Advent 1 – November 28, 2021

Lectionary Texts

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

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship / Lighting the Advent Candle

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

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


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


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

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

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



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

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

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


Collect / Prayer of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer of Confession

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

Eucharistic Prayer

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

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

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

                  [The Blessing and Covenant…]*

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

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


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

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

Prayer after Communion

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

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

Suggested Songs

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

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

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

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

For the Hanging of the Greens, Adorning Your House.

OT 23 – Pe + 14

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


Lectionary Texts

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship

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

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

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

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

Collect / Prayer of the Day

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

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

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

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

Listening Prayer  

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

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

Let the light of your grace flood my house.

Let the breeze of your Spirit freshen my air.

Let your love kindle the fire at my heart,

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

in the name and the company of Christ.   Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

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

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

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

[Sanctus, sung or spoken]

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

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

   
[… The Blessing and Covenant…] *

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

     
[Memorial acclamation]

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

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

      [Amen]

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

The Blessing and Covenant

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

Prayer after Communion

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

Suggested Songs

With Open Hands   (Tune: The Water Is Wide)

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

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

I am Open  (See the Music Store)

Open Me (See the Music Store)

OT 22 – Pe + 13

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


Lectionary Texts

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship

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

Collect / Prayer of the Day

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

Prayer of Confession


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

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

[Silent prayer   ..   The Word of Grace]

Response / Creed / Affirmation

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

Suggested Song

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

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

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

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

See music store.


OT 21 – Pe + 13

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


Lectionary Texts

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of love, we are hungry for your grace.
        
All:  You feed us the bread of life, and we thank you.
We are thirsty for your presence.
         You give us drink from the well of eternal life, and we rejoice.
We hunger and thirst for true love.
           We feast on your grace, and we worship you.  Alleluia!

2.
Leader: Creator God, many voices in this world would claim our attention.
 All:  But to whom can we turn?  You have the words of eternal life.
Y
ou form us in your image.
 We are in awe.  We worship you.
You beckon us like a loving parent.
 We are in love, and we come to you.
You enfold us in your grace and fill us with your transforming Spirit.
 Alleluia!  Receive us, Heavenly Lover!
 Heal us, Risen Brother!
 Make us new, Spirit of Life!  Alleluia!

3.
Leader:  God’s love is made known to us in Christ.
 All: We come to hear the good news.
We are hungry for God’s grace.
 We come not merely to listen to Jesus,
 but to consume him: to “inwardly digest,”
 to make his love part of who we are.
In that holy hunger, we praise, we pray, we worship.
 Alleluia!  Come, Christ, and feed our souls.  Alleluia!

3.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
     You alone are holy, and we worship you.
Glory be to you, O God of all Creation.
     Thanks be to you, O Christ, for our salvation.
You have the words of eternal life.
     Your teaching disturbs us; your wisdom challenges us,
     and yet, we choose to follow you.
Come then, and change our hearts.
     Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

4.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
          You alone are holy, and we worship you.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Holy One!
Even the sparrow finds a home in you.
          We come to you, and pour ourselves out to you;
          for you have the words of eternal life.
New every morning is your love, God of life,
and you are working for good throughout the day.
            Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

5.
Leader: Creator God, how lovely is your dwelling among us!
How desirable is your presence with us.
How deeply we are attracted to be with you in intimacy and safety.
Alleluia!  Holy Spirit, you invite us to take your grace into ourselves,
and so we come to you.
Fill us, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of life, we hunger for your love, and you give us Christ, the bread of Life.  So we come to feast on your Word, to listen and “inwardly digest,” and to be changed, that we too may be bread for the world.  Feed us with your grace.  Amen

2.
Gracious God, we have been promised that no one will be turned away who comes to Christ.  We come to you now, to know your presence, to hear your Word, to be transformed by your grace.  Speak to us, touch us, and take our lives as your own.  We pray in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

3.
God of Silence, God of the Word, your Christ, Jesus, has the words of eternal life. They are challenging words, sometimes frightening.  We sometimes want to go away.  Help us now to stay near, to listen with courage and with open hearts, so that your Word may live in our souls and transform us by your grace.     Amen.

Prayer of Confession


1.
God of mercy, we confess to you
that we have struggled against other people—
     but we have ignored the struggle against our own evil.
We confess that we have taken on the armor of this world:
     we confess our domination and defensiveness,
     our willingness for others to be hurt to protect our comfort.

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

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

2.
Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
     All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
     Gentle God, for all that we have done that diminishes life,
     that separates us from you and from others,
     we are sorrowful.
     We give to you our broken hearts.
     Receive us, bless us, and heal us.
     Forgive our sin, and restore in us
     the image of Christ.
[Silent prayer    …    the Word of grace….]   

3.
Pastor: The grace of God be with you.
      All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
     Gentle, healing God:
     for all that is not well in us we seek your healing;
     for all that is in disharmony with your grace
     we seek your transformation;
     from all that is a burden in us we seek relief;
     for all that is broken between us and you, and others,
     we seek your forgiveness, your healing grace,
     and a new way of living.
    Accepting what is. God, we open ourselves in your grace
    to what may be.
[Silent prayer    …    the Word of grace….]   

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
            We trust in God, creator of all that is, provider of every good thing to eat.
            We follow Jesus, the Bread of Life, who embodied God’s love, made grace available to all, and gave himself in love for us.  He was crucified and died, and was raised from the dead.  We feast on his grace, and his love becomes the substance of our lives. In Christ we are all made one, as grains united in one loaf.
            We live by the Holy Spirit, the Yeast of God in us, who unites us, nourishes us and gives us strength to love our neighbors.  Graced by the power of forgiveness, the promise of resurrection and the mystery of eternal life; protected only by the armor of God’s grace; we serve in the name of Christ for the sake of others, that in the power of the Holy Spirit we may be bread for the world. Amen.

2.
            We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is, and all that is to come, who is revealed in Word and deed, and who is yet mystery; yet whom we know as love and the source of life.
            We follow Jesus, though his teachings upset our ways and his miracles upend our world, for his words are the words of life and his love is the light of life.  He was crucified and was raised, and lives among us still, speaking to us, present with us, drawing us to him with alluring power.
            We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s power within and among us, which enables us to follow Jesus, to live lives of love, forgiveness, justice and healing, trusting in the power of grace and the mystery of eternal life.  In the unity of the Spirit we live as one Body, the Body of Christ, devoted to self-giving service to the world in the name of Christ. 

3.
            Creator God, how lovely is the dwelling you have made for us!  You who create all things, we gladly awaken in your presence.  You are our maker, our host, and our home.
            Risen Christ, how lovely is your dwelling with us!  You invite us to feast at your table: to be nourished by your wisdom, to be healed by your grace, and to share in this banquet of life with all the other poor sinners of this world.  You who taught and healed, you who died and were raised, you who are the Bread of Life, feed us with your presence, fill us with your spirit, and lead us by your Word. We desire with all our heart and mind and strength to die and live with you in the mystery of eternal life.
            Holy Spirit, love of God, how lovely is your dwelling within us!  Sophia, Wisdom of God, how gracious is your invitation to feast at your table. You make of us one body, the Body of Christ.  We give our hearts to you, that by your grace we may devote ourselves to lives of compassion, justice and joy, for the sake of the transformation of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

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

OT 20 – Pe + 12

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


Lectionary Texts

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

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

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

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

Call to Worship

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

Collect / Prayer of the Day

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

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

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

Prayer of Confession

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

Response / Creed / Affirmation

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

Listening Prayer  

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

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

Prayer of Dedication / Sending  /  Prayer after Communion

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

Suggested Songs

Wisdom (see music store)



OT 19 — Pe + 11

Worship resources for:
10th  Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 19 (August 8, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 18.5-33 David orders his army to defeat his son Absalom’s rebellion, but to protect Absalom.  Absalom, however, is killed in battle, and the news is reported to David.

Psalm 130 cries out to God from the depths of our sorrows.  Trusting God to forgive and redeem us, we wait for God’s grace.

Ephesians 4.25 – 5.2 teaches us how to live in community, especially to speak the truth in love rather than speaking out of anger, resentment, blame or negativity.  We are to imitate God and, like Jesus, be a “fragrant offering” for God.

In John 6. 35, 41-47 people resist Jesus’ self-description as the bread of life. He says, “Stop criticizing. No one comes to me unless God draws them.” 

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of stillness, we come from busy lives, and surrender them to your grace.
    All:  You are the home of our hearts.
We come with all our memories and feelings, alliances and attachments.
    You are the home of our hearts.
We come amidst all our swirling desires and emotions to find ourselves.
    You are the home of our hearts.
Here we find ourselves in you, every part of us, and all of us together.
    You give yourself to us, and we give ourselves to you.
    In joy we worship you.  Alleluia!


2.
God, we did not come here on our own.  You have drawn us us.
    We come led by the hunger of our hearts.
Jesus, Bread of Life, you offer yourself.
    You feed the hunger of our hearts.
Bread of Heaven, nourish us, that we may serve you.
    All hearts are hungry for you.
    Fill us with yourself, that we may be bread for the world.

3.
God of Grace, you have drawn us from nothingness into life.
    We praise you.
You have drawn us to this day, in this place.
    We thank you.
You draw us ever deeper into your love.
     Alleluia.  Draw us deeper, God of life.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of grace, we hunger for the bread of life that is Jesus.  Feed us with your grace.  Nourish your Holy Spirit in us, that through deep trust, we may enter into the life of your Beloved, Jesus, who promises to raise us up on the last day. Amen.

2.
Jesus, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    Jesus, we hunger for you.
“No one can come to me unless drawn by God.”
    Jesus, you draw us in.
“Whoever trusts has eternal life.”
    Jesus, help us trust, and enter into the life of God.
    Amen.

3.
Gracious God, though we hunger for many things, they do not give us life.  You alone are the bread of life.  Help us to turn from these things and to seek you alone: to look to your presence and attend to your Spirit, to listen for your Word and to feast on your grace. Grant us that holy hunger, so that as your scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed, we will listen to your Word and trust it with faith.  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.

   God of life, you draw us toward you, and toward life.

   But we pull away.

   Many fears and desires tug at us,

   and we distance ourselves from you, and from life.

   Draw us into your heart now by your grace.

   Forgive us, heal us, and make us new.

   Help us always to surrender to the flow of your grace in us,

   and to fall always, gently, into your arms.

[silent prayer]

People of God, by the grace we know in Christ, I proclaim to you
that all our sins are forgiven entirely, and we are set free
to live by the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Thanks be to God.

Readings

Jesus
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes


I am hungry for God.
Jesus makes my mouth water.

Jesus is my rabbi, my lover, my wonder, my dawn.
Jesus is not mine.   I am his.
He is the one who points out the bird I did not see.
He opens my eyes, opens my heart.
He accompanies me; he precedes me.
Jesus is the one with whom I sit in any silence.
He comes to others in ways I will never recognize.
I want him to be my clothes, by body, my breath,
the thought of my words,
the nerve of my muscle.

He is a trickster,
fooling me into salvation against my will
again and again.
He has grabbed me by the heart
and hauled me into myself.
I am the grave he has died in,
I am the life he rises in.

I follow him.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

        We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is, who is still creating, from whom we receive life in each moment, in every breath; the Divine Lover who is constantly drawing us closer to God’s own heart.

        We give our hearts to Jesus Christ, the fragrance of God, the presence of God, the embodiment of God’s grace among us.  His teaching and healing and his dying and rising draw us nearer to God.

        We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s urging within us.  The Spirit leads and empowers us to live lives of forgiveness, love and service, to give of the gifts we have been given, and to embody God’s presence, each in our own way.  In the Spirit we are the Body of Christ, devoted to building up one another, the church and the Reign of God, trusting in the power of resurrection and the mystery of the Life that God gives us.

Listening Prayer  

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


Bread of Life, feed our souls. 
River of God, ease our thirst. 
Bread of Heaven, enter us;
fill us with eternal life.
Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Eucharistic Prayer

                        Preface 

Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all things,

ruler of the world and all that is to come.

You have made the earth and all that fills it;

you have given us every good thing to eat.

When we wandered in the wilderness you fed us.

When we hunger for your grace you bring us to the feast,

the feast of grace in Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life.

By your mighty judgment you have overthrown the powers of evil;

and you have set us free.

The rich go away empty, but the hungry you fill with good things.

You provide manna in the wilderness, bread for the people;

you open your hand and feed every living thing.

Therefore with all Creation we sing as one voice:

     Sanctus

Blessed are all who come in your name,

and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, the Bread of Life,

who strengthens our bodies and nourishes our souls;

who ate with the poor and the outcast,

and fed the multitudes by the power of your Spirit.

As Jesus shared the loaves and fishes, trusting you to provide,

so we feast with faith in the abundance of your Spirit and your grace.

           [… The Blessing and Covenant …] (“Words of Institution”):

     On the night in which he gave himself for us,

he took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,

saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

       In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,

blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,

“Drink of this, all of you.  This is my blood,

shed for you and for many, in a new Covenant,

which is the forgiveness of sin.”

Christ is our Passover from want to abundance,

from powerlessness to victory, from death to life.

     Memorial Acclamation

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and all who share this meal,

and on these gifts of bread and cup, that they may be for us

the Body and Blood of the Beloved, Jesus Christ,

imperishable food that sustains us for eternal life

and strengthens us for service in your name.

As the grains are made one in this loaf, we are made one in your Spirit.
We offer ourselves in union with Christ’s sacrifice for us,

so that, trusting in the abundance of your grace,

we may give freely, serve boldly, and love abundantly.

Oh bread of life: take, bless, break, and give us,

as your bread of blessing in the world.

Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. 

Bless us that we may always hunger for the true bread of life, and never work for what does not lead us to eternal life.  Send us into the world to be bread for others, so that all of your children might taste the bread of life.  We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

Drawing Me  (John)

Out of the Deepest Depths  
 (Psalm 130)

See music store.

OT 18 — Pe + 10

Worship resources for:
9th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 18 (August 1, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In  2 Samuel 11.26-12.13 The prophetNathan tells David a parable about injustice, evoking David’s anger, and then turns the story on David, confronting him about his rape and murder.

Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance.  We ask for God’s forgiveness, and that God create in us a new heart.

Ephesians 4. 1-16  Reminds us we are not just a random association of people: we are called as one body in the one spirit of Christ. We are called to live in love and peace. we all share Christ’s humility, patience and love. We are one in Christ’s Spirit.

In John 6.24-35  Jesus  says he is the Bread of Life, real nourishment that gives life to all the world.  The people keep getting hung up on their physical hunger, but Jesus speaks of a deeper hunger, and invites us to “believe,” that is, to open ourselves to what is given.

Call to Worship

Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
     Moment by moment you create us, and give us life.
We confess that we have sought life elsewhere,
but this hunger has only fed us death.
     God of Creation, have mercy.
We confess that in our hunger we have betrayed life.
     God of grace, forgive us.
Teach us that our hunger and thirst is for you alone.
Teach us to turn to you and receive life in each moment.
     God of life, have mercy.
Christ, you are the Bread of Life.  Come and feed our hearts and souls.
    Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of life, we are hungry for life.
Feed us the bread of life.
Spirit of breath, we live by each breath.
Help us to breathe deeply of you.
Christ, sign of God among us, we give our hearts to you.
Help us to listen, to feast upon your presence, and to enter into eternal life.   
Amen.

2.
Leader: Gracious God, we are hungry for life.
 All:  You are the Bread of Life.
We are thirsty for love.
      You are the fountain of love and grace.
We come to feast upon your abundance.
      We come to feast upon your grace.
      Alleluia!  We thank you.  We praise you.  We worship you. Alleluia!

3.
God of abundance and grace, we are hungry for life and love, but we divert our desires to other things. Redirect our hunger, O God, and transform our desires. Stir up our deep hunger for you, our thirst for truth, our deep desire for wisdom and compassion.  Our mouths water for your Word.  Speak to us, Lord of Love, and give us the bread of life.   Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
           We trust in God, creator of all that is, provider of every good thing to eat.
           We follow Jesus, the Bread of Life, who embodied God’s love, made grace available to all, and gave himself in love for us.  He was crucified and died, and was raised from the dead.  In him we are all made one, as grains united in one loaf.
           We live by the Holy Spirit, the Yeast of God in us, who unites us, nourishes us and gives us strength to love our neighbors.  Graced by the power of forgiveness, the promise of resurrection and the mystery of eternal life, we serve in the name of Christ for the sake of others, that in the power of the Holy Spirit we may be bread for the world.

2. [from Ephesians 2.14-22; 4.11-16]
Christ is our peace.  In Christ God has made us into one flesh.  and has broken down every dividing wall between us.
In Christ God has created one new humanity, making peace, and reconciling all to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death all hostility through it.
Jesus came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. In Christ all of us have access in one Spirit to God.  So we are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.
In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
God has given us various gifts to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Beloved of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
So we  grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Listening Prayer  

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

Without thinking we seek food that perishes.  But here in this silence we open ourselves to the food that endures for eternal life. There are no signs.  There are no requirements. Only this, that we entrust ourselves to you, the Bread of Life.  We come to you. Feed us, that we may never hunger for anything but you, never thirst for anything but your grace.

Eucharistic Prayer

#5, Bread of Life

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

God of grace, as Jesus offered himself for others as nourishing bread, we give of ourselves, that we may be bread for the world, to feed the hungry, to strengthen the weary, to gladden the hearts of the hopeless, to bring about justice and mercy in the name and the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

Bread of Life * unfinished

Every Moment is Manna   * unfinished

Communion Song:  Bread of Life
(Tune: HOLY MANNA)

Christ, you are the Bread of Life, who gives us strength and nourishes.
Here we feast on love and beauty, here your people flourishes.
In our sharing you are present, in our feast you enter in,
we become your Body, risen: we your servants, we your friends.

As you bless the bread and break it, as you give it out to share,
we ourselves are taken, given, sharing blessing everywhere.
May we be the yeast of justice; may we be the grain of love;
that your children all be fed, and grace and mercy all may have.

OT 17 — Pe + 9

Worship resources for:
8th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time  17 (July 25, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 11. 1-15 David rapes Bathsheba and arranges her husband Uriah’s death.

Psalm 14  says that people do evil, thinking that there is no God who is aware of their deeds.  But God defends the poor and powerless                                                         

In Ephesians 3.14-21  the author prays for us, that we may be rooted in love and that Christ will live powerfully in us.

In John 6. 1-21 Jesus feeds a crowd with a tiny bit of food, and then walks across the lake to the disciples in the boat.  They are afraid but Jesus says, “I am.  Do not be afraid.”

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of abundance, you provide Creation, overflowing with life and beauty.
      All:  In awe we praise you.
Christ, you accompany us in our deepest struggles with infinite love and grace.
      In gratitude we thank you.
Holy Spirit, you fill us with all the gifts we need to serve you with compassion and power.
      In trust, we open ourselves to your presence.  Alleluia!

2.
Leader:  In our need and hunger, God —
      Congregation:  you feed us abundantly!
In our fears and struggles
      you bear us through the storms!
God of grace, you bring us to a place of peace.
       We thank you. We worship you.  We open our hearts to you. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

 Steady God, life whirls around us.  Life demands so much of us.  So we turn to you, calm and generous.  Your grace flows freely.  We open ourselves in word and silence, in prayer and song, in meal and companionship, to the overflowing abundance of your presence and your grace.  Hungry and trusting, we open ourselves toy you.  Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation


        God, Creator of all, we rejoice that you are a God of abundance.  In faith we pledge to live lives of abundant generosity.
        Christ, we rejoice that you are the bread of life, who accompanies us in our deepest struggles. In faith we entrust ourselves to you, even in times of struggle. You who have died and been raised rom the dead, bear us through the storms and bless us with your presence.
        Holy Spirit, we rejoice that you grant to us the power of sharing, the courage of faith, and the peace of your grace.  In faith we give ourselves to your care and guidance, that in all things we may do your will, trust your grace, and share you love, in the name of Christ,  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

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

1.
God of love, the grace that nourishes us is more abundant than we know; the mercy that bears us through our struggles is deeper than we think.  And you are more present than we suspect, here and now.  We open our hearts to your grace.  In the little loaves and fishes of this moment, multiply your grace. In the little boat of our prayer, carry us across. 

2.
Hungry for God, we gather.
But where will we find what will nourish us?
      We have but five little loaves, and two fish.
Jesus takes our lives, and multiplies them.
      We struggle against the wind and waves of our lives.
Jesus calms us, and brings us to a place of peace.
      Jesus, feed us.  Bear us through the storm.
      Grant us your peace.  Amen.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You give with such infinite generosity; help us so to be grateful, trusting and generous with our love, with our time and goods, with our blessing, for the sake of the world, in the name and Spirit of Christ.   Amen.

Suggested Songs

All that we Hold  (John)
God Strengthen you Within   (Ephesians)

See music store.

OT 16 — Pe + 8

Worship resources for:
7th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 16 (July 18, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 7. 1-14  David aspires to build a temple, a house for God.  But God says, “No, I will live in a tent among my people as I have always done.”

Psalm 89.20-37  celebrates the covenant, the promise, that God made to David.

Ephesians 2. 11-22 says Christ has broken down the division between “insiders” and “outsiders” s Jews and Gentiles. We are all one.  We are members of God’s household.  In fact we are God’s house, God’s temple.        

In Mark 6. 30-34, 53-56 the disciples return from their mission andJesus invites them to retreat to a solitary place.  But they are followed by people who seek Jesus’ healing and teaching. He has compassion on them (they are “like sheep without a shepherd”) and he heals them.

Call to Worship

Welcome to this holy time and place. 
Bring your hearts into the presence of God.
     We have been busy!
Come away.
      What of our triumphs and our struggles?
Come away.
      What of our wish to know and understand?
Come away.
      Gentle Christ, we are here, with you.  It is enough for us.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

God of grace, we wander through this life, hungry, like sheep without a shepherd.  But you have compassion on us.  And so we bring to you our hunger and our wounds.  We bring our sick souls on the mats of our prayer.  BY your tender grace, touch us, change us, and make us whole.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession:
   
      Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
All: And also with you.
      Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gentle God, we have not always been present;
caught up in many things, we have neglected the One Thing.
We confess: renouncing all pretending,
letting go of all fear,
we bring ourselves to be with you,
in simplicity, in honesty, in silence.
Receive us as we are.
In your presence and your grace,
we are willing to become again the souls you create us to be.
Amen.

Readings

Come away

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and stop a while.”
      — Mark 6. 30-31

Purify your doing with being.
Come away to a solitary place
where there are no others:
no one watching, judging, comparing, setting examples.
No one to impress, please, satisfy, conform to.
Just you, your body and your soul.

Go to a place where nothing matters, and nothing defines you
but being there,
where you have not achieved or failed at anything.
A stopping place, 
a place where you stop all that you do,
and discover your being,
at the center, beyond all doing.

The Holy One, who said, “I Am Being,” is there,
creating you moment by moment,
breath by breath.
Stop doing, and simply be being created.

You may find such solitude in a quiet park or in a noisy office.
For the place is nowhere out there, but within you.

Come away.
Be yourself.
Stop a while.
Such a time and place is holy.

A resting place

Breathe in.  Breath out.
Let go of all you have accomplished.
Step out of what you have done,
the “who” you think you are
that comes from something,
into the who that is I AM.
Be still.

Breathe in.  Breath out.
Set everything down.
The great burden of being yourself,
what everyone thinks, even you,
the work of remembering,
what you must and mustn’t,
let them all go.
Be still.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.
Come to the sabbath place
where nothing, even you,
is fashioned, everything just is.
Come into the rest that is God,
the silence from which your light pours,
the Spirit brooding over the waters.
Here where you are received,
receive yourself.
Be still.

Breathe in.   Breathe out.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
 We give our hearts to God, the Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who is present everywhere and in each moment.
 We follow Jesus, our teacher and healer, who has compassion on all people.  He leads us to seek God in activity and in quiet, in ministry and in solitude, in words and in silence—and in life and even in death.  Though Jesus was crucified, he was raised to new life, and accompanies us still in all things.
 We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in and among us, which makes us the church the Body of Christ.   The Spirit empowers us to live with forgiveness and compassion, and trust in the power of resurrection; to proclaim Christ’s way of living, and to give of ourselves in ministry, for the sake of the healing of the world.

2. [from Ephesians 2.14-22; 4.11-16]
Christ is our peace.  In Christ God has made us into one flesh.  and has broken down every dividing wall between us.
In Christ God has created one new humanity, making peace, and reconciling all to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death all hostility through it.
Jesus came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. In Christ all of us have access in one Spirit to God.  So we are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.
In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
God has given us various gifts to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Beloved of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
So we  grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Listening Prayer  

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


1.
Leader: Holy God, we leave behind the busyness of our lives;
      All:  we come to you.
We leave behind the noise in our lives and our minds,
      and we come to a quiet place where you are.
We come to a place of solitude, where there are no roles, no expectations:
      we are souls.  And here in this simple place, you are with us.
We let go.  We sink in.  We become present.
      We are happy to be here. 
      Blessing.  
      Alleluia.

2.
Gentle God, you draw us into the stillness of your Presence.  You breathe your breath in us, and we become more deeply aware.  We come into the quiet place in your heart    Speak your Word to us, even if it is silence, and we will listen, even if we do not understand.  Our hearts are open.  Come, Spirit of Truth, and be with us.  Amen.

3.
God, you invite us to discover your presence in activity and in quiet, in word and in silence.  Help us now, as your Scripture is read and your good news proclaimed, to pay attention, to be mindful of your presence, and to listen for your Word as you speak to us.    Amen.

4.
Gracious God, in Christ you welcome us into your presence.   Bless us now as the scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed, that by the grace of your Spirit we may be at home in your word.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

Sanctuary

See music store.

OT 15 — Pe + 7

Worship resources for:
6th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 15 (July 11, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 6.1-19  David brings the ark— the chest holding the stone tablets of the law—into Jerusalem.  He dances before the ark with joy, clothed only in a linen ephod.  We don’t know exactly what an ephod is, but it was scanty enough to offend Michal, David’s sometime wife, the former king’s daughter.

Psalm 24 asks questions and responds.  Who comes close to God?  Those who seek truth and live truthfully.  Who is the power that rules our lives? It is Yahweh.  A refrain about opening the gates suggests the bringing of the ark into Jerusalem—and also implies that Jerusalem is the base of operations from which God protects the people.    

Ephesians 1.3-14 says God has chosen us and adopted us as children, forgiven us, and disclosed the mystery of God’s delight to us: that all Creation is to be gathered together in love. It is our destiny to radiate that love. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a sign of this inheritance.

In Mark 6. 6-29  Jesus sends out the disciples two by two with power to heal and cast out evil spirits.  Meanwhile Herod kills John the Baptist, a glimpse of the evil that comports with power, a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death, and a reminder of the self-sacrifice of those who confront injustice nonviolently.

Call to Worship

1.
The human heart is a rich mystery, full of good and evil.
We bring our hearts to you, God,
that you will heal us of our fears,
open our eyes to see ourselves as you see us,
renew your Spirit in us,
and re-create us as the image of your love.
We thank you for your love, we ask your blessing,
and we open ourselves to your race.  Amen.

2.
Leader: Glorious God, as David danced before you, so we come with joy and praise.
      All: We worship you.  We praise you.  We open our hearts to you.
All Creation dances before you.  The stars and planets circle in joy and wonder.
      The seas wave and clap their hands.
The trees sway to the music of your wind.
      And our hearts sing your praise. 
      Alleluia! Glory be you to, now and forever.. Alleluia!
 

3.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
    You alone are holy, and we worship you.
You send us out into the world to do the work of healing.
But we have not always been healing.  Sometimes we have been hurtful.
     Holy One, have mercy.
We ourselves need healing.
     Christ, have mercy.
Give us power to face the unwholesome spirits in us and in our world.
     Holy One, have mercy.
     Grant us your Spirit, to work for justice and healing.
     Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Eternal God, Life-Giver, you create all things, you establish the bounds and set the laws of all Creation, you are infinite and unknowable—yet you come among us in faithful presence.  We worship you. As David danced before the ark, our hearts rejoice in the presence of your Word.  Speak to us; sing to us.  May we hear the music of your grace, and lose ourselves in your beauty.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

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

God of grace, you give us power to heal, to proclaim your good news, to anoint with blessing.  Open us to receive these gifts, that we may pass them on.  You send us in poverty of spirit.  Be our guide and companion, our power and our wealth, our journey and our home.

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.  Help us to be a force for good in the world, and to join you in the work of healing and justice for the sake of the blessing of all Creation, 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.  We go now into the world filled with your joy, graced with your presence and dancing in your Spirit, in the name and the love of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  In this meal you strengthen us for the journey. Send us into the world to witness for justice, to pray for peace, to work for healing, in the name and the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

Bread of Justice

Words: Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Tune: Holy Manna

God of justice and compassion, you who freed the Hebrew slaves,
you who feed the poor and powerless, you whose great forgiveness saves,
now you feed us, poor in spirit, through the grace of your dear Son;
now you call us, now you send us . May your loving will be done.

Feed us, God, the bread of justice: give us hearts to see and care.
We are one with all who suffer. They are yours; now send us there.
Knowing not if we shall triumph, give us faith to never cease;
give us strength to boldly witness, seeking justice, making peace.

Feed us , God, the wine of courage, faithfully to do your will.
Now we drink of resurrection, facing death but steadfast still.
To this world of heartless plunder, send us in a different vein:
by our fearless, gentle healing, to bear witness to your Reign.