If you’ve struggled to find liturgical language adequate to this moment (pandemic, political crises, civil unrest, widely publicised injustices, and so much more), you’re not alone. In my part of the world (Nova Scotia, Canada), we are hunkering down for Hurricane Teddy (and who names a hurricane ‘Teddy’ anyway?), along with upheaval over Indigenous people exercising their right to fish. 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!
Call to Worship by Deborah Roof for NL3-3 (Joseph story)
(We use this model because we are not using a “one…many” model currently. It includes more voices.)
One: It is time; it is time to set aside our fear –
Two: and praise the God of our ancestors and the God of our children.
Three: The God who reaches out to us in the pit of our despair –
Four: God, calls to us in the depths of our dreams.
One: Do not be afraid – for the world that you see
Two: is merely the undercoat of God’s spectacular vision;
Three: Do not have fear – for the world around you
Four: Contains more moments of wonder than you can even imagine.
Invocation by Deborah Roof for NL3-3
One: Saving God, our eyes see danger all around us. We see the treachery of our brothers and the uninformed views of people in power but You say “fear not”. We hear the bitter voices of angry protestors and misguided policemen but You say “have no fear”. God, deliver us from the surface noise and remind us once again that Your intention for us is one of ultimate goodness in You. As we worship You today, calm our hearts and replace any fears with rays of faith in Your will for us.
Confession by Deborah Roof for NL3-3
One: We profess our faith and then we resort to behaviors filled with anger and resentment. God encourages us to walk above the noise of culture. Only through the peace of Christ can we successfully face those who thrive on division and promote violence.
Two: We hear the words “fear not” but our blood boils with the injustice in our world. We too easily lose sight of Your goodness and grace. Unwittingly we give power to those who would divide us by falling into discord and divisive behavior. Help us, O God, to interrupt injustice faithfully without violence and fear.
Three: God hears our honest sighs of remorse and grants forgiveness. We need only remember that God’s divine Presence never left our side. We are God’s own.
Call to Worship – Catherine MacDonald NL 3-3
Families come in all kinds of configurations.
God has created us to be in relationship
with one another in a variety of ways.
We dream of families living together in harmony.
Our dream has not yet been realized.
God dreams of families living together in harmony.
God’s dream has not yet been realized.
May each of us remember,
That we are a beloved child of God.
Come, let us worship God.
‘Instead of arguing’, an invocation on Matthew 21:23–32 by Sarah Agnew
You call us to join you
in the House of the Holy,
relinquish our seats,
shut our mouths –
and hear in the silence
the voice of Wisdom,
and finally fall to our knees.
We Will Listen — a call to worship by Sarah Agnew
Confession by Sarah Agnew
With a Kyrie played – not sung – as a response
We do not want to give up,
to do without,
and we are too quick
to criticise and complain
when our leaders ask us to,
or when mistakes are made
because we have yet learned
what it is we need to learn:
We have stopped praying
for the countries worse off than ourselves –
Spain, USA, UK, Brazil – busier
with patting ourselves on the back,
or getting hooked on the doom
news cycles making us afraid
We have helped the earth
by leaving cars in driveways
and planes on runways for much
of this year, with all the plastics
for testing and shielding and practicing
hygiene, is the earth still paying a price
for keeping us safe?
We have neglected again the artists
who keep our souls alive, open
windows onto the Sacred, and unveil
mirrors to help us see and understand –
yet to the artists we turn to carry us
through the pandemic:
We are feeling sorry for ourselves,
unable to travel, to be with people
we miss, to go on holiday, to do
anything without going so much
slower, keeping distance, wearing masks,
and washing our hands raw:
The One who is Holy
is merciful in character
and welcomes our return,
accepts our confession,
and, indeed, does show us
This is the promise,
enter it and live.
Prayer of Confession, alludes to Philippians 2:1-13, by Kathy Swaar
There’s a lot on our minds these days, Holy One.
It boils up, spills over.
“Do you mind!?!?!” we ask—often—
and not always nicely.
We want everyone to mind.
To mind the gap, mind their own business,
mind their ps and qs, mind their manners.
To be in their “right” mind.
Those aren’t bad things to care about;
each has their time and place.
But they aren’t the only ones;
not always the most important.
Forgive us, Father and Mother of Mercy,
for minding way too much about some things,
and not nearly enough about others.
Remind us, Sacred Presence, there is another way to mind.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,”
Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians.
That mind. Let that mind be in us.
The one that welcomes the stranger,
comforts the afflicted,
The one that reaches out and gathers in,
sets another place at the table,
and another, and another, and another.
The one that goes the extra mile,
returns no one evil for evil.
The open-handed, open-hearted, caring, compassionate mind.
May that mind be the one
with which we regard our fellow travelers
on life’s path – both those we know
and those we don’t.
silent prayers of confession may be offered here.
We have bowed our heads and our hearts;
offered our confession with spoken words and in the silence of our souls.
And God—the Holy One whose steadfast love
is from everlasting to everlasting—
is at work in us and hears, welcomes and redeems.
Friends: Believe the Good News of the Gospel:
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
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