Monday, June 26, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for July 2, 2023 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - B)

Texts: Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
With joy and celebration, God welcomes us to this place.
How good it is to gather in God's house!
With joy and celebration, we welcome one another.
We greet each other by name; we are equal in God's Kingdom.
We open our hearts, to welcome God's love;
we open our arms, to welcome God's people.
Here, every single one of God's children is welcome.

Prayer of the Day
You have invited us to this place,
Accepting God,
for this is where you want us.
Here, we learn to trust you,
    and to faithfully follow where you lead us.
Here, we learn to listen to you,
    and hear the words of life,
    of hope, of healing.
Here, we learn to bring everything to you -
    even our pain, especially our brokenness -
    that we might be made whole.

Pilgrim Jesus:
you are with us in this place,
    and in every place
    where we live, work, play, pray.
And, if we dare to trust
this good news,
we discover that grace
which sets us free:
    to treat one another
          as siblings;
    to use that grace
          to break down every barrier;
    to live that grace
          in every moment of our lives.

We would receive you
into our hearts, Abiding Spirit,
knowing that you have brought us together,
for by the gift of your presence,
    we are no longer strangers
    but friends and neighbors
          in your Kingdom.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,

(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Created to live with one another and our God, we know the truth about our shattered lives and relationships. Yet, out of this brokenness, God shapes new people, giving every one of us a new start. Let us confess those things which separate us from one another, that we might be 

made one in Christ.

Unison Prayer for Confession
    In your house, there is room for all; at your Table, we find a 
place set for us. But we admit, Inviting God, that we find it difficult to be as accepting as you and we find it easy to shoulder others away from your feast. You fling wide the doors to your kingdom, Welcoming God, but we are quick to try to shut them to those who are different from us. Your heart is open so that all might experience your grace, and we reluctantly remember our ungracious words and deeds.

    Forgive us, God of every person: heal our broken lives; mend our fragmented souls. Open our hearts to your vision of the Kingdom where all are welcome, all are affirmed, all are beloved - even as we receive these gifts from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Can it be any clearer? God has created us to be a family - sisters, brothers, neighbors, friends. No longer strangers, we are all welcome in the kingdom of love, grace, and hope.
In Christ, we are one. There are no barriers, no differences, no divisions. We are a new people, forgiven and made whole. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

May the gifts that we offer break the bonds of injustice, put out the fires of prejudice, and embrace the lonely and forgotten, we pray. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord who provides be with you!
And also with you!
Lift your hearts to the One who frees us from sin.
We rejoice in God, who delivers us from death's power.
Offer songs of joy and wonder to the One 

who welcomes you to this Table.
We will sing to God, whose bounty fills our lives, 

our hearts, our souls.

With great joy and thanksgiving,
we lift our songs of praise to you,
God of all life.
You did not withhold
your treasures from us,
    but poured them out
    in overflowing abundance for us:
          sparkling streams, rolling clear and clean;
          carpets of grass,
              through which the wind tiptoes;
          crystal blue skies freckled
              with bright, billowing clouds.
All was created and called good by you,
and offered as gifts for us.
But when we could have danced
through Eden, free and joyous,
    we chose to let sin bind us,
    placing us on death's altars.
When we refused to answer you
when you called in the night,
when we turned deaf ears
to the prophets you sent to us,
    you did not withhold your only son,
    the Child you loved most of all,
          but sent Jesus to come to us,
providing a way home to your heart.

So, we lift our voices, filled with joy,
joining them with the glad songs
of every place and generation,
all creation praising your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who does not forget us.
All creation trusts in your steadfast love.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gives a cup of living water to the thirsty.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of constant love,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior,
and the love of your heart.
When we thought you had forgotten us,
    he came to remind us
    of your eternal promises;
when we would lay in
the cradling arms of pain,
    he came to make us whole;
when we prepared to sleep
in death's comforting bed,
    he came to shine the light
    of your love upon us,
and to welcome us home
into your kingdom of eternal life.

As we remember his hospitality to all,
as we would not forget his dying for us,
as we would celebrate his resurrection,
we would tell of that mystery we call faith:

Christ died, welcoming death on our behalf;
Christ rose, welcoming the gift of resurrection on our behalf;
Christ will return, on our behalf, so we might not lose our reward.

You send your Spirit
to rest upon the gifts
of the bread and the cup,
and to welcome all your children
to the feast of the Lamb of Life.
As we eat of that Bread
which makes us whole,
    we would make room
    for all of your children,
          welcoming all who have been
          rejected by the world.
As we drink deeply from
that Cup which gives us life,
    we would leave this place
    to go and be with all
          who are bound by fear and failure,
          by hunger and hopelessness,
          by hate and persecution,
not withholding our
most precious possession,
but sharing our lives with them.

And when all time has ended,
when we are gathered as your family
at the table which you have prepared for us,
we will feast on the grace you provide,
praising you forever and ever,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


May we go out into our world with God.

Where we may work to set free

all bound by worry and loneliness.

May we go out into our communities with Jesus.

Where we will gather up those sacrificed

on the altars of success, hate, and greed.

May we go out into our neighborhoods with the Spirit.

Where we will offer ourselves as lambs

of peace, of gentleness, of justice.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for July 2, 2023 (Pentecost 5/Trinity 4/Proper 8/Ordinary 13 - A)

 Texts:  Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship
Sing, sing of God's unalterable love!
We will rejoice as we walk in the light of our God.
Tell everyone around you of God's faithfulness.
We will share the stories of the One who experienced
our life in all its fullness.
Shout out loud of God's presence with us,
on this day and in all the days to come.
Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us;
truth and love walk by our side.

Prayer of the Day
In a world shaped by conflict,
where we seem to be slipping
back into tribal divisions,
   you call us to welcome those
   with whom we have absolutely
   nothing in common.
In a culture full of inequalities
which only seem to be widening,
   you call us to treat each person
   as our sister and brother.
In a time of intensifying injustices
which are found in every community,
if not in every neighborhood,
   you call us to yoke ourselves
   to your radical hope.
In a lifestyle which idolizes the individual
to the exclusion of all others,
   you call us to notice
      the parent who works three jobs,
      the dementia-diminished senior,
      the refugee family on the corner.

May we offer not just cups of cold water,
but all that we are and all we have
to those who are in our midst,
even as we pray to you,
God in Community, Holy in One, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
The idol of our times is personal independence, but in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our poor choices, the hurts we cause to others.  Yet, by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions, so let us join in offering our confessions to the One who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
   It seems so simple, God of compassion, to offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person, yet we know we worry more about how that might inflate our bill at the end of the month.  We are to open our hearts to others, but they may need to be careful lest they slip on our icy attitudes towards them.  People are looking for places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms continue to be the place where only the dust bunnies sleep.
   Forgive us, Radical Hope.  You did not have to become one of us, but you did, so we might know your love.  You did not have to welcome us into your family, but you do, so we might experience unexpected grace in our lives.  You did not have to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we might have life with you forever.  Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are filled with living water; longing for a renewed relationship with God, we are welcomed with open arms by the One who forgives us.
Without a doubt, God's love never comes to an end.  We will tell our kids and grandkids of the grace and peace which is ours.  Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory
We are not blessed by God so we might hoard them for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who are looking for a community, to feed those who hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the world has cast aside.  Here are our gifts, Holy God.  We pray you will use them as well as us in the work of your kingdom.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of constant love be with you.
And also with you.
Come to the One who welcomes each and everyone of us to this Table of grace.
We bring our broken hearts so they might be made whole.
Join hands with your sisters and brothers and sing to the One who fills us with hope.
Together we will praise God, who has made us one.

When chaos slammed the door on you,
God of faithfulness,
you whistled up creation and
she tagged along at your side
as your hospitality flowed forth:
   springs to refresh our wearied feet,
   sweet corn to fill our hunger,
   beds of pine needles on which to rest.
We were formed by you
so we might belong to you,
   but we let ourselves be held
   captive by lust, greed, and fear.
Prophets came, seeking to call us back
to you, fulfilling your words of welcome,
   yet we continued to obey our passions.
Jesus came, offering us cups of living water,
words of hope and grace,
wrapping us in arms of joy.

With those who seek your peace,
with those who work for your justice,
we sing our praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of radical hope.
All creation welcomes your words.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in your light.
Hosanna in the highest!

Compassionate God, you are the Voice
behind the Word who comes in Jesus Christ.
When sin would hand us
a pay envelope stuffed
with evil's crumpled bills,
   he fills our pockets
   with your gifts so
   we may be a blessing to others.
When temptation and worry
become our jailers on death row,
   he comes, with your pardon
   in his hands, setting us free
   so we may walk in
   the new light of your hope.

We remember his love and grace offered to all,
we hear his welcome extended to each of us,
as we speak of that mystery of our faith:

Christ died, welcoming our death as his own;
Christ was raised by the gift of God's hope;
Christ will come to fulfill God's words.

Your compassionate welcome is extended
to anyone, any time, any place
as your Spirit is poured out
on the gifts of the Table of life
and on your people gathered for the feast.
Your life, which is broken in love,
becomes the wholeness which strengthens us
   to feed those for whom hunger
   is a constant companion,
   not a skipped meal.
Your grace, which is poured into us,
becomes the hospitality by which
   we welcome itinerant immigrants
      into our communities and hearts;
   we open our arms to every child
      held captive by poverty.

Then, when your glory becomes our home,
and we are gathered around your table -
con artists and poverty's prophets,
the most vulnerable and power brokers -
we will join in singing your praises
through all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen  

Let us go forth to walk in God's light.
We will show others the way to God's heart.
Let us go to bring hope and healing to the world.
With a gift as simple as a cup of water,
and as complex as our lives, we will join Jesus in serving those around us.
Let us go forth to gather up the little ones
of our communities into our homes and hearts.
With the gift of the Holy Spirit,
we are no longer strangers but God's family.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for June 25, 2023 (Pentecost 4/Trinity 3/Proper 7/Ordinary 12 - A)

Texts: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39

Call to Worship

There is no hope like you, O God!

Hope for those who cry out from the deserts of their lives.
There is no grace like you, O God!

Grace for those rejected, ignored, and cast aside by the world.
There is no love like you, O God!

Love for those who have known days of trouble

and nights of loneliness.

There is no one like you, O God!

No one! No one! No one!

Prayer of the Day
When we are filled

with loss and despair,

     you gladden our hearts

     with your hope.

When everyone around us

turns a deaf ear,

     you lean over and put

     your hand to your ear,

          to hear our cries.

There is no love like you,

Compassionate God.

When we long

to continue in sin,

     you call us

     to live with you

     in the kingdom of God.

When we have fallen,

our souls parched by death,

     you lift us up,

     holding us tight to your heart,

          carrying us to drink at

          the deep well of living water.

There is no grace like you,

Brother of the hopeless.

When the world would stuff

our pockets with fears,

     you turn them inside out,

     and fill them with the

          smooth stones of hope.

When we see nothing

on the horizon of life,

     you hold up the sign

     which reads 'follow Jesus!'

When we are weakened

by our foolish choices,

     you strengthen us with

     joy overflowing from your heart.

There is no peace like you,

Spirit of wisdom.

God in Community, Holy in One,

there is no one like you in our lives.

This we know, as we pray together,

(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we would keep our faults and failings in the shadows, you call us to bring them into the light of your grace and forgiveness. With such a promise, with such a hope, how can we not confess to the One who loves us so much? Join me as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
    It is never easy to confess our lives to you, Listener to our words. When we have a chance to speak up for the outsider, we too often join in sending them away into the wilderness of hopelessness. When we could shout good news to a needy world, our voices drop to a whisper. When we could abound in grace, we continue to wallow in wrongdoing.

     Forgive us, Hearer of our hearts, and have mercy on us. You lean over to listen to our words, and then to cast them into your sea of forgetfulness. You show us your signs of hope, that we might point others to you. You help us when we are weakest and, in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, you save us when we cannot save ourselves. Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon

Do not be afraid. God cherishes us, God treasures you, beyond all else in creation. You are graced, you are forgiven, you are healed.

We will not keep this good news to ourselves. We will shout our hope from the rooftops of our hearts. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

For those thrown out by families, for those enduring the heat of hate, for those longing for connection with communities of love and hope, we offer our gifts, Loving God. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of Abraham and Sarah be with you.

And also with you.

There is no one like the God of Hagar and Ishmael.

And so we lift our hearts to God.

God will gladden the souls of all people.

We sing to the One who is always gracious.

There is none like you,

Everlasting Grace,

     shaper of goodness and beauty

     out of the shadows of chaos.

You gladdened the soul

of all creation

     with stunning sunsets,

     clear-streamed valleys,

     mountains towering into the sky.

These gifts, as well as your

hopes and dreams, were for us,

     but we sent them away into

     the wilderness of forgetfulness,

         choosing to live in

         the long days of rebellion.

The God of forgiveness,

your words calling us back

overflowed from the mouths

of the prophets,

     but we continued to sin.

Seeking to unite us

with you once more,

you sent Jesus,

to baptize us with your life,

even as he was baptized

into death for us.

Therefore, we join with those in this place,

as well as our siblings

throughout all creation

in singing your praises:

Holy, holy, holy, God of every time and people.

All creation kneels, glorifying your name.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who lost his life for our sake.

Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Steadfast Love,

and blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior.

He could have remained

the Child of your heart,

     but came to be with

     his siblings in life and death.

Seeking to glorify your name,

     he was called a blasphemer,

     accused of usurping your power.

Longing to lead us out

of despair's deep desert,

     he willingly went to the grave,

          that we might be raised

          to life with you forever,

          walking the streets of the kingdom.

As we remember his baptism at the Jordan,

as we recall his baptism into death,

as we celebrate his resurrection to life,

we sing of that mystery called faith:

Christ gave his life, for the sake of all;

Christ rose, for death lost its power over him;

Christ will come, for we have been baptized into his death.

As we come to your

Table of peace and hope,

pour out your Spirit upon

the gifts of the bread and the cup,

and upon your children

gathered in your name.

As we are nurtured

by the Bread of Life,

     may we have no fear,

     but boldly go to serve

     those cast out by our world.

As we are nourished

with the wine of wonder,

     may we not keep

     your love and grace a secret,

     but shout the good news

          of your salvation for all.

And when we have been

baptized into death like Christ,

and raised into life with you,

we will join our voices

with our sisters and brothers

singing your glory forever,

God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Let us go to carry God's hope,

for those living in food deserts,

to all who face housing insecurity.

Let us go to share the love of Jesus,

to all whose lives are troubled,

for all the lonely searching for community.

Let us go to offer the Spirit's grace,

with all forgotten by the world,

with those whose voices are never heard.

(c) Thom M. Shuman