Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Liturgy with communion for October 31, 2021 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - B)

 Texts: Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34

Call to Worship
You are welcome in this place,
where God meets us in love.
Why are we here?
We are here to love God
with all that we have and all that we are.
You are welcome in this place,
where God loves us as children.
Why are we here?
We are here to love ourselves
as deeply as God loves us.
Welcome to this place,
where God serves us at the
Table of love and grace.
Why are we here?
We are here to be sent forth
to love others as deeply as
we love God and ourselves.

Prayer of the Day
Living God:
when there is a famine
in our souls,
you feed us with grace;
when there are pockets of poverty
in our love for others,
you bless us with generosity;
when we are empty and alone,
you move into our hearts.

Jesus, Bearer of the good things
which have come to us:
you bend down
to lift us from despair;
you embrace those
who haven't a friend in the world;
you open the eyes of those
struck blind by arrogance and ambition.

Eternal Spirit:
you walk with us
wherever we go;
you take the fragments of our lives
and reshape us into holy people;
you are with us,
and not even death can separate us.

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

Call to Reconciliation
The world teaches us many ways to love, but all are based on selfish desires and needs. God teaches us how to love: completely, uniquely, unconditionally. Let us confess our difficulty to be as loving as God teaches us, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are hesitant to confess, Holy God, how hard it is to love as you wish. It is easy to love you with all that we are, except when you ask us to love our neighbor with all that we have. We find it hard to love our neighbor, when it is linked to the way we love ourselves. And it is difficult to love anyone - even You - more than we love ourselves.
      Forgive us, Love Eternal. As you took a risk in creating us, help us to take risks to love others compassionately, to love ourselves genuinely, and to love you as completely as you love us in Jesus
Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In God's Kingdom, all are loved for who they are, not what they do;
in God's Kingdom, all are forgiven for what they do, and don't;
in God's Kingdom, all are welcomed and fed by God's grace and hope.
Forgiven, loved, sent forth -
we are not far from God's Kingdom!
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering As we offer our gifts, our hearts, our lives to you, may we see your kingdom of hope and wonder, of healing and kindness unfolding in our midst.  This we ask in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
My beloved sisters and brothers, may the Lord be with you.
And also with you.
My beloved brothers and sisters, lift up your hearts.
Our hearts are lifted high to God.
Beloved of God, let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Thanksgiving is in our hearts, and praise is on our lips.

We will sing praises to you all life long,
O Lord our God,
maker of the earth, the heavens, the seas,
and all that dwell in them.
You made us in your image
so we might be your people
and worship you forever.
But blinded by the seductions of the world,
we wandered far from your Kingdom,
putting our trust in those powers that cannot save us.

Despite our turning our backs on you,
you have clung to us in grace and love,
determined to be faithful to the covenant
you established with us.

Therefore, we join our voices,
with the saints of every time and of every place,
singing our praises to your heart:

Holy, holy, holy are you, Lord God of our souls.
Heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them
     glorify your name forever.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One whose help is in you.
Hosanna in the highest!

We praise you, Holy God,
and bless your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Help, our Hope, our Lord.
He opened the eyes of the blind,
so we might behold your grace;
he loosed the bonds of the captive,
so we might follow in freedom;
he watched over strangers,
so we might become brothers and sisters;
he lifted up those who had fallen,
so we might walk the streets of the Kingdom;
he gave his heart to those ignored by the world,
so the widow and orphan might find
their heart's home in you;
he endured death's embrace,
so we might be welcomed
into eternal life with you.

His life, his words, his death, his resurrection
are mysteries we may not understand completely,
but which we will proclaim with faith:

Christ died, loving us more than himself;
Christ rose, loving God with all that he was;
Christ will come again, loving all God's children,
     so we might be neighbors forever.

As we break the Bread of Life
and drink from the Cup of Salvation,
pour out your eternal Spirit
upon these gifts
and those who will receive them.
Despite our unfaithfulness,
we are determined to go with you;
despite our weakness,
we are resolved to worship you;
despite our fears and prejudices,
we are unfaltering in our commitment
to justice and hope for others.

Through your Son, Jesus Christ, who is our grace;
through the Spirit, who is our hope;
we honor and glorify your love
for all people in creation,
Great God, our peace and our joy,
now and forever. Amen.

As you leave this place, go with God.
We will go wherever God goes.
As you depart to serve, go with Christ.
We will not turn back from following Jesus.
As you live the coming days, go with the Spirit.
God's people will be our people,
and we will share our lives with them.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Alternate texts Liturgy with communion for October 31, 2021 (Pentecost 23/Trinity 22/Proper 26/Ordinary 31 - B)

 Texts:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Psalm 119:1-8; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-34

Call to Worship
Blessed are those who pay attention to God’s words.
We will keep them close to our hearts
and write them on our souls.
Blessed are those who seek to walk with God’s Word, Jesus.
We will seek to love our God completely
and our neighbors as if they were us.
Blessed are those keep their eyes on the Spirit.
We will learn the ways of peace
and practice the art of hope.

Prayer of the Day
When we could offer our hearts
to the highest bidder,
may we give them to you
without reservation;
when we could find love
in the shadowed streets of temptation,
may crawl up into your lap,
and be wrapped in your embrace,
God who alone is God.

When we could sprint after
the wealthy and powerful,
trying to keep up with them,
may we serve the vulnerable
in the neighborhoods everyone ignores;
when we could lose our souls
seeking to bargain with prevaricators,
may we listen to your truth
in the simple songs of little children,
Brother of the oppressed.

When we could easily forget
your words of grace and hope,
may we teach them to our kids
before they head off into the day;
when we could tell them stories
of folks who think might makes right,
may we read them bedtime stories
of grace that rebuilds families,
of hope which restores communities,
Spirit who would draw us close to the kingdom.

When we could keep trying to do it our way,
may we walk in your way of love,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray as we are taught,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The books, movies, television shows make it seem so easy, so wonderful.  Yet love is more difficult than we realize, whether it is our inability to love those around us, our hollow words of how much we love God, or the simple truth that we know ourselves too well to think we our loveable.  So let us bring our lives, our emptiness, our hopes to our God who does, who has, and who will love us unconditionally.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   When our neighbors think and act like us, God of words, it is easy to love them, but harder when they dress and talk in a different way.  It is so simple to love you in moments of worship, but at work or the gym, in the stores or in school seems to be more difficult.  It is easy to love ourselves, until someone asks us why we said a certain thing or why we made that foolish choice.
   Yet you continue to love us, God of mercy, and so may our hearts be changed by your faithfulness; may our souls take comfort in the realization that you are always with us; may we discover the wisdom and hope others offer as we listen more closely to them; may we be strengthened in our discipleship by the One who models weakness and compassion for others, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Hear God’s words of forgiveness and hope;
keep these words in your hearts;
share them with every person you meet;
for this is the good news:  God loves us.
We will pay attention to God words, we will cradle them in our souls, we will live them in every moment we have.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
By sharing from the blessings you have given us, Holy God, we can love our neighbors, especially those who are hungry, those who huddle in shadowed doorways, those we need medical care, and those who need to know they are loved – by us as well as by you.  Bless our gifts and use them so all might draw closer to your kingdom.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God’s love surround you!
May God’s love embrace you!
Let us love our God with every fiber of our lives.
We open our hearts and souls to God,
serving God with our strength and thoughts.
Let us praise God with loud voices.
Let us keep God’s words close as we sing in joy.

You heard the silence of chaos
and spoke, God of love,
your Word calling forth all creation
and your Spirit breathing life into
   trees growing tall in forests,
   dolphins splashing in seas,
   butterflies and bees pollinating flowers.
You did not do all this for yourself,
but for those shaped in your image,
that we might love you completely
and share this goodness with others,
   but we would not tell of this wonder,
   preferring the anger and hurt
   sin and death poured into us
   to offer to those around us.
Walking in your way,
prophets came, calling us to pay attention
to your words of hope and restoration,
   but we continued to dwell
   in the crumbling hovels of temptation.
Than you sent your Heart to us,
so that we would know, once and for all,
of your great love for us.

With those who tell of you to their children,
with those who have tattooed you on their souls,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of all people.
Creation in its beauty and wonder sings praises to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is the bearer of all good things.
Hosanna in the highest!

You alone are holy, Merciful God,
and could remain aloof from us,
but you chose to bear our human frame
in the One whose birth we draw near.
Jesus came with words of hope,
   so that we could share them with children.
Jesus came with words of wonder,
   so that we could find joy in the midst of despair.
Jesus came with words of grace,
   so that we could be neighbors to the broken.
Jesus came with words of life,
   so that death could have no power over him,
   as he was brought forth from the grave
   in resurrection’s power.

As we prepare to celebrate the feast of grace,
as we seek to love others as we are loved,
we proclaim that mystery we call faith:

Jesus died, defeating fear once and for all.
Jesus was raised, defeating death once and for all.
Jesus will come, gathering us to your side once and for all.

Here, you gather your beloved children at the Table,
pouring out your Spirit on the gifts prepared
and on those gathered in these moments.
Though broken, the bread strengthens us
   to welcome all turned away by fear,
   to bring healing to those who have no hope,
   to feed those who have empty pantries.
Though ordinary liquid, the cup enables us
   to see the broken hearts of others,
   to listen to the cries of the forsaken,
   to share our souls with the lonely.

And when we are gathered at the end of time
with our sisters and brothers from every place,
we will lift our voices to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Our hearts filled with God’s love,
we will go to share it with those around us
who know only rejection and fear.
Our souls filled with the grace of Jesus,
we will carry it into neighborhoods
where hate threatens to tear people apart.
Our minds filled with the wisdom of the Spirit,
we will have the strength to call out bigotry,
to denounce the mongers of anger.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, October 25, 2021

Liturgy w/communion for Reformation Sunday (October 31, 2021)

 Texts: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

Call to Worship
Be still!
We come to quiet ourselves in this haven of holiness.
Be still and know . . .
we come to discern the Word that can set us free.
Be still and know that God is . . .
our Hope, our Help, our Refuge, and our Redeemer.

Prayer of the Day
You break the cycle of wars,
     so we may be enriched by your peace;
you shatter the grip of violence,
     so we may be freed from our fears;
you plant your words of hope deep within us,
carving on our hearts:
     'you are mine.'
You give us the word we need,
     so we might live in your grace,
God of Creation.

You freely become one of us,
     so we could be liberated
     from our addiction to sin;
you take us by the hand
     to lead us out of our doubts;
you give us the words we need,
     so we can continue to share
     your good news of life,
Friend of the needy.

You pull us to safety
     when sin's waters swirl around our feet;
you surround us with serenity
     when doubts rattle our souls;
you give us words we need,
     whenever we wander
     onto the paths of trouble,
Spirit of Holiness.

God in Community, Holy in One,
you give us the words we need
to pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We can no longer flatter ourselves about how good we are. We do not need to make grandstand plays to get God's attention. We only need to confess our lives, as God makes good on the promises of grace and mercy. Join me as we ask God to reform us into God's children, praying together,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
      Heart of the Covenant: we have known your hopes for us, and disappointed every one of them; we have heard your words of faithfulness, and forgotten every one of them; we have seen your dreams for us, and turned every one of them into ashes.
     Forgive us, Hope's Heart. Silence every blustering word, so we may hear your mercy; still every feeble attempt to justify ourselves, so we may be made right with you; melt every frozen heart, so we might be drenched in your river of joy. May Jesus Christ continue to live in us, so we might be free to live forever with you.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Be still and know the good news: God has not forsaken nor forgotten us, but redeems us.
Why should we be afraid? God is in our midst - forgiving, restoring, sending. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts offer faith as well as food, hope as well as housing, joy as well as justice, to those who struggle all around us.  This we pray in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May God our refuge be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, lift your hearts to the One who created you.
We offer them to God, who writes words of hope upon our hearts.
God's children, come to the Table of grace.
We will feast on the wonders of the God who loves us.

