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.



OT 26 — (PE+ 17)

September 26, 2021

Lectionary Texts


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

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

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

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

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Creator God,
            All: you are enough.
Loving Christ,
            we need no other.
Breath of Life,
            you satisfy us. We rest in you.
            We worship you with praise and gratitude. Alleluia!


2.
Leader: Eternal God, you are present.
           All: Loving presence, we open ourselves to you.
Gracious Mystery, you enfold us.
           Faithful Mercy, you dwell in us.
Creator of the universe, create anew in us.
           Create each moment, a new gift.
Create new life for us to live.
           Create your realm among us.
           Alleluia! Spirit of Life, create us anew by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

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

Prayer of Confession

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

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

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


Suggested Songs

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

Prayer Song [Original Song]

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

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

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


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


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

OT 24 (PE+15)

September 12, 2021

Lectionary Texts


Proverbs 1.20-33 Sophia, the Wisdom of God, calls out to us to listen to her and avoid the tragic perplexity of those who ignore God.

Psalm 19: all Creation is an expression of God’s glory. It doesn’t use words, but it speaks of God’s truth, or “law.” Attending to God’s Word is more important than anything. It’s hard to see our own failings, so we rely on God’s wisdom.

James 3.1-12 speaks of the difficulty, and importance, of taming the tongue, speaking only what is true and loving.

In Mark 8. 27-38 Jesus asks the disciples “Who do you say I am?” To Peter’s answer that he is the Messiah, Jesus says not to tell anyone that. Contradicting the popular expectation of a messiah, he says he will be rejected and die, yet rise again. Peter objects, but Jesus reprimands him, and teaches the crowd that if you lose your life for the sake of love, you will gain it.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Jesus, we come to you in need.
All: We reach out in brokenness, and you heal us.
We stay with you in love.
You are the fountain of life, and you give us your spirit.
We follow you in service.
In gratitude we offer ourselves in openness and anticipation,
that you will shape us by your Word and send us in your love.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, come. Alleluia!

2.
Leader: God of life, we praise you!
All: God of all Creation, we are in wonder!
Mother of all people, Father of the poor, all humanity is your praise.
In the Spirit of Christ, who calls us, we honor you.
In the name of all who love you, we thank you.
In the company of all who all who long for life, we worship you.
Your Christ calls us to life, calls us to compassion, calls us to follow.
Alleluia! Rise in us, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: The heavens are telling the glory of God!
All: The law of God is perfect, reviving the soul.
Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
We come, O Christ, to lay down our lives,
to take up our cross, and to follow you.
Lead us, Lord, to abundant life.
May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts
be delightful to you, O giver of Life. Alleluia!


4. [Psalm 19.1-6]
Leader: The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork.
All: Day to day pours forth truth;
night to night reveals wisdom.

There is no speech, nor are there words;
no voice is heard.
Yet their truth goes out through all the earth,
and their message to the end of the world.

In the heavens God has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and nothing is hid from its heat.
We join all creation in praising God!
We join in harmony to worship our God!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Spirit of mercy, though you are infinite, you come to us, embodied, near, and intimate. We thank you for the presence of Jesus; he is a mystery to us, and yet we love him. Open our hearts so we may behold him among us: teaching, healing, loving, setting us free. We pray in the grace and power of your Spirit. Amen.

2.
God of all life, God of new life,
let your wakening Word come to us like morning
and call us up out of our little selves
to become your people, great with love.
Call us, revive us, and make us new,
in the grace of Christ. Amen.

3.
God, you have given us the world, but it will not profit us to gain the world but lose our life. There is nothing we can give in exchange for life. Therefore we come to you, to hear your Word, to be changed into the likeness of Christ, so that we make truly take up our cross and follow Jesus. We pray in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

4.
Gracious God, you reveal yourself to us in word and silence, in clarity and mystery, in the song of our souls and the work of our hearts. Source of all compassion, you call us to receive your love, and to become your love in this world. We open our hearts to your presence. We open our spirits to your will. We open our souls to your Word. In your presence for us, may we be present for you, for the sake of the world. Amen.

5.
Gracious God, we proclaim Jesus as the Messiah but we still want to know what that means. We need to hear his word to us, to see what it is to follow him. May your Spirit move us closer to him, that we may follow him more faithfully. Amen.


Reading

Adapted from Psalm 19

All Creation expresses God’s nature.
It silently speaks a deep wisdom.
There are no words; our reason cannot grasp it.
But God’s will is in it, infinite in wisdom.
What God has in mind is a Truth that gives life.
To understand this is wisdom;
to see this clearly is deep joy.
To know God’s will is life’s deepest treasure.
But how can we know?
How can I see myself accurately?
God forgive me for all the faults
I don’t see in myself.
Grant me your wisdom, and show me your ways.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be in harmony with your grace,
O God, our rock and out redeemer.

Prayer of Confession

1.
God of grace, we come to you in humble honesty.
Who can detect their errors?
Clear us from hidden faults.
Forgive the sins we know and those we don’t.
Transform our desires,
so that in all we do our thoughts and words and actions
may be pleasing to you.

2.
Gracious God, Jesus calls us to let go of our attachments and to follow him. We confess that we cling to the things of this world. Forgive us, and heal our hearts, so that we may faithfully let go and follow freely. Speak your Word to us; bless us now, that we may clearly see our hidden faults, that our hearts may be changed, and that we may trust your grace. Amen.

3.
[Psalm 19.11-14]
Pastor: Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
God of mercy, your truth guides your servant;
in observing it there is great reward.
All: But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
Save me from insolence;
do not let it have dominion over me.
Then we shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts
be acceptable to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer.
[Silent prayer… Words of grace]

4.
Gracious God,
you are One; you are the source and the unity of all things.
But in our fear we have broken away;
Each of us has gone our own way.
Separate from you,
we have hurt ourselves and one another.
Faithful God, we, your creatures, are broken.
Receive us as we are; take us in your gentle arms.
Heal our wounds, forgive our sin,
and root us again in your grace,
that we may live in unity with you and with others.Amen.


Response / Creed / Affirmation

1. [ Col. 1.15-20, 26]
Christ is the visible appearance of the invisible God,
the beloved older sibling of all creation.
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 we are reconciled 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.
We give our hearts to you, O God,
Creator of all that is, and all that is to come.
We follow Jesus, your Word made flesh, who loved without limits.
For his love he was crucified; but in love you raised him from the dead.
He calls us to follow him, and so we pray that you enlarge our lives
and set us free from ourselves, that with his Spirit alive in us
we may love without limit, take up our cross, and join him.
We trust your Spirit in us to give us this life of love,
to lead us in forgiveness and healing,
to enter into the mystery of eternal life
in the name and the company of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. We thank you that you come among us in the person of Jesus. Give us faith to receive him, to follow him, and to serve with him in healing the world, in the light of his name, and in the power of your Spirit. Amen.

2.
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. By your Spirit in us may we take up our cross and follow Jesus, willing to suffer for the sake of love. May we transcend our selves and become one with Christ, infinite in love, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

3.
Gracious God, by your grace may we take up our cross and follow Jesus into the streets and homes, into the prisons and shelters, to the hurting and also the powerful, in the name and the Spirit of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

4.
Eternal God, we give you our gifts as symbols of our lives. As we give, free us from our clinging and our fear. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, that we might follow Jesus with all our hearts, and so find life that is eternal in you. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Available in the Music Store)

Be Thou My Wisdom

I Take Up My Cross

OT 10 | PE 2

Lectionary texts

Today we begin the long tale of king David in the Old Testament readings, which will continue into August. In 1 Samuel 8.4-20 and 11.14-15 Israel is a confederation of tribes under local “judges.” The people complain to the prophet Samuel that they ought to have a king like other “real” nations. Samuel thinks it’s a bad idea: kings often abuse their power. But God says, “Go ahead and give them what they ask for. See how they like it.” So Samuel consents and anoints Saul as king.

Psalm 138 exalts God, who is great yet who attends to the lowly. We put the meaning of our lives in the context of God’s desire, praying, “Lord, fulfill your purpose for me.”

In 2 Corinthians 4.13- 5.1 Paul has confidence that God, who raised Jesus, raises us also, so through us grace will continue to spread to more people. Paul looks not to mere visible appearances but to the invisible, eternal truth of things. Our outer nature is dying but our inner nature is being renewed. We have eternal belonging in God, in a “house not made with hands.”

