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If you’ve struggled to find liturgical language adequate to this moment (pandemic, climate crises, political crises, civil unrest, widely publicised injustices, and so much more), you’re not alone. Here we have some contributions from our RevGals community to help — feel free to use as-is, adapt, or use for inspiration. If you use them in printed materials, please note the author and revgalblogpals.org. If you use them in online worship and it is possible to give credit in video descriptions, that is sufficient (no need for verbal attribution). Thanks!


Prayer of Confession for 13 September 2020; alludes to Matthew 18:21-35 by Kathy Swaar

How many, O Lord?
How much? How long?

Just give us a number, so we know what to give, 
how much to forgive, how many days we have to wait.

We just want to be sure, Holy One.
We want to do—to be—right.

Is that too much to ask?

Even you have to admit
the numbers do tell a story.

But not the only story, or the best story.

Because if we read the story aright, Loving Presence,
your kingdom is not a numbers game.

Endlessly outpouring, your mercy defies
our feeble efforts to quantify, which 
in the end only amount to rationing.

We think along the lines of “plus one.”
You multiply exponentially.

We parsimoniously offer forgiveness case-by-case:
sometimes, but not every time,
and usually with qualifications. 

Yours is limitlessly dispensed,
over and over, again and again, forever and forever.

Seeing ourselves in the mirror of your Word,
we humbly beg your mercy.

Forgive us, Creator God, once again.


Where we stand: stories of liberation’ – a confession with Exodus 14:19–31 by Sarah Agnew


Oh, Holy One, we understand the need for stories of vanquished enemies, of victory for ‘us’ and defeat for ‘them’; the need to name the feeling that we have escaped, to feel certain those who chase can no longer pursue – we need to know that we are free. 


We understand the need for stories that shout our anger, release our fear, inflict our desire for vengeance, enact our hope for justice – 
but, Holy One, we also know that these stories paint you into a box of vengeance,wrath, violence, and we are content to leaveyou there so we may followour anger through to actionand feel justified, verified,holier than we may actually be. 


So, Holy One, we are sorry we keep you wrapped in anger, and we are sorry for looking back angry ourselves without seeking a path to peace. 
Holy One, as we tell the stories passed on to us through time, help us find you in the stories, truly, fully, Holy One of liberation, of promise, of presence, with the oppressed; and help us to see clearly where we stand today, which may be on the other side of the parted, enclosing waters. 


’To Stay’ – commissioning or blessing with Psalm 114 by Sarah Agnew
Tremble, Earth – God is near 
Tremble, Death – Life is here
Tremble, Sea – Love is risen
Tremble, Sky – Wind is coming

Go, now, and live this resurrection 
Breath of God to carry you 
Life of God to hold you 
Love of God to give you hope. Amen.


‘I am weak / help me to love’ – a responsive confession and assurance of grace with Romans 14:1–12 by Sarah Agnew


I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

I see weakness in others
and despise it, for it reminds me
of weakness within. 

I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

I see difference in others
and reject it, for it unsettles me,
makes me feel unsure. 

I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

I judge others, condemn,
revile, for I cannot bear to think
that it is I who may be wrong. 

I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

I live for myself, and do not live 
at all, for I cannot trust in life
and death in Jesus the Christ. 

I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

I kneel before you, God my judge,
for I have not walked your way
of love, and I am sorry. 

I am weak, God,
help me to love. 

pause 

As you bow, as you confess,
God runs forward, arms outstretched. 
You have turned, returned again: 
fall into those wide-flung arms,
accept Divine embrace, for you are loved,
you are forgiven, you shall have life! 

Amen.



RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. For Worship Words, you may use or adapt what you find here, but please credit the author in printed orders of service/web publications and in public video descriptions if possible.

If you have written words for worship in this strange new world that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

2 thoughts on “Worship Words for 13 September 2020: I Beg Your Pardon

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