Sunday, June 30, 2019

Liturgy with communion for July 7. 2019 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 9/Ordinary 14 - C)

Texts: 2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30; Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16; Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Call to Worship
Sing praises to our Lord:
who heals us and makes us whole.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God:
whose joy rises in our lives each and every day.
Sing praises to our Lord, faithful children of God;
give thanks to God's holy name:
God's Kingdom is near to us; God's peace resides in our hearts.

 Prayer of the Day
With songs of thanksgiving on our lips,
we come before you, Helping God.
While your anger may last only a moment,
     your grace rests upon us until the 12th of never.
When we find ourselves knee-deep
in the muck and mire of life,
     you provide a way out for us,
     if we but trust enough to serve you.

Glad choruses of praise greet you,
Jesus, Companion of pilgrims in this life.
You take us by the hand to waltz up past
     the outstretched arms of sin and death.
You send us out into the world,
teaching us not to boast about
ourselves or all that we have done,
     but to point out to others
     the path to the kingdom,
          if they but trust enough to follow you.

We offer a harvest of praise to you,
Spirit of joy and wonder.
You pour out your gentleness upon us,
     so we might be energized to do what is right.
You patiently sit down to teach us,
     using bold print so we might learn
     lives of service, gratitude and humility,
          if we but trust enough to listen to you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
may we trust always in you,
even as we pray as we have been taught, saying,
(Our Father) . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Unlike ours, God's anger does not last. But God's favor, God's grace, and God's forgiveness are for us, not just in this moment, but forever. How can we not want to confess to such a One who is ready to heal us? Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
     Holy One, why is it that we can grow so weary of doing what is right, yet always energetically do that which we know is harmful to us and others? We sow seeds of hurt and anger, and wonder why we harvest so much bitterness. We spend too much time comparing ourselves to those around us, and too few moments in following Christ's example.
     Rather than letting our sins gloat over us, Healing God, we would open ourselves to your mercy and grace. As you reach out to heal us with your forgiveness, may we embrace your love, your mercy, your grace for our lives. As you pour out your Spirit of gentleness, may we bring the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to all the world.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Sing praises to our God, faithful children. God has heard our prayers and made us whole.
We will not be silent, but will sing our joy to the One who has forgiven us and made us a new creation. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
In the offering of our gifts, as well as the living of our days, may we not grow weary of doing what is right, but commit to speaking up for the voiceless, healing the broken, feeding the hungry, and all those mercies which are such a part of your heart and hopes for all your children.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the Lord our God be with you.
And also with you.
Children of God, lift our hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals us at the Table of brokenness.
Children of God, give thanks to the Lord our God.
We will sing our praises to the One who restores us to life.

We do not bring silence to you,
Holy One of all people,
but shouts of praise and laughter
for your gracious love.
Your healing river flowed through creation,
bringing life and joy to all who drank from it.
     But we preferred to splash
     in the sewers of the world,
          rejecting all that you intended for us.
Yet, you never grew weary
of bearing the burdens of your children.
When you could have shaken
the dust of our sin from your feet,
you chose to lead us out of the Pit
of our rebellion and sin.

Joining with those who sing your praises,
lifting our voices with faithful ones of every time and place,
we sing of our thanks to you forever:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
the mountains sing your praises, the valleys echo your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

We welcome the One who comes in your name, who calls us to life.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of compassion,
     for when death threatened your children
     and sin vowed to turn the universe back to chaos,
you sent your Son, our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenness fo the world.
He did not grow weary
of doing the right things,
     but confronted the wrongs of the world;
he endured the violence of sin,
     that we might receive the gentleness
          of life with you forever;
he carried our sins to the cross,
     that we might bear the burdens
          of our sisters and brothers;
he went ahead of us into death,
     that we might walk in the Kingdom.

As we dance to the Table to be filled with hope,
we remember all that Jesus has done for us,
and all that we have been called to do in his name.
Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ died, bearing our burdens.
Christ was raised, mocking death’s power.
Christ will return, for the good of all.

Flow through us, Healing Spirit,
as we drink deeply of Christ's cup.
You never grow weary of feeding us
with the Bread of Life,
or refreshing us
with the Cup of Grace,
for you use these simple gifts
to transform our brokenness.

And as we turn from the Table,
send us forth:
     to bring healing to the sick,
          freedom to the oppressed,
     to speak peace
          to the human household,
     to carry the Kingdom with us
          wherever you would lead us.
For we will not keep silent,
but praise you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One.

