Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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