If you are looking for some words to use for worship, or some inspiration for your own, here are some you can use or adapt, thanks to members of our RevGals community. If you can please give credit in video descriptions or print versions, that would be great, though spoken verbal attribution is not necessary.
Call to Worship/Opening Prayer, by Kathy Swