Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Liturgy with communion for August 23, 2020 (Pentecost 12/Trinity 11/Proper 16/Ordinary 21 - A)

Texts: Exodus 1:8 – 2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Call to Worship
In a time of bitterness and pain,
God raised up Moses,
and changed the lives of a people.
From the shadow of death,
God raised up Jesus,
and changed the lives of all people.
In every time, and in every place,
God raises up witnesses,
people whose lives are changed forever.

Prayer of the Day
Like Miriam with Moses,
you watch over us,
Ever-seeing God.
You do not leave us
to drift on the currents
of the world.
you will not give us over
to the power of evil.
you have not left us alone,
but gifted us with your Body,
the church.

Christ of Compassion:
you could have used the wise,
but you work through the foolish.
you could have chosen
the most gifted talkers,
but you speak through children.
you could command us
to do anything you wish,
but you beg us
to open our lives
to God's Wisdom.

Helper Spirit:
when we are reluctant
to part with our treasures,
you fill us with generosity.
when we are hesitant
to help others,
you make us passionate to serve.
when we are lonely and afraid,
you surround us with loving
sisters and brothers.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as we have been taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We are so much like Peter.  Jesus tells us what it will take to follow him, and we want to argue.  Jesus shows us the way to the Kingdom, and we seek a smoother path.  Let us put down all that keeps us from following Jesus, as we confess our sins to God.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We confess our struggle to be transformed into disciples, God of mystery.  The desires of the world would shape us into people you would not recognize.
The demands of our society pull us away from your heart.  Our culture values the rich, the powerful, the successful, but you are on the side of the weak, the poor, the outcast, the oppressed.
   Forgive us, Merciful God, for looking for you in the wrong places.  Reawaken us with your voice that calls us to service; revive our weary hearts with your vision of creation; refresh our fatigued spirits that we might boldly proclaim Jesus as our Lord and as our Savior, and go forth to serve your people in Christ's name.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It's too easy to think like the world, that money will give us happiness, that power will earn us grace.  But Paul reminds us that if we think like Christ, and live like servants, we will find true freedom.
Not only our minds, but our hearts and spirits will be transformed into the likeness of Christ, enabling us to be faithful disciples.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication
We will not proclaim our faith with our words only, but with our lives and these gifts we offer to you, O God, we pray that others might be transformed by your grace, your hope, and your peace.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
God watches over everyone, including you.
May God watch over you.
Let us open our hearts to the God of Miriam and Moses.
We lift our hearts to the God who changes all lives.
People of God, let us sing to the God of Jesus and Peter.
In this time and this place, we sing glad songs
to the One who is with us in every place, in every moment.

Chaos thought it more powerful
than you, God of the forgotten,
but you were on the side of all
that is beautiful, true, and gracious,
and so, through the water of your creation,
rivers thundered beneath mountains,
drenching soil with all which would bring forth
life in abundance, and hope overflowing.
Scooping up dust from earth’s floor,
you shaped us in your image and soul,
so we might live with you.
Death and temptation yearned for us
to follow them down foolish paths,
and we raced behind them.
Prophets came, to be midwives
of hope, of grace, of wonder to us,
but we turned our backs in anger
as they tried to bring us home to you.
We ignored Miriam and Moses,
forgot the songs of Hannah and Isaiah,
and so, you sent Jesus to us,
to throw open the gates
to the kingdom of your heart.

So, with those who long to remain faithful,
with those who proclaim who Jesus is,
our voices are joined as one in praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, ever-watchful God.
Creation sings praises to you in every moment.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who never gives up on us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Your imagination mirrors your holiness, O God,
and your Word is made human in Jesus, our Brother.
He came to be on our side,
to show us paths of grace and hope.
You could have been judgmental,
but he came to share your compassion.
You could have been stingy with mercy,
but opened up your heart.
You could have left us in the grip of death,
but he walked into the grave,
sweeping it’s power away from us,
as he was raised to new life
by your love and hope.

So, come to be at his side
around this table of life and joy,
we sing of that mystery called faith:

Jesus died, taking our side against sin.
Jesus was raised, God taking his side against death.
Jesus will come, taking us home at his side.

If the Spirit were not with us,
this bread and the cup would mean nothing,
but you pour the Spirit out on our side,
so that we might be transformed by these gifts.
Filled with the bread broken for us,
the Spirit sends us out
so we might empty ourselves
for those forced into hunger and despair.
Handing us the cup of grace,
the Spirit nourishes us
so we might be at the side of the forgotten,
challenging all who would feed
your children on injustice and hopelessness.

And when the final moments come and
and all oppression, all evil, all cruelty
has gone the way of chaos at the beginning,
we will join our voices with our sisters and brothers
in forever singing your praises,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

We are called to do God’s work in our communities,
and so, we go out on God’s side to love others.
We are called to serve every person, in every place,
and so, we go to work at the side of Jesus in the world.
We are called to proclaim peace, and live it in our lives,
and so, we go to be on the Spirit’s side.

© 2020 Thom M. Shuman