Monday, August 30, 2021

Alternate texts liturgy for September 5, 2021 (Pentecost 15/Trinity 14/Proper 18/Ordinary 23 - B)

 Texts:  Isaiah 35:4-9a; Psalm 146; James 2:7-10 (10-13) 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

Call to Worship
Here, in this place, we will not be afraid to sing the good news.
We will praise our God, now and always.
Here, with this people, we will not fear in living the good news.
We will walk with Jesus, as he comes with justice in his hands.
Here, in these moments, we will not be scared to tell the good news.
We will be open to all the Holy Spirit is doing in our midst.

Prayer of the Day
On your holy road,
Heart of faithfulness,
those blinded by fear
   will see hope;
those deafened by doubt’s cries
   will hear grace;
those who have only crumbs
   will be filled with love.

On your holy road,
Heart of justice,
bullies will become mentors
   for those they tormented;
those who can’t find the right words
   will compose songs of wonder;
those who trip over their worries
   will dance in the streets.

On your holy road,
Heart of grace,
those convinced of their ways
   will learn to change their minds;
those whose hearts are barren deserts
   will bloom with bouquets of laughter;
those who have buried faith under a mound of words
   will see it resurrected in compassion for others.

We long to journey on your holy road,
God in Community, Hearts united,
as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
So many choices, and we make the wrong ones; so many paths to take, and we go down the wrong ones; so much good we could do, and all we do is offer empty words.  Let us bring our lives and hearts to our God, who is our help and hope, in this and every moment.  Let us pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   We say that we are good listeners, God of holy ways, but we turn stopped up ears to the vulnerable around us.  We say that we live as your people, but too often, put ourselves ahead of the people we love.  We say that we are people of faith, but then try to overwhelm people with words, rather than acts of service.
   We say so much, God of compassion, that we cannot hear you calling us to faithful living.  Have mercy on us and send us out to offer kindness to the lonely.  Have mercy on us and send us to be generous with the love you offer.  Have mercy on us, so we might be open to all the chances we will have to follow, and to serve alongside our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Whisper it.  Say it.  Shout it.  Sing it!  Our God comes with justice, not judgment; with hope, not a heavy hand; with grace, not grudges.  This is the good news for us.
We will not be scared to tell anyone, and everyone, of our God who overflows with mercy, who sets us free, who watches over us.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts not be the crumbs of our lives, but justice for those overlooked by the world; be healing for those broken by pain and grief; be grace for those who long to be listened to and welcomed.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of holy ways be with you.
May God be with you as well.
Here we may come, to be fed by grace and hope.
Here we offer our hollow hearts to our God.
We will rejoice and praise God every chance we get.
We will sing to our God in every moment of our lives.

You came, God of Imagination,
into the emptiness of chaos,
your arms laden with the gifts of creation:
   sweet, juicy tomatoes on vines;
   honey dripping from combs in trees;
   cool, clear water rushing over rocks.
These wonders, and so much more,
were given to those you loved enough
to form in your own image, so we might
feast upon your goodness and bounty,
   but we scrambled around under death’s tables,
   seeking to scoop up the crumbs of temptation.
Prophets came over and over and over,
their words, their lives, their hearts
open calls for us to return to your side,
   but we turned hard hearts 
   and fear-plugged ears to them.
Then, because you are our help,
you sent your precious Hope to us,
the One who would speak as you.

With those who speak plainly,
with those who have trouble changing their minds,
we life our songs of thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, our God, now and always.
All creation praises you every day, in every moment.  
Hosanna in the highest!  

Blessed is the One opens us to your grace. 
Hosanna in the highest!

In the baby born into poverty,
you came, God of the vulnerable,
   to challenge the powerful and profane.
In the young boy playing in the fields,
you came, God of the faithful,
   to know our loneliness, as well as our joy.
In the teacher who wove stories of wonder,
you came, God of justice,
   to remind us that mercy triumphs over judgment,
   that inclusiveness welcomes every outsider.
In the One broken on the cross,
you came, God of life,
   to break the power of sin once and for all,
   to set us free from our fear of death.

As we remember the One who was willing to listen,
as prepare to be fed by the One who was willing to learn,
may we not be afraid to speak of that mystery we call faith:

Jesus died, so we might find our hope in you;
Jesus was raised, so we might find our help in you;
Jesus will come, so we might find our life with you.

In these moments, and in this place,
you come, God of the feast,
pouring out your Spirit on the bread and the cup 
and your family gathered around the Table.  
Though we would sweep out the crumbs of the broken bread, 
you gather them up 
   to feed the most vulnerable with life, 
   to bring healing to the broken, 
  to offer community to the lonely.  
Though we would toss out the dregs of the cup, 
you would pass this grace
   to the refugee so they might find a welcome, 
   to the transgendered so they would know they are loved, 
   to the aged so they are not forgotten.

And when you have set us free from time’s prison,
you gather us around the feast of heaven where,
with our sisters and brothers, we will sing
your praises, now and always,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Now, let us go with grace in our hearts.
We will not be afraid to proclaim the good news.
Now, let us go with justice in our hearts, in our hands.
We will not shrink from speaking to those in power
to set the most vulnerable free from all that limits them.
Now, let us go with hope in our hearts, in our hands, on our lips.
We will join the Spirit in singing the good news to our world.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman