Monday, December 27, 2021

Liturgy w/communion for January 2, 2022 (Christmas 2 - C)

Jeremiah 31:7-14;  Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:(1-9), 10-18

Call to Worship
However far we have wandered from God:
God comes to find us, and to gather us in generous love.
However broken we have become:
God comes to heal us, and make us whole in hope.
However empty our spirits may be:
God comes to feed us, until we are filled to the brim with grace.

Prayer of the Day
Mirror of Abba:
by light and word,
you come to us,
    so we can hear well enough
    to see your songs all around us.
Through grace and truth,
you teach us,
    so we come to know
    how graciousness is the gift
          we can offer to others.
In promise and hope,
you call us,
    trusting that we will
    accept the joy delivered to us
and count on the fulfillment
    of your dreams for us
    and for all creation.

All this we pray,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we speak the words
Jesus teaches us to say together,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Our words, our actions, our silence may make it seem that we are on that path which only hurts others and harms us. But God has destined
us for healing, for hope, for joy. Let us pray to the One who loves us beyond compare. Please join me as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession.
    In the winter of our lives, Tender God, our passion for following Jesus wilts in the chill of indifference.  We could walk in the light, but tiptoe through the shadows of missed chances. We could look for your glory in others, but gaze instead in the mirror of selfishness, seeing our desires staring back at us.  We could gather the broken of the world to our side, but hold them at arm's length from us.
    Forgive us, Redeeming Grace. Jesus was bringing life and hope to all people. With grace and truth, he calls us to follow. Filling us with peace, he gathers us up and brings us home to you, serving as our Brother, our Savior, our Friend.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Grace upon grace; mercy upon mercy; hope upon hope: these are the gifts God pours out on us in this moment, and all the moments of our lives to come.
Thanks be to God! We are filled to overflowing with God's tender love and peace. We are forgiven! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of new days be with you.
And also with you.
People of Christmas, lift up your hopes.
We lift them to the one who comes bringing new life to us.
People of hope, offer your thanksgiving to God.
Joy bubbles from our hearts, 

praises dance from our lips to our loving God.

Into the emptiness of chaos,
Blessing of Imagination,
the Word carried all your hopes,
scattering the seeds of goodness
    throughout the universe,
flinging light into the shadows of night,
    planting life in the watery deeps.
You offered us grace upon grace,
    tending to your garden with joy.
But we chose to dance
to the mourning dirges
    played for us by sin and death,
          shutting the doors of our hearts
          in your face.
Prophets came, singing your praises,
telling us of your hopes for us,
    but we would not listen
    to a single word they spoke.
So you sent Jesus to us,
to gather us from the far corners
of despair and loss,
to bring us home to you.

So with those in every place,
and with those through every time,
we join our voices singing to you:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God of all creation!
Before the foundations of the world were poured,
    you prepared every blessing for us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the Word who comes to bear witness to you.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you in every moment, Joyous God,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, Light and Life.
In the beginning,
    he was your Word of creativity,
and at our end,
    he is your Word of hope.
He came among us,
    gifting us with grace and truth,
    whispering of your great love.
Though we rejected him,
he continued to embrace us,
    knowing we were destined for adoption,
    to be his sisters and brothers.
He carried your light
    into the shadowed recesses
    of our lives;
he was filled with
the emptiness of death,
    that we might receive
    the promise of the resurrection
into life with you forever.

As we begin this new year with hope,
we remember his promise to be with us always,
even as we tell of that mystery we call faith:

At the beginning, Christ was your imaginative Word;
at the right time, Christ was the Word of salvation;
at the end, Christ will be the Word of fulfillment.

As your Spirit rests upon
the gifts of the bread and the cup,
    we pray that you would fill us
    with every spiritual blessing.
As we taste of the life
in the Bread which strengthens us,
    we would be made aware
    of the hunger of our world -
          real, daily hunger for food
          as well as yearning for you -
    and go to bring everyone
          to the feast you offer.
As we drink the sweet
richness of your grace,
    we would reach out
    and take the hands of all
    who are despised and rejected,
          drawing them into your dance of life.
As we are filled at your feast,
    we would go to empty ourselves
    of pride and selfishness,
          as we humbly serve
          that great company of the broken.

