a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: grace took a breath

Call to Reconciliation
In the carols, we are reminded the reason why God came to us in Jesus, so we might have life and share it with others.  Let us confess how we have misused this great gift as we pray together, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
You came as a baby into our world,
forgive us for ignoring the children
who are hungry and lost around us.
You became weak for our sake,
forgive us when we we think
power is the only way to live.
You became poor to serve the world,
forgive us for our obsession with
wealth and material goods.

You became one of us, so we might draw closer to you, God of Christmas mornings, so have mercy on us.  Comfort us, as you touch us with your steadfast love; strengthen us as your pour out your faithfulness on us; help us to sing the glad news of the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord, your Child, into our world.

Silence is kept

L:  In the silence of that first morning, grace took a breath, a tiny hand clutched love, the Light of life came into the world that we might be forgiven.
P:  We join all around us in singing the glad songs of Christmas joy this morning and all the days to come. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies

POP: rejoice this day

You spoke long ago
of dreams you had
for creation,
of hopes you offer
to all your children,
of love which will
never, ever end.
We rejoice this day in you,
Majesty on high!

You left the right hand of God
to come and take ours
to lead us back home.
You brought life into
the valleys of our death.
You carried the Light
into the shadows of the world.
We rejoice this day in you,
Child of Bethlehem.

You teach us new songs
when the old ones fade.
You anoint us with the oil
of Christmas joy.
You make us heirs
of Christ’s faithfulness.
We rejoice this day in you,
Spirit of grace.

We rejoice in you this day,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray as we are taught, saying,
Our Father . . .

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies

Into the Silence of Chaos: Christmas communion

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
L:  May the God of holy nights be with you!
P:  And also with you!
L:  People of God, this is the night God transformed our lives.
P:  This is the night we offer our hearts to God.
L:  Children of Bethlehem, lift your voices in joy to God.
P:  Our voices join with all who celebrate the Birth this night.

Into the silence of chaos
came your songs of creation,
God of never-ending hope:
carols which crafted desert cacti,
hymns which hand-carved the heavens,
psalms which planted grassy fields.
You sang your hopes for us,
your Light shining the way for those
who had been created in your image.
But we listened to the boasting of death
and worshipped our own desires.  You sent the prophets in every age
to remind us of your mercy and hope,
but we would not behold your glory.
Finally, into a silent and fearful world,
your sent Jesus to Bethlehem,
born that we might have life with you.

So with shepherds, angels, and parents,
with those who sing carols
and those whose pain only brings silence,
we lift our glad songs to you:

P:  Holy, holy, holy are you, God of righteousness.
Creation hears the angelic songs and rejoices.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who is born this night.
Hosanna in the highest!

You could have remained silent in your holiness,
God of hillsides and mangers in barns,
but you sent your Word into our world
to speak of your longing for us.
You could have consumed us with the white heat of your justice,
but you sent a Baby to us,
to show us that your weakness
is strong enough to offer us mercy.
You could have come as an immortal,
but you took on all our human frailties,
even experiencing death for us,
so that by raising Jesus from the grave,
you fill us with resurrection life.

As we celebrate the birth of that Grace which is ours,
as we sing carols of the Babe in the manger,
we also speak of that mystery we call faith:

P:  Christ was born, that we might have life with you.
Christ came, that we might find our way back to you.
Christ became one of us, so we might become more like him.

Your Spirit is poured out upon your children
on this most silent of holy nights, and on the gifts of the Table.
We taste the Bread which is broken,
and see your goodness and loving kindness
appearing in our midst, not so we might wrap them in shiny paper,
but so we could share them
with everyone around us.
We drink from the Cup offered for us,
and taste your salvation which has come,
good news which we would take
to the broken and the lost,
the homeless and the hungry,
the friendless and the fearful
so they might know of your love for them

And when there is only silence at the end of time,
when we are gathered with your holy people,
our sisters and brothers from every age and place,
around the Table which is prepared in glory,
we will sing our carols of joy and wonder to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies

CTW: Christmas Eve

L:  On this holiest of nights,
P:  we come, joining the shepherds
who are stunned by wonder.
L:  On this most silent night,
P:  we come, our hopes and dreams
joining those of Mary and Joseph.
L:  On this nights of carols and candlelight,
P: we come, our glad songs joining
with the choirs of angels over us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: strange economy of grace

Call to Reconciliation
God has a vision of a time and place where enemies
become best friends, where the world is a playground
for all children.  But we know how we resist living in
such a kingdom, for our eyes are blinded by sin.
Let us confess to our God, as we pray, saying,

Unison Prayer of Confession
On this day we confess, God of righteousness, how we have not been your
people.  When we are offered the opportunity to get between the poor and
those who would shove them aside, we too easily step out of the way.  When
we could stand up for those in need, we prefer to sit on the sidelines.
When we are called to be servant leaders, we choose to act as if others
should wait on us.
Have mercy on us, Blessing God.  As we repent, we would see the kingdom
which is in our midst.  By your grace, we discover that in your strange
economy of grace, all people matter; by your love, we can bear fruit of
compassion and hope; by your peace, we can clothe others in your justice,
even as Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, wraps us in justice.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  We confess, and so we rejoice, for God has accepted us for who we are,
and claimed us as God’s own children.
P:  We lift our praise to God, who fills us with hope and grace.  Thanks be
to God, we are forgiven!  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies

prayer of the day: Advent 2

You come,
so the poor might
get a fair shake
(not a shakedown);
so faithfulness and righteousness
might be the suspenders
we put on each morning;
so we might listen
to the voiceless
without judgment.

When we long for a
leader beyond our imagining,
you show us a
picture
of a dusty-footed
itinerant preacher,
with a ragamuffin
group of followers
and say to us, ‘here’s who
you are looking for.’

In the midst of bigger and brighter,
louder and flashier ad campaigns,
you offer a vision of
cows given milk to wolf cubs,
snakes charming little kids,
lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!)
playing hide and seek
on our front lawns.

God in Community, Holy in One,
bring this kingdom closer to us,
even as we pray as we have been taught,
Our Father . . .

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

CTW: season of crowded stores

L:  In this season of crowded stores
and unpacked stress,
P:  we will welcome one another
    as God has welcomed us.
L:  In this time of hurried hellos and curt replies,
P:  we will greet one another
    with words of hope and peace.
L:  In a culture of increasing isolation,
P:  we will embrace our sisters and brothers
    as God has enfolded us in grace.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

prayer: treasure of your heart

Holy God:
with the precious jewel
of holy scripture,
you share with us
the treasure of your heart.
Engrave your covenant –
your hopes, your dreams,
your vision, your peace –
upon our hearts,
that they might beat
as one with yours.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: the corner of easy choices

Call to Reconciliation
Despite our foolish and angry words, God continues to speak of mercy to us.
Despite our best efforts to be faithless in our living, God remains faithful
in keeping the promise to forgive us and restore us to wholeness.  Let us
confess our sins to God, so that God’s hope and grace might endure in our
brokenness.

Unison Prayer of Confession
God beyond borders, we know that on our way to worship, we may not have
noticed the exiles in our neighborhoods. We admit how easy it is for us to
wander down the streets of temptation, pausing at the corner of easy
choices. We fall silent in the presence of those who speak words of anger
and hate. We tolerate a culture that suspects all who are different from us.
Have mercy on us, O God, for surely you take the side of justice. Open
our hearts to all the wonders you are performing in our lives. You gift us
with those of other cultures, that our lives might be blessed.  You send us
friends out of places we least expect, that our community might be enriched.

You call us to be generous with our blessings, so others might be graces
with the gift of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
L:  God challenges us, God encourages us. God confronts us, and God accepts
us. God works wonders in our midst and gives us the eyes, the hearts, the
souls to see such miracles.
P:  God forgives us, God guides us through the wilderness of the world, God
leads us home.  Thanks be to God. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.

CTW: home

L:  Whether we live in an apartment or a house;
if we reside in the suburbs or the city:
P:  God tells us to pray for the places where we live.
L:  Whether we are exiles or prisoners for the gospel;
if we are young, old, insider, outcast:
P:  God says, ‘when you search for me, you will find me.’
L: Whether we have been wandering and lost;
or if we have lived in the same place all our lives:
P:  God says, ‘I will gather you from all your places and bring you home.’

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies.