OT 33 – PE+ 24

November 14, 2021

Lectionary Texts

As we move towardtheculmination of the church year on Christ the Sovereign Sunday, our scriptures begin to look toward the end of things as they are, and God’s new Creation.

In 1 Samuel 1. 4-20 Hannah is one of a man’s two wives. She has borne no children, and the other wife provokes her. At the temple she prays for a child. The priest belittles her, but she stands up for her prayer—which in due time is answered.

1 Samuel 2.1-10
Is Hannah’s prayer of thanks. God is great. The prayer celebrates God’s reversal of the fate of the lowly and the rich, which will be echoed in Mary’s Magnificat on the fourth Sunday of Advent. [Alternate: Psalm 113 gives thanks that God raises up the poor and gives barren women children.]

Hebrews 10.11-25
says that through Jesus’ sacrifice our sins have been removed once for all. Therefore rather than worry about our forgiveness, our faith can focus on bearing witness, doing good, and encouraging one another.

In Mark 13. 1-8 Jesus warns that the temple will be destroyed, frightening changes will occur and his followers will be persecuted. But he describes this not as the end of the world, but as “birthpangs.”


Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal God, we praise you!
       All: Amidst all that changes, you are present.
You have been here forever, waiting for us.
       We are here, to be present for you.
Let all that is passing fall away.
        With open hands, we let go of all but you.
       
Alleluia! Spirit of Life, transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Eternal God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, we praise you.
       All: Risen Christ, you who hold the door open for us into this world, and into the next,
       we greet you, and we listen for your voice.
Holy Spirit, you who transform all things, we open our hearts to your presence.
        Holy One, Breath of Life, Flesh of Love and Bone of Faithfulness, we thank you.
        You are the turning of the world; you are the Mysterious Unfolding within us.
We come to you to worship, to be blessed, to be changed.
        Alleluia! Come, Spirit of Grace, and transform us according to your will. Alleluia!


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Eternal God, so much changes around us. So much is passing. So much is frightening. But you are present with us, steadfast and solid in your love. We open our hearts to your presence, to your Word, to your Spirit living in us. Help us to hear, to be healed, and to be made new. We pray in the spirit of Christ, who has died and is risen and is with us always. Amen.

2.
Holy God, you make this world, and remake it according to your grace. You move this world toward your will. Help us to move with you. Speak to us, and strengthen our hearts, so that we can be faithful to you always. 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.
        Gentle God, we confess that we have left your ways
        and followed the ways of the world
        ways that will fail and not endure.
        We have fit in with the culture
        rather than staying true to your Spirit in us.
        Forgive us; re-root us in your Spirit,
        and remake us in the image of Christ. Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE


Response / Creed / Affirmation


        Holy God, we know you as the Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who makes and remakes the world in love and wisdom. You are moving this world toward perfect love, transforming all Creation by grace.
        We look to Jesus, your Christ, the embodiment of your presence among us. He taught and healed, proclaimed your Word, gathered a community, and announced the coming of your Realm of Grace. In his death and resurrection you have shown us the end of the world to which we cling and the coming of a new heaven and earth. He lives among us, accompanying us in faithful living and prophetic witness.
        We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, your transforming energy within and among us. As one church, the Body of Christ, we bear witness to your grace, practice your forgiveness, work for justice, rely on your promise of resurrection, and see all things in light of the eternity of all that is rooted in you. We devote ourselves to proclaiming your good news to all peoples, for the sake of the transformation of the world. Amen.

Reading

When the towers fell

         “Do you see these great buildings?
         Not one stone will be left here upon another.”
                   —Mark 13.2


When the towers fell
it seemed the center of the world had vanished,
but the center, it turns out, is elsewhere.
When the towers fell
it seemed the end of the world,
but wars and rumors
have come and gone, and here we are.
They said everything changed
but nothing changed.
Empires come, and pass. Stones fall.
Hate and anger are still unable to build, but only destroy.
Still some people harm; some bless.
We seek stones unfallen, but stones still fall.
Even stones are made of smoke.

Listen. Things happen, things pass;
but they don’t express God’s love for you.
That’s constant. And so is God’s invitation.

Now—before the tower of this moment falls—
is the time to decide whether to be kind and how,
whether to show mercy.
This is the moment—unchanging—
and always has been, the moment
to love.

Suggested Songs

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


God of the Future
    [Tune: SLANE – Be Thou My Vision]
God of our dark night, and God of our day,
God of our journey, whose will is our way,
when our path dims and the future’s unknown,
still you walk with us; we’re never alone.

Though the familiar should fade and turn strange,
your steady love for us never will change.
So when we worry and can’t see the way
Love, still your grace is enough for today.

All that is taken and all that we lose,
all of the cost of the path that we choose
never compares with the grace you impart:
faithful and gracious, you give us your heart.

Bless all the journeys we still are to make.
May they shed mercy and light for your sake
Lead us with courage on journeys unknown,
walking in blessing, and never alone.

Be our companion, our courage, our nerve,
You, the heart in us, to love and to serve.
Blessings you promise, whatever befall.
Still you walk with us, O lover of all.

In All that Changes (Tune: Breathe on Me, Breath of God)

In all that changes, God, all that will fail or fall,
your loving presence still abides, and will not fade at all.

In all that changes, God, your love is strong and sure.
Therefore we give in thanks for grace, and trust it will endure.

Through raging storm and sea, you are the rock that stands.
Free from all else, we give ourselves into your loving hands.


Love Will Bear Us Over (Tune : Holy Manna)

When our world is changing ‘round us and we long for good old days,
what that lasts will bear us over to new earth, new heaven, new ways?
Love will lead us when the path is unfamiliar, come what may:
set our heart to love our neighbors and our feet will find the way.

Christ gives us a new commandment: “Share the love that you’ve been given.”
When we do we’re resurrected, entering new earth and heaven.
When we love our neighbor more than caring for what used to be,
then our love will bear us over, then our love will set us free.

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.




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.


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.

All Saints

November 1, 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 company of heaven, 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 loveyou 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
      n creating a world of mercy and justice.

Therefore with all Creation 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 on the Music page.)

Blessed [Original song. 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 Song. 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 All the Saints [Tune: Blest Be the Tie that Binds ]

God bless all the saints of our lives,
who’ve loved us through all of the years,
who shared in our struggles, who cherished our joys,
who held us and wiped all our tears.

God bless all the teachers and guides
whose wisdom enriches our days,
the prophets whose courage gives heart to our struggles,
whose truth sheds your light on our ways.

God bless all the silent ones, too
who serve you in humble ways,
who can’t see the ways that their lives are a blessing,
yet live in prayerful praise.

God, help us become your Saints
who live by your Grace all our days,
that we may be a holy blessing
by living in your loving ways.

Beloved saints of God,
baptized in the Spirit’s new birth,
receive God’s love, that you may be loving,
and so bring heaven to earth.

Go forth as God’s Saints in the world,
made holy by God’s perfect grace,
and let the Spirit that blesses you
so bless your time and place.




OT 31 — (PE+ 22)

October 31, 2021

Lectionary Texts

In Ruth 1. 1-18 Elimelech and Naomi leave Israel because of a famine, and live in Moab, where their sons grow up and marry. Elimelech dies, as do both of the sons. Naomi returns to Israel, and says goodbye to her daughters in law, Orpah and Ruth. Orpah stays in Moab, but Ruth says, “No, I will go wherever you go. I will become one of ‘your’ people.”

Psalm 146: trust in God, not in worldly power. God cares for the poor and powerless, and lifts up those who are bowed down.

Hebrews 9. 11-14 compares Jesus’ death to the sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament: his blood signifies that we are made pure.