And when all things
come to an end in your Word,
as we are gathered in the true Light,
sitting with our sisters and brothers
around the kitchen table
in that life we will have
with you forever,
we will join our voices
singing your praises through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Liturgy w/communion for New Year's Day (January 1, 2022)

Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25:31-46

Call to Worship

We wake up in the morning 

and see the sunrise:

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

We are warmed by the sun;

the rain cleanses all creation:

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

We watch the moon light up the night,

we fall asleep to the lullabies of the stars:

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Prayer of the Day

You call us

     to be your children;

you gift us

     to serve all people;

you send us to proclaim

     your good news to all:

Glory to you,

Creator of all that is new!

When you are lonely,

     we have a chance to visit you;

when you are hungry,

     we can share our food with you;

when you are naked,

     we can give you 

          the clothes off our backs;

when you are sick,

     we can nurse you back to health:

Glory to you,

Savior of the world!

You whisper in our ears,

     so we may praise you;

you fill our souls,

     so we may serve you;

you lead us into the kingdom,

     so we may live with you:

Glory to you,

Spirit of Gentleness!

Glory to you, 

God in Community, Holy in One!

Hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,

Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

Will this year be a time of new life, new ways for us - or will we continue to live the same old way? Let us confess to our God our failures, as well as our hopes, as we begin this year.

Unison Prayer of Confession
    We admit that we always find the time to fill our stomachs, God of every moment, but not our souls. We spend hours watching television, but not the wonders of your creation. We arrange outings with our friends, yet ignore your invitation to sit and talk. We make resolutions to change every aspect of our lives, except for that which pertains to you.
    Forgive us, God of Glory, and make us new. In the moments to come this year, remind us that if there is a time for everything, then we do have those moments for grace, for hope, for joy, for a relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

It's over - last year is gone. Our words, our thoughts, our deeds are in the past. Today, we begin anew. Today, and every day, God offers us life and hope.

Here, now, forever - we are forgiven and healed. This year, let us live as such people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of new beginnings be with you.

And also with you.

People of God, lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the One who makes all things, including us, new.

Children of God, sing praises to the One who gives you new life.

We praise the One who continues to surprise us

with hope and grace.

Before there was time,

Hope of Eternity,

you took a moment 

     to bring creation out of chaos.

You took time to create mountains,

     and carve deep canyons;

you made the time to fill the oceans

     and to plant food for all creatures;

you found the time to plow rivers

     to water a Garden,

     and to shape us in your image.

But we did not have time for you,

          preferring to spend our days chasing sin, 

          and our nights seeking death.

You always made time for us,

speaking of your hopes

     through the prophets,

sharing your dreams 

     through the angels.

Then, one day you decided 

to do a new thing,

becoming one of us

as Jesus became human

to bring hope and grace to us.

So we join with the saints in heaven,

and our sisters and brothers on earth,

who sing of your glory:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of every time and place.

All creation sings of your majesty and glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gives us the water of life.

Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Keeper of our days,

and blessed is Jesus Christ,

who is with us in every season of life.

He comes, not to judge us,

     but to forgive us;

he comes, not to cast us out,

     but to gather us into 

     the new Jerusalem;

he comes, not to watch us suffer,

     but to die on the cross,

           that we might live with you.

As we give thanks for his life,

and remember his death and resurrection,

we would talk of that mystery which is our faith:

Christ died, so sin would have no more power over us;

Christ rose, destroying death's grip on us;

when the new heaven and new earth come,

     Christ will make all things, including us, new.

In these sacred moments,

send your Spirit 

to sanctify the bread and the cup,

and to open the hearts

of those who approach the Table.

As the Bread of life touches our lips,

     may we be strengthened to serve

     those whom the world has forgotten.

As the Cup of salvation quenches our thirst for you,

     may we be enabled 

     to bring relief

     to those who wander 

     the desert wastes of our society.

