Monday, November 05, 2018

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for November 11, 2018 (Pentecost 25/Trinity 24/Proper 27/Ordinary 32 - B)

Texts:  1 Kings 17:8-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44

Call to Worship
We gather to praise our God.
The One who created everything;
the One who keeps faith with us.
We gather to follow Jesus.
Who comes to build justice on the ruins of despair;
who comes to set us free from our fears.
We gather to listen to the Holy Spirit.
Who teaches us to care for the most vulnerable;
who shows us how to see the forgotten in our midst.

Prayer of the Day
In your kingdom of surprise,
God of all people,
it is the broken who bring healing,
the lonely who reshape communities,
the vulnerable who will feed us,
the shoved-aside who come to rescue us.

In your kingdom of unexpected grace,
Jesus who watches those we don’t,
it is not those with million-dollar smiles
and $5000 suits who share the gospel,
but the little child with her smile,
the wisdom-wrinkled grandparents’ stories,
the trust of those who give from their scarcity.

In your kingdom of amazing wonder,
Spirit who calls us not to be afraid,
it is not those who seek the limelight
or go around on book tours who teach us,
but those whose hope is offered freely,
whose joy never runs empty,
whose welcome is never taken away.

In the topsy-turvy kingdom you bring,
God in Community, Holy in One,
we find life, hope, peace, freedom,
and so we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We always seem to notice the rich, the powerful, thinking those are the people we should emulate.  But we find you in those who are broken, we find you in those who sacrifice, we find you in those who care deeply for others.  Hear us, as we confess how we have noticed the wrong people, and longed after the wrong values.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   In these moments, we must confess that we have listened more to the politicians, the wealthy, the celebrities than to you, Faithful God.  We have failed to keep faith with those around us.  We have let others become captive to the angry words that have no life.  We have pushed aside those around us in our eagerness to follow those whose words offer only empty air and broken promises.
   Forgive us, Merciful God, for not noticing all who give from their scarcity, when we have so much.  Forgive us for watching out more for ourselves than keeping an eye on families who suffer.  Forgive us for caring more about ourselves than for those who are more vulnerable.  Forgive us and strengthen us to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Despite our foolishness and poor choices, our God remains faithful in this and every moment.  The One who created everything, continues to renew us, to restore us, and to forgive us with love.
Thanks be to God. God’s hope never fails us, God grace continues to fill our emptiness, and God mercy continues to make us new.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Whether out of our scarcity, or from our abundance, we pray that these gifts might offer life instead of despair, hope instead of grief, grace instead of fear to our sisters and brothers around us.  This we pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God welcomes you to this Table.
Our God invites you as well.
Here, when we think our hearts are hollow and lifeless,
our God fills them with love and grace.
And so, we lift our hearts to our God.
Here, in the silence and scriptures, in the word and the wonder,
we are called to praise our God.
And so, we join our voices in songs of thanksgiving to our God.

Then, God spoke, ‘go now,’
and creation rushed forth
into the emptiness of chaos, as
   beauty was brushed on butterflies’ wings,
   goodness was poured into tumbling waters,
   joy tumbled through desert lands,
   hope graced the sunrises with glory.
All this and so, so much more
was offered to those shaped in your image,
God of love, hope, and peace,
   but we wanted the adulation sin offered,
   and longed to put on death’s garments.
You whispered to men and women, ‘go now,’
so prophets and poets came with your words
of welcome to call us back to you,
   but we were too eager to embrace foolishness,
   and pushed them aside.
So that we might know of your hopes and love for us,
you whispered to your Child, ‘go now,’
so that glory might transfigure into grace.

With those who picked us up when we had fallen,
with those who seek to keep faith with you,
we join in offering our praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who overturns the world.
All creation trusts you and offers exultant praise.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who was eager to be with us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Though holy as you, Eternal God,
Jesus set it to one side, so we might know of your hope.
Born into economic scarcity,
   he offers us the abundance of your grace;
living among people oppressed by power,
   he builds the foundation of justice for all;
knowing what it is like to be rejected,
   he offers a welcome to all outsiders;
experiencing the hunger pangs of loneliness,
   he calls each of us ‘sister’ and ‘brother’;
Daring to challenge sin’s power,
   he is placed in death’s cold cell,
   where your resurrection power sets him free,
   as the same promise is made to us.

As we seek to live as he did, watching and learning
from those too easily dismissed by our society,
we declare that mystery we call faith:

Jesus died, trusting God in that moment;
Jesus has been raised, and will never die again;
Jesus will come, opening our eyes to your resurrection love.

‘Come now,’ you invite us, God of the feast,
as you pour out your Spirit on us
and the bread and the cup.
All we need is a morsel of the broken bread
to strengthen us and send us
   to feed the hungry and build justice,
   to open the eyes of those who never notice suffering,
   to lift others back to their feet.
All we need is a sip of the cup’s grace
to be willing and empowered to go out
   to set free all the captives of cruelty,
   to offer a warm heart to those who know only cold shoulders,
   to share hope, love, and peace to everyone we meet.

And when all time and history has come to an end
and you gather us from all generations
around that Table of life and grace,
we will sing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.
‘Go now,’ God says to us in this moment.
And so, we will go to share from our abundance
with all who live in scarcity’s shadows.
‘Go now to serve,’ Jesus challenges us in this moment.
And so, we will join in building neighborhoods of justice,
in keeping faith with all who have been forgotten.
‘Go now to understand,’ the Spirit urges us in this moment.
And so, we will go to watch (and learn from)
those who welcome outsiders into their lives.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman