OT 20 – Pe + 12

Worship resources for:
Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 20 (August 15, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 1 Kings  3. 3-14 Solomon has become king, and has built the temple in Jerusalem.  In a dream God asks him what he wants from God.  Solomon asks for wisdom, to be able to govern well and discern right from wrong.  God agrees and, pleased that Solomon has not asked for riches or long life or power, promises to give Solomon riches and honor anyway.

In Psalm 111 we praise God; ask to be kept always mindful of God’s wonders, presence and faithfulness; and acknowledge that wisdom is born of wonder and awe at God’s grace.

Ephesians 5. 15-20 exhorts us to be sober, to be filled with the Spirit, to give thanks to God for everything, and to make our whole lives a spiritual song, “making melody in our hearts to God.”

John 6. 51-58 continuesthe sermon about Jesus as the Bread of Life.  John invites us not simply to have opinions about Jesus, but to “eat his flesh,” to let him get into our insides and become a vital part of who we are. In this way we know real life, life that is connected to God, which Jesus calls eternal life.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Gracious God, we are hungry for life.
All:  You are the Bread of Life.
We are thirsty for love.
You are the fountain of grace.
We come to feast upon your abundance.
We come to drink of your wisdom.
Alleluia!  We thank you.  We praise you.  We worship you. Alleluia

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of abundance and grace, we are hungry for life and love, but we divert our desires to other things.  Redirect our hunger, O God, and transform our desires. Stir up our deep hunger for you, our thirst for truth, our deep desire for wisdom and compassion.  Our mouths water for your Word.  Speak to us, God of Love, and give us the bread of life.   Amen.

2.
O God, like the aroma of baking bread, the love of Christ draws us to you.  Like the nourishment of a hearty loaf, the love of Christ strengthens us.  Like the sharing of delicious bread, your Word brings us together.  God, your grace feeds the deepest hunger of our souls. We come to the table of your wisdom, the feast of your love.  Feed us your grace, O God.  Amen.  

3.
God of love, we do not ask you for riches or honor; we seek your wisdom, the wisdom of compassion and grace.  Feed us with the wisdom of Christ, the Bread of life,  that we may feast on your grace and serve you in faith, for the sake of all who are hungry for life.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Leader: Creator God, we confess that we have turned from you.
All: You offer us life; but we have sought life elsewhere.In our hunger we have been fearful and greedy,
selfish and and hurtful; and we have turned away from you.
God of love, have mercy.
Our hunger has only fed us death.
God of grace, forgive us.
Teach us that our hunger and thirst is for you alone.
Teach us to turn to you and receive life in each moment.
God of life, have mercy.
Christ, you are the Bread of Life.  Come and feed our hearts and souls.
Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Response / Creed / Affirmation

        We trust in God, the Creator of all things, our Heavenly Parent.
        We follow Jesus, who loved and healed, who offered himself for the sake of others. He was crucified, but God raised him from the dead.  Risen, he is the food of our souls.   We feast on him as the Bread of Life.
        We live by the Holy Spirit, the energy of Christ in our bodies and souls. Each moment, each breath, we commune with God in Christ.  We desire always to draw closer to Christ, and to be more loving in the Spirit of God, trusting in the power of forgiveness and the mystery of resurrection, so that we ourselves are the Body of Christ, his flesh and blood.  God help us to more freely, deeply and boldly be your people.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of life, we are hungry for life.
Feed us the bread of life.
Spirit of breath, we live by each breath.
Help us to breathe deeply of you.
Love of God, we release our desires for comfort and ease;
we pray for your wisdom alone.
Christ, presence of God among us, we give our hearts to you.
Help us to listen, to feast upon your presence, and to enter into eternal life.   
Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending  /  Prayer after Communion

God of love, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You feed us with your Word and strengthen us with your grace.  Deepen our hunger for you, and grant us faith to feast richly on the grace of Christ. Offer us now as bread for the world, in the name and the spirit of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

Wisdom (see music store)



All Saints

November 1 or November 7, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Isaiah 25.6-9 foresees the coming war, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dominance of ruthless people—and yet beyond that, a great feast symbolizing God’s establishment of a new reality that will “swallow up” death and destruction — not just for Israel but for all the world, as one community.

Psalm 24 says all Creation belongs to God. To get close to God, we devote ourselves to true living.

Revelation 21.1-6 also foresees a new reality—not just among human nations, but the entire cosmos: a new Creation. It is symbolized, an in Isaiah, by the city of Jerusalem, the end of death and sorrow, and abundant water to drink. “Behold,” God says, “I make all things new.”

In John 11. 32-44 Lazarus has died. When Jesus comes, both Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, insist that Jesus could have saved him. Jesus weeps at his tomb, and then calls the dead man to come out.

Call to Worship

1.
For all the saints who have led us through the ages, we praise you.
      For all the saints in our own lives
      who have loved us and shown us your grace, we thank you.
With all the communion of saints, we glorify you.
      Alleluia! God of all the saints, transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
2.
Leader: God, you have sent us saints who have guided and inspired us; and we thank you.
      All: You have given us saints who have loved and us and transformed us. We praise you.
May we be your saints, shining with your light, radiant with your love.
      Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Gracious God, we give thanks for the saints who have gone before us: people of all ages, even children, who have shined a light on the way with their love. Make us holy with the same love they had. Help us to hear your Word and to be changed by your Spirit in us, sanctified for your purposes, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
God of love, in the company of your saints, we are lifted by their faith. With them we are warmed by your grace and led by your Spirit. Sanctify us with them: restore in us our true, holy calling as your beloved people. May love be our worship; love be our lives. Amen.

3.
Beautiful God, we are brought together in your grace. We are blessed in one another’s company. We are transformed by your Word. Speak to us, and help us listen with our deepest hearts, so that we may become more and more ourselves, more true to the glory you have planted within and among us, and more faithful to one another. In your embodied Word, Christ living among us, come, Lord, and speak. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

God of love, as Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb,
so you call us out of all that entombs us,
all that binds us, all that diminishes life.
Call to us; give us new life;
draw us into the light of a new day.
Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer


THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Beloved, God is with you.
      And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
      We lift them up to the Holy One.
Let us give thanks to the Beloved, our God.
      It is good to give God thanks and praise.

God of love, we thank you, for in love and for love
you create us in the image of your love.
      You claim us as your people and set us free from all that oppresses.
You have given us saints through the ages,
people who shone with your love and lit the way for us.
      You redeem us and empower us to join you
      in creating a world of mercy and justice.

Therefore with all the communion of saints we sing your praise:
      Holy One, all creation shines with your glorious presence.
       Hosanna in the highest.
       Blessed are they who come in your love.

Blessed is Jesus, who embodied your love for us,
and showed us how to love one another.

[The Blessing and Covenant….] *

With praise and thanksgiving we remember your loving acts in Jesus Christ.
       We offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice,
       in union with Christ’s offering for us.
And we proclaim the mystery at the heart of our faith:       
      Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Pour out your Spirit on these gifts,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
       Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
       that as the Body of Christ we may embody your love.
       Sanctify us, that we may live as your saints,
       in loving service to all the world.
       In this meal, in your Word living among us,
       and in your Spirit within us, perfect your love in us. Amen.


_______________
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us,
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,
saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view songs and hear audio clips on the Music page.)

Blessed [Original tune. Includes 4-part version for choir]

Dear God, receive me anew, mourning and poor in my soul,
hungry for what makes me whole.
Bless me by making me simple like you.

Refrain: Blessed are the ones who have nothing but God,
for God and God alone shall fill their lives.

Mercy please grant me anew. Make my heart pure by your grace,
humble, that I may see your face.
Bless me by making me gentle like you. Refrain

Courage please give me anew, peace in the world to make,
and to suffer for your Gospel’s sake.
Bless me by making me faithful to you. Refrain


Eternal Life [Original tune. Includes 4-part version for choir.]

This is how we will know eternal life:
we will love one another.
I lay down my life, all that is mine alone,
that we may be raised together.

We are not bound by any earthy thing
when our lives we surrender to God
whose love is eternal life,
and so we will love one another.


For Your Saints [ Tune: Joyful, Joyful]

God, we thank you for your saints and for their time among us here,
In their faith, their service and their ready smile we’ve felt you near.
In their steadfast love of others and their persevering grace,
we have known your living presence; we have seen your human face.

God, we thank you for the faith that lifts our hearts and lights our way,
for your hidden, healing presence walking with us day by day.
As we face death’s shadows, still we walk with courage and with love,
persevering in the faith that you have granted from above.

“Children, I will never leave you or forsake you,” you have said.
You have been our helper, God, so there is nothing that we dread.
By your grace that never fails us, guide, sustain and lead us on,
‘till we step with grateful hearts into the light of heaven’s dawn.

God Bless the Saints [Tune: Blest Be the Tie that Binds ]

God bless the saints we’ve known,
who loved us through the years,
who shared our struggles and cherished our joys
and held us and wiped our tears.

God bless the teachers and guides
whose wisdom brightens our days,
whose courage lifts our struggling hearts,
and shines your light on our ways.

God bless the quiet ones
who serve in humble ways
without their seeing the fruit of their faith,
yet live in prayerful praise.

God, help us be your saints
who trust your loving grace,
that we may be a holy blessing
in our own time and place.





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

1.
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!

2.
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.
Y
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!

3.
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!

3.
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!

4.
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!

5.
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

1.
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

2.
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.

3.
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


1.
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.

2.
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….]   

3.
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

1.
            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.

2.
            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. 

3.
            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).

Reign of Christ

November 21, 2021

Lectionary Texts


2 Samuel 23.1-7 recounts David’s last words: a just ruler is like a warm sunrise on a rain-washed meadow. God promises to uphold the just ruler, and undo the unjust ruler.

Psalm 132 recalls David’s promise not to rest until he had built a temple for God. In return, God promised that David’s descendants would reign over Israel forever.

Revelation 1.4b-8 is a hymn of praise to Christ, the “sovereign over the rulers of the earth,” who has set us free and made us into a new nation.

In John 18.33-37 Jesus is on trial for claiming to be a king. But “king” is a secular word that does not really describe who he is. Yes, Jesus prevails over all things, but not through political power: the truth of God’s love is his only power.


Call to Worship

1.
(Revelation 1.4-8)
Leader:
Grace to you and peace
from the one who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before the throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead, and sovereign of the rulers of the earth.
      All: To Christ, who loves us
       and whose blood was shed in freeing us from our sins,
       and who has made us to be a nation of priests
       serving our God and Life-Giver,
       to Christ be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! Christ is coming with the clouds,
for every eye to see,
even those who pierced Jesus—
on whose account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
       So it is to be. Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says God the Holy One,
who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
       Alleluia! With humble gratitude, we worship!


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Eternal God, Creator and Sovereign of the Universe, you have established Christ as the ruler of all Creation. The world of human power and empire is an illusion. The real world is your Empire of Grace, ruled over by Christ, the living embodiment of your love. We come to align ourselves once again to your reign of grace. Speak your Word to us as citizens of heaven, that we may be loyal to you alone. We pledge allegiance to you and to no other, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
Eternal God, though we are beset by many powers, forces and authorities, we have only one God, who is you. We have only one Superior, who is Christ. Our highest allegiance is to you, and our greatest loyalty. Christ, you who are the Way and the Truth and the Life, speak to us now. May we hear with joy what you are saying, and may your Word have authority for us. We are the citizens of your realm; speak to us, beloved Sovereign, for we are listening. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

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 God, we confess that we have not allowed you to rule our lives.
      We have strained against your grace,
      and sought our own ways,
      and obeyed impulses not of your Spirit.
      Forgive us, and return us,
      so that your grace may rule in our lives.
      Sovereign God, your will be done. Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE

Readings


1.
(Colossians 1.15-20)
Leader: Christ is the visible appearance of the invisible God,
the beloved older sibling of all creation.
      All: All things in heaven and on earth were created in Christ,
       everything visible and invisible,
       rulers and powers and systems and empires—
       everything was created through Christ and for Christ.
Christ came before anything,
and in Christ everything holds together.
       Christ is the head and the church is the body.
Christ is the Source of life, and has turned even death into a birth:
so Christ is first in every way.
       In Christ God lives completely.
Through Christ God reconciles us to God—
all of us, and everything on earth and in heaven:
in dying on the cross, Christ brought God and humanity together.
       This is the mystery, hidden for ages but now revealed:
       that Christ is alive in us. Alleluia!

2.
Philippians 2.5-11
Leader: Beloved, be of the mind of Christ
       All: who was divine
       and yet who did not cling to equality with God
,
but became utterly empty,
       born a human,
       choosing the place of a slave.
In complete humility
       Christ was obedient to death,
       even death on a cross
.Therefore God exalted Christ with a name above every name
       so that at the name of Jesus
       every knee should bend
       in heaven, on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
       that Jesus Christ is Sovereign,
       to the glory of God the Giver of Life.


Creed / Affirmation

1.
       We trust in God, creator of all that is and that shall be, the One in whom all things exist, the Love who orders all of life.
       We follow Jesus Christ, who fully embodies God’s love and grace. Jesus taught and healed, suffered and shared, and gathered a community of blessing, inclusion and transformation. He proclaimed a Realm of grace counter to the ways of the world. He was crucified by the powers of violence and Empire; but by the power of your grace you raised Christ from the dead, and Christ lives and reigns among us as our savior, our servant and our superior.
       We live in the Holy Spirit, God’s presence within and among us, whose grace and power orders our lives. By that Spirit we devote ourselves to serve Christ as faithful subjects and companions, willingly foregoing power, security and esteem for the sake of enfleshing God’s love for the world, to the glory of God. Amen.

2.
       We give our hearts to You, God, eternal creator and ruler of all that is and all that is to come, whose power and grace is unsearchable yet evident in the world around us, hidden in the ordinary, present in all things.
       We follow you, Christ, our Superior and Sovereign, who appeared in Jesus among the poor, teaching, healing and doing miracles, gathering a community, and proclaiming your Realm of Grace. In your death and resurrection you have overthrown the powers of this world and established your Realm among us. The Risen Christ lives and reigns; Christ prevails even amidst all evil, suffering and injustice; Christ directs our lives and confirms our hopes. Hidden in your humble appearance, vulnerability and powerlessness, you are our Sovereign, and the ruler of all Creation.
       We live by your Holy Spirit within and among us, the power of your reign in our hearts that guides and strengthens us to do respond to your desire, to live in love, and to work as the Body of Christ for your realm of mercy and justice. We renounce worldly powers and values, and pledge allegiance to your love and grace, which redeems the world and grants the gift of eternal life. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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

Christ, Ruler of All Things [Tune: ST. ELIZABETH (Fairest Lord Jesus)]

Christ, ruler of all things, what is seen and unseen,
your love reigns; your grace is sure.
Beneath our fear and strife, death fails to conquer life:
your tender mercy still endures.

Christ, ruler of our hearts, come and reign within us.
Make us comrades, siblings, friends.
Your love be our life, our only power,
that gives us life that never ends.

Christ, ruler of the earth, bring your gentle justice:
your Realm come, your will be done.
Heal all oppression; fill us with mercy,
as faithful as the rising sun.

Christ, ruler of all things, of what is and is to come,
Risen One, our song we raise.
Rule in our living; guide us with tender love.
Your grace in us will be your praise.


Love Is Enthroned (Tune: Finlandia)

O, risen Christ, who once appeared among us,
you have ascended! Loud we sing your praise.
Though we may see no shadow of your nearness,
you have not gone; your loving presence stays.
You are no longer in one time or place,
but in all things, to radiate your grace.

Christ has ascended, reigning now above.
Love is enthroned at the Creator’s side.
All powers on earth are subject to Christ’s love,
who is our history’s unseen, gentle guide.
Though evil try to make this world its home,
Love is its Lord, and love shall overcome.

Go in the peace of Christ who is our Lord,
and gently heal, amid the fear and strife.
For we who eat and drink the living Word
are now Christ’s Body, and Christ’s earthly life.
We may not see the journey or the end,
but Christ still reigns, our ruler and our friend.


O Jesus, Wounded Sovereign [Tune: O Sacred Head Now Wounded]

Dear Jesus, you who suffer and walk among the poor
whose hearts and lives are broken, whose faith is still unsure:
despised, accused and battered, you do not say a word.
So powerless, yet loving!— you are my Sovereign Lord.

You bear no arms but loving, no threats nor flags unfurled.
You wear no kingly robes, but the sorrows of the world.
Yet your forgiveness conquers each worldly rule and reign,
and rises, whole, undaunted, from evil, death and pain.

While emperors abuse you, and people shrug or stare,
and dark injustice troubles the ones for whom you care,
your mighty grace arises, and hidden from our sight,
enfolds all living beings in your triumphant light.

Though Caesar cannot see you, and empires stumble, blind,
your Reign of love, triumphant, rules all of humankind.
The power of Creation, that showers us with grace,
is hidden in your weak hands, and in your trembling face.

O Jesus, wounded Sovereign, I pray, give me the nerve
without this world’s armor to love and bless and serve.
My master and companion, rule all eternity
with grace and deep compassion, and, Lord, begin with me.


O Sovereign Love (Tune: Amazing Grace)

Beloved, you who guard and guide and give for every need,
reign in my heart, O Sovereign Christ; direct each thought and deed.

O Sovereign Love, my root, my sun, my purpose and my peace,
I spurn the world’s vain, anxious rule, and trust your Law of Grace.

The Empire of your justice, God, with mercy’s clear command
shall be my home; my loyalty is to no lesser land.

In humble and obedient thanks I pledge my life to you,
to join your work of justice, God, to make the world anew.

Reign in my heart, O Christ, my Rule. In faith I am compelled
to serve you, who by love alone have conquered all the world.