Let us never grow weary of doing what is right!
We will go to seek justice for all of God’s children.
Let us not grow weary of leading others to the kingdom!
We will go to follow Jesus’ example of gathering all into grace.
Let us not grow weary of speaking of hope and peace.
We will go to sow the Spirit’s seed of life and hope.

Alternate Great Prayer of Thanksgiving for Independence Day
L:    May the God of freedom be with you.
P:    And also with you.
L:    Children of God, lift up your hearts.
P:    We lift them to the One who sets us free
         for lives of service and hope.
L:    God's children: let us give thanks to
        the Lord our God.
P:    We will sing our songs of freedom
        to the One who calls us to new life.

Starry nights that stretch across the sky,
waves of every grain shimmering in the sun:
these are the gift you gave to us,
God of wonder and joy.
Mountains tower above plains
overflowing with abundant fruit;
land stretching from sea to sea
where we could live with you.
Freely, you offered the abundance
of all that is good and beautiful to us,
but we mocked your hopes,
choosing to be deceived by sin.
you appointed prophets, sending them
to every town and place we lived,
sharing your peace with us through them.
But we would not welcome them
into our homes, or into our hearts.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
to share with us that freedom
which calls us to follow in obedience.

As we sing of those who have gone before us,
as we remember how they lived as
sisters and brothers as you called them to live,
we proclaim our thanks to you:


The One who could heal our brokenness,
the One who could teach us self-control,
the One who could lead us out
of all the places our feet have strayed,
Jesus came to live among us,
leaving the starry band of glory behind.
Loving your mercy for us
more than his own life,
he willingly chose to go to the cross,
that we might receive your gracious gift
of life forever with you.

As we remember the freedom he offered to all,
as we celebrate the gift of life which comes to us
here at this Table of love, we speak of that mystery called faith:

   Memorial Acclamation

As you pour out your Spirit
upon this Table abundant with the gifts
of the Bread and of the Cup,
shed your grace upon your children
gathered in this place.
Gorged on the moldy meals
offered to us by sin and death,
we forget those who hunger for freedom.
But eating the Bread of life,
we can go, carrying a harvest of hope to them.
Intoxicated on the world's sour grapes,
we forget the injustices imposed
upon our sisters and brothers.
But drinking from the Cup of grace,
we can go where you intend to go,
inviting everyone we meet to join us
in your new creation of peace, mercy, and wonder.

And when all that holds us back is gone,
when the freedom of your eternity is given to us,
we will gather with brotherhood and sisterhood
of believers of every time and place,
who have been crowned with your goodness and love,
forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

©  Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Alternate texts liturgy with communion for June 30, 2019 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - C)

Texts: 1 Kings 19:15-16; 19-21; Psalm 16; Galatians 1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Call to Worship
With these people, in this space,
we come to learn from God.
To discover how to share love and grace
with the same abandon as God.
In this space, in these moments,
we come to follow Jesus.
We would welcome others with joy and hope
even as he received everyone who came to him.
In these moments, with these people,
we come to bear the Spirit's bounty.
To be patient with those who aggravate us,
even as the Spirit is kind in looking past our lives.

Prayer of the Day
We have chosen to love you,
God of wonder,
not just the smallest part
when we think of you once
in a while or call out your name,
but all of you:
the grace which wraps us like a shawl,
the safe space you offer when we are scared,
the joy which teaches us new songs.

We have chosen to follow you,
Jesus our Guide, our Brother,
not just the baby steps 
of faith when we are just
starting the journey with you,
but all of you:
the steep hill of discipline
   which leads to self-denial,
the bumpy road potholed with fears
   which leads to trust,
the dusty way of death
   which leads to life.

We have chosen to learn from you,
Wisdom of the universes,
not just the letters of grace,
and the numerals of wonder,
but all of you:
the passion of your heart for others,
    which teaches us justice;
the skills of reconciliation,
    so we can build bridges, not walls;
the songs resounding in your soul,
     so we can bear fruit for those around us.

We have chosen you, all of you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
so hear us as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We always come up with excuses - why we said what we did; why we couldn't do what we should have for another; why we are too busy to follow Jesus.  Fortunately, God is always willing to show us another path to life, if we but listen, if we might be willing to go this other way.  Let us confess our lives to God, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We could be people of love and peace, God of grace, but we choose the mentors of cruelty and indifference.  We could whisper hope to those who are lonely, but we prefer to look past them.  We could follow Jesus to serve others, to work for justice, to care for the most vulnerable, but we always seem to have an excuse for not doing so.
   Forgive us, God who encompasses us with love.  You continue to show us another path to walk - the path of grace.  You show us another word to offer - the words of love and acceptance.  You whisper to us of what to do - to trust, to follow, to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Silence is observed

Assurance of Pardon
Instead of going along the same path, God shows us another way - the way those who are filled with mercy and hope can follow, the way of living by the Spirit.
We are a forgiven people, given grace freely by our God, who breathes life into us, in this and every moment.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May these gifts offer a feast to those who hunger, kindness to those treated cruelly by the world, hope to those who have lost their way, and life to all who long for healing and peace.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of spiritual fruits be with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer our hearts and lives to God.
God will fill us with peace, hope, love, joy,
patience, kindness, and generosity.
Join your voices in singing praises to our God.
We sing glad songs of joy to the One who welcomes us at this feast.

When you could have been
wrapped in chaos' embrace,
God of Wonder,
you went by another way,
your Word calling forth all
that is good and beautiful,
your Spirit breathing life 
into all of creation.
Everything was shaped 
for those crafted in your image,
   but we wanted to quarrel with life,
   we joined the clique of temptation.
Prophets, those with words of hope,
came to call us back to you over and over,
   but we always had excuses
   why we could not follow you.
Then you sent Jesus to us,
as he set his face towards earth,
to become one of us.

With those who show kindness,
with those who struggle to be patient,
we sing our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is our safe room.
All creation dances with joy before you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who does not look back, but follows.
Hosanna in the highest!

When he could have chosen your holiness,
God of glory and grace,
Jesus chose another way,
   that of humility and service;
when he could have chosen power,
   he took the way of weakness;
when he could have chosen wealth,
   he walked the earth with the poor;
when he could have chosen victory,
   he walked to that garbage dump
   piled high with broken promises
   and the leftovers from temptation;
when he could have remained in death's grip,
   you went all the way into the grave,
   to raise him to resurrection glory.

As we remember his words, his way, his choices,
as we prepare to come to this Table,
we proclaim that mystery we know as faith:

Jesus died, setting aside all excuses to live;
Jesus was raised, as you threw the mantle
   of resurrection over him;
Jesus will come, to show us the only way to you.

Here at this Table of grace and hope,
where your Spirit is poured out 
on the gifts of the bread and the cup
and on your children gathered here.
With the broken bread giving us strength,
may we be guided by the Spirit
   to be mentors of goodness,
   to be bearers of peace,
   to be those who comfort the mourners.
With the cup of life poured out to us,
may we follow another way,
   the way of justice and hope,
   the way of love and mercy,
   the way of welcoming all the forgotten.

And when time and space comes to an end,
gather us around the Table of love,
with our sisters and brothers 
from every moment and place,
as we sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

There is so much loneliness and brokenness in the world.
We will go to share God's love and kindness to all.
There is so much injustice and exclusion around us.
We will join Jesus in welcoming those who have been forgotten.
There is so much cruelty and violence in so many places.
We will share the peace of the Spirit with everyone we meet.

(c) 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Liturgy with communion for June 30, 2019 (Pentecost 3/Trinity 2/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - C)

Texts: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14; Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Call to Worship
On days when we think God has nothing to do
with work or family or the world:
The Book tells us of One who was a carpenter;
who wandered the streets;
who upset his family.
On days when we think the purpose of life
is to make more money and fewer friends:
The Book speaks of a life of giving away of ourselves
and finding a community as we do so.
On days aching with loneliness and empty of love and laughter:
The Book draws us into the embrace of God's open heart.

Prayer of the Day
Inspiring God,
Giver of words:
     you speak
          and chaos is transformed
          into the starry skies of night;
     you whisper
          and the wind leaps
          to caress our cheeks on a summer's evening;
     you smile
          and all creation rejoices in delight.

Jesus Christ,
Uncomfortable Word:
you stand with society's castoffs
     outside the halls of respectability;
you break bread with sinners
     and give them the seats of honor at your Table;
you walk the darkened hallways of death,
     comforting those who are taking their last steps;
and you call to us, saying,
      "Follow me."