In Mark 3.20-35, Mark tells a story within a story, as he loves to do. People accuse Jesus of having demons but he says the only way he can cast out demons is if he has already “tied up the strong man,” that is, robbed the demonic of its power. This is set in the frame of another story: Jesus’ family thinks he’s gone mad and want him to come home. But—scandalously—he re-defines “family” not as blood relationship but as unity in “doing the will of God.” The two stories express Jesus’ opposition to power structures of family, religion and political systems and the cosmos itself.

Call to Worship

1.
People of God: Christ, our sibling, calls us as a family.
We gather as one, made family not by genetics, but in your Spirit.
Our bonds exceed our bounds.
We are one with followers around the world.
God of Love, Jesus calls us to hear and do your will.
Open our hearts to hear, and to follow.
We worship with open ears and a willing spirit.

2.
Proclaim the good news!
Though we are beset by the forces of evil and injustice,
Jesus has invaded the halls of power and bound up the strong man.
Love reigns supreme!
Though our own loyalties are divided, Jesus calls us his own.
Love claims us, and draws us in.
We renounce the works of oppression,
in the street, in the boardrooms, and in our own hearts.
Love, we worship: in humility, in gratitude, in unity,
that we may hear you will and do it,
that we may love our neighbors and do justice in the name of Christ.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.

God of love, we proclaim that Jesus has overcome the powers of evil. All our divisions of family and race, class and religion are erased in your love. Bless us that we may surrender our small loyalties and join the family of your love and justice, in the name and spirit of Jesus our savior and our brother. Amen.

2.
Holy One, we come to listen for your voice, to hear your Word in our hearts and to live it out with grace. Bless us that we may hear and be changed, and that we may live by your Spirit in us as siblings in Christ. Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.

We delight in you, God, Eternal Source of all. You create us as one family in your love.
We follow you, Jesus, Messiah, head of our family of love and justice. You have broken into the house of human powers of domination and you have bound the strong man; you have plundered the powers of evil and oppression. Though the powers had you crucified, you have overcome, and have bound up death itself.

We live by your love, O Holy Spirit. You are the breath of God in us, granting us forgiveness, raising us to new life, uniting us as one family, and empowering us to resist evil and injustice. By your grace, O God, we give you our thanks, and we give you ourselves, that we may do your will. Amen.

Listening Prayer

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

1.
We look not at what can be seen, but what cannot be seen.
We listen in the silence for your Word that cannot be heard,
yet may be known.
Spirit, you who raised Jesus, raise us now in your love.

2.
(Adapted from Ps. 138)
Leader: I give you thanks, O Love, with my whole heart.
All: When my heart cries out, you answer.
Though I walk through trouble you preserve my life.
In the face of what I fear, your love sustains me.
O Lord, fulfill your purpose for me.
May your steadfast love endure forever. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. At your table you make of us one family, one Body. Send us into the world in the unity of your love to bear your blessings to all our sisters and brothers in the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Jesus, you who have broken the powers of evil, bind up our own evil and set us free. Holy Spirit, you who make us one family, send us forth to do your will, in the name and the company of Jesus. Amen.

Suggested Song

Do Justice

Trinity Sunday

Lectionary texts

In Isaiah 6.1-8 the prophet sees a vision of God in the Temple. He feels inadequate because of his sin—and his people’s sin—but an angel sears his lips with a burning coal: he has been purified. Then God asks “Whom shall I send?” and the prophet replies, “Send me.”

Psalm 29 honors God’s glory and strength. God’s mighty voice (God’s power) shakes all Creation

Romans 8. 12-17 says rather than living according to our self-limited desires (“the flesh’), we live by God’s spirit in us, since we are God’s children. In this Spirit we are radically free

In John 3. 1-17 Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born “from the top,” that is, both from God and also anew, over and over. We receive our life from God. John then goes on to say that Jesus was sent for our salvation. The Son of man will be “lifted up” (meaning both “crucified” and also “honored”) like the bronze serpent Moses lifted up to cure people in the desert.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: Eternal God, Holy Mystery, Infinite Love, we are in awe.
All: Wow.
Loving Christ, Body of God, you heal us and accompany us and show us the way.
Thank you.
Holy Spirit, breath of God in us, re-create us, birth us anew and fill us with your love.
Please.

2.
Leader: I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of God’s robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above God; they called to another and said:
All: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of God’s glory!
God so loved the world as to give us Christ, that whoever trusts may have eternal life.
Praise be to Christ, who is our life!
The Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you.
May we live by the Spirit, as children of God.
O Holy Mystery, Holy Trinity, Mother, Son and Holy Spirit,
we worship you; we praise you; we give our lives to you. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
People: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
Alleluia! Eternal God, Holy Trinity, you are Mystery,
you are grace, you are the power of love within us.
In awe, and gratitude and in obedience we worship you. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Loving God, Mother of our Birth and Creator of all things, your Spirit blows where it will. You bear us in your arms through all our lives. We turn to you now to hear your voice, to nurse from your love, and to give ourselves wholly to you. Through the Spirit and the Word give us new birth. Amen.

2.
O Holy One, you who are beyond us, and beside us, and within us, you who are our Source, our Companion, and our Life: we open our hearts to you. We don’t need to see your infinite splendor; but let us behold your glory just enough to fall in love, and give ourselves entirely to you, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

3.
Eternal God, you who are Mystery to us, yet who reveal yourself to us, we open our hearts to you. We do not ask that you enable us to understand or explain you, but only that you fill our hearts with your love, that we may receive your blessings and serve you in love, in the name of Christ, in whose name we pray, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

4.

Holy One, you so love the world that you give us your Beloved, your Only Begotten, that we may be made whole. By your Spirit in us, may we be born again and again from you grace; may we be readily blown where the wind of your Spirit blows us, in the name and the company of Jesus. Amen.

Listening Prayer

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

Loving God, you make us your children and you call us to help you to love the world. Stir up your Spirit in us so that as we read your scriptures and proclaim your Word we might hear what you are saying to us, and be transformed and enabled to sing more freely and beautifully the song of your grace. Amen.

Reading

Romans 8.12-17, a paraphrase.

Dearly Beloved, siblings in Christ, we are not isolated bodies,
constrained by their needs and limitations.
When we live that way, as separate units, we die.
But when by the breath flowing from God
we leave behind mere survival, we live deeply.
All who are led by the Spirit are children of God.
The Spirit doesn’t leave you in slavery, leashed to fear:
the Spirit is your adoption as God’s own.
When we cry out to God it is God in us making it clear
that we are God’s children—who inherit from God what Christ does,
invited as Christ’s siblings to share in Christ’s sufferings,
and also in Christ’s glory.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

We believe in God, who is mostly mystery but all love, the Holy Trinity: the Lover, the Beloved and the Love that Flows Between.
We follow Jesus, whom God gave to us in love, not to condemn us but to save us from slavery to our self-centeredness. Though the world condemned him, he did not condemn, but loved. Though he was crucified, by the eternal Spirit that was complete in him, he rose from death and gave to us his spirit.
We live by that Spirit, by whom we are born again and again from God, with new life. By the grace of that Spirit we are not isolated individuals but one, the Body of Christ, infinite in life and love. On the wind of that Spirit we sail into this world as Love leads us, to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with God. In love the Spirit breathes us into the world to be the good news of God’s grace. Alleluia.


Prayer of Dedication / Sending

(suitable for dedicating the offering of gifts or sending forth at the end of the service. You may substitute “our lives” for “these gifts.”)

1.
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. Holy God, Three In One, send us in the love of Christ and the power of your Spirit for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, receive our lives nd all our gifts, which we give to you in thanks and joy. In giving this we honor you as our Creator, and we humble ourselves before you. We remember the gifts of your Son, Jesus, and offer thanks for his grace. And we open our hearts to your Spirit, that you may use us to show your love to all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. As you have fed us in this meal, give new birth to us in every breath: continually make us new in love for you, for each other, and for the world, in the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Pentecost

Lectionary Texts

In Romans 8. 22-27 Paul says all of Creation groans in labor pains, waiting to be set free. Though we do not really know how to pray, God (Spirit) prays in us, in ways that are beyond words.

Psalm 104 celebrates God’s Creation. God breathes (respiration, inspiration, in-spiriting) living beings into life.

In John 15.26-27, 16.4-15 Jesus promises to send his Spirit (“The Advocate” or “Companion”). He says “It’s good that I’m going, so that the Spirit can come.”

Acts 2.1-21 tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, a Jewish holiday, the disciples experience the power of the Spirit, as if they are on fire. They go out and begin to tell people about Jesus in those other people’s languages, though they are foreign tongues to the disciples. (The fist instance of “speaking in tongues” was not ecstatic prayer but clear communication!) Peter explains the event in terms of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out the Spirit on all people.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader: In the beginning the earth was a formless void,
and the Spirit of God brooded over the waters.
All: Spirit of Creation, create us anew!
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, came to Galilee, teaching and healing.
Spirit of Christ, move among us!
Jesus breathed on his followers and said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. As God has sent me, so I send you.”
Spirit of love, move us to do your will. Alleluia!

2.

Leader: Holy Spirit, breath of Creation, wind of God, breathe in us.
All: We open our hearts to your light and your life.
Holy Spirit, love of Christ, energy of healing, burn in us.
We open our hearts to your grace and your power.
Holy Spirit, we are One in you, and we adore you.
We open our hearts to one another and to all Creation.
We worship in thanksgiving, in joy, in love. Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Holy Spirit, you who hovered over the waters at Creation—Praise!
All: Spirit of Love, by whom Christ was conceived—Thanks!
Spirit of Truth, you who fill us with your grace—Wonder!
Alleluia! Spirit of God, you who raise the dead, raise us to new life.
Spirit of Peace, in whom we are all one, lead us to love one another.
Spirit of Life, come, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!


Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of Love, Jesus promised to send the Spirit, who would guide us in the truth. Enliven your Spirit in us, that we may hear your voice, trust your grace and embody your love in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
Eternal God, Spirit of Love, you create all things. You give life to all living beings, in all our diversity and wonder. You breathe in us and make us one in your love. Your presence calls out in each of us to one another, seeking to be one with each other. Speak to us in our worship. Sing your song to us in our hearts. Come to new life in us. We open our hearts to you. Spirit of love, arise! Amen.

3.

Spirit of God, it is you who have invited us here, moving in our hearts before we are aware. Move in us now again: move us closer to you in deep trust, closer to one another in prayer, closer to our neighbors in love. Spirit of God, speak to us; speak in us; speak through our love. Amen.

4.
Gracious God, on the day of Pentecost you filled the disciples with your Spirit, they embraced their mission in the world, and the church was born. Gather your church now in the wind of your grace, that we may be one in unity and peace. Fill our lungs with your breath, that we might sing your praise. Light our hearts on fire, that we might spread your love. We pray in the name of Jesus, who promised that he would send us his own Spirit, so that he would live in us. Amen.

Readings

1. Paraphrased from Psalm 104

Sung Response: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Bless the Holy One, O my soul!
O Love, you are sovereign!
How amazing are your works.
In wisdom you have made all creatures.
They look to you, and you give them life moment by moment.
When you give, we gather. You open your hand, and we live.
When you hide from us we are dismayed.
When you take away your breath, we die and return to dust.
When you grant your breath again, we are created.
You renew the face of the earth.
I will sing to the Holy One as long as I live.
I will sing praise to Love with all of my being.
Praise to God!

[sung] Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

_____________

2. Paraphrased from Psalm 51.10-17

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
put a new and right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will show your ways to those who struggle,
and those who wonder will turn to you.
Reweave me into the Body, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
Love, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifices;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a spirit broken open;
an open and humble heart, O God, you will embrace.
_________

3.

In the beginning, God, your Spirit brooded over the waters, and you began creating.
You formed a human from the soil of the earth,
and breathed the breath of your life into us.
By your Spirit you sent prophets to speak your Truth to people,
and you promised to pour out your Spirit on all flesh.
Jesus was conceived by your Holy Spirit, and ministered by its power.
At Pentecost his followers received your Spirit,
and you gave birth to the Church.
Be the one Spirit we are baptized into the Church, the Body of Christ.
By your Spirit alone we live.
By your Spirit alone we are one.
By your Spirit alone we serve you with love. Alleluia!

Poetry

by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Spirit intercedes


Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words.

— Romans 8.26

Spirit, I do not know how to pray.
But you ask of me no skill.
You ask my presence—you, who are present.

I will be the seed, small and unassuming,
and you will be the flower in me,
spreading light, creating me.

I will be the spring tree, silent and unknowing.
And you will be the bird singing,
singing your joy in me.

I will be the woods
and you a thousand living things
growing in me unseen,

I the ocean and you the creatures,
I the word and you the meaning,
I the heart and you the rising joy.

I will be the chalice and you the wine.
I will be this moment and you the silence.
I will be myself and you will breathe in me.

___________________

Spirit



When you send forth your spirit, we are created
—Psalm 104.30

Holy One,
breath of the big bang,
idea of creation,
you who make spring come forth,
who make life out of nothing,
breathe yourself into me.
Create me.

you are the flame,
I am your light.
You are the nerve,
I am your muscle.
You are the Word,
I am the story.
You are the song,
I am the singing.

I am one with you
and one with all Creation.
One Spirit,
one flesh, many forms.
In your Spirit
I am we.

Holy One, live in me;
I am your body.
I remember,
and I live.



______________________

Response/ Affirmation

1.

We believe in you God, Spirit of Love, creator of all that is and that ever shall be.
We follow Jesus, the Christ, the embodiment of your love. He taught and healed and gathered a community of radical love and diversity, ruled not by laws or religions but by your Spirit. For his rebellion against the forces of oppression and injustice he was crucified; but you raised him from the dead. He came to us again and gave to us his Spirit, so that we are now the Body of Christ.
We live by your Spirit, your love alive and working in us leading us in lives of justice and compassion, one with each other and with all living beings. Breathe in us, O Spirit; lead us, sustain us and unite us in Christ, for the sake of the wholeness of all Creation. Amen.

2.
We believe in God, the Spirit of Love, who creates all things, embraces all things, and lives within all things.
We follow Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit taught and healed. The Spirit was upon him to bring good news to the poor and set free the oppressed. Though he was crucified, by the power of the Spirit God raised him from death, and he comes to us still in the power of that Spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives in us, and makes us, the Church, one body, the Body of Christ. By the grace of the Spirit we love God and our neighbors; we trust in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, and the mystery of eternal life. In the one Spirit we are one with Christ, one with all people, and one with all Creation. By that Spirit we live in love, for the sake of the blessing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

3.
We believe in God, the One Spirit of the universe, who breathes all Creation into being, whose Spirit gives life to all living things.
We follow Jesus Christ, who wholly embodied God’s Spirit, who taught and healed and enacted love and justice; who opened the Realm of God to all. He was crucified, yet by the eternal Spirit living in him, he rose again and is present with us still in the power of that Spirit.
We ourselves live by the Holy Spirit. Because we share one Spirit, we are one body, the Body of Christ, aflame with God’s passion for the world, in mystery and in ministry. We trust the Spirit’s gifts of forgiveness and resurrection. And we devote ourselves to expressing the gifts of the Spirit in our lives, for the sake of the transformation of the world.

4. from St. Teresa of Avila, adapted
Christ has no body now on earth but ours,
no hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which Christ will look out
with compassion to the world.
Ours are the feet with which Christ is to go about doing good.
Ours are the hands with which Christ will bless people now.

Listening prayer

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

1.
Spirit of God, you breathe in us and we live.
You intercede for us with sighs too deep for words.
You pray in us; it is by your grace alone that we can worship.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

2.
Holy Spirit, we do not know how to listen as we ought. Intercede for us with openness too deep for words. Spirit of Life, stir in us. Breath of heaven, breathe in us; create us anew. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication

1.
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in our gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Fill us with your Spirit. Guide us and sustain us by your Spirit. Send us in the power of your Spirit to do mercy and justice for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
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. Send us in the power of your Spirit to give language to your love, to convey to all the world the good news of your grace, in the name of Christ. Amen.

3.
Graceful power, move in me.
May my living give language to your miraculous ways.
May my words express your goodness,
my actions reveal the abundance of your blessing.
Spirit, be the nerve that moves me as your body
to do your will, that all that I do
might clearly embody your grace
and be your living example.
May all whom I meet be given to understand
in the language of their hearts
your loving presence.
Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. In this meal you have created us anew, filled us with your Spirit, made us one, and strengthened us for love and justice. Send us into the world to embody the gifts of the Spirit in the name of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.