Of the hundreds of questions Jesus was asked, he answered all but three indirectly, with parables or another question. But in Mark 12.28-34 he answers directly: what is the most important commandment? To love God. And it has a twin: to love your neighbor.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Creator God, you are the Love that gives us life.
      All: You shower us with love, and we worship you.
Loving Christ, you give us the love with which we love God.
      You fill us with love, and we thank you.
Holy Spirit, you are the Love with which we love others.
      You fill us with love, and we serve you with joy. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Creator God, how you love us!
      All: Alleluia! We praise you.
Loving Christ, how you forgive us and heal us!
      Alleluia! We thank you.

Holy Spirit, how you fill us with love for God and our neighbor!
      Alleluia! God of Love, we worship you.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love, you who create us in love and call us to love: we earnestly desire to love you with our whole hearts, our whole souls, our whole minds, and all our strength. Help us to love you and to love our neighbor, not by our own will but by your grace, your infinite love in us. We pray in the name of our Teacher, our Beloved, Jesus. Amen.

2.
Leader: God says, “Beloved, I give you my love!”
      All: How can we trust such good news?
Jesus says, “As God has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. “
      How can we receive such love?
We do not know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes for us.
      Spirit of Love, enter our hearts, transform our lives,
      and fill us with you light,
      that we may truly love as we have been loved.,
      in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

The grace of God is with you.
      And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us come honestly before God.
We recall those times when we have been most in harmony with God’s love,
and we give thanks. {Silent prayer]
We recall those times when we have been most out of harmony with God’s love,
and we open our hearts to God’s mercy. [Silent prayer….]
By the grace we know in Christ Jesus, God forgives us entirely,
redeems us and sets us free to live by the power of the Spirit of love,
in the name of Christ.
      Thanks be to God.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

We believe in God, who is Love, whose love is unconditional, perfect, absolute and eternal.

We follow Jesus, the Beloved of God, who embodied God’s love. In love he taught the curious, fed the hungry and healed the broken. In love he suffered our evil, and was crucified. And in love God raised him from the dead. Christ lives among us still in the eternal power of love.

We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, the love of God flowing through us for the world. In that love we seek a world of justice and mercy; and we live lives of forgiveness, gratitude and courage. The Spirit of Love gives us life that is eternal, which is our power, and our hope and our joy.

Listening Prayer

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

Gracious God, your Word is a word of love.
We seek not merely to understand your words,
but to receive your love.
Speak to us now, that your Word may take root in our hearts,
and fill us with love for you and for our neighbors,
by the grace of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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

At Your Feet [Original song]

Jesus, at your feet I bow.
I am yours completely now.
By your mercy show me how
to be loving.

Jesus, Master, you who save,
you have served me as a slave.
This, the perfect gift you gave:
to be loving.

In each hurting one I meet
it is you, O Christ, I greet.
Make my faithfulness complete,
to be loving.


Eternal Life [Original song]

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.


God of all Gentleness [Tune: Be Thou My Vision]

God of all gentleness, God of pure love,
you do not watch us from heights far above,
you are no tyrant, but patient and mild,
present with grace in the poor, in the child.

God of all mercy, may we be the ones
bearing your love to your daughters and sons,
not out of pity but humbly, with grace,
for in the poor we see your human face.

God of all justice, give us hearts to care,
hope to free prisoners of fear and despair,
courage to challenge the ways that oppress,
deep love to reach out to heal and to bless.

God of compassion, your Spirit now pour
into us all, for it’s we who are poor,
hungry for justice, for healing and grace,
and for full life for the whole human race.


Love-sowing God [Tune: “Gift of Love” – The River Is Wide]

Love-sowing God, sow love in me.
Sow seeds of grace abundantly.
My soul be soil where love may root
and grow and bear your precious fruit.

Where habit’s feet and wheels have tracked,
my anxious work the soil has packed,
soften my soul with bliss or pain,
so love may enter in again.

My angry thorns, my selfish weeds,
God, clear away, and sow your seeds.
Despite the hungry, wanting bird,
Love, plant in me your living Word.

Love-sowing God, your labors done,
help me to trust the rain and sun,
receive your grace and faithfully
bear forth your love that grows in me.


