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