OT 26 — (PE+ 17)

September 26, 2021

Lectionary Texts

The story of Esther takes place in a kingdom that stretches from India to Ethiopia. Esther, a Jew, has become Queen. With the help of her cousin Mordecai, she discovers Haman’s plot to hang Mordecai, and to destroy all the Jews. At the risk of her life she intervenes. In the present passage (7.1-6, 9-10; 8.3-8, 17) she exposes Haman and his plot, and he is hanged on the gallows he had prepared to use to kill Mordecai. The Jewish people are saved.

Psalm 124 celebrates God’s saving power that has helped us escape destructive forces.

James 5. 13-20 describes the power of prayer and invites us to be a community of honesty, prayer and healing.

In Mark 9.38-50 Jesus’ disciples want to stop someone who is healing people in Jesus’ name, but who is not one of his followers. Jesus tells them to allow the man to continue his work. His interest is not which group the man belongs to, but the ministry that he is doing. He then offers a startling teaching about eliminating what causes us to sin, even though it feels like part of us. He says we will be salted with fire—suffused with God’s purifying, saving, life-giving grace.

Call to Worship

Leader: Creator God,
            All: you are enough.
Loving Christ,
            we need no other.
Breath of Life,
            you satisfy us. We rest in you.
            We worship you with praise and gratitude. Alleluia!

Leader: Eternal God, you are present.
           All: Loving presence, we open ourselves to you.
Gracious Mystery, you enfold us.
           Faithful Mercy, you dwell in us.
Creator of the universe, create anew in us.
           Create each moment, a new gift.
Create new life for us to live.
           Create your realm among us.
           Alleluia! Spirit of Life, create us anew by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, we do not know how to pray as we ought. But you pray in us, with sighs too deep for words. With all our prayers we come to you, to listen for your Word, to hear your healing voice, to follow your gracious leading, and to live by the power of your mercy and grace in us. Speak to us Lord for we are listening. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

God, we wish to be faithful,
but we confess the temptations that mislead us.
Help us to see the desires that shackle us…
the fears that stop us…
the inadequacy that haunts us…
the appetites and attachments that mire us…
help us to see them and to trust
that you set us free from them.
Help us let go of them,
that we may truly be salted by your grace.
God of grace, you set us free.
Help us let go.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

God, with the compassion of Esther may we serve people who are at risk. With the wisdom of Esther may we see the power of our gifts. With the courage of Esther may we risk for the sake of justice. By your Spirit, God, help us accept the power you give us to resist evil and injustice in whatever forms tey may present themselves, in the name and the company of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)

Prayer Song [Original Song]

God, you hold us in you care
as we turn to you in prayer.
You hear our yearning by your grace;
we return your warm embrace.
Refrain: We await your revealing,
your love and your healing.
All things shall be whole again. Amen. Amen.

God, you hold them in your care
whom we name now in our prayer.
Use the blessing of our soul
by your grace to make them whole.

God, we hold you in our care;
We receive you now in prayer.
Let us listen; let us tend.
Rest here, welcome, holy friend.

Set Me Free (To Love)
From all that binds me, Love, set me free.
From all that binds me, Love, set me free.
Set me free, Love, set me free.
Oh Love, set me free to love.

From what I fear, O Love set me free….
From what I cling to, Love, set me free…
To live in perfect love, set me free….

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