Sunday, October 30, 2022

Liturgy w/communion for November 6, 2022 (Pentecost 22/Trinity 21/Proper 27/Ordinary 32 - C)

 Texts: Haggai 1:15b-2:9; Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17; Luke 20:27-38

Call to Worship
The God who is greater than we will ever understand,
is humbled to become one of us.
The God who is more loving that our hearts dare imagine,
gives us more grace than we ever realize.
The God who is wiser than we will ever know,
teaches us all we need to become God's children.

Prayer of the Day
Why should we fear,
God of compassion?
     You choose us
     to be bearers
     of grace and justice
          to a broken world;
     you call us to be words
     of hope and joy
          to people deafened by despair.
We will extol you.

Why should we fear,
Brother of justice?
You call us to follow you
     so we may serve all
     who have been abandoned
          by a society focused on self.
You model kindness
     so we might bring healing
          to a fractured culture.
We will bless you.

Why should we fear,
Spirit of grace?
When we run around in circles,
     you fill us with your peace;
when we stumble through each day,
     you energize us with your hope;
when our spirits are empty,
     you come and dwell in us.
We will praise you.

Why should we fear,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as you listen to us pray
as Jesus has taught us, saying,

(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We often think God is 'out there' somewhere, distant and uncaring. But God hears our hearts, God shares our struggles, God walks with us as we try to be faithful disciples. Let us come to the One who is as close as the very breath we take in this moment to confess the brokenness of our lives. Please join me as we pray,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     We are so easily confused by what the world tells us, Watching God, that we forget the stories of faith we heard as children. We are so fearful of tomorrow, we are not aware of your Spirit with us today. We are so busy wondering 'what if?' or 'suppose?’ - we cannot hear the promises you whisper to us.
     So once again, Gracious God, have mercy on us.  You know our hearts so well - touch them with your grace. You see our deepest fears - heal them with your peace. You hear our secret longings - speak to them of your hope. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
The One who searches our broken hearts has found the way to mend them and make us new people. The good news is that everything God has done in Christ is for us, that we might be made whole.
With kindness and with justice, God makes us new people. We will sing our thanks through all eternity. Great is God and greatly to be praised!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Truth be told, Holy God, we are often afraid that you will misuse the gifts we offer - bringing hope to those who deserve none, feeding those who could be working, looking after those who are coddled too much.  Forgive our fearfulness.  After all, you entrusted these gifts to us in the first place!  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who heals our brokenness.
Let us offer our thanks to God, who has prepared this Table for us.
We will bless the One who offers us life in every moment.

We thank you for your greatness,
God of the living, and fall silent.
When there was only chaos,
you whispered your Word,
     and creation sprang forth.
The sun and the stars
     filled the heavens with your splendor,
           and the earth sang your glory.
You filled us with your dreams
of life with you forever,
     but we confused your hopes
     with our desires and went chasing
          after the seductions of sin and death.
You sent the prophets
to remind us of the stories
we had been told as your children,
     but we thought them
          to be myths and fables.
So once again, you sent your Word
to speak sense to our lives.

Therefore, in this time and place,
with those who have gone before,
and those who will come after,
we join in the song of all creation:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of unsearchable greatness!
The glorious splendor of your creation sings your praises.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes according to the promises made.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of understanding,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
When we had been deafened
by the songs of the world,
     he came to speak of hope,
          and to offer us justice.
When we were easily confused
by the promises of sin,
     he came to make clear
          your dreams for us.
When we thought
we could save ourselves,
     he offered himself on the cross,
          that we might spend eternity
               in your presence.

As we come to the Table of grace,
as we are offered all your gifts,
we remember what Christ has done for us:

Christ died, holding fast to God's promises;
Christ was raised, opposing the so-called god death;
Christ will return to fill our hearts with splendor.

Send your Spirit upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and upon your children
who gather in this place.
Place into our empty hands
your Bread made with life and mercy,
     that we might take
     justice and peace
          to the outcasts of our world.
Fill our parched hearts
with the Cup of grace,
     that we might be poured out
     for the broken and lost
          in these times and places.
Heal us with the peace
of this joyous feast,
     that we might become
          your people of hope.

Then, when this world passes away,
and time has come to an end,
we will gather around the Table
in your kingdom of grace,
singing our praises to you for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

Now, go out into the world as God's people!
We will not be afraid to trust in God's future.
Now, go out as followers of Jesus!
We will not falter in bringing justice and hope to all.
Now, go out as those gifted by the Spirit!
We will not fear, but will journey into the days ahead.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

All Saints Day - Year C

 Texts:  Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149; Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31

Call to Worship
We gather, with the company of the faithful:
those who know the way to the kingdom
and those who are just beginning their pilgrimage.
We gather, remembering the ones we call saints:
those who made compassion their day job,
and those who have no day named after them.
We gather, praising God for all who have shaped our faith:
those who showed us the dance steps of heaven,
and those who taught us to play the instruments of joy.

