OT 21 – Pe + 13

Worship resources for:
13th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary  Time 21 (August 22, 2021)

Lectionary Texts

In 1 Kings 8. 1-43 the Ark of the Covenant, the chest containing the tablets of the law, representing God’s living presence, is brought into the newly built temple.  A cloud fills the temple with mysterious darkness.  Solomon then prays that the prayers of all who enter the temple, even foreigners, be heard.

Psalm 84 says, “How lovely is your dwelling place”—meaning the temple in Jerusalem, and also God’s presence with us. The song invites us to live in God’s presence, in God’s “house.”  All of us, even wild creatures as insignificant as sparrows, are at home there.

Ephesians 6. 10-20 reminds us we are not struggling against other people, but against the power of evil. It invites us to “put on the armor of God”: to renounce the usual ways we protect ourselves,—through violence, coercion, defensiveness and assertion—and instead entrust ourselves in vulnerable nonviolence to love, faith and the grace of God.

In John 6. 56-69  Jesus repeats the image of himself as the bread of life, and takes it farther, inviting people to eat his flesh and drink his blood.  In reaction to such a graphic and challenging image, some people quit following Jesus.  He asks the twelve if they, too, want to leave.  But Peter responds, “To whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Call to Worship

Leader:  God of love, we are hungry for your grace.
All:  You feed us the bread of life, and we thank you.
We are thirsty for your presence.
         You give us drink from the well of eternal life, and we rejoice.
We hunger and thirst for true love.
           We feast on your grace, and we worship you.  Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, many voices in this world would claim our attention.
 All:  But to whom can we turn?  You have the words of eternal life.
ou form us in your image.
 We are in awe.  We worship you.
You beckon us like a loving parent.
 We are in love, and we come to you.
You enfold us in your grace and fill us with your transforming Spirit.
 Alleluia!  Receive us, Heavenly Lover!
 Heal us, Risen Brother!
 Make us new, Spirit of Life!  Alleluia!

Leader:  God’s love is made known to us in Christ.
 All: We come to hear the good news.
We are hungry for God’s grace.
 We come not merely to listen to Jesus,
 but to consume him: to “inwardly digest,”
 to make his love part of who we are.
In that holy hunger, we praise, we pray, we worship.
 Alleluia!  Come, Christ, and feed our souls.  Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
     You alone are holy, and we worship you.
Glory be to you, O God of all Creation.
     Thanks be to you, O Christ, for our salvation.
You have the words of eternal life.
     Your teaching disturbs us; your wisdom challenges us,
     and yet, we choose to follow you.
Come then, and change our hearts.
     Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
          You alone are holy, and we worship you.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Holy One!
Even the sparrow finds a home in you.
          We come to you, and pour ourselves out to you;
          for you have the words of eternal life.
New every morning is your love, God of life,
and you are working for good throughout the day.
            Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Leader: Creator God, how lovely is your dwelling among us!
How desirable is your presence with us.
How deeply we are attracted to be with you in intimacy and safety.
Alleluia!  Holy Spirit, you invite us to take your grace into ourselves,
and so we come to you.
Fill us, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

God of life, we hunger for your love, and you give us Christ, the bread of Life.  So we come to feast on your Word, to listen and “inwardly digest,” and to be changed, that we too may be bread for the world.  Feed us with your grace.  Amen

Gracious God, we have been promised that no one will be turned away who comes to Christ.  We come to you now, to know your presence, to hear your Word, to be transformed by your grace.  Speak to us, touch us, and take our lives as your own.  We pray in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

God of Silence, God of the Word, your Christ, Jesus, has the words of eternal life. They are challenging words, sometimes frightening.  We sometimes want to go away.  Help us now to stay near, to listen with courage and with open hearts, so that your Word may live in our souls and transform us by your grace.     Amen.

Prayer of Confession

God of mercy, we confess to you
that we have struggled against other people—
     but we have ignored the struggle against our own evil.
We confess that we have taken on the armor of this world:
     we confess our domination and defensiveness,
     our willingness for others to be hurt to protect our comfort.

We confess that we have closed ourselves off from you:
     we confess the armor of our ego,
     our apathy and our distrust.
     Closed off, we have failed to love you with all we are,
     and to love our neighbor as you have loved us.
We open our hearts to you,
that we may undefended from your grace.
     Forgive us, heal us, and grant us the spirit of your mercy.
    Clothe us with the armor of your love.
[Silent prayer…]

Beloved of God, receive the good news gladly:
that in Christ we know that all our sin is forgiven entirely
and we are set free to live by the Spirit of God, in faith and love.  Amen.

Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
     All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
     Gentle God, for all that we have done that diminishes life,
     that separates us from you and from others,
     we are sorrowful.
     We give to you our broken hearts.
     Receive us, bless us, and heal us.
     Forgive our sin, and restore in us
     the image of Christ.
[Silent prayer    …    the Word of grace….]   

Pastor: The grace of God be with you.
      All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
     Gentle, healing God:
     for all that is not well in us we seek your healing;
     for all that is in disharmony with your grace
     we seek your transformation;
     from all that is a burden in us we seek relief;
     for all that is broken between us and you, and others,
     we seek your forgiveness, your healing grace,
     and a new way of living.
    Accepting what is. God, we open ourselves in your grace
    to what may be.
[Silent prayer    …    the Word of grace….]   

Response / Creed / Affirmation

            We trust in God, creator of all that is, provider of every good thing to eat.
            We follow Jesus, the Bread of Life, who embodied God’s love, made grace available to all, and gave himself in love for us.  He was crucified and died, and was raised from the dead.  We feast on his grace, and his love becomes the substance of our lives. In Christ we are all made one, as grains united in one loaf.
            We live by the Holy Spirit, the Yeast of God in us, who unites us, nourishes us and gives us strength to love our neighbors.  Graced by the power of forgiveness, the promise of resurrection and the mystery of eternal life; protected only by the armor of God’s grace; we serve in the name of Christ for the sake of others, that in the power of the Holy Spirit we may be bread for the world. Amen.

            We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is, and all that is to come, who is revealed in Word and deed, and who is yet mystery; yet whom we know as love and the source of life.
            We follow Jesus, though his teachings upset our ways and his miracles upend our world, for his words are the words of life and his love is the light of life.  He was crucified and was raised, and lives among us still, speaking to us, present with us, drawing us to him with alluring power.
            We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s power within and among us, which enables us to follow Jesus, to live lives of love, forgiveness, justice and healing, trusting in the power of grace and the mystery of eternal life.  In the unity of the Spirit we live as one Body, the Body of Christ, devoted to self-giving service to the world in the name of Christ. 

            Creator God, how lovely is the dwelling you have made for us!  You who create all things, we gladly awaken in your presence.  You are our maker, our host, and our home.
            Risen Christ, how lovely is your dwelling with us!  You invite us to feast at your table: to be nourished by your wisdom, to be healed by your grace, and to share in this banquet of life with all the other poor sinners of this world.  You who taught and healed, you who died and were raised, you who are the Bread of Life, feed us with your presence, fill us with your spirit, and lead us by your Word. We desire with all our heart and mind and strength to die and live with you in the mystery of eternal life.
            Holy Spirit, love of God, how lovely is your dwelling within us!  Sophia, Wisdom of God, how gracious is your invitation to feast at your table. You make of us one body, the Body of Christ.  We give our hearts to you, that by your grace we may devote ourselves to lives of compassion, justice and joy, for the sake of the transformation of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place  (Psalm 84)  (Available in the music store).

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