Monday, August 16, 2021

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for August 22, 2021 (Pentecost 13/Trinity 12/Proper 16/Ordinary 21 - B)

 Texts: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18; Psalm 34:15-22; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

 Call to Worship
To abide in you;
to find strength in you;
to worship you in these moments,
we gather, O God.
To challenge the evil around us;
to bring healing to the hurt;
to offer hope to the vulnerable,
we follow, Jesus our Brother.
To learn how to live;
to put away our old gods;
to stick with God in every moment,
we listen, Holy Spirit.

Prayer of the Day
Knowing the words to familiar hymns
and offering a word of welcome to a stranger;
listening to the silly stories of 5-year-olds
and affirming an awkward adolescent;
dancing to soul-filled tunes
and walking a sick neighbor’s dog:
we continue to love you, O God.

Filling a grocery cart for the food pantry
and dropping off supplies for a free health clinic;
living out God’s hopes for others,
rather than giving into the mongers of fear;
cradling the broken heart of the widower
and mending the toddler’s flat tire:
we choose to stick by your side, Servant to all.

Noticing the faithful teachers arms full of supplies
and paying for them out of our own pockets;
taking a lonely neighbor out for lunch
and reconnecting with an old college mate;
refusing to turn our backs on the forgotten
and holding leaders accountable for injustices,
we offer the bread of life, Holy Spirit.

In all ways, with all people, in all moments,
we give thanks to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, 
even as we lift the prayer we are taught, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we could pay attention to our words and actions, we become distracted by our worries, our desires.  Yet God would seek to clothe us in garments of hope and grace, so we might continue to walk in the ways of love and peace.  Let us bring our lives to the One who offers us mercy, as we pray together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   Yes, Watcher of the faithful, we could put on the comfortable shirt of faith, but prefer fear with its frayed cuffs and stains on the front.  We could slip on the loafers of peace, but squeeze into the size-too-small stiff dress shoes of anger.  We could wrap truth around our lives, yet continue to punch holes in the belt of falsehood so it always fits.
     Hear us, Faithful heart, and rescue us from our worst selves.  When we are lonely, you offer us your heart as a refuge.  When we are broken, you knit us back together.  When we are afraid, you promise to draw us into your embrace.  When we are faithless, you continue to call us to follow Jesus the Christ, the only Word we need in the midst of so many hollow promises.  Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
As God listens to our voices and hearts, our brokenness is gathered up and we are made whole, as mercy and hope fill our lives.
We are forgiven.  We are transformed into new people.  We are clothed with grace and peace, so we may go and serve as God’s people.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May these simple gifts transform into shoes for those who have none, into clothes for kids heading off to school, into faith, hope, peace, and grace for all of your children, Holy God.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of the feast be with you;
may God also be with you.
We come to the place where God has called us.
We lift up our hearts to the One who mends them.
Here, we are fed with living hope and grace.
And so, we lift our songs of thanksgiving to God.

You listened to the silence of chaos,
Wonder-filled God, and called forth creation.
Yes, there were feathered birds,
   but also faith planted in the hollows of our hearts;
there were porpoises swimming in clear waters,
   as well as peace to shelter us in trouble;
trees grew tall with shade
   and truth whispered to us in the evenings.
All these good and precious gifts
were offered to those in your image,
   but we were seduced by the wiles
   of the Evil One, feasting on moldy lies.
Prophets came to call us back to you
with words, prayers, and challenges,
   but we wished that you would go away
   and leave us alone to our doubts.
That is when you chose to send
your love, your hope, your grace to us
in the One made human like us.

With those who are bold in their faith,
and those who can barely lift their hearts,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who clothes us.
All creation gathers to praise you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Bread of life offered to us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Though you are holy, Eternal God,
you would not forsake us to our foolishness
but became bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh.
In Jesus, we hear the tough teachings
of justice for those we would ignore,
   not the easy platitudes of those
   who claim they do not matter.
In Jesus, we are offered the life
which is grounded in your hope and grace,
   not the daily promises of success
   which are pulled out from under us.
In Jesus, we taste the sweetness
of resurrection life and love,
   not the moldy and stale death
   the Evil One tells us is our finish.

As we come to the Table of living bread,
as we prepare to take the cup of grace,
make us bold with that faith which is hard to understand:  

Though the Word was shattered on the cross,
you did not forsake him, Loving God,
but completed the mystery of the gospel
with your resurrection love, offered to all.         

We come to this holy feast, Loving God,
because this is where you want us to be,
gathered with those who like us,
seek to be faithful and not forsake you.
Here, the Spirit is the yeast in
the bread which, though broken, offers life
to those who eat of it, so we might
   share peace with every step we take,
   speak the gospel with every action of our lives,
   stand firm against the injustices around us.
Here, the Spirit is poured into
the cup which, when emptied, fills us so we can
   wrap our arms around the lonely and grieving,
   gather up broken hearts and mend them,
   reunite children separated from their families.

And when we are no longer ambassadors
in chains of hope, grace, and peace,
but are gathered with our sisters and brothers,
we will join in praising you at all times,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen. 

To whom should we go, Holy God,
now that worship is done?
We will go to nurture others with grace.
Where should we go, Holy One of God,
now that the songs have been sung?
We will go to serve those around us,
for you are the Word of hope all need.
Why should we go from this space,
gracious Spirit, where we find life?
We will go to gather who are lonely,
all who hunger for community.  

© Thom M. Shuman