OT 22 – Pe + 13

Worship resources for:
Ordinary Time 22 (August 29, 2021) 


Lectionary Texts

The Song of Solomon is a love poem shared by two lovers. In 2.8-13 one beckons to the other to come away into the world of spring flowers and turtledoves.

In the Spirit of the Songof Solomon, Psalm 45 is a wedding ode to a prince marrying a foreign princess, extolling both his personal loveliness and his nobility as a ruler.  (Alternate Psalm, United Methodist): Psalm 72 prays for God’s guidance for the king, that he may defend the cause of the poor, and that he may prevail over the enemies of justice.

James 1. 17-27 says: several things: • Everything is a gift from God.  • We are children of God’s truth, and clear expressions of God’s creativity. • Be quick to listen and slow to speak, and slow to anger. • We do not just hear the Word of God; we do it.  Real religion is both inward and outward: attention to our inner lives and compassion for the poor.

In Mark 7. 1-23 some people criticize Jesus for not observing religious traditions around cleanliness, which was “next-to-Godliness.”  But Jesus responds that it’s the inner life, and choices and actions that flow from it, not external circumstances, that define our spiritual state and our closeness to God. 

Call to Worship

Leader:  Muddy water swirls, clouded and opaque.
     All:  Still water settles out, and becomes clear.
God has called us to this time and place to be still in God’s grace.
     We come to rest in God’s presence, that what is within may become clear.
God desires truth in the inward being.
     Holy Spirit, clarify our souls, cleanse our hearts,
     and renew within us the desire to do your will,
     in the name and grace of Christ.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of grace, you give us your law not to restrict us but to set us free.  Help us by your grace to hear and understand, to listen and discern; to know and choose wisely.  By your Holy Spirit, your Word in Christ, alive in us, guide us in the way of your Wisdom.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession


Pastor:  Friends in Christ, we desire to be in harmony with God,
who desires truth in the inward being.
     All: We confess what is within us is a mix of love and fear.
God, open to us our inward lives, that we may see clearly, and be made new.
     Help us see clearly what within us is born of love,
     and what is born of our wants and fears.

     By your grace transform our inner desires,
     that what flows from our hearts may be love and healing,
     and the grace of Christ.
[Silent prayer  …   Words of grace]
    
2.
The grace of God be with you.
     And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
God, You who are truth,
You who dwell within me:
You see me as I am; and you receive me as I am.
Help me to shed all attachment to outward appearances,
to see myself truthfully,
and to let myself be filled from the inside out
with your grace, your forgiveness,
your blessing, your love.

[Silent prayer   ..   The Word of Grace]

Response / Creed / Affirmation

[James 1.17-27]
   With gratitude we affirm that every good thing is a gift of God, the Mother of stars, the Father of lights, whose love is not shadowed or changing.
   We give thanks that Christ, the Word of God, the word of truth, has given us birth so that the wonder of Creation might blossom in us.
    By the Holy Spirit we seek to be doers of the word, not hearers only, to live by the perfect law, the law of liberty. We seek to rid ourselves of selfish desires, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save our souls.  By the Spirit’s grace we seek to persevere, to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. We devote ourselves to care for those who are vulnerable, to do justice and act mercifully, and to serve God in all we do, in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Song

Be Thou My Wisdom  
Tune:  Slane  – Be Thou My Wisdom

Be thou my Wisdom and grant me your sight. 
Help me to see by your love’s perfect light.
Love, be my compass, my balance, my Way:
guide from within what I choose day by day.

Grant me the wisdom to seek and to learn,
to pray for your leading and wait and discern.
Help me to listen with all of my heart,
listen for all of the Truth you impart.

Grant me your Wisdom: a heart that’s made pure,
courage to follow a love that is sure.
Led by your Spirit, listening still,
help me to know and to follow your will.

See music store.


OT 25 – (Pe+16)

September 19, 2021

Lectionary Texts


Proverbs 31.10-31 celebrates the wisdom, strength and industry of a woman who manages the estate and runs the family business. Her attention is not on her own well-being alone, but that of her whole household.

Psalm 1 says those who contemplate and follow God’s ways are like trees growing near water, bearing fruit and never failing.

James 3.13-4.3, 7-8a contrasts selfish desire with “gentleness born of wisdom,” which comes from God. It is the conflicting desires within us that cause the conflicts between us.

In Mark 9.30-37, Jesus responds to the disciples’ desire to be the “greatest” by saying that the first must be last; the greatest must be a servant. He embraces a child—vulnerable, powerless, receptive and without status—and invites us to be welcoming to such as they.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you
          All: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
        Blessed are those whose delight is in the Word of God.
        They are like trees planted by streams of water,
        who bear fruit in season, and whose leaves do not wither.
Grant us the gift of gentleness born of wisdom.
        God, we draw near to you, who draw hear to us.
        We root ourselves in you. We submit ourselves to you. We worship you.



2.
Leader: Abba God, loving father, we are your trusting children.
        All: Hold us in your love.
Amma God, loving mother, you give us life.
        Raise us up with courage.
Living Spirit, Holy One, you breathe into us your beauty and wisdom.
        Send us into this world with your love.
        We seek you. We fall into your arms. We worship.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Loving, steadfast God, the world is large and brutal. We feel like children, small and vulnerable. Hold us in your steady arms like a strong mother. Guide us like a wise father. Speak to us and raise us up as your wise, loving, gentle children. We pray in the presence and power of our brother Jesus. Amen.

2.
Leader: God of grace, Holy Child, you come among us small and tender.
        All: Open our hearts to welcome the child that is your Word.
Your voice is small, easily drowned out by those who would be great.
        Open our ears to hear your Word.
We so easily betray and deny you, and turn from you, hidden in the “little people.”
        Open our hands, to serve you in humble love.
        Grant us your wisdom, that we may live in faith, through Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession


1.
Pastor: God of mercy, trusting in your grace, we confess our sin to you and to another.
        All: You come among us in the small and vulnerable,
        but we have turned away from them for more important things.
        Your Spirit speaks within us, a tender child,
        but we ignore you for louder voices.
        You ask us to be as a child, small, receiving, and vulnerable;
        but we have sought dominance and strength.
        Forgive our sin, heal our fear, and make us once again
        the trusting children of God.
[Silent prayer … Words of grace….]