Love Will Bear Us Over [ Tune: Holy Manna]

When our world is changing ‘round us and we long for good old days,
what that lasts will bear us over to new earth, new heaven, new ways?
Love will lead us when the path is unfamiliar, come what may:
set our heart to love our neighbors and our feet will find the way.

Christ gives us a new commandment: “Share the love that you’ve been given.”
When we do we’re resurrected, entering new earth and heaven.
When we love our neighbor more than caring for what used to be,
then our love will bear us over, then our love will set us free.


Open My Heart [ Tune: Open My Eyes]

Open my eyes that I may see everyone ‘round me lovingly,
shedding my labels, habits and fear, see with a heart that’s true and clear.
Patiently, God, may I behold each blessed life as it unfolds.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine.

Open my ears and let me hear unspoken stories, unshed tears.
Help me to hear with love shining through stories that no one’s listened to.
Tenderly, God, help me to hold what is within each person’s soul.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine.

Open my heart and grant me love, mercy for those I’m heedless of.
Help me to know each person I face as one you bless with gentle grace
Lovingly, God, please make me more mindful of those whom we ignore.
Open my heart, illumine me, spirit divine.

Set Me Free (to Love) [Original song]

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….

OT 30 — (PE+21)

October 24, 2021

Lectionary Texts

Job has asked God to explain suffering. Instead God invites Job to be mindful of the whole mystery of Creation. Now, in Job 42. 1-6 , Job says, “I accept that.” This is the original end of the story. Verses 10-17 come from a latter addition, written by someone who couldn’t accept it—who still wanted an explanation, and a happy ending!

Psalm 34 is a song of thanks: God helps us in our troubles. Taste and see that God is good! God looks out for the needy, and pays attention to the brokenhearted.

Hebrews 7. 23-28 is steeped in the culture of sacrificial offering for sin. It compares Jesus to priests who offer sacrifices to God on our behalf: unlike mere humans, Jesus lives forever, forever interceding for us. Jesus does not have to offer sacrifices for his own sin, but does so purely for our sake.

In Mark 10.46-52 Jesus heals a blind man who sits beside the Way. (The Way is both a roadway and also a way of life, the way of discipleship.) When Bartimaeus is transformed by his healing, he follows Jesus on the Way.

[Bartimaeus cry to Jesus is the basis of the historic Jesus Prayer—“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”— slightly altered in these resources.]

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Creator of all, God, we open ourselves to the gift of all Creation.
       All: Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
Loving Christ, we open our arms to your love and your healing.
       Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
Holy Spirit, come fill us with your power and your grace.
       Jesus Christ, Beloved of God, have mercy on us, for we need you.
       We worship in gratitude, in trust and in joy. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Creator God, source of our being, we turn to you for life and breath.
       All: O Love, have mercy on us!
Crucified and Risen Christ, bearer of forgiveness and healing, we turn to you for grace.
       O Love, have mercy on us!
Holy Spirit, divine presence and energy within and among us,
we turn to you on behalf of one another and the whole hurting world.
       O Love, have mercy on us, and grant us your peace. Amen.


3.
We have sought God, who has answered us, and delivered us from all our fears.
       We poor souls cried out, and the Holy One heard us,
       and saved us from every trouble.
Those who trust God have no want;
       they who seek the Holy One lack no good thing.
Bless the Eternal One at all times; let God’s praise be continually in your mouths.
       Alleluia! Christ Jesus, son of God, have mercy on us. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, like Bartimaeus we are blind to your ways and cannot see your grace. Open the eyes of our hearts, that we may see, and follow faithfully. Amen.

Bartimaeus Meditation

Like Bartimaeus you sit on the edge of your Way, your life.
Jesus shares the road with you: walks on your Way, your life….

Something in you yearns for his presence and his grace. Let it cry out….

Voices tell you to be quiet, that your yearning is unwelcome.
But Jesus stops. He stands still.
Imagine Jesus, in no hurry….

