in grace and love,
determined to be faithful to the covenant
you established with us.

Therefore, we join our voices,
with the saints of every time and of every place,
singing our praises to your heart:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Lord God of our souls.
Heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them
     glorify your name forever.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One whose help is in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

We praise you, Holy God,
and bless your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Help, our Hope, our Lord.
He opened the eyes of the blind,
so we might behold your grace;
he loosed the bonds of the captive,
so we might follow in freedom;
he watched over strangers,
so we might become brothers and sisters;
he lifted up those who had fallen,
so we might walk the streets of the Kingdom;
he gave his heart to those ignored by the world,
so the widow and orphan might find
their heart's home in you;
he endured death's embrace,
so we might be welcomed
into eternal life with you.

His life, his words, his death, his resurrection
are mysteries we may not understand completely,
but which we will proclaim with faith:

Christ died, loving us more than himself;
Christ rose, loving God with all that he was;
Christ will come again, loving all God's children,
     so we might be neighbors forever.

As we break the Bread of Life
and drink from the Cup of Salvation,
pour out your eternal Spirit
upon these gifts
and those who will receive them.
Despite our unfaithfulness,
we are determined to go with you;
despite our weakness,
we are resolved to worship you;
despite our fears and prejudices,
we are unfaltering in our commitment
to justice and hope for others.

Through your Son, Jesus Christ, who is our grace;
through the Spirit, who is our hope;
we honor and glorify your love
for all people in creation,
Great God, our peace and our joy,
now and forever. Amen.

As you leave this place, go with God.
We will go wherever God goes.
As you depart to serve, go with Christ.
We will not turn back from following Jesus.
As you live the coming days, go with the Spirit.
God's people will be our people,
and we will share our lives with them.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

All Saints' Day liturgy with communion - B

Texts: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44

Call to Worship
See how God loves us!
God loves us enough to swallow up death forever.
See how Christ loves us!
Christ loves us enough to share our loss and grief.
See how the Spirit loves us!
The Holy Spirit loves us enough to offer us words
of hope we can trust.

Prayer of the Day
You have blessed us
with saints all of our lives,
God of the ages:
those who put up with us,
and those who prepared us for discipleship;
those who have touched us with their compassion,
and those who illumine the way for us.

Through the valleys and over the hills,
down the dusty streets of every village,
saints traveled with you,
Jesus, Child of grace and glory:
those who impetuously chased after you,
and those whose feet longed to turn back;
those who jostled for your attention,
and those who made sure little children
were able to meet you.

You surround us with saints,
even when we don't recognize
or much less appreciate them,
Spirit of wonder:
some live down the corner from us,
while others are on the other side of the world;
some run to catch the leaves spiraling to the ground,
while others make a meal for a sick neighbor's family.

For all the saints of every age, especially our,
we give you our gratitude and praise,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Call to Reconciliation
Here in this community of those who seek God, we know we are not saints. We are wrapped in those strips of words, of thoughts, of actions which bind us to sin, not to God. But our God has promised us new hope, new life, fresh mercy, if we will but confess. I invite you to join me, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We come to you, Listener of our broken lives, with our hands soiled with the pain we have caused, with our ears stuffed with the words of those who speak falsely, with our hearts stained with those lusts and hungers we would be embarrassed for others to know.
     Forgive us and have mercy on us, Wiper of our tears.  As we seek to journey from the baptismal waters towards the feast you prepare in glory, may we turn our faces toward you in every moment, listen to your words in the depths of our hearts, and follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, every step of the way.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Lift up your heads, saints of God! Your sin is gone, your hands once full of foolishness are now empty. God has clothed you with garments of joy to wear to the feast.
Our former life has passed, our new life in Christ has begun.  All things are new - including us! Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Now, as God's saints in this time and place, we have the opportunity to feed others from the abundance of all we have, to swallow up the pain and suffering of others, to wipe away the tears of children who are lonely and fearful.  May the gifts we offer, and the lives we lead, reveal the One for whom we have waited and who invites us to spread grace over all the world.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all saints be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to God, all you who seek God's face.
We offer them to the One whose heart weeps with ours.
Lift up your heads, O people, singing glad songs of praise to God.
With joy in our hearts, with words of truth and life on our lips,
we give thanks to our God.

With a simple Word,
with a gentle Breath of life,
Wondrous God of glory,
you shrouded chaos with your imagination,
earth spinning and whirling through space
the seas teeming with new life.
All that is in creation is yours,
all that lives in it is your gift.
You shaped us in your image,
gathering us in your garden of joy.
But we turned our backs on you,
seeking the seductive face of sin.
You would show us the way,
filling us with hope's promise,
through the gifts of those saints
we call the prophets,
but we were deaf to their words.
So, deeply moved by our helplessness,
you sent Jesus into our presence,
the One we waited for that we might be saved.

So, with that community of faith
from every place and time -
with saints and sinners, with apostles and angels,
with those who know how deeply you love us,
we forever sing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, strong and gentle.
As they await their renewal, heaven and earth glorify you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to call us from death.
Hosanna in the highest!

Gracious are you, Creator of suns and saints,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Sharer in our lives.
With clean hands and a pure heart
he descended from your holy side,
coming to wipe away our tears,
to remove the disgrace of our sin,
to walk with those who seek your face,
to stand with us at grief's doorstep.
With scarred hands and a shattered heart,
he descended into the grip of the grave,
taking off the swaddling clothes of death,
leaving them behind as you called
to him to come out of the tomb.

As we wait to come to this gracious feast,
as we remember the spirit in which Jesus
lived, served, died, and was raised,
we speak of that mystery we call faith.

In Christ, the shroud of death has been destroyed.
In Christ, all creation is given new life.
In Christ, we will be God's people forever when he returns.

Pour out your Spirit
upon these gifts of the Table
and on your children in this sacred space.
With a simple cup filled with hope,
with bread broken in love,
you make a feast for those
who are with this band of believers.
As we open our hands
to receive grace's brokenness,
may we go forth to dirty them
in service to all around us.
As we swallow the
well-aged hope of your Spirit,
may we discover our hearts
to be as broken as yours,
by the injustices of our world.

And when all things become new,
as we are gathered in the New Jerusalem
with our sisters and brothers of every age,
we will join our voices together,
singing before your throne of grace,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray together, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Now let us go to show others how much God loves them!
We will go to bring life into all the places where death seeks to swallow those around us.
Now let us go to how our sisters and brothers how much Christ loves them!
We will go to share in the loss and grief of everyone around us.
Now let us go to show the world how much the Spirit loves them!
We will offer words of hope to all filled with despair.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Reformation Sunday liturgy with communion

Texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

Call to Worship
Be still!
We come to quiet ourselves in this haven of holiness.
Be still and know . . .
we come to discern the Word that can set us free.
Be still and know that God is . . .
our Hope, our Help, our Refuge, and our Redeemer.

Prayer of the Day
You break the cycle of wars,
     so we may be enriched by your peace;
you shatter the grip of violence,
     so we may be freed from our fears;
you plant your words of hope deep within us,
carving on our hearts:
     'you are mine.'
You give us the word we need,
     so we might live in your grace,
God of Creation.

You freely become one of us,
     so we could be liberated
     from our addiction to sin;
you take us by the hand
     to lead us out of our doubts;
you give us the words we need,
     so we can continue to share
     your good news of life,
Friend of the needy.

You pull us to safety
     when sin's waters swirl around our feet;
you surround us with serenity
     when doubts rattle our souls;
you give us words we need,
     whenever we wander
     onto the paths of trouble,
Spirit of Holiness.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you give us the words we need
to pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We can no longer flatter ourselves about how good we are. We do not need to make grandstand plays to get God's attention. We only need to confess our lives, as God makes good on the promises of grace and mercy. Join me as we ask God to reform us into God's children, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
      Heart of the Covenant: we have known your hopes for us, and disappointed every one of them; we have heard your words of faithfulness, and forgotten every one of them; we have seen your dreams for us, and turned every one of them into ashes.
     Forgive us, Hope's Heart. Silence every blustering word, so we may hear your mercy; still every feeble attempt to justify ourselves, so we may be made right with you; melt every frozen heart, so we might be drenched in your river of joy. May Jesus Christ continue to live in us, so we might be free to live forever with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Be still and know the good news: God has not forsaken nor forgotten us, but redeems us.
Why should we be afraid? God is in our midst - forgiving, restoring, sending. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts offer faith as well as food, hope as well as housing, joy as well as justice, to those who struggle all around us.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God our refuge be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, lift your hearts to the One who created you.
We offer them to God, who writes words of hope upon our hearts.
God's children, come to the Table of grace.
We will feast on the wonders of the God who loves us.

You took creation by the hand,
leading it out of chaos,
     as the first morning dawned,
     mountains trembling in the mist,
     running rivers which gladdened your heart,
God of our lives.
You created all this for us,
giving us peace and righteousness
to be our playmates in the fields of grace.
     But when we beheld the works
     of temptation, sin, and death,
          we became their slaves,
          writing their lies on our hearts.
Longing to be our God,
you sent the prophets
to call us to be your people,
     but we refused to listen.
Finally, Jesus came, the bearer
of truth and freedom for all.

With those whose hearts are broken,
and those who long for your days of peace,
we sing our thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who forms our hearts.
All creation finds refuge in your tender care.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who sets us free by your truth!
Hosanna in the highest!

You are our strength, God of holiness,
and Jesus Christ is your Son, our Savior.
When our lives are filled with despair,
     he is our Hope;
when we are lost and cannot find our way,
     he is our Help;
when the world closes its doors and heart to us,
     he is our Refuge;
when sin and death hunger for us,
     he is our Redeemer,
present with us in this life
and in the one to come.

As we remember his life, death, and resurrection,
as he continues to re-form us into your people,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Christ died, his heart broken for us;
Christ was raised, resurrection written upon his heart;
Christ is ever with us, in every moment, until your days come.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of this Table,
and upon the gathered people
who seek to be your faithful people.
The bread symbolizes that Life, though given,
which can reshape our brokenness into
the peace which a warring world needs,
the hope which can bring healing to others.
The cup which is filled with your grace
can strengthen us to be new people,
who go forth to speak truth to power,
who bring freedom to all the oppressed.

And when your days of eternity finally come,
when we gather as your children around
the Table of wonder and life,
we will sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Knowing that God sends us forth,
we will not be still, but speak of hope.
Knowing that Jesus is with us,
we will not be still, but will challenge injustice.
Knowing that the Spirit strengthens us,
we will not be still, but seek peace for all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Monday, October 22, 2018

Alternate texts for October 28, 2018 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - B)

Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

Call to Worship
Like water drenching a desert,
God’s grace is poured into our hearts.
Like an optometrist putting a pair of glasses on a child,
Jesus helps us to see the wonders around us.
Like a mother wiping tears off a child’s cheeks,
The Spirit comforts us when everything falls apart.

Prayer of the Day
When fear’s nightmares
dissolve into morning wonder;
when despair’s monsters
hiding under our beds
turn out to be hope’s dust bunnies;
when our tears drip
into the soil of our hearts
and bouquets of joy blossom,
you restore our lives,
God of grace.

When you pick up those
we trip as they try to meet you;
when you gather the lonely
into the widening circle of your heart;
when you call those
to your side that we push
aside all too easily,
you help us to take heart,
Jesus of justice.

When you bring us home
from addiction’s neighborhoods;
when you wipe the cheeks
of all those who grieve rejection;
when you sit by us,
holding our hands while
we dangle our feet in still waters,
you whisper words of life,
Spirit of loveliness.