Prayer of the Day
If we would but listen, we could hear them:
   the bus driver who sang school songs with us,
      and the coach who whispered encouragement
      before sending us in to play.
   the teacher who never gave up on us,
      and the friend who talked to us when no one else would.

If we would but look, we could see them:
   the grandfather with dimpled knees from playing marbles
   with the neighborhood kids,
      and the nana with nicked hands from hammering
      nails for affordable housing;
   the crossing guard who always stepped in front
   of traffic before we could,
      and the couple who have not stopped holding hands
       Since they first said “I do.”

If we would but pay attention, we could learn from them:
   the single mother who opened up the world
   of reading to a new generation,
      and the nurse up sat by our child’s bed
      after her shift ended;
   those who fought dragons in ancient tales,
      and those who face drug dealers on street corners.

The saints are all around us, so make us mindful of them,
God in Community, Holy in One,
As we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
We only have to look in the mirror, recall the hurtful words we spoke this week, remember he person in need we hurried past, to know that we are no saints.  Yet like them, it is us – with our failings and foolish lives – called by God to carry the good news into the world.  Let us confess our sins, that we might set them down and pick up the gospel, as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   On this long journey we call life, Holy God, we fail to live as your people.  Too often, we do not in glory shine, but dig through the garbage of life.  We are too busy in our pursuits for more and more to rest in you.  We prefer our own company rather than that blessed communion of your household of faith.
   Have mercy and forgive us, Creator of life.  While we are born of dust, we are nursed by your grace, so that we might share pictures of your kingdom which is unfolding in our midst, so we might tell the stories of your wonder which wraps around us like warm shawls, and so we might sing of the One who has come to transform us from sinners into saints, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Do you see them, there out of the corner of your eye?  The people to your right and left, in front of you as well as behind?  They, like you, are God’s saints – ordinary, everyday, forgiven people of God.
Baptized, called, gifted -- we will go to share the Christ-flame with everyone we meet, for we are God’s children, forgiven and made whole.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
We could lock away our inheritance of grace, hope, peace, and life so that no one else might ever touch them.  Or we could simply share them with others through you, Gracious God.  Take the gifts we offer in this moment and bless all who are looking for your gifts, your presence in their lives.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen. 

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of all saints be with you.
May God bless you as well.
Children of God, offer your hearts to the One who loves you.
We will empty ourselves so we can be filled with grace.
People of God, sing your praises to the One who loves you.
We will offer the new songs taught to all creation.

You approached chaos, Troubled God,
with visions of all which could be good
and beautiful in your imagination.
You spoke a Word and
      gazelles danced in fields,
      elephants trumpeted their joy;
your Spirit stirred in the cosmos and
      stars sang your praises,
      winds whistled through canyons.
All these gifts were the inheritance
for your children created in your image,
   but we dreamed that such power could be ours,
    and listened to death’s lies uttered by sin.
Minor and major, women and men,
you sent the prophets to us
to remind us of your hopes for us,
   but we chose to cling to the temptations
   which had enticed us away from you.
So you sent us the One who invited us
to receive the kingdom you offered to us,
Jesus, the Child of your heart.

With those we call martyrs because of their struggles,
with those we call saints because of their lives,
we join in offering our thanks to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of saints and sinners.
New songs are sung to you by all creation.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who offers us your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest.

We have heard of your holiness, God of Wonder,
from the One who came bearing the gifts
which you would offer to us in every moment.
Jesus came, to those who had forgotten you,
   so we might remember your joy in us;
Jesus spoke, to those who heard only curses,
   so we might hear the blessings your speak;
Jesus came, to those who hungered for hope,
                     to those who thirsted for justice,
   so death might be destroyed
   by the life he offered for us,
      and the power of sin over us
      might be broken forever.

As we remember the blessings he offered to the poor,
as we seek to offer the gifts with which we have been blessed,
we would sing of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, loving those who had been his enemies;
Christ was raised, giving everyone resurrection life;
Christ will come again, so we might receive your kingdom.

Here at this Table, gathered with our sisters and brothers,
we pray you would pour out your Spirit
upon us as well as the bread and the cup.
It is the bread, in all its brokenness
which is our true inheritance,
   the weakness which overwhelms all power,
   the meekness which welcomes the weak and lonely.
It is the cup, with its grace overflowing,
which is your greatest blessings,
   filling us with peace and reconciliation
   so we might pour ourselves out for a broken world
even as did all those saints and sinners
who have gone on before us.

And when we are gathered at the end
of all time and history with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place, we will join
all creation in forever singing you praise,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

God has fed us on grace,
so let us go to share the kingdom with everyone around us.
Jesus has filled us with compassion and grace,
so let us go to be with others in the days to come.
The Spirit has poured hope into our lives,
so let us go to be a blessing to those in our world.
© Thom M. Shuman

Monday, October 24, 2022

Reformation Sunday liturgy with communion

  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

Liturgy w/communion for October 30, 2022 (Pentecost 21/Trinity/20/Proper 26/Ordinary Time 31 - C)

 Texts: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10

 Call to Worship
We gather in awe
standing in the presence of the One
who crafted the stars, the mountains, the seas.
We gather in faith,
trusting that the One who has held little children
holds our lives in the heart of God.
We gather in need,
seeking the One who longs for justice
to grace each and every person in creation.