Jesus calls to you. He wants to hear you.
Note how Jesus’ invitation overrules those discouraging voices, and take heart….

Bartimaeus threw off his cloak to come to Jesus.
What do you need to throw off?…

You stand before Jesus. He gives you his full attention.
Give him yours….

Jesus says, “What do you want me to do for you?”
How does your heart respond?….

Jesus says “You faith has made you well.”
Your faith is not your beliefs: it’s your reaching out.
Jesus meets it. Give thanks…

Jesus tells Bartimaeus to go his way, but instead he follows Jesus.
What Way does God’s grace invite you to follow?….

Give thanks, and trust Jesus walks with you on the Way.

Suggested Songs

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

I am Listening [ Original song]

Speak, for I am listening.
My heart is open.
Speak, for I am listening,
open to your word


Please, I Want to See Anew [Original song]
[A dialogue between soloist and congregation]

Jesus, your brother, your Savior, says,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
Please, I want to see anew.
Jesus, please give me sight.
I want to see with the eyes of love.
I want to walk in the light.

Help us to see by the light of your grace,
aware of your presence, awake to you.

 Heal all our blindness, the eyes we close;
Give us the courage to look with love.

Teach us the ways of your heart, O God.
Show us your path, the Way of Love.

OT 29 — (PE+ 20) — October 17, 2021

Lectionary Texts

In Job 38. 1-7 Job has finally broken down and asked God, “OK, I give up. Why do bad things happen to good people? God answers: “I can’t tell you. Did you create the world? Do you understand the cosmos? You can’t understand this, either.” But even in his suffering Job belongs to that vast, wonderful universe.

Psalm 104 sings in awe of God’s power and presence in Creation.

Hebrews 5.1-10: Jesus was called by God to a priesthood that he himself had not chosen. He accepted vulnerability and suffering, and surrendered to God’s grace. In this way he became a priest, one who leads us to God.

In Mark 10. 35-45 James and John (like all of us) desire the security of esteem and belonging. But Jesus says real life is to be found not in status, but in serving, in attending to others. We don’t lord it over others. We renounce coercion; instead our power is from beneath, to lift others up.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal Creator, in the silence of galaxies
       All: your Word shines.
Loving Christ, in the voices of the hurting
       your Word cries out.
Holy Spirit, in the secrets of our own hearts
       your Word whispers.
       Give us faith to listen for your voice,
       and answer. Alleluia.

2.
Leader: Gracious One, you are our life.
       All: You are our Source, our security, our beauty.
Loving Christ, you are our healing.
       You are our courage, our healing, our hope.
Holy Spirit, you are our breath.
       You are our compassion, our generosity, our love.
       We worship you. Breathe new life in us, and set us free. Amen.


3.
Leader: Creator God, you hold all the universe in your loving hands.
       All: Eternal and almighty God, we praise you.
Gentle Christ, both human and divine, you chose the most humble path among us.
       Loving servant, we praise you.
Holy Spirit, you unfold your compassion within and among us.
       Present and life-giving Spirit, we welcome you into our hearts.
       In the name of Christ we worship you.


4.
Leader: Mighty God, Creator of the universe, you reign over all things,
and yet you stoop to help us, and humbly serve our needs.
       All: Radiant Christ, you who hold the worlds in your hands,
       you kneel to wash the feet of your betrayers,
       and humbly sit with the poor.
Eternal God, grant us your spirit of humble service.
       Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Loving God, open the windows of our hearts, that the light of your love may flow in. Open our ears, that we may hear your Word. Open our arms, to embrace your way. Open our hands, that we may serve you with strength and joy. Speak to us; we are listening. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Loving God, we confess
we want to be safe, we want to be respected,
we want to feel good about ourselves,
we want to be in control,
more than we want to be faithful.
We confess our self-centeredness,
and surrender it to your grace.
Forgive us, open our hearts to your gift,
and strengthen us to follow Christ
in humble service.

Response / Creed / Affirmation


We love a God who reigns over us not with force and manipulation but with the power of love, to lift us up and set us free.

We follow Jesus, God’s Anointed, who shared the power of healing and forgiveness. He was crucified by the powers of domination, but he was raised by the power of love.

We live by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to serve humbly, to bless and not to threaten, to create and not destroy. By that Spirit we seek to serve, to forgive, to heal, and to lift up those who are oppressed. By that Spirit alone, and not by any power of this world, we receive life that is eternal and joy that sustains us always. Alleluia!

Suggested Songs

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

At Your Feet

Jesus, at your feet I bow.
I am yours completely now.
By your mercy show me how
to be loving.

Jesus, Master, you who save,
you have served me as a slave.
This, the perfect gift you gave:
to be loving.

In each hurting one I meet
it is you, O Christ, I greet.
Make my faithfulness complete,
to be loving.


God, I Surrender

God, I surrender myself to you,
all that I have and all I do.
All my desires I give to you.
Take them from me and make me new.

God, I surrender myself to you,
all that I have and all I do.
Trusting you wholly I follow you
Take my life and make me new.


I Am Listening

Speak, for I am listening.
My heart is open.
Speak, for I am listening,
open to your word.


OT 28 – (PE+ 19)

October 10, 2021

Lectionary Texts

In Job 23. 1-9, 16-17 Job despairs that in his suffering he can’t find God anywhere. He wishes he could vanish as completely as God seems to have.

Psalm 22 is a naked cry to God out of the deepest suffering.

Hebrews 4. 12-16 says that God’s Word is alive, and sees us in our deepest reality. Jesus, the “great high priest,” sympathizes because he knows our weakness and shares our human travails.

In Mark 10.17-31 a rich man asks Jesus the way to salvation. Jesus tells him to let go of his money, but he can’t. Jesus says we can’t grasp the reality of God’s grace while hanging on to our possessions any easier than we can cram a camel through the eye of a needle. When the disciples say, “We’ve left everything to follow you!” Jesus replies, “Well, not yet. But whatever you let go of you will receive.”

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Giver of Life, you fill us.
       All: We praise you.
Gift of Love, you save us.
       We thank you.
Power of grace, you bear us into new life,
       We serve you with joy. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Gracious One, you are our life.
       All: You are our Source, our security, our beauty.
Loving Christ, you are our healing.
       You are our courage, our healing, our hope.
Holy Spirit, you are our breath.
       You are our compassion, our generosity, our love.
       We worship you. Breathe new life in us, and set us free. Amen.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God we hear your call and we want to follow… and our fears and desires pull us back. Speak to us again, call us again, and stir our hearts to move. Let your spirit move in us, that we may become more fully the people you create us to be. Amen.

2.
God of mercy, we want to know what to do to inherit your love. Speak your truth to us, set us free, and bring us with you on the path of Life. We open our heart to your Word. Amen.

3.
Loving God, to enter the realm of your grace there is only one thing needed: to let go of everything and be present. So in your Spirit we relinquish everything we cling to; we let go of our concerns and fears, to be present with you, to listen for your voice, to receive your grace. With empty hands and open hearts we wait in your presence. Amen.

4.
Gracious God, we seek many kinds of wealth, but your Word is all that will give us life and make our living rich. Be generous with your Word now, so that as the Scriptures are read and your good news is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you are saying to us today.


Prayer of Confession / Devotion

1.
God, I confess all that I cling to,
all that stands between me and following Jesus.
I confess I need your grace;
all I have done, all I possess, is not sufficient,
but your grace is more than enough.
Help me release what I cling to,
give freely of al my gifts,
and follow you.