Holy Spirit,
Word sifter:
by your touch
     our anger can dissolve
          into gentleness;
by your presence
     our enemies
          can become lifelong friends;
by your joy,
     our envious spirits
          can become generous hearts.

God in Community, Holy in One,
set us free to be your servants,
even as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Christ has set us free from everything that might detain, oppress, derail us. But we should not confuse this with the right to do whatever we wish. No, we are called to serve others, to share God's hope and joy with everyone we meet. Let us confess how we have misused this wonderful gift of grace, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Redeeming God, how easily we say we would follow you, but how often we live as if we don't have a clue as to what that means. We choose to gossip about our friends, rather than surrounding them with love. Our competitive nature wills us to win at all costs, when we could be engaged in costly service. We expect others to do for us and rarely ask what we might do for them.
     Forgive us, High and Holy One. Set us free to serve in love and compassion; help us to feast on the fruit the Spirit offers to us; put us on the path of faithful discipleship, as we walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Friends, call to mind what God has done for you; think about how God's love comes in fresh and surprising ways; reflect on the fruit of the Spirit poured out upon you.
We will remember all the wonder, all the joy, all the mercy which is ours. From the rich abundance of the Spirit's fruit, we will serve others. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Free to indulge ourselves in every luxury,
   we would share our abundance with those in need;
free to gratify every desire that comes along,
   we would serve those who have so little;
free to hoard all that we have and are,
   we would give ourselves away to everyone we meet,
   risking our good names and reputations with our families and friends, 
   to welcome those who are lonely and afraid.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the wonder-working God be with you!
And also with you!
Children of God, lift up your hearts.
We offer them to the One who gifts us
with abundant fruit of the Spirit.
God's children, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
We sing songs of joy, love, and peace;
we praise God for the gifts of patience, kindness, generosity;
we lift our thanks for faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control in our lives.

Your voice thundered, Holy One of Creation,
and silenced the fractious voices of chaos.
As the sun, moon, and stars
light our days and nights,
     so your love illumines our souls.
When our fears
threaten to flood our lives,
     you make a path for us
          to your heart.
All this you do,
out of your love for us,
but we forgot all your wonders,
     and stretched out our hands
          to pluck the rotten fruit of the world.
You sent the prophets to help us
to remember your great acts,
     but we dismissed their words
          as having no value for us.
Then, to keep your promise
never, never to forsake us,
you sent Jesus Christ to
put our feet back on
the Holy Way.

Therefore, trusting that you will hear us,
we join our voices with the chorus of heaven,
and with our sisters and brothers around us,
sing our glad songs to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God the Creator!
The mountains sing your praises, the valleys echo your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

We welcome the One who comes in your name, who calls us to life.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of all generations,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior.
When he could have remained safe
by your side in glory,
he took the risk to follow your call
When he could have remained safe
by your side in glory,
     he took the risk to follow your call
     to become one of us.
When he could have ignored
our cries for help,
     he opened his ears and his heart,
     to bring us words of healing and hope.
When he could have pointed
to his miracles and wonders,
     he spoke of your grace,
     and called us to service.
When he could have ignored sin
and death to return to you,
     he picked them up
     and carried them to Calvary,
          turning and renouncing them forever,
as he strode out of the empty tomb
into the new life waiting for each of us.

So, as we remember what God has done for us
in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus,
we speak of that faith which is a mystery:

Lord Jesus, you call us:
     open our eyes that we may see you,
     open our souls that we may long for your presence,
     open our hearts that we may follow you.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of the Table
and upon your children
who have come to feast.
As we tasted the Bread of life,
     may we be filled with that generosity
          which makes us servants.
As we drink from the Cup of grace,
     may we be nourished by
          the fruit of the Spirit found there.
Then, we will go forth
to follow where you lead us:
     to bring justice and mercy
          into communities crumbling by hate;
     to bring hope into those neighborhoods
          where despair sells its wares on the street corners;
     to bring peace to a broken world
          governed by violence and war.

And when all time has come to an end,
as we gather with our sisters and brothers
from every moment and every place,
we will sing our glad songs to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Let us go to wander the streets with God:
for God has everything to do with work, family, our lives, our world.
Let us go to give ourselves away as Jesus did:
for Jesus calls us to upset those around us,
as we accumulate less stuff and make more friends.
Let us go to find the lonely, the empty, the searchers:
for the Spirit would embrace each and every person,
drawing them into the open heart of divine love.

(c) Thom M. Shuman