Sunday, August 27, 2023

Liturgy w/communion for September 3, 2023 (Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Proper 17/Ordinary 22

Texts: Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Call to Worship
Gathered as God's people,
we come to worship together:
singing praises to the One who loves us,
opening our hearts to the One who calls us.
Called to be followers of Jesus,
we come to share our lives together:
to celebrate the joys of our hearts,
to mingle our tears with God's.
Challenged to become partners with the Spirit,

we will seek peace and hope:
offering our food to our enemies,
giving a drink of water to those
who have drained our souls.

Prayer of the Day
When we would rush
to get all our to-dos done,
you call to us to turn
    and notice your compassion
    burning (but not reduced to ashes)
          for those living in misery.
When we hesitate,
you ask us to remove
    all we think protects us from
    the fire of your justice,
          so we can draw closer
          to your heart's warmth.
YOU ARE the One we search for,
God of all held in bondage.

When we become
stumbling blocks to you,
you polish our stony resistance
    so we can become smooth pebbles
    on the path to your kingdom.
When we would tell you
how we think you should
bring about your hopes and dreams,
you show us your heart,
broken for the lost and the last,
    so we will look to their needs
    rather than thinking about our own.
YOU ARE the One
who leads us to freedom,
Servant of the poor.

When we believe we cannot speak
about your peace and hopes,
you give us words
    which spill out of our hearts.
When we put our palms
over our eyes, afraid to look
at the suffering around us,
you fill our hands with grace,
    sending us to serve your children.
YOU ARE the One who
teaches us new ways,
Impassioned Spirit.

God in Community, Holy in One,
and we lift our prayer to you, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
In stories and in stores, in sandy deserts and on rocky roads, at school events and Sunday worship, we encounter God. We meet the One who fills every moment with the sacred. We confess our sins, in trust that we can turn aside and notice God welcoming us with forgiveness and hope.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
God of Moses and Mary,
we could live at peace with others,
    but we choose to do wrong to them;
we could welcome those we do not know,
    but choose to close our hearts;
we could make outsiders our best friends,
    but choose the safety of our cliques.

Forgive us, Genuine Love, for our foolish choices.
Hold on to our shaky lives,
until we learn to clasp your goodness to our hearts,
    so we can give it away to those around us.
Whisper your grace and hopes to us,
until we can stop cursing our enemies,
    and bless them as our friends.
Smooth the rough edges of our arrogance,
until we become polished enough
    to win the gold in being honorable.
Then, we would put aside our stumbling blocks to discipleship, so we can follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, as he leads us to your way of denial and life. Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
In our love for others, we discover God's love for us. In our forgiving of others, we learn once more how deeply God has forgiven us. Friends, this is the good news offered to us!
We are God's children, called to be different, called to act differently, called to live as new people. Thanks be to God.  We are forgiven.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering

Tempted to turn away, remind us that we stand on holy ground when we walk with the lonely, work beside those seeking justice, bring hope to the forgotten, and share from our abundance with those who have nothing. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of burning bushes be with you!
And also with you!
People of God, offer your hearts to God,
who calls to you from the mystery of grace.
We turn aside from our worries to open ourselves
to the One who calls us to new life.
Children of God, remember all the joy and wonder
which has been done for you.
We will lift our voices in praise to the One who is
beyond all imagining.

In a moment, creation began,
and from that time on, God of Freedom,    

     you began to pour out
    your goodness and genuine love.
Earth laughed with flowers
    and rejoiced with sunrises.
You shaped us in your image
    and began to show us all
    you wanted to give us.
But chasing after the temptations
and seductions of the world,
    we tripped over the stumbling blocks
    of sin and death, falling flat
    on our fears and doubts.
Observing our misery in such living,
you sent the prophets
to call us back to you,
    but we did not hear their cries.
Knowing we would continue
to suffer and lose our way,
you sent Jesus to come
and deliver us from our slavery.

Joining our voices with those
who have faithfully followed,
and with those who stumbled along the way,
we call on your name, singing praises to you:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of Wonder.
Watching our struggles,
    your heart breaks;

hearing our cries,
    you whisper our names;
knowing our loneliness,
    you came to deliver us.

Blessed is Jesus Christ, who comes in your name!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, Listener of cries in the night,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Child.
Hearing the pain of your heart,
    he came to speak of your hopes;
seeing the brokenness of our relationships,
    he came to make us whole;
knowing our fear of death,
    he came to defeat its power;
aware of what it would cost him,
    he journeyed to Jerusalem
    to embrace suffering and heartache;
hating evil so much
    he was willing to let it believe
    it had won the battle,
until he burst from the grave
bringing life for all
even as you raised him from the dead.

Remembering his wonderful works,
recalling his miracles, his words, his life,
we speak of that mystery we know as faith:

Christ rejoices with us,
Christ weeps with us,
Christ died for us,
Christ was raised for us.

As we prepare to gather around
your Table, God of Love,
pour out your Spirit upon us,
and on the gifts of the bread and cup.
Feed us on the rich food
of your forgiveness and grace,
    so we might go forth
    to feed all those we only know
    by the name 'enemy.'
Quench our thirst for power
with the sweet wine of your servanthood,

     so we might choose
          honor over fame,
          humility over pride,
          forgiveness over vengeance,
    and in so doing,
    lose ourselves in your life
          of denial and service,
giving ourselves to others,
thus returning your love for us.

And when all moments come to an end,
and the time has come to gather around
that great feast in heaven,
there will be no enemy, no them, no us -
just our siblings from every time and place joining
hearts and voices in singing your praise,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.


Just as we have gathered, now

we will scatter as God's people,

to find the holy ground where God

will use us to bring love to those forgotten.

Just as we have been called

to be Jesus's siblings of hope,

we will go to join our voices with those

standing on the ground where justice is needed.
Just as we have been challenged

to become partners with the Spirit,

we will go to confront those

whose power and wealth keeps them

from offering peace and compassion to all.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Alternate texts liturgy w/communion for September 3, 2023 (Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Proper 17/Ordinary 22 - A)

 Texts:  Jeremiah 15:15-21; Psalm 26:1-8; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Call to Worship
Even when we encounter folks who
are mean, dishonest, hateful,
we are called to respond with
that love which is true and sincere.
God calls us to love all people as if
they were our siblings,
for God seeks to weave us into one family,
tearing down all the barriers between us.
No matter how weary we become
from our loneliness, our struggles, our service,
God challenges us to be patient,
to rejoice, and to never stop praying.
Why should we do all things?
Because we are God's people,
called to lives which are different,
and which make a difference!

Prayer of the Day
God our Creator,
you are alive:
     in the singing of geese flying south,
     in the leaves gently stirring in the breeze,
     in the stars that dance at night.

Jesus, Brother to the poor,
you are in our midst:
     in the lap of a grandmother,
     in the cries of a newborn,
     in the stillness of dawn.

Spirit of God,
you make all our places holy:
     the classrooms where we fidget,
     the sidewalks where we meet neighbors,
     the grass in our backyards.

God in Community, Holy in One,
make us aware of your presence in every moment,
even as we pray as we are taught, saying,
(The Lord's Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
If God is in every person we meet, what does that say about the harmful words we speak, the hurt we cause to others in our lives?  We are invited to bring our faults and foolishness, our brokenness and bitterness to our God, confessing such lives, so we might be made new.  Join me, as we pray together saying,

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
     You know us, Watching God.  You know who we are, people who find it easier to hold on to all we do that is wrong, rather that clinging to goodness.  You know what we do, when we ignore the poor, or refuse to live at peace with others.  You know why we do all these things, for we continue to set our  minds on all those temptations which insinuate themselves into our lives.
     You do indeed know us all too well, Steadfast Love.  Yet, you continue to be patient with us and forgiving towards us. Yet, you would embrace as we turn towards you in repentance, rather than washing your hands of us.  Yet, you would continue to call us to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, so we might find our life with you.  Amen.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news for us, my friends.  God remembers us and forgives us, so we might live as people of love and hope.
We will sing our praises to the One who has made us whole.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
May the gifts we offer, Loving God, feed those who are hungry, as you have fed us with your Word.  May these gifts give those who thirst for hope a cup which is overflowing.  May our gifts be used to welcome all those who are your children, our siblings in this life.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May our God of goodness be with you.
And also with you.
Offer your hearts to God and rejoice in hope.
We bring them to the One who blesses us with love.
Join in singing thanksgivings to the One who calls us to this feast.
We praise our God who feeds us with peace.

Reaching into your imagination, God of wonder,
you wove that community we call creation:
     your steadfast love swimming in the waters,
     your joy teaching songs to the birds,
     your peace placing stars in the skies.
You made ready your guest room
for those shaped in your likeness,
     but we set our minds on sin's things,
     wanting to walk down the road to death.
You sent prophets to offer us your words
so that they might delight our hearts,
     but we would not even try a taste,
     preferring to party with hypocritical temptation.
You would not wash your sins of us,
but sent your Child into our world,
to be with us, to save us.

With all those who cling to goodness,
with those who long to live in harmony,
we sing aloud our thanksgivings:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God who knows us.
All creation rejoices in your hope.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who walks in integrity.
Hosanna in the highest!

In Jesus, you walked faithfully
toward us, God of holiness,
     so we might see your love
     wherever and whenever we looked.
In Jesus, you sat down with those
considered worthless in the world's eyes,
     so we might feast on your words
     of mercy and hope.
In Jesus, your reached out
     to pry us out of Wicked's hands,
     to break Ruthless's grip on us.
In Jesus, you showed us the cost
of delivering us, as he lost his life
so we might be saved by grace.

Because we want to follow Jesus,
because we want to be your people,
we would proclaim our faith:

Taking up his cross, Christ died for us;
overcoming death with life, you raised Christ from the grave;
Christ will come with the angels, to reveal your glory.

Pour out your Spirit upon
the gifts of the Table,
and on the people being woven
into your community in this place.
As we eat of the bread,
may we find that life of serving
     the poor, the hungry,
     the lost, the hopeless.
As we drink from the cup,
may we find the strength
to lose our selves
     in sharing your peace,
     in giving water to the thirsty,
     in becoming friends with the oppressed.

When this journey through life has ended,
and we gather in your house around your table
with those of every place, and of every time,
we will sing your praises forever,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

Take the love of God into the world.
We will be genuine in sharing this 
with everyone we meet.
Take the grace of Jesus into your communities.
We will share the joy of those who rejoice, 
we will mingle our tears with those who weep.
Share the Spirit's community with all this week.
We will welcome everyone, 
especially those who feel alone and afraid.

(c) Thom M. Shuman