Prayer of the Day

You stirred the dust
     and created us for service;
you breathed into our lungs
     so we could share your good news;
you shape our hearts
with the tools of compassion
     so we will seek justice for all.
We thank you, God of gifts.

In the hospitality of Zaccheus,
     we see your openness
          for all who are different;
in the grumbling of his neighbors,
     we hear the echoes
          of our own prejudices and fears;
in his transformation
into a new person,
     we see your grace
          which is prepared for us.
We thank you,
Companion of the poor.

You cradle us in the peace
     of the resting night;
you awaken us
     with the light of dawn
          and the warmth of your gentleness;
you walk with us through each day,
     nudging us to be that blessing
          we are called to be to others.
We thank you,
Surprising Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our thanks to you,
even as we pray as Jesus teaches,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
How patient is God! We run around trying to do everything our way, and God just waits. We try to buy life and happiness, and God waits. We hurt others and walk away from those in need, and God waits. God waits, and upon hearing our heartfelt prayers and cries for help, God touches us with forgiveness and new life. Come, join me as we pray to the One who waits to hear - from us!

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     Surrounded by so many seductions, Patient God, we find it difficult to see you in our lives. Justice has a hard time surviving when there is so much persecution and affliction towards the little ones of the world. Our neighborhoods, our families, even our churches, are filled with strife and contention.

     We cry for help, Listening God; forgive us! As we wait for your grace to fill our lives, may we open our hearts to your hope and healing, always giving thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Rich, poor; young, old; sinner, saint. We are all God's children, and God transforms each of us into the people we are meant to be.
Broken, we are mended; separated from others, we are made one; longing to serve, we are sent forth. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
How easily we overlook the Zaccheus in our midst - the father short of money, the woman short of hope, the children short of food.  As we offer our gifts, we pray you would open our hearts to recognize all around us, especially those looking for you in us.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

May the God of all hope be with you.
And also with you. 
Lift your hearts to the One who comes to feast with you.
We offer our hearts to God who is in our midst.
Children of God, sing praises to the One
who feeds you with goodness and hope.
Our hearts and voices resound with joy.

In your heart, God of wonder,
you wrote the vision of creation,
and the Word shaped the mountains
     from the rich loam of the valleys,
your Spirit breathed life into every
     which sprang forth from your imagination.
Welcomed into your garden with hope,
we forgot your words of hospitality,
     running to catch a glimpse of the parade
     of seductions sin and death brought to town.
Prophets came, your vision written on their hearts,
your voice standing behind their words
which sought to bring us back to you,
     but we took no delight in their invitations.
So you sent your Beloved, Jesus the Christ,
to be the guest of sinners in every time and place,
that we might receive the gift of salvation.

So, with reformers and saints who have gone before us,
with friends and neighbors sitting around us,
we lift our songs of praise to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of justice and righteousness.
All creation keeps watch for your justice.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes to call us home.
Hosanna in the highest.

In your heart, Forgiving God,
you wrote the vision of redemption,
and sent Jesus, your Servant of righteousness,
to your people at the appointed time.
When our zeal for sin consumed us,
     he came to feed us with the bread of life;
when our souls were emptied out
by the corruption of death,
     he came to grow abundant faith in us;
when we saw only destruction on the horizon,
     he came to stand at his watchpost,
          defeating sin and death so they could
          never harm us again,
and inviting us to find life and peace
in your heart's home for all eternity.

As we remember his life, his teachings, his words,
as we celebrate the good news of his resurrection,
we speak of our faith, which often seems a mystery:

Christ died, faithful to the end;
Christ was raised, your righteousness come true;

Christ will return, our hope and peace.

In your heart, Blessing God,
your wrote the vision of a community
which would live out your kingdom here on earth,
pouring out your Spirit of life and grace
upon the gifts of the Bread and Cup,
and on your people gathered for your Feast.
As we are fed by your Word become life,
     give us understanding so we might hear
          those who are crying out for hope;
as we are nourished by your Spirit of peace,
     may we go to all who live surrounded by oppression,
          bringing justice to every place
          where it has never prevailed.

And when we are gathered in that vision
of life forever which is written in your heart,
we will join our sisters and brothers
from every time and place, forever praising you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

God gives us the vision,
so let us go to see others as our sisters and brothers.
Jesus gives us the eyes,
so let us look in all the unexpected places
to welcome all into our lives.
The Spirit calls us to watch,
so let us bear witness to the justice and hope
coming into our shattered world.

(c) Thom M. Shuman