2.
Holy God, fountain of life,
my love, my deepest hope and only treasure:
strip me of all that I cling to but you,
that I may come to you empty handed.
I will be poor for you; I will be hungry for you.
I will bring you no riches, no wealth with which to buy your love.
I open to you the simple treasure chest of my heart.
I yield all to you, that I may be yours.
Make me your treasure, yours and none other’s.
In the name of Christ, who gave all, I pray. Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

         We give our hearts to you, God, Creator of all, giver of life, Source of all that is; whose love is faithful, whose grace is abundant, whose heart is generous with mercy.
         We follow Jesus, the Christ, the embodiment of God’s love, who taught and healed, who fed the hungry, who set us free from our fears and wants. He was crucified and died; but in the infinite generosity of your grace you raised him to life. He reigns among us, living proof of your steadfast love, calling us to faithful trust in you.
         We live by the Holy Spirit, your Word unfolding in us, that leads us to live lives of gratitude and trust, compassion, courage and generosity. We believe in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, the gift of the community of the Body of Christ, and the mystery of eternal life. In gratitude to God, we commit ourselves to lives of abundant love, for the sake of the world, in the name of Christ, who lives and reigns with the Creator and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.


Suggested Songs

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


Set Me Free (To Love) [Original song]

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….


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.


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.

OT 27 – (Pe+ 18)

October 3, 2021

World Communion Sunday

Lectionary Texts


In Job 1.1, 2. 1-10 we hear the beginning of the ancient story that explores the meaning of suffering. (This section, explaining Job’s suffering, was not part of the original tale.)

In Psalm 26 the author pleads for justice and declares their righteousness.
(Alternate: Psalm 25 pleads to God: teach me to trust you, and to know your ways and to follow them. Remember me with mercy, not with condemnation.)

Hebrews 1. 1-4; 2. 5-12: just as God spoke through prophets, now God has spoken in Jesus, who is the manifestation of God’s being. Jesus has been given a lowly place in Creation, equal to us, and suffering like us, in order to lead us toward God, to be the “pioneer,” or guide, of our faith. In Christ we are all brothers and sisters.

In Mark 10. 2-12 Jesus teaches about divorce. In 10.13-16 his disciples try to keep children away from Jesus but he welcomes the children. He says the Reign of God belongs to people who are childlike, and that we receive it “as a little child.”

Call to Worship


(World Communion Sunday:)

Leader: Creator of all things,
       All: we praise!
Of earth and sky, the seas and stars, and all living beings,
       we praise!
Loving Mother and Father of all people, nations and races,
       we adore!
You whose arms hold Koreans and Bolivians, Rawandans and Inuit,
       we adore!
For Baptist and Orthodox, Methodist and Moravian, Congregational and Coptic,
       we give thanks!
With all your Beloved we gather at your table to feast with our siblings in Christ,
one in the Body of Christ, one in your love.
       We worship, we receive your grace, and we give of ourselves, for the sake of the world.
       Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Holy Parent, Give of Life,
       All: we are your children.
Christ, brother to all who are suffering,
        in you we are all siblings.
Holy Spirit, love that unites us,
       make us and all humanity your holy family.
       We thank you. We bless you. We worship you.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
O, how we want to be equals to you, O God!— but we are not. You are the Creator; we are your creatures. You are the parent and we are the child. You are the One who Speaks, and we are your Word. Speak now, God, that we may hear your Word, and receive your Word, and become your Word in the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, as Christ welcomed the little children, so you welcome us. We come to you not in pride of accomplishment, not in power and might, but in smallness and need. We are tender little ones in your presence. Forgive us for trying to be bigger than each other. Heal our fear and receive us into the lap of your gentle grace. Bless us as we listen to your scripture read and your good news proclaimed, that we may be renewed as your children, made in your image, faithful to you. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Gentle God, we are your children, yet we want to be independent of you. We are siblings yet we want to be superior to others. You offer us your love as a gift but we want to deserve it. We want to do things our way. We confess how deeply we need you. We open our hearts to you. With the grace we have seen in Christ, receive us, forgive us, heal us of our fears, and set us free, that we may receive your grace as beloved children.

Listening Prayer

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

Mother God, hold us in your lap.
Receive our hearts;
tend our hurts, cherish our gifts,
embrace us in your love.
Feed us your grace.
Show us your way.
Amen.