2.
Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
        Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
        God of love, we confess we have wanted to be “great,”
        to better than others, superior, and safer.
        Give us trust in your grace, to be “least,”
        to be humble, trusting and loving.
        Give us faith not to control, but to receive.
        Forgive our sin and renew our hearts.
[Silent prayer….]
Children of God, hear the good news that we know in Christ:
that your sins are forgiven entirely,
and you are set free to live by the Holy Spirit as a child of God,
now and always, in the name of Christ. Thanks be to God.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1. [Philippians 2.5-11]
Leader: Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though divine,
did not cling to equality with God.
        All: Christ became utterly empty,
        born a human, choosing the place of a slave.
        In complete humility Christ became obedient to death,
        even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted Christ
with a name that is above every name,
        so that at the name of Jesus
        every knee should bend,
        in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

        and every tongue confess
        that Jesus Christ is Lord,
        to the glory of God, the Giver of Life.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

God, we want to follow powerful leaders, but you call us to follow the Crucified One. We want to be great but you invite us to be children. We want easy lives, but you shepherd us into dying and rising. Give us courage. Give us faith, Give us the gentleness born of wisdom. Speak to us and renew us as your trusting children. We pray in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Gracious God, we give you our gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. We open our arms to you to come among us as a child. By your Spirit in us may we humbly welcome and serve all people, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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

I Take Up my Cross
(Dialogue between soloist & congregation)

Refrain: Letting go, I am held. I take up my cross and follow.

1. Jesus, you call to me, and draw me into your life.
2. Christ, I leave all behind, to follow you in love.
3. I yield my life to you, for you alone are God.
4. Loved with your costly love, I’ll suffer for the sake of love.
5. Christ, make my one desire to be to serve you in love.


We Welcome the Child [Original song]

We welcome the child among us.
We welcome the tender ones.
In our embrace we meet your grace,
your gentle love divine.

Welcome to those who are fragile, a safe healing place to belong,
a shelter from harm, a comforting arm, a refuge where you may grow strong.

Welcome the child within us, the small, timid voice in the night,
her wonder and fear at the world so near, the child of your love and delight.

God, you are a child among us, no power or might or control.
By your gentle part you soften my heart and make me a more loving soul.


OT 23 – Pe + 14

Worship resources for:
OT 23  –  Pe + 14  (September 5, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

Proverbs 22. 1-2, 8-9, 22-23 says we are all created equal by God. Blessed are the generous. Do not forsake the cause of caring for the poor.

Psalm 124:  God’s grace alone has saved us when we were in danger.

James 2. 1-17 warns us not to favor the rich over the poor, and not to judge one another.  We are accountable to the whole law: if you judge someone who has sinned, you also are equally  guilty of sin.  We are not merely learning information: we are learning a new way of living. Faith without is dead if it is not worked out in our living.

In Mark 7.24-37   Jesus rejects a woman’s request to heal her daughter because she is a foreigner.  But in her faithful persistence he sees that she is a human being, and he heals the girl. Then he cures a deaf man with a speech impediment, touching the man’s ears and tongue and crying out, “be opened!”

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of ancient truth, our ancestors lead us to this place.
     All:  We open our minds to your Word.
Gentle Christ, your loving community gathers us here to be changed by your grace.
     We open our hearts to your love.
Holy Spirit, our thirst for you has brought us to worship.
     We open our lives to your power,
     and we open our arms to one another,
     that we may open ourselves to the world, in the love of Christ. Amen.

2.
Leader:  Infinite God, Heart of Being, you draw us near.
     All: Open our lips to sing your praise.
Loving Christ, beloved Friend, you lay your healing hands upon us.
     Open our eyes and ears to see and hear your presence.
Holy Spirit, Word of new Creation. you burn within us.
     Open our hearts and minds to live in new ways.
     Your will be done. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Your Word creates the heavens and the earth, O God;
therefore we listen with open ears.
     All:  Your love gives us life; therefore we open our lips to praise you.
You give us your Christ who heals us, teaches us and calls us.
     With gratitude we receive him with open arms.
You give us your Spirit, that guides us in the wisdom of your love.
     We open our hearts to your presence and your grace.
Open our ears to hear you, God, and our hands to serve you.
     Alleluia!  Arise in us, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

4.
God of love, open our eyes to your glory.          Open our hearts to your grace.
Open our arms to your beloved children.
          Open the door and enter our lives
          as we worship you in gratitude and wonder.   Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Spirit of Love, when we can’t hear your Word, or see your Way, we feel deaf and blind.  When we can’t sing your praise we feel mute.  Heal us.  Open our hearts, and set us on a path of endless learning and growing in the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

2.
Gentle God, we come to you seeking healing, wisdom and life.  Bless us with your love, your Word, your touch.  Only say the word and we shall be made whole.  Have mercy, O Lord, and bless us.  Amen.

3.
God of truth and power, we observe many traditions, we meet many expectations, we follow many habits.  But now in this moment we release all outward forms. There is no one to judge us or to compare; there is only you, hidden in your Word.  Help us to listen for your presence, to hear what is True, to be changed by your Word.  Our hearts are open vessels. Pour yourself in, and we will receive you.   Amen.

4.
Eternal God, you who have created the heavens and the earth, create us anew in the power of your Spirit.  You opened up the space of the heavens, and set therein stars like eyes to shine on us.  Open our own eyes, that we may behold your glory and worship you.  In Jesus Christ you healed people’s bodies and hearts.  Open our hearts to your grace, that we may made new in the image of Christ. Your Spirit opened the lips of the mute and gave them good news to tell.  O Lord, open our lips, and our mouths shall declare your praise.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

1.
God, I throw open the window of my heart.

Let the light of your grace flood my house.

Let the breeze of your Spirit freshen my air.

Let your love kindle the fire at my heart,

that I may live by your warmth and light all my days,

in the name and the company of Christ.   Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

[Of course, rather including so much responsive sections, the pastor may read the whole thing…]

 God is with you.
    And also with you.Lift up your hearts.
    We lift them up to the Holy One.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One our God.
    It is good to give God thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O God, for you create all things in love.
   You make us in your image and call us your Beloved,
   and continually re-create us by your grace.
   You know our struggles and bear our suffering.
   You judge the forces of oppression and set us free.
You guide us into a new world of mercy and justice;
   you heal the splinterings of race and clan, creed and status.
You draw us into the Empire of Grace
   in the company of Jesus your Christ.

[Sanctus, sung or spoken]

5
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
   He taught and healed, and loved all people,
   calling us to repentance and offering new life.

  
He defied barriers and created a new community
   of love, justice and inclusiveness.
He opened heaven to us, that we might commune with God.
For his resistance to injustice he was crucified,
but you raised him from the dead.

   
[… The Blessing and Covenant…] *

With gratitude we remember your mighty acts in Jesus Christ.
    Therefore we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
    as a living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
    as we proclaim the mystery of our faith.

     
[Memorial acclamation]

As the dogs that eat the crumbs that fall from the table,
we come not because we are worthy but because you invite us.
No one is turned away.
     We thank you for these gifts
     that unite us with all who hunger for your grace.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of the Beloved, Jesus Christ.
     Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
     that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
     Open us to your grace and to the new life you offer us;
     make us vessels of your love.
     Open us to one another; make us one in your Spirit.

Open us to the suffering of the world,
and to your healing flowing through us.
    By your grace in this meal
    prepare us to work for  healing and justice
    for the sake of your delight.
All glory and honor is yours,
faithful and loving God, now and forever.

      [Amen]

____ 
*I don’t print/project the words to the Blessing and Covenant (the “Words of Institution”) because especially at that point I want the congregation to be looking at the bread and cup, not printed or projected words. You may print it for the celebrant—but I encourage you to memorize it.

The Blessing and Covenant

On the night in which he gave himself for us,
he took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples,
saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
shed for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You have opened our hearts to your grace.  Now open our hands to do the work you give us, to work for justice and healing for the sake of the wholeness of all Creation, in the name and Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

With Open Hands   (Tune: The Water Is Wide)

O Lord, we come with open hands for grace we do not understand.
We simply take, and we are blessed that you receive us as your guest.

We open all our treasure stores in gratitude that freely pour
from open hearts that you have healed, so in our love yours is revealed.
         
You open wide great heaven’s doors; your love includes, heals and restores.
We share your feast, and we are called with open arms to all the world.

I am Open  (See the Music Store)

Open Me (See the Music Store)

OT 32 – PE+ 23

November 7, 2021

Lectionary Texts


Ruth 3. 1-5; 4.13-17 continues the story of Ruth, who is a foreigner in Israel. Through a series of deviations and deviousness, she is married by Boaz. Although she is an alien, and married only by the wildest of circumstances, it turns out that she will be no less than the great grandmother of the great King David himself.

Psalm 127 reminds us that it is not our effort but God who assures our security, and not worldly power but love that makes our lives worthwhile. (Alternate: Psalm 42 cries out in hunger for God, lamenting life’s difficulties but hoping in God in the midst of them. This Psalm celebrates the gift of faith in the form of assurance, but it also recognizes that our aching thirst for God is also faith.)

Hebrews 9. 24-28
compares Christ’s sacrifice for us to the temple sacrifices of animals: Christ’s was in heaven, not on an altar that is a copy of heaven; and it was once and forever, not having to be repeated, and therefore taking away sin forever. So the next time Christ appears, it will not be for judgment, since that has already happened. It will be to “save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

In Mark 12.38- 13.2 Jesus criticizes the temple rulers for keeping for themselves the gifts that are for the care of widows. Despite such abuse, a widow gives all she has to this fund, doing what she can for others. Jesus prophesies that the temple—not just the building, but the system that scorns justice— is doomed.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal God, you who are more vast than the universe,
we come with our tiny words of praise,
       All: and you receive them with love and delight.
Loving Jesus, we give to you our small and broken lives,
       and you receive them with love and delight.
Holy Spirit, we bear the gifts you have given us out into the world, each in our own way,
       and you receive them with love and delight.
       We worship you, and give thanks for your grace. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: God of abundance, you provide every need.
       All: We give you thanks.
Generous Love, you shower us with grace.
       We worship you.
Spirit of giving, you move in us.
       We offer you our lives. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: God of love, you are present.
       All: We are present for you.
You give us the gift of Creation,
the gift of life, the gift of your Spirit.
       We come with rejoicing,
       to offer you the gifts you have given us.
You shower us with love.
       We return your love in worship and praise.
       Alleluia! All glory and honor is yours. Alleluia!


4.
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.
For all that you have given us, we thank you.
       All that is in our hands and our hearts is yours, and we offer it to you.
Fill us with your Spirit and strengthen us,
that we may live with gratitude, courage and generosity all our days.
       Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God, a poor widow offered two tiny coins to you. We come to offer ourselves to you. Set us free from judging ourselves or our gifts, and enable us freely to give, in the spirit of Christ. Amen.

2.
Generous God, you give us all of Creation; you give us the gift of life; you give us the gift of your mercy and the mystery of eternal life. In Christ you give yourself to us. Our thanks is but small; yet we open our hearts to you now, that as we hear your Word we may receive the love you give us and our gratitude and generosity may increase. Amen.

3..
Faithful God, in fear we cling to our lives. But your steadfast love saves us and sets us free. So we listen now to hear your Word, to receive your love, to be set free, and to become generous with your love, by the power of your Spirit, in the name of your Christ. Amen.

4.
Eternal God, a poor widow put her copper coins in the treasury, and it has blessed us for generations. Bless us now, that this moment may be for us such an offering: as your scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed, may the gift of your Word, given from your very heart, enrich us; and may we give to you ourselves, poor in spirit but rich in your grace. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
The grace of God be with you.
       And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
       Gentle God, we thank you for all you have given us,
       and we confess that we have held onto it in fear.
       We have belittled your grace,
       forgotten the needy,
       and cut ourselves off from you and from our sisters and brothers.
       In the name of Christ, who embodies your mercy,
       forgive us for our grasping;
       heal us of our fear;
       and lead us into lives of trust, gratitude and generosity
       for your sake, and the sake of your Realm of mercy and justice. Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE

2.
God, trusting in your mercy, we confess that at times
we judge the gifts of others,
withhold our own gifts,
or belittle the value of our God-given gifts.
Forgive our clinging,
heal our fear,
and deepen our faith in the generosity of your Spirit,
that we ourselves may be your gift for the world,
in the name and Spirit of Christ

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
       We trust in God, Creator of all, who gives us every good thing.
       We follow Jesus Christ, the Loving One, who showed us God’s abundant love, and God’s unfolding plan to create the world anew in justice and peace. Jesus gave of his heart and his being, giving even his life. Though he was crucified by our fear and our clinging, yet God raised him from the dead, and he lives among us still, calling us to lives of gracious love.
       We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to live lives of justice, forgiveness and generosity, sharing God’s grace with all Creation. The Spirit gives us each gifts that are worthy. We pray that always the Spirit of God’s love may lead us, give us courage, and enable us to be the Body of Christ for the world. Amen.

2.
       We live by the grace of God, who creates all things, who provides all things, who orders all things, and who is creating a new heaven and earth, a realm of mercy and justice.
       We live by the love of Jesus, God’s Christ, who embodied God’s love in teaching and healing, in providing for the hungry and in offering hospitality to the outcast. He was crucified, but though he died alone and rejected, he was raised in power and glory, and is present with us still, to guide and encourage, to bless and to sanctify us and our work for mercy and justice.
       We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, God within and among us, energizing us to give freely, to serve humbly, to act boldly, to trust deeply, and to love gently, for the sake of God’s Reign of mercy and justice. We are One, the Body of Christ, and together with the communion of saints we trust in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, and the mystery of eternal life. By God’s grace, we devote ourselves to lives of love and courage in the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. You who have given us everything, we give ourselves to you, that you may give us to the world. We give of our hearts and our will, our time and attention, our passions and possessions, in your Holy Spirit of generosity, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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


All of the Gifts I Have
[Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]

All of the gifts I have, all that is within me,
you give to me, O God, with care;
all of my prayers and skills, passions and energies
you grant to me to freely share.

Here are my hopes and dreams, attitudes and deepest loves,
all of the treasure to which I cling.
I will not hold them in, stilling my ardent song,
but serving you I’ll freely sing.

In all I keep or give, may I do my very best
in everything I say and do,
in harmony with you, only to love and bless,
with joy, to serve and honor you.

Giving Heart (Tune: Water is Wide- Gift of Love)

O God of grace, you set us free
and feed us all abundantly,
so help me trust the gifts you give,
with giving heart and hands to live.

Come, Spirit, come, and set me free
from all I cling to fearfully.
Come heal my heart, my fears relieve,
so I may give as I receive.

Your Bread of Life transforms us, Lord,
so we become your living Word.
Our lives no more are ours to hold,
but yours to share with all the world.


The Giving Song [Tune: DOVE OF PEACE (I Come with Joy)]
God, send me out into the world to share all I possess.
My generosity shall be the faith that I confess,
the faith that I confess

For you have given me such gifts, grace infinite and deep,
that I can only share them all. There’s nothing I will keep,
there’s nothing I will keep..

And let my giving change me, Lord, to make me more like you:
to let your blessing flow through me, creating me anew,
creating me anew.

My life will not be known by what I have, but how I share,
courageously, with trust in you, with love and joy and care,
with love and joy and care.


Giving thanks [Original Song]


We are a grateful people giving thanks to you.
We are a blessed people singing praise to you.
We are a gifted people spreading love for you.
We are a thankful people spreading love for you


Harvest of your grace [Original Song; dialogue between soloist & congregation]

God scatters abroad, and gives to the poor, and fills the hungry with good things
      Alleluia! O God,we rejoice in the harvest of your grace.
How blessed the poor, and all those that mourn. “You do to me as to them.”
      Alleluia! We offer our gifts for the harvest of your grace.
Now come to the Feast. Our cups overflow. With grateful hearts we remember.
      Alleluia! We come now to work in the harvest of your grace.
God’s grace will abound, in seed and in bread. In joy then sow as you reap.
      Alleluia! God, gather from us the harvest of your grace.
You will receive, so that you can give, and yield a harvest of good hearts.
      Alleluia! God send us to share the harvest of your grace.


I Belong to You [Tune: Water is Wide / Gift of Love]

Beloved, I belong to you.
You give me birth; you make me new,
your image formed, by Spirit stirred.
You are the Song; I am your Word.

Whatever pains I may endure,
I still belong. Your love is sure.
Since I am yours, your will I do.
I trust and give myself to you.

I am your coin to richly spend,
so spend me, God, as you intend.
You bless my end; you hold my worth;
send me to love throughout the earth.

Beloved, I belong to you.
Do with me what your love will do.
Bear me, and I, through ease or strife
will find in you eternal life.




Advent 1 – November 28, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Advent is a season of watching, waiting, expecting, preparing.

In Jeremiah 33.14-16 God promises Israel a just and faithful ruler, a descendant of David (a “righteous branch”).

In Psalm 25.1-10 we who “wait for God” pray that God will forgive us and lead us in God’s ways.

In 1 Thessalonians 3.9-13 Paul says to his church people, “I thank God for you. I hope I can come be with you. May God help you to love one another, and help you be ready for the coming of Christ.

In Luke 21.25-36 Jesus alerts us to be watchful for the coming of God’s reign into our midst. An as alternative to the world’s despair at the storms of life and our power struggles (“signs in the heavens”) Jesus commends a spirit of inner watchfulness, being alert for signs of God’s presence like we watch for spring.

Call to Worship / Lighting the Advent Candle

Note: For musical responses to the lighting of the Advent candle see The Promises of God and Sleeper, Awake, and Waken Us, a collection of responsorial verses. (Click on titles to view the songs.) I also have Advent Blessing Songs and Responsorial verses.

1.
SCRIPTURE (Jeremiah 33.14-16)
The days are surely coming, says the Holy One, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up from David’s line; a ruler who shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “God is our justice.”
SONG The Promises of God
RESPONSE
Leader: A new world is coming, according to the promises of God.
The time is coming.
        All: We light a candle in hope, watching the clock.
We cannot hasten the future. But we wait with intention.
        Deepen our longing, God, and bless our waiting.


2.
[Luke 21.29-31; 1 Thessalonians 3.12-13]
Leader: Look to the leaves of the fig tree. When they sprout and begin to grow,
you know that summer is already near.
       This Advent wreath is a sign of hope for us, O God,
       For like a tree that is bare in winter, we await the coming of your grace.
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all,
and strengthen your hearts that you may be confident at the coming of our Lord.
       As we light this candle, kindle in our hearts the hope in your coming
       that bears fruit in love and joy.
       Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.


3.
Leader: A righteous branch will spring up from David,
a ruler who will bring justice and peace to God’s people.
       All: We await your peace, O God, according to the promise of your prophets.
       May the peace of Christ transform our hearts,
       as we prepare for his coming.
T
he peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
       As we light these Advent candles, Lord,
       kindle in us your spirit of peace.
       Grant that we may prepare for his coming
       in simplicity and joy,
       in peace and reconciliation with all. Amen.

4. (Jeremiah 29.11-14)
Reader: Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile

Leader: Gracious God, hope of the world, as we light this Advent candle,
waken our minds to your Word.
      All: Waken our hearts to your promise.
Open our eyes to your coming.
      Open our arms to your presence.
      O come, O Come, Emmanuel. Alleluia!



5. (Revelation 21.22-24, 22.5, 7a)
Reader: I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Holy One, God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the rulers of the earth will bring their glory into it. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “See, I am coming soon!”

Leader:
God of light, as we light this candle in this season of darkness,
our hearts ache for your presence.
     All: Dawn upon us and be our light.
Spirit of hope, in this season of waiting we turn to you.
     Bless us with your patience, and grant us your hope.
O Loving Christ, we pray for one another, for your church, and for all Creation.
     Come, Lord Jesus, come, and grant us your love. Amen.

6.
We praise you, O God, for this circle of light
that marks our days of preparation for Christ’s advent.
     As we light the first candle on the wreath,
     rouse us from sleep, that we may be ready to greet our Christ
     coming like spring with hands of healing.
Enlighten us with your grace,
and prepare our hearts to welcome Christ with joy.
     Kindle within us the gift of hope through Christ our Beloved,
     whose coming is certain and whose day draws near. Amen.


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of light, in the darkness of this world your dawn is rising. Your love is at work. Waken our hearts. Keep us ready to see you. Open the ears of our hearts, ready to hear you. Speak, for in the dark, we are watching. We are listening. Amen.

2.
In this dark time of year, God, we long for your coming. When darkness falls upon the world, we long for your peace. For healing, we wait. For justice, we hope. Strengthen our hearts, that we may be steadfast in faith, constant in love, and radiant with hope even when times are dark. In the name of Christ, who is coming, and who is always with us, we pray. Amen.

3.
Loving God, you promise more than we see. You intend more than we know. You lead us more than we trust. Awaken our hearts with your Word. Stir up your Spirit in us to wait for the dawning of your delight among us with grace and faith. Amen.

4.
Holy One, we come to you full of hopes and fears. We bear in our hearts deep longing for you, that you would come and be with us. We ask your blessing on our deepest yearnings that are not even known to us, but only faint stirrings in the darkness. Loving God, we are homesick for you. Come to us; speak to us; bring us into the light and warmth of the home that is your Word. Amen.

5.
Stir up your power, O Christ, and come. By your merciful grace, may the light of your presence dawn upon us, that we may see the signs of your coming, and live in hope; for you live and reign with the Creator and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

The grace of God be with you.
       And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
       Gracious God,
       We confess the darkness and cold in our lives.
       Like barren trees in winter,
       we do not bear the fruits of love
       as you would have us.
       Forgive our sin, heal our hearts,
       and be born in us again,
       that by your grace we may bear your light.
       O come to us, Lord, and save us! Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Note: Even though it’s Advent people are eager to jump ahead and sing Christmas Carols. I’ve addressed this by putting four whole Eucharistic Prayers and 24 Eucharistic Prayer responses to familiar carol tunes. See also Advent Table Songs for invitation to communion. (Click on titles to view them).

1.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Beloved, God is with you.
       And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
       We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
       It is good to give God thanks and praise.
We thank you, God, for you create us in your image.
You judge the forces of evil and set us free from all that oppresses,
calling us to justice and freedom.
       You promise a new world, dawning just beyond our imagination.
You walk with us through the dark toward the light;
and we rejoice that your presence is the light.
       Therefore we sing your praise with all Creation:
                      [Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, who embodied among us the Realm to Come.
       The light of that Realm began to dawn in his teaching and healing,
       in his witness for justice, in the community he gathered,
       in his death and resurrection.

                  [The Blessing and Covenant…]*

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
       Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
       we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
       as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
       as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
                    [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
       Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
       that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
       in our speaking and praying and acting, living signs of Christ’s coming.


                     [Amen]
_________________
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. You have placed within us the sign of your coming, your covenant to be with us in faithful love. Send us into the world to live and to serve as those who believe in your coming, that in our transformation others may see signs of the transformation of the world, for the sake of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
In the Word, the bread, and the community we have seen signs of your presence. Guide and sustain us by these gifts that we may always live in hope of your coming, and confidence in your presence. Send us into the world, increasing and abounding in love for one another and for all, that they may see in us signs of your coming. Amen

Suggested Songs

(Available on the Music page. Click on title to view)

All songs with “Advent” tags, especially
Child of Promise

Songs with weekly responses through Advent:
God, We Are Waiting
Tree of Life (Advent)

Advent Blessing Songs are ideal for the closing of worship, for the congregation to sing to each other.

For the Hanging of the Greens, Adorning Your House.