Sunday, October 27, 2019

All Saints - Year C

Texts:  Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149; Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31

Call to Worship
We gather, with the company of the faithful:
those who know the way to the kingdom
and those who are just beginning their pilgrimage.
We gather, remembering the ones we call saints:
those who made compassion their day job,
and those who have no day named after them.
We gather, praising God for all who have shaped our faith:
those who showed us the dance steps of heaven,
and those who taught us to play the instruments of joy.

Prayer of the Day
If we would but listen, we could hear them:
   the bus driver who sang school songs with us,
      and the coach who whispered encouragement
      before sending us in to play.
   the teacher who never gave up on us,
      and the friend who talked to us when no one else would.

If we would but look, we could see them:
   the grandfather with dimpled knees from playing marbles
   with the neighborhood kids,
      and the nana with nicked hands from hammering
      nails for affordable housing;
   the crossing guard who always stepped in front
   of traffic before we could,
      and the couple who have not stopped holding hands
       Since they first said “I do.”

If we would but pay attention, we could learn from them:
   the single mother who opened up the world
   of reading to a new generation,
      and the nurse up sat by our child’s bed
      after her shift ended;
   those who fought dragons in ancient tales,
      and those who face drug dealers on street corners.

The saints are all around us, so make us mindful of them,
God in Community, Holy in One,
As we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We only have to look in the mirror, recall the hurtful words we spoke this week, remember he person in need we hurried past, to know that we are no saints.  Yet like them, it is us – with our failings and foolish lives – called by God to carry the good news into the world.  Let us confess our sins, that we might set them down and pick up the gospel, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   On this long journey we call life, Holy God, we fail to live as your people.  Too often, we do not in glory shine, but dig through the garbage of life.  We are too busy in our pursuits for more and more to rest in you.  We prefer our own company rather than that blessed communion of your household of faith.
   Have mercy and forgive us, Creator of life.  While we are born of dust, we are nursed by your grace, so that we might share pictures of your kingdom which is unfolding in our midst, so we might tell the stories of your wonder which wraps around us like warm shawls, and so we might sing of the One who has come to transform us from sinners into saints, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do you see them, there out of the corner of your eye?  The people to your right and left, in front of you as well as behind?  They, like you, are God’s saints – ordinary, everyday, forgiven people of God.
Baptized, called, gifted -- we will go to share the Christ-flame with everyone we meet, for we are God’s children, forgiven and made whole.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could lock away our inheritance of grace, hope, peace, and life so that no one else might ever touch them.  Or we could simply share them with others through you, Gracious God.  Take the gifts we offer in this moment and bless all who are looking for your gifts, your presence in their lives.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all saints be with you.
May God bless you as well.
Children of God, offer your hearts to the One who loves you.
We will empty ourselves so we can be filled with grace.
People of God, sing your praises to the One who loves you.
We will offer the new songs taught to all creation.

You approached chaos, Troubled God,
with visions of all which could be good
and beautiful in your imagination.
You spoke a Word and
      gazelles danced in fields,
      elephants trumpeted their joy;
your Spirit stirred in the cosmos and
      stars sang your praises,
      winds whistled through canyons.
All these gifts were the inheritance
for your children created in your image,
   but we dreamed that such power could be ours,
    and listened to death’s lies uttered by sin.
Minor and major, women and men,
you sent the prophets to us
to remind us of your hopes for us,
   but we chose to cling to the temptations
   which had enticed us away from you.
So you sent us the One who invited us
to receive the kingdom you offered to us,
Jesus, the Child of your heart.

With those we call martyrs because of their struggles,
with those we call saints because of their lives,
we join in offering our thanks to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of saints and sinners.
New songs are sung to you by all creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who offers us your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest.

We have heard of your holiness, God of Wonder,
from the One who came bearing the gifts
which you would offer to us in every moment.
Jesus came, to those who had forgotten you,
   so we might remember your joy in us;
Jesus spoke, to those who heard only curses,
   so we might hear the blessings your speak;
Jesus came, to those who hungered for hope,
                     to those who thirsted for justice,
   so death might be destroyed
   by the life he offered for us,
      and the power of sin over us
      might be broken forever.

As we remember the blessings he offered to the poor,
as we seek to offer the gifts with which we have been blessed,
we would sing of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, loving those who had been his enemies;
Christ was raised, giving everyone resurrection life;
Christ will come again, so we might receive your kingdom.

Here at this Table, gathered with our sisters and brothers,
we pray you would pour out your Spirit
upon us as well as the bread and the cup.
It is the bread, in all its brokenness
which is our true inheritance,
   the weakness which overwhelms all power,
   the meekness which welcomes the weak and lonely.
It is the cup, with its grace overflowing,
which is your greatest blessings,
   filling us with peace and reconciliation
   so we might pour ourselves out for a broken world
even as did all those saints and sinners
who have gone on before us.

And when we are gathered at the end
of all time and history with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place, we will join
all creation in forever singing you praise,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

God has fed us on grace,
so let us go to share the kingdom with everyone around us.
Jesus has filled us with compassion and grace,
so let us go to be with others in the days to come.
The Spirit has poured hope into our lives,
so let us go to be a blessing to those in our world.
© Thom M. Shuman