You took creation by the hand,
leading it out of chaos,
     as the first morning dawned,
     mountains trembling in the mist,
     running rivers which gladdened your heart,
God of our lives.
You created all this for us,
giving us peace and righteousness
to be our playmates in the fields of grace.
     But when we beheld the works
     of temptation, sin, and death,
          we became their slaves,
          writing their lies on our hearts.
Longing to be our God,
you sent the prophets
to call us to be your people,
     but we refused to listen.
Finally, Jesus came, the bearer
of truth and freedom for all.

With those whose hearts are broken,
and those who long for your days of peace,
we sing our thanksgiving to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who forms our hearts.
All creation finds refuge in your tender care.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who sets us free by your truth!
Hosanna in the highest!

You are our strength, God of holiness,
and Jesus Christ is your Son, our Savior.
When our lives are filled with despair,
     he is our Hope;
when we are lost and cannot find our way,
     he is our Help;
when the world closes its doors and heart to us,
     he is our Refuge;
when sin and death hunger for us,
     he is our Redeemer,
present with us in this life
and in the one to come.

As we remember his life, death, and resurrection,
as he continues to re-form us into your people,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:

Christ died, his heart broken for us;
Christ was raised, resurrection written upon his heart;
Christ is ever with us, in every moment, until your days come.

Pour out your Spirit
upon the gifts of this Table,
and upon the gathered people
who seek to be your faithful people.
The bread symbolizes that Life, though given,
which can reshape our brokenness into
the peace which a warring world needs,
the hope which can bring healing to others.
The cup which is filled with your grace
can strengthen us to be new people,
who go forth to speak truth to power,
who bring freedom to all the oppressed.

And when your days of eternity finally come,
when we gather as your children around
the Table of wonder and life,
we will sing your praises forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Knowing that God sends us forth,
we will not be still, but speak of hope.
Knowing that Jesus is with us,
we will not be still, but will challenge injustice.
Knowing that the Spirit strengthens us,
we will not be still, but seek peace for all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Friday, October 22, 2021

All Saints' Day liturgy in a time of pandemic

 Texts: Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12 

Call to Worship 
L: Blessed are those who will not trade 
in their faith for a bushel of fear, 
for they know God’s heart. 
P: Blessed are those who stand alone at gravesides, 
for they are wrapped in God’s arms. 
L:Blessed are those who humbly care for the vulnerable, 
for they shall create new communities. 
P: Blessed are those who miss dinner, and happy hour each night, 
to care for the forgotten, 
for they shall be filled with the manna of hope. 
L: Blessed are those who are compassionate, 
even with those who rub them the wrong way, 
for they will be cared for by others. 
P: Blessed are those who look out for their neighbors, 
for they live next door to God. 
L: Blessed are the menders of brokenness, 
for they know what it is like to be reconciled to God. 
P: Blessed are those who are mocked by the rich and the powerful, 
for they know they are walking the streets of the kin-dom. 
L: Blessed are you when others mock you, 
point at your mask, think you are foolish for keeping your distance, 
caring for others, for then you know you are a sibling of Jesus. 
P: Blessed are all those who model faith for us 
in these uncertain days, weeks, months. 

