Sunday, October 18, 2020

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for October 25, 2020 (Pentecost 21/Trinity 20/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - A)

 Texts:  Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Psalm 1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

Call to Worship
We are called to love God with our hearts.
We will do so, when we welcome those 
tossed aside by the world.
We are called to love God with our souls.
We will do so, when the brokenness around us
transforms us into more compassionate people.
We are called to love God with our minds.
We will do so, when we think less of our needs,
and see each person as our neighbor, our sister, our brother.

Prayer of the Day
We are blessed when
we listen to the songs of goodness;
   when we skip down the paths of grace
   hand-in-hand with wide-eyed kids.
We are blessed when we pay attention
to the Word of life and welcome;
   when we think about it
   more than once in a while.
We are blessed when 
we put down roots in life's soil,
   watered by the Gardener
   dipping from pools of peace.
We are blessed when 
we share hope with the hungry;
   and offer cool cups of trust
   to all who are parched by the world.
We are blessed when
evil becomes dust drifting away;
   when we choose not 
   to chill with troublemakers.
We are blessed when
we play leapfrog with wonder;
   when God sits on a bench knitting
   and watching with a careful eye.

We are blessed by you, 
God in Community, Holy in One,
and so lift the prayer we have been taught,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We know (don't we) the lives we are called to lead which could offer hope, grace, and peace with God.  Yet we choose to walk down the wrong roads, to hang out with the wrong folks.  Join me, as we confess our lives to God, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We have so many rules in the backs of our minds for others to follow, God of grace, that we often forget to simply love them.  We are so convinced that those around us have sold their souls out of greed, that we do no notice the emptiness of our own.  We use words and actions which shatter the hearts of others, as ours slowly wither from lack of the breath of your Spirit.
   Forgive us for our choosing to live the way we want, Merciful God, rather than being the holy people of your hopes.  May we have nothing up our sleeves, but offer all we have to others.  May we speak the words you give us, as we share the good news of grace.  May we seek to love you as completely and trustingly as did Jesus the Christ, who loved us as sisters and brothers of your heart.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Nothing will deter God from sharing this good news with us: we are heard, we are forgiven, we are offered new lives of service and faith.
Thanks be to God, who offers justice not judgment; who shares grace with us, not holds grudges against us.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
The hungry, the homeless, the searching, the addicted - our neighbors are all around us, O God.  We pray that as we offer our gifts, they might be used not only to bring these sisters and brothers closer to you, but to us as well.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of love be with you.
And also with you.
Let us offer our hearts to our God,
who will fill them so we can love others with compassion.
Join in singing glad songs of praise to God.
May our voices show how we love God with our minds and souls.

Because you are love, Tender God,
you blew away chaos on
the winds of creation as you
   plowed furrows for rivers,
   pushed mountains towards the sky,
   floated stars in winter nights.
You loved us enough to shape us
in your image, to dwell with you,
   but we listened to sin's flummery,
   trusting death's empty promises.
The prophets came time and again
to point the way to you,
   but we followed Wicked's advice
   and played in the sandbox with other scoffers.
Then Jesus came to speak to all
of your unending love for us.

With those neighbors who live next door,
and with those we may never meet,
we sing our songs of love and praise:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who gives us courage.
All creation delights in loving you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who was not deterred
   from sharing the good news.
Hosanna in the highest!

Because your holiness mirrors your love,
your Child was willing to become one of us
so we might be sisters and brothers.
He did not trick us with words,
   but rolled up his sleeves
   to stand by us in every moment.
Like a nurse sitting by a bed,
   he brought healing and peace
   to the hurting and grieving.
Refusing the seat offered by power,
   he embraced the cross,
   walking down the path of death
   into the cold grave, until
you brought him forth
in resurrection love.

As we seek to serve with hope and love,
as we gather with our neighbors at the Table,
we proclaim that mystery known as faith:

Loving you more than himself, Christ died;
loving him more than yourself, you raised Christ to new life;
loving us and our neighbors, Christ will come for us.

As we seek to love you with
our hearts, minds, and souls;
as we gather with our neighbors,
pour out your Spirit, God of feasts,
on the gifts of the bread and the cup
and those here in these moments.
As we taste the broken bread,
may the life of Jesus be in us,
   that life which seeks justice,
   that life which shares hope,
   that life which bears no grudges.
As we drink of the grace in the cup,
may the Spirit which was in Jesus
also flow through and from us,
   that Spirit which welcomes all,
   that Spirit which loves each person,
   that Spirit which serves the vulnerable.

And when there are no more questions,
but only the answer of your gracious love,
we will gather around your Feast,
loving strangers as long-lost family,
and you with our hearts, souls, and minds,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Go now, to love God.
We will do so, not just with warm thoughts,
but using our minds to solve problems
which beset those around us.
Go now, to love Jesus.
We will do so, not just with changed hearts,
but with passion to challenge all
who would damage the lives of others.
Go now, to love the Spirit.
We will do so, not just with pious souls,
but with a willingness to serve in places we are sent.

(c) Thom M. Shuman