Sunday, October 27, 2019

Liturgy with communion for November 3, 2019 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - C)

Texts: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10

 Call to Worship
We gather in awe
standing in the presence of the One
who crafted the stars, the mountains, the seas.
We gather in faith,
trusting that the One who has held little children
holds our lives in the heart of God.
We gather in need,
seeking the One who longs for justice
to grace each and every person in creation.

Prayer of the Day

You stirred the dust
     and created us for service;
you breathed into our lungs
     so we could share your good news;
you shape our hearts
with the tools of compassion
     so we will seek justice for all.
We thank you, God of gifts.

In the hospitality of Zaccheus,
     we see your openness
          for all who are different;
in the grumbling of his neighbors,
     we hear the echoes
          of our own prejudices and fears;
in his transformation
into a new person,
     we see your grace
          which is prepared for us.
We thank you,
Companion of the poor.

You cradle us in the peace
     of the resting night;
you awaken us
     with the light of dawn
          and the warmth of your gentleness;
you walk with us through each day,
     nudging us to be that blessing
          we are called to be to others.
We thank you,
Surprising Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our thanks to you,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
How patient is God! We run around trying to do everything our way, and God just waits. We try to buy life and happiness, and God waits. We hurt others and walk away from those in need, and God waits. God waits, and upon hearing our heartfelt prayers and cries for help, God touches us with forgiveness and new life. Come, join me as we pray to the One who waits to hear - from us!

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Surrounded by so many seductions, Patient God, we find it difficult to see you in our lives. Justice has a hard time surviving when there is so much persecution and affliction towards the little ones of the world. Our neighborhoods, our families, even our churches, are filled with strife and contention.

     We cry for help, Listening God; forgive us! As we wait for your grace to fill our lives, may we open our hearts to your hope and healing, always giving thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Rich, poor; young, old; sinner, saint. We are all God's children, and God transforms each of us into the people we are meant to be.
Broken, we are mended; separated from others, we are made one; longing to serve, we are sent forth. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
How easily we overlook the Zaccheus in our midst - the father short of money, the woman short of hope, the children short of food.  As we offer our gifts, we pray you would open our hearts to recognize all around us, especially those looking for you in us.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of all hope be with you.
And also with you. 
Lift your hearts to the One who comes to feast with you.
We offer our hearts to God who is in our midst.
Children of God, sing praises to the One
who feeds you with goodness and hope.
Our hearts and voices resound with joy.

In your heart, God of wonder,
you wrote the vision of creation,
and the Word shaped the mountains
     from the rich loam of the valleys,
your Spirit breathed life into every
     which sprang forth from your imagination.
Welcomed into your garden with hope,
we forgot your words of hospitality,
     running to catch a glimpse of the parade
     of seductions sin and death brought to town.
Prophets came, your vision written on their hearts,
your voice standing behind their words
which sought to bring us back to you,
     but we took no delight in their invitations.
So you sent your Beloved, Jesus the Christ,
to be the guest of sinners in every time and place,
that we might receive the gift of salvation.

So, with reformers and saints who have gone before us,
with friends and neighbors sitting around us,
we lift our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of justice and righteousness.
All creation keeps watch for your justice.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to call us home.
Hosanna in the highest.

In your heart, Forgiving God,
you wrote the vision of redemption,
and sent Jesus, your Servant of righteousness,
to your people at the appointed time.
When our zeal for sin consumed us,
     he came to feed us with the bread of life;
when our souls were emptied out
by the corruption of death,
     he came to grow abundant faith in us;
when we saw only destruction on the horizon,
     he came to stand at his watchpost,
          defeating sin and death so they could
          never harm us again,
and inviting us to find life and peace
in your heart's home for all eternity.

As we remember his life, his teachings, his words,
as we celebrate the good news of his resurrection,
we speak of our faith, which often seems a mystery:

Christ died, faithful to the end;
Christ was raised, your righteousness come true;

Christ will return, our hope and peace.

In your heart, Blessing God,
your wrote the vision of a community
which would live out your kingdom here on earth,
pouring out your Spirit of life and grace
upon the gifts of the Bread and Cup,
and on your people gathered for your Feast.
As we are fed by your Word become life,
     give us understanding so we might hear
          those who are crying out for hope;
as we are nourished by your Spirit of peace,
     may we go to all who live surrounded by oppression,
          bringing justice to every place
          where it has never prevailed.

And when we are gathered in that vision
of life forever which is written in your heart,
we will join our sisters and brothers
from every time and place, forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God gives us the vision,
so let us go to see others as our sisters and brothers.
Jesus gives us the eyes,
so let us look in all the unexpected places
to welcome all into our lives.
The Spirit calls us to watch,
so let us bear witness to the justice and hope
coming into our shattered world.

(c) Thom M. Shuman