Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Alternate texts liturgy for September 6, 2020 (Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Proper 18/Ordinary 23 - A)

Texts:  Ezekiel 33:7-11; Psalm 119:33-40; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20

Call to Worship
We gather here, where God would teach us:
so we may learn to be more compassionate,
so we may be taught how to be more loving.
We gather here, where Jesus would teach us
the wisdom to choose forgiveness over holding a grudge,
the language of hope so we may speak to all.
We gather here, where the Spirit imparts wisdom,
so we might know how to share grace,
so we would learn to welcome all to this Table.

Prayer of the Day
Liberating God:
you set us free from our loneliness
by the touch of another's hand;
you deliver us from our selfishness,
so we may be of service to others;
you break the chains of our pride,
so we might walk with you in humility.

Christ of love,
when we would cling to our anger,
you send forgiveness to take us by the hand;
when we would snack on our bitterness,
you share the Bread of heaven;
when we would drink from sin's fountain,
you pour out the Cup of salvation.

Spirit of new life:
you gather us together in God's school
to teach us how
     to live together,
     to love together,
     to serve together,
so that those around us might know
that you are in their midst.

God in Community, Holy in One,
fill us with your wisdom as we pray, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
In worship and at work, in life and in loss, now and in every moment, Christ is among us: loving us, teaching us, and hoping to lead us.  But we focus on those needs, on those desires that keep us from recognizing him.  Let us confess all that we have done against God and others, as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     All you ask of us is to love one another, God of our lives, and you are more than willing to teach us how.  Yet we find this simple request so hard to carry out, this easy lesson so difficult to learn.  Someone cuts us off in traffic, and we curse them.  Another buys something we want but cannot afford, and we overflow with jealousy.  A friend gets the acclaim we wanted, and we whisper about them behind their backs.
     Forgive us, Merciful God, and unclasp our hands from our grudges.  With Christ in our midst, we can become the people your dream about: loving, merciful, gentle, and compassionate children of God.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
2, 3, 30, 300  - we have gathered as God's people:
   broken, we are made whole;
   alone, we are welcomed into a family;
   forgiven, we are sent to serve.
Fed, forgiven, restored, loved.  This Table is our constant reminder of God's presence in our lives, of God's grace which makes us new in every moment.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts go forth into our world, so that where people hunger, they may be fed; where there is war, peace might be welcomed; where families are broken, they may be made whole.  Then others will be as blessed as we have been by your love, grace, and compassion.  In Jesus' name, we offer our gifts and this prayer of gratitude.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God our Teacher be with you.
And also with you.
Now is the moment to offer your hearts to God.
Now, we turn our hearts to your grace.
Join in songs of thanks and praise to our God.
We join with all who are here and throughout the world in praise.

We praise you, Holy God:
Shaper of the Bread of life,
Pourer of the Cup of salvation.
Face-to-face with chaos,
you spoke that Word that taught
     elephants to blow water out their trunks,
     monkeys to swing from trees,
     leaves to swirl gently to the ground,
     gases to form into planets.
All that was light and wonder and hope
was offered to those crafted in your image,
     but we wandered through the shadows of sin,
     following the teachings of death.
You sought to bring us back to you
by sending prophets with your gracious words,
     but we could not hear you
     above sin's siren songs.
Taking on human form yourself,
you came to live among us,
so we might see your face-to-face
and know your forgiveness firsthand.

With our sisters and brothers at our side,
with those before us and those behind us,
we sing the songs of the gathered faithful:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Teacher of your children.
All creation sings the praises learned from you:
     creatures roaming the earth,
     dolphins splashing in the sea,
     eagles soaring through the sky.
Glory to you forever and ever,
Hosanna in the highest!

God, our righteousness,
you take pleasure in your people and so
     in love, you became human;
     in hope, you came to us;
     in joy, you gave yourself to us
through your Child, Jesus our Brother.
Clothed in light,
     he came to lead us out of the shadows.
Filled with your wisdom,
     he came to teach us your ways.
One with you forever,
     he came to gather us into your family.
Humble enough to take on our death,
     he carries us into your kingdom.

As we come to this Table
which you have prepared for us,
we remember the faith which was his:

Christ died, facing death one-on-one.
Christ was raised, bringing new life for all.
Christ will come, when the time is right.

Move over these gifts of the Table,
Breath of God,
and on those gathered for this meal.
As the bread of hope heals our brokenness,
may we go forth to be reconciled
to those we have harmed.
As the cup of grace quenches our thirst for hope,
may we reach out to those
whom the world has forgotten.
As your peace fills our empty souls,
may we bring that peace to our world.

And when that day comes when
all brokenness is made whole,
all barriers are torn down,
all people live at peace with one another,
we will gather at your holy feast,
singing our praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go now to the people who are overwhelmed by despair.
We will take the hope which has been given to us and share it with all.
Go now to those who are at odds with neighbors.
We will offer the peace and reconciliation which God has poured into our lives.
Go now to those who are the most vulnerable in our world.
We will bring the healing, the grace, the love of our God.

(c) Thom M. Shuman