And when all time ends,

and all people are gathered

around your Table in Heaven,

we will rejoice in your presence,

and sing your praises forever:

One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

now and forever.


(c) Thom M. Shumn

Liturgy w/communion for Holy Name of Jesus (January 1, 2022)

Texts: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 2:15-21

Call to Worship

We come, in need of blessings;

we come, seeking closeness with God.

Let us go, to find our God.

We come, from the shadows of our lives, 

seeking light and hope.

Hurry, let us go to find the One we have heard about.

We come to God, seeking peace 

for our lives, for our world.

Come, let us go, believing the Word we have seen.

Prayer of the Day

Majestic God, 

we cannot begin to imagine you,

     yet you have made us in your image;

we wonder why you notice us,

     when we are surrounded by creation's glory;

we have been made stewards of life,

     and you choose to share your own with us.

Name above all names:

you call us 'sister' and 'brother'

     claiming us to share in your work;

exalted above all creation,

     you humbled yourself for our sake;

able to do all things,

     you choose to work through us.

Spirit of Grace:

when we look for majesty,

     you bring us to a manger;

when we yearn for glory,

     you hand us a mop;

when we want to exalt ourselves,

     you point us to the Cross.

God in Community, Holy in One,

we pray to you as Jesus has taught us,

Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation

We've been to the stable, and met the Babe.  But tomorrow, when we go back to work, or school - will others know where we have been?  Let us admit to God our reluctance to reflect transformed lives.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God of Bethlehem:
you bless us richly,
    forgive our reluctance to share;
you hold us close to your heart,
    forgive us for keeping others at arm's length;
you shine in the shadows of our soul,
    forgive us for not sharing the Light;
you lift us from where we have fallen,
    forgive us for not offering a helping hand;
you grace us with Joy,
    forgive us when we worship fear.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

If we believe the songs of the angels, and have seen the Child in the manger, we must go out and tell others this good news.

We will go: glorifying God, praising the Lord, and confessing to everyone we meet how God has richly blessed us. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May God be with you.

And also with you.

People of God, lift up your hearts.

We lift them to our God.

Sisters and brothers of Christ, give thanks to our God.

We lift our songs of praise to the One who loves us.

We will indeed sing your praises,

God of Blessings,

creator of heaven and earth.

You brought forth all that is good and beautiful,

     so chaos could not keep hold of us.

You lifted up the dust of creation,

shaping it into your likeness,

     breathing your life into our lungs.

When we fell into sin,

you did not turn away from us,

     but kept your promises.

You sent prophets to remind us

of our covenant with you,

     but we continued to bow down

          to death's idols.

Finally, you sent your Beloved,

Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem,

to become one of us,

so we could be made one with you.

So, we join our voices

with the angels in heaven and the beasts in the field,

with those who have gone before us,

and those who will follow,

glorifying you forever:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of blessings.

All creation glorifies and praises you.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to redeem us.

Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Shining God,

and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.

Emptying himself of glory,

     we are filled with grace;

reviled and cursed by coarse humanity,

     he is given the Name above all names;

dying a criminal's death

and cast into death's cold arms,

     he is lifted to your Heart

          to rule over all creation.

As we come to this Table,

we speak of that mystery

we cannot explain:

Christ was obedient to God, even to death;

Christ was exalted by God, raised to new life;

Christ will be proclaimed by all as Lord and Savior.

Come, Spirit of Blessing

upon these gifts of the bread and cup,

and those who come to receive them.

As we bow to receive the Bread of Heaven,

     we would stoop to lift up the fallen;

as we bend to take the Cup,

     we would kneel to comfort your children;

as we worship you,

     we would serve your people.

Then, when all are gathered for your Feast in heaven,

we will sing our glory to you:

God in Community, Holy and One,

now and forever. Amen.


The One who blesses you will keep you close:

we will go,
not keeping the blessing for ourselves, but to share it with others.

The One who is gracious to you, shines the Spirit upon you:

we will go,
to reflect the Light of Christ in gracious words and deeds.

The One who turns towards you gives you peace:

we will go, turning to everyone we meet, saying,
"The peace of God be with you."

(c) Thom M. Shuman