All Saints Day Prayer 
we continue to bless you, our God, 
as we try to do every day, all day long. 
by your grace, 
we discover that the boasters are not 
the role models we are looking for, 
but the whisperers of grace are. 
 we look for saints in the shadows of fear 
and find a neighbor with a candle. 
we long for a saint to ease the ache in our emptiness, 
and a stranger pours love into our souls. 
we wonder if a saint might quench our thirst for life, 
and a little boy hands us a glass of lemonade. 

you surround us with saints in every moment, 
even these uncertain, confusing ones, 
if we but open our eyes to see. 

we continue to bless you, our Brother, 
as we try to do every day, all day long. 
by your grace, 
we discover that the powerful are not 
the role models we are looking for, 
but the whisperers of hope are. 
we look for a saint to spend time with us 
and a little girl asks us to play catch. 
we whisper of our shattered souls, 
 hoping to find a saintly ear, 
and a grandmother whispers, ‘I will listen.’ 
we seek a saint who will overturn injustice 
and a tired woman sits at the front of a bus. 

you surround us with saints in every moment, 
even these days which never seem to end, 
if we but open our hearts to see. 

we continue to bless you, our wise Sister, 
as we try to do every day, all day long. 
by your grace, 
we discover that the angry voices are not 
the role models we are looking for, 
but the whisperers of peace are. 
 we hunger for a saint who will feed 
our hunger for gentleness, for kindness, for civility 
and a friend packs sandwiches filled with these gifts. 
we want saints to take away our worries, 
and a grandparent laughs and pulls us up
into their lap to smother us with kisses. 

you surround us with saints in every moment, 
even these times which seem overwhelming, 
if we but open our souls to pay attention. 

God in Community, Holy in One, 
it is your hope which wipes away every tear, 
your grace which restores our souls, 
your mercy which makes us one with you, 
even as we pray as we have been taught, 
(The Lord’s Prayer

Call to Reconciliation 
God’s Table is for everyone, no matter how old one is, or young; for those we think of as saints, and those we know are foolish, because we look in the mirror. For God knows that we all try, and no matter h0w many times we mess up, God will forgive us, quickly and mercifully. I invite you to join in the prayer for forgiveness. 

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness 
   Long ago on a hillside, the Teacher spoke words for our faith, God of foolish people, and we still do not listen. Full of arrogance, we have no need for a home for our spirits. Taught to be strong, we push away your arms of comfort. Seeing how the wealthy and selfish are idolized, we want to inherit their hearts. As we pass the hungry in line at the food bank, we rush to the store to hoard more. Noticing how the kindest of people are mocked, we develop hardened hearts.
   Have mercy, God who turns stragglers into saints, when we follow the wrong people, listen to words we shouldn’t. For it is those who make peace, who know your hope. It is those whose hearts are in rhythm with yours who see the most vulnerable. It is those who care more for others than themselves, who have learned the soul behind the words of the Teacher, who would guide us to your living waters. Amen. 

Silence is kept 

Assurance of Pardon
L: lost, we find our way, as we seek God; overwhelmed by loneliness, we are heard when we cry out; stumbling over our foolish choices, we find mercy when we tell all to our God. 
P: We are no different from all we call saints, for they found life in the mercy and grace of our God. We are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen. 

Prayer of Dedication/Offering 
God’s love is revealed in those who seek to be faithful in sharing their gifts, so the hungry might be fed, so the lonely might be comforted, so the forgotten will be remembered, so our sisters and brothers might know God’s grace and love in their lives. Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving 
L: The God of all people be with you in these moments. 
P: May God be with you as well. 
L: May we unite our hearts in glorifying our God. 
P: We our hearts to the One who fills them with grace. 
L: As God’s people, we join in praising our God. 
P: Our souls and voices come together in glad songs of joy. 

L: There, to the edge of chaos you came, 
God from before time began, 
and you called out in a voice of imagination 
so that all which is wonderful and goodness 
might spring into life out of the emptiness: 
   snakes wiggling across the dirt, 
   wolves watching the moon from mountaintops, 
   dolphins swimming in the ocean waves. 
From the dust of the earth, you breathed life 
into those created in your divine image, 
 not so we might be saints without blemish, 
but we would be your children, 
who would follow you in all the days your created. 
   But we were easily distracted by death, 
   and the easy promises of temptation. 
You sent women and men to us, 
not as examples of perfect humanity, 
for they mumbled and stumbled just like us, 
but to call us back into your presence. 
   But we could not resist idolizing all those 
   who would pull us away from you. 
That is when you sent Jesus to us 
as we could not save ourselves from ourselves. 

On this day of remembering all who helped to shape our lives, 
we join in singing with glad songs: 

P: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving 
and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! 

L: Though you alone are holy, you are still the God 
who leans over to wipe the tears of this pandemic from our hearts. 
We are blessed that Jesus has come to share your love and hope with us. 
Overflowing with your power and might, 
   he embraces the poor in spirit; 
the Word which called forth life, 
   he stands with us in graveyards; 
the One of whom choirs of angels sang, 
   he shares his heritage with the gentle; 
pouring out his glory and wisdom 
   he clothes us with compassion; 
Isaiah’s true peaceful Prince, 
   he calls us to join him in reconciling our brokenness; 
charged and condemned for being God’s justice, 
   he showed us the way to God’s community; 
broken, suffering, and dying for us, 
   he defeated that power of death over all of us, 
   sharing resurrection with his sisters and brothers. 

We have no idea what the future will hold for us, 
but trusting that it will hold the life and grace 
which was poured on Jesus, 
we join in singing with our sisters and brothers 
of that mystery we call faith: 

P: Because Christ died, we have life; 
Because Christ was raised, so we might have this hope of resurrection; 
Because Christ is our guide, we will be led to the waters of life. 

L: Here at this Table, on this day of remembrance, 
we discover how much love God has for us 
 as we gather around the feast 
where those who have gone before us have been fed. 
We pray you will pour out your Spirit upon these gifts 
of the bread and the cup as well as for those 
whose hunger for justice seems to go unfilled for far too long, 
and for those who thirst for righteousness is not quenched. 
We eat this bread, hoping to taste God’s gentleness, 
to go into the world to care for those 
   who are willing to wear a mask, 
   to stay apart from others, 
   and care for strangers as much as for themselves. 
As we share the cup of grace, may we see God’s hope, 
 heading out into the world as God’s people, 
   to offer shelter to the forgotten, 
   to feed those whose hunger is still there, 
   to speak out for those who endure the great ordeal of oppression. 

And when we gather with those from every nation, 
those from all tribes and peoples and languages, 
 especially those who have gone through this pandemic, 
 washing their hands, wearing their masks setting aside their PPE, 
 as we will all be with God, no longer isolated or quarantined, 
 but worshiping day and night, God in Community, Holy in One. Amen. 

L: Let us go to be God’s saints this week. 
P: Not because we are more pious or special, 
but because we are called to care for those 
whom the world has tossed aside. 
L: Let us go now to serve with Jesus this week. 
P: Not because we are better than those around us, 
but because we are called to humble ourselves 
in serving those whom society has forgotten. 
L: Let us go now to journey with the Spirit this week. 
P: Not because we have the inside track, 
but because we have all lost our way, 
but hand in hand will be led to God’s heart. 

 (c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Liturgy w/communion for October 24, 2021 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 25/Ordinary 30 - B)

 Texts:  Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

Call to Worship
With our lips and with our hearts:
we bless God in every moment of our lives.
With our ears and with our hearts:
we will hear the cries of our sisters and brothers,
in every painful moment, in every broken place.
With every gift and with our hearts:
we will serve God and all of God's children,
with every moment of our lives.

Prayer of the Day
Wise God,
you name us your children:
feeding us with hope,
touching the cup of grace to our lips;
shaping us in your image,
that we might care for all creation;
raising us from despair,
rescuing us from our foolishness;
wrestling with our questions,
watching over us in every moment.

Brother Jesus,
Servant of the poor:
patiently, lovingly, tenderly
you listen to our voices,
some filled with hurt and bitterness,
others with loneliness and grief;
some trembling with fear and worry,
others overflowing with silence;
and you offer them all to God.

Spirit of Holiness,
creation's life-giving Breath:
you refuse to walk by
when we sit in the dust
of our despair and pain,
blinded by the ashes of our actions,
cloaked in the desires
of our sinful brokenness.

God in Community, Holy in One,
who names us as your children,
hear us as we pray together saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we cannot do it, God can! Anything and everything - our messes, the hurts we inflict on others, the way we stand around when we could be helping - God can renew, reshape, restore us. That is how much God
loves us, this is why God calls to us to come and be healed. Join me as we pray to our God, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Gracious and holy God, we admit that it is easier to have pain-causing words on our lips, than praise for another. Our foolishness often keeps us from seeing the deep hurts and hunger of the suffering who are around us. We stand by the side of the road, afraid to step forward in faith, afraid to trust that you are with us, afraid to cry out for healing and hope.
     We are not people who repent in ashes and dust, but we do know we need your mercy, and ask that you forgive our faithlessness, our fears, our hurts.  Healer of all people, we lift our hearts and souls to
you, that through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we might find your grace, discover your love, and serve your people in your name.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart: God hears your prayers. Get up: God has healed your brokenness. Listen: God calls to you with hope, with forgiveness, with life.
Now, our eyes are opened and we can see;
now, our ears are opened and we can hear;
now, we can follow Christ into the kingdom.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May our gifts be used to answer the needs of those who seek you, O God, delivering them from their fears, listening to their cries for help, offering refuge to those who are searching for hope.  This we pray in Jesus' name, Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
O taste and see how good God is!
We hunger to be in God's gracious presence.
Listen for God's promises to you.
We call out to our God, and we are heard:
lives are made new, hope is restored.
Raise your hearts and voices in thanksgiving to God.
Glad songs of joy and praise will always be on our lips!

In the silence of chaos,
you serenely stood, Irenic God.
Then, with that singular Word,
craters were filled with water,
meadows rippled with crops;
with your Breath exhaled,
life flowed through all creation,
the heavens sparkled with your hope.
Blinded by our desire to be like you,
we chose the wrong role models,
thinking death could offer us life,
that sin would be our dearest friend.
Prophets came with your word,
encouraging us to change our hearts,
to repent in dust and ashes,
but we told them to keep quiet.
Then you took the initiative,
sending Jesus into our lives,
to call us back to you.

So, with those who shout out your name,
and with those who whisper of your wonder,
with our sisters and brothers in every time and place,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of majesty and grace.
Heaven and earth resounds with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is he who for all time is able to save.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are those who take refuge in you, Radiant God,
and exalted in all creation is your Child, Jesus Christ.
Throwing off his glory,
Jesus sprang up to come to our side,
to do for us what we could not do.
Refusing to stand still and do nothing,
he walked among us, healing us,
calling us to follow him on the way
to that kingdom which is yours.
Blameless, he took our sins to the cross,
where broken, he made us whole,
where dying, he made us new,
where rising, he enables us to see you.

As we remember how he heals us,
as we celebrate how he saves us,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:

Christ has died;
Christ has been raised;
Christ will come in glory.

We seek you, Transcendent God,
and find you waiting at this Table,
your Spirit transforming these simple gifts
into food and drink for our hungry hearts,
your grace poured out on your children
who have gathered in this sacred space.
As we eat of the Bread of life,
as we drink from the Cup of hope,
may we hear the cries of the poor,
may we see you in their faces,
may we speak, calling them by name,
welcoming them as our sisters and brothers
in that community we call your kingdom.

And when we have fulfilled all our days,
when we gather with the humble and the glad
around that Table prepared for us in glory,
your praise will always be on our lips,
God in Community, Holy in One,
now and through all eternity. Amen.

Let us go to be God's blessings in the world.
With our lips and with our hearts, we will offer hope to all.
Let us go to be the ears and heart of Jesus.
Listening to the cries of our sisters and brothers,
drawing them into the refuge of grace.
Let us go with our arms full of the Spirit's gifts.
Welcoming every one, every moment of our lives.

(c) 2015 Thom M. Shuman