Eucharistic Prayer


(World Communion Sunday)
1.
Creator God, you have made the whole universe
from a single batch of dough,
and all humanity from one lump of dust,
breathing your one Spirit into us in our many forms,
many colors, many languages.
You continually create us as one, set us free from our divisions,
and walk with us into new life that is not like our captivity.
And so we celebrate with this Bread of Liberation, Bread of Unity.
       As many grains are made into one loaf,
       you make us into one Body in Christ.

We thank you for Jesus, who embodied your loving presence
and called us to our natural unity,
bringing back the outcast, restoring the forgotten.
For challenging our proud divisions
he was crucified by the forces of separation,
but he was raised by the power of unity and oneness, the power of love.
       In his life, death and resurrection we behold your grace,
       and we give thanks.
[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:
       Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

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,
       one in your love, one with each other, one in Christ,
       and one in ministry to all the world
       by the power of your Spirit alive 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.


2.
Eucharistic Prayer

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

It is our delight to give you our thanks,
for we are born from you, and we bear your loving image.
       We and all living beings are your beloved children.
       You make a Covenant with us, drawing us into your holy family.
       You judge the forces of oppression that divide us, and set us free.
       You walk with us as refugees to a new life you create for us.
       Even though we wander from our home in you,
       you give us Jesus, who like a mother calling her children home,
       invites us back to your table.
       And so we come, singing your praise with all Creation.

[Sung, to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”]
Holy, holy, holy Lord, source of life and love adored,
Heav’n and earth are radiant with your glory, heaven sent.
Praise God! Hosanna! Praise in the highest.
Blest is the one__ who comes__ in your name.

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
       With humility he comes among us as a child;
       with a call to justice invites us to welcome the children;
       with healing he makes us one family;
       with love he blesses the child within each of us.
With so many of the children of this world, vulnerable and neglected,
he suffered our violence and injustice.        He was crucified, but you raised him from the dead.

[The blessing and Covenant] *

We thank you for your life-giving acts in Jesus Christ.
       Therefore with praise and thanksgiving we offer ourselves
       as a living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
       as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

[sung]
Dying Christ destroyed our death. Rising Christ restores our life.
Christ will come again in love, With the Spirit, rising Dove.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Christ, dead and risen, lives!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of food,
that they may be for the hungry the body of your love.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of read 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 the Body of Christ,
       children of God, who reach out with your love
       to our whole human family.
All glory and honor is yours, loving God, now and forever.
       Amen.

[sung]
As a Mother gathers in all her children, makes them kin,
you unite us in this meal, in the love that you reveal.
Yes, Jesus loves us. Yes, Jesus loves us.
Yes, Jesus loves us: this table tells us so.

                         ______________________

* 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 on the Music page.)

Jesus, Come Speak to Us [Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]

God, you have gathered us, hungry for the Bread of Life,
thirsty for waters of flowing grace.
Our broken hearts are yours, open and waiting.
We want to meet you face to face.

Jesus, come speak to us. Sit beside the way with us.
Draw from the well and refresh our souls.
Shine light into our hearts, heal hidden wounds within,
call forth our gifts and make us whole.

Spirit, our Breath of Life, fill us with your grace and truth.
Make us your vessels of love and light.
Flow like a river, welling up within us
with waters of eternal life.


O Faithful God [Tune: Finlandia]

O faithful God, whose steadfast love is sure,
O Loving Father, Mother kind and strong:
your Covenant forever will endure;
you bind us to your heart our whole life long.
No matter how rebellious is your child,
in you we are brought home and reconciled

You hold us, God, in kinship with each other.
We have been loved and held when we would run.
We all are siblings, all born of one Mother;
though we would flee, you join us all as one.
Our deepest wounds come from our deepest love,
and so our highest hope for life above

So teach us God, to bravely love each other,
for all belong within your house of grace,
to give our enemy, who is our brother,
our steadfast mercy, and a wide embrace;
for in our love, though we be right or wrong,
we know the grace to which we all belong.


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.