And we tell all of what you do,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We say we want to be close to God, but through our foolish choices and wandering hearts, we usually end up so far away that we cannot find our way back.  But our lives will not keep God from searching for us, forgiving us, and bringing us back to God.  Let us confess our lives to the One who is our hope, our mercy, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We hear people crying out for justice, God of compassion, but tell them to be quiet so we can hear our favorite politicians.  There are those who stand by the side of the road with a sign reading ‘will work for hope,’ and we speed up to get past them.  There are those who have been tripped by the struggles of life, and we wonder why they can’t pull themselves back to their feet.
   Have mercy on us, God whose tears mingle with those we have ignored.  You challenge us to gather up the poor, the angry, the hopeless, the lost, the most vulnerable and to bring them to you, even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has brought us to you through his life and love.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart, dear friends.  Look at what God has done!  God gathers us from wherever we have wandered and brings us home along hope’s highway.
With forgiveness, God has restored our hopes; with grace, God takes our tears and transforms them into bouquets of joy; with the light of love, God rescues us from nightmares of our fears.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Wow!  Look what God does.  Whatever we offer, large sums and pocket change, God uses it in serving the forgotten, in healing the broken, and in welcoming those who have wandered far from home.  Receive our gifts in gratitude and faithfulness, O God.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God who does wonders for us be with you.
May God do amazing things for you.
Let us lift our hearts to our God who loves us.
We open our hearts to the One who restores our hopes.
Let praise tumble off our lips in these moments.
We shout joy and thanksgivings to our God.

To restore your hopes, O God,
you spoke into chaos
and brought forth creation,
   horses who just gave birth,
   foals who struggle to get to their feet,
   still waters where all creatures could drink.
All that was imaginative and beautiful
was offered to those who are in your image,
   but we chose to live in fear’s farthest places,
   planting seeds into sin’s deepest soils.
You sent prophets to call us to your side,
and with tears flowing down their cheeks,
sought to bring us home,
   but we preferred to wander death’s deserts,
   to continue to feast at temptation’s table.
So that you could restore us to whole life,
you chose to send your Beloved to us,
who would bring us home to you.

With joy tumbling off our lips,
with our tongues tingling with delight,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who does wonders.
All creation exults in all you do.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is our teacher.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of the faithful,
and blessed is the Child
who came to us at Bethlehem.
He came to bring the lost home,
   all those who had wandered into fear;
he came to lift to their feet,
   all who had stumbled trying to find you;
he came to open your doors
   to all who had no place to live;
he came to confront sin,
   telling it to be quiet in its demands on us;
he came to conquer death,
   being embraced by its cold tomb,
   but was brought to new life
   by your resurrection love.

As we prepare to come to your Table,
as we celebrate the life offered to us,
we speak of that mystery we know of faith:

Jesus died, planting seeds in death’s desert;
Jesus was raised, as resurrection bloomed in his heart;
Jesus will come, bouquets of life in his hands.

Here at this Table, you gather your Beloved,
pouring out your Spirit
upon the gifts of the bread and the cup.
As we are fed by the broken bread,
strengthen us so we may
   wipe the cheeks of those
      stained by the tears of fear;
   feed the babies of families
      who have no food for them.
As we drink deeply of the cup of salvation,
may we have the courage to
   challenge all who would put
      the vulnerable at even more risk;
   offer hope to those who find themselves
      forgotten by the side of the road
      by those who see only their greed.

And when the seeds of grace you planted
at the birth of creation bursts forth at the end of time,
you will gather us around your Table
with our sisters and brothers from every moment,
and we will lift our voices in praise to you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
forever and ever.  Amen.  

Now, let us go forth in God’s love.
We will go to answer the cries of those in need.
Now, let us go forth with the grace of Jesus.
We will go to let all know that Jesus
wants to see them and offer them hope.
Now, let us go forth in the community of the Spirit.
We will go to gather all who are forsaken and alone.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman