What a time to be planning worship! May God grant you words and actions to both express/name what is and to call/proclaim what God wills to be. Feel free to use/read/adapt with credit to the listed author and revgalblogpals.org

1A.Opening Prayer by Barb Hedges-Goettl (GATE-L)

O God, in this time of change and challenge, we cry to you.

When there are wars and rumors of wars, we cry to you.

When no one seems to agree on—or know how to fix–what is wrong, we cry to you.

When we are long on blame and short on understanding, we cry to you.

In this time and place, as your people, we come to you. We cry to you.

O God, hear our cry.

12A. Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 146) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

It is God keeps faith forever.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them.

It is God keeps faith forever.
God executes justice for the oppressed;
      God gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

It is God keeps faith forever.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

It is God keeps faith forever.

2B. Call to Worship by Barb Hedges-Goettl

When we are alone and afraid, O God, we come to you.

When we experience upheaval and uncertainty, O God, we come to you.

When we are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, O God, we come to you.

When we mourn division and hatred, O God, we come to you

When we want to know the truth, O God, we come to you.

When we are losing hope, O God, we come to you.

Burdened and heavy-laden, O God we come to you.

Make our yoke easy and our burden light. Amen.

3A.  See first song at: https://youtu.be/FP4WJBi51tM

3B. You Are Before Me, Lord (Psalm 139)                                                               

3C.  Cry for the Desert by Twila Paris

3D. God Weeps Too by Eli

3E.  O Lord, Hear My Prayer Taizé

3F. God of the Sparrow

3G. God of Compassion

3H. From Sarah Erickson: Sunday January 17, 2021

If you are not familiar with the hymnwriter, Carolyn Winfrey-Gillette, please take some time to explore her website, http://www.carolynshymns.com/. It is well organized, and the Scripture Index makes it very useful for those of us who are using the Narrative Lectionary. She uses familiar hymn tunes, which makes the songs singable for most. Take a look at “You Have Searched Me, Lord, And Known Me”, based on Psalm 139 (RCL for this week) or no fewer than 11 options for Luke 4, for Narrative Lectionary options. You can also follow her on Facebook or subscribe to her regular emails – that way, you’ll get her newest lyrics quickly, and good summaries of her other work pertaining to topics in the liturgical year or current events.

3I. From Sarah Pirtle Sarah Pirtle <sarahpirtle@gmail.com>

Justice Journey is part of a collection of songs on many themes that I offer for houses of worship to use freely by screen sharing or by downloading. 

This song honors the victories in Georgia and the deepening of work for racial justice as we work to change the engines of white supremacy. It was written this summer in solidarity with BLM.

Justice Journey


I wrote the chorus from the words of Dr. Cornell West. He says we are at a turning point, and in this time of reckoning, he calls for our country to be reimagined. Speaking after the funeral for George Floyd he said, “We got hope in the form of motion…. We got a love that the world can’t take away.” 

This link goes to Hope Sings which offers over 70 songs to listen or download for free as part of offering song medicine. https://sarahpirtle.com/hope-sings/

You have permission to use any of these songs. Each entry has lyrics and information. Some songs are from my nine recordings and some are newly created.

3J. Spotify Lament playlist from Presbyterian Women’s Bible study on lament; see 7A below.

4A. Confession of Sin adapted from the Belhar Confession by Barb Hedges-Goettl For the full Belhar Confession (a South African confession written during apartheid and added to the PCUSA Book of Confessions in 1986, go to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/resource/belhar-confession/

For other worship resources drawn from the Belhar Confession, go to


Call to Confession:

One: God has given the church the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ, but we fall short of God’s call to be salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Prayer of Confession:

All: God, our fears and prejudices run deep. Sometimes we can only see our own point of view. We stick with those who are like us, rarely venturing outside our comfort zones. We do not hear those crying for justice and true peace. We blame those who are suffering and in need instead of standing by them. We deny the power of your gospel to unite us with those who are different from us. Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Use us to open new possibilities of life for all of your people.

Assurance of Forgiveness

One: We are reconciled with God and with one another through Christ’s work. Thanks be to God for the Good News: All:  In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

4B. Rite of Confession by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Call to Confession

God calls the church to stand by those who suffer and are in need. Let us confess the ways we do not follow this call.

Prayer of Confession

One: O God, you bring justice to the oppressed and give bread to the hungry.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You free the prisoner and restore sight to the blind.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You support the downtrodden and protect the stranger.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You block evildoers and help orphans and widows.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You stand against injustice. You stand with the wronged.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You condemn seeking one’s own interest, controlling and harming others.

All: Forgive us when we do not follow you.

One: You bring about justice and true peace among people.

All: God, forgive us when we do not follow you. 

Assurance of Pardon: God strengthens us in serving human beings, all of whom are created in God’s image. Thanks be to God for the Good News:

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

4C. Renunciation of Evil

Feel free to read/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta                                                     For more by Pastor Katy Stenta, go to katyandtheword.com

Do you renounce evil?

Pastor Sally asked my parents, as they held my 2-year-old hand, at the church where I balance beamed on the walls and callout “my bells, my bells” before I was baptized.

Do you renounce evil?

My church in Arkansas asked, just after lightening burned it to the ground and the other kids and I made cross drawings out of ash on the front lawn. This church—which now had 30 kids and was bursting at the seams and found a way to expand with the rebuild—graciously confirmed me as an adult member before we had to move.

Do you renounce evil?

My home church asked—where I found relief from Jr High bullying, where I was supported and included despite my penchant for far too fancy dress up for Sunday, and my extroverted ways–as they confirmed me as a teenage member of the governing board, and eventually joyfully sponsored my call to ministry.

Do you renounce evil?

My first pastorate asked, ordaining me on bended knees, as a young and very, very enthusiastic pastor, trying to raise the excitement I felt for the church of tomorrow with anyone and everyone I could. They asked me that 10 years ago 10/2/2010.

I renounce evil. It is my call to hold fast onto what is good, but also to declaim all things that pollute faith.

Empires, Liars, and Caesars, Violent Authorities, Racism, Bigotry, Ableism, Homophobia, Transphobia and Sexism, White Supremacy, Hypocrisy and Virtue Signaling are all idolatry. Claiming that I am better than you is a sin against God.

Please, teach me to recognize evil when it happens. Help me to name it in all of its forms. And help be brave enough to renounce it whenever I see it–and to listen closely when others find it and point it out to me.

Craft my words: So my declamations are loud, craft my honor: so my apologies are brief and sincere. Open my eyes and guide my tongue: so I can help others do the work they need to do, and to find a way to education one another when mistakes are made.

Help me to denounce evil, I pray.


5A. Prayers of the People inspired by Psalm 139 by Elsa Cook

O God, you have
searched us
and known us.
You have known
when we have
been bold enough
to rise toward justice
and when we have
hidden from the
struggle to liberate
your people.

O God, you have
hemmed us
together in this
faith-filled community   
where we have tried
to be led by
your guiding hand.
We haven’t always
allowed ourselves
to be led. We have
resisted more than

especially after
this past year of lockdown,
physical distancing
and isolation,
we are so glad
that you have led
us here to be part
of this faith community
where the grieving are embraced,
where the sick find care,
where the lonely find comfort
and the hopeless are reminded
that they too are fearfully
and wonderfully made.

Such knowledge is
too wonderful.
It is too amazing
and so hard to
put into words
because in this past year
and even this past week
we have also seen so much
hatred, selfishness and sin.

O God, we have so
many thoughts
about what could be
and what should be
in the dawning of this
new year. We pray
that we are still being
molded and shaped
by your love.
Your grace is still
working on
our unformed substance
recommitting us to the work
of anti-racism and
to dismantling the powers
of white supremacy.

O God, we cannot
count the number
of hopes you have
for this world and
for your people.
There is so much work
still to be done.
We pray that
you will make us
bold in all that
we are still becoming.

5B. Prayers of the People by  Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, in this time of violent upheaval, of death and fear and grief, weep with us. Comfort us as we comfort one another with your presence.

Hear us, O God.

As we are threatened by overwhelming emotion–or by the inability to feel anything more, weep with us. Enfold us in your care and the care of community.

Hear us, O God.

As we are divided by distrust and politics and how to handle times of crisis, weep with us. Empower the making and carrying out of wise decisions.

Hear us, O God.

As lies take the place of truth, weep with us. Open ears and eyes, hearts and minds to the truth.

Hear us, O God.

God, as we send thoughts and prayers, weep with us. Open our arms and move our feet, that we also take action.

Hear us, O God.

As we seek your will in tough situations, weep with us. Forge in us ways to hold one another accountable for what we say–and do.

Hear us, O God.

6A. Confession of Faith by Barb Hedges-Goettl

inspired by categories used by Sen. Ben Sasse on 1/6/21

Who are we and what do we speak?

As followers of Christ Jesus, we speak hope.

As witnesses of ugliness in the world, we speak beauty.

As victims and perpetrators of violence, we speak peace.

As servants of the kin-dom of God, we speak astounding transformation.

As prophets of God’s future, we speak hope.

As heirs of a glorious inheritance, we speak beauty.

As those splashed in blood today, we speak peace.

As people who are angry, we speak astounding transformation.

As descendants and ancestors of the people of God, we speak hope.

As stewards of the gospel, we speak beauty.

As servants of God, we speak peace.

As neighbors of all God’s people, we speak astounding transformation.

As your people, O God, we commit to doing what we speak. Amen.

6B.  Confession of Faith: Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)

7A. Free Leaders’ Resource for Presbyterian Women Horizons Bible Study: Into the Light: From Lament to Hope including songs and other words for worship; the study guide is available for $10.: https://www.presbyterianwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/HZN20101LR-workshop-for-leaders-1.pdf

If you have written words for worship that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals@gmail.com. Published on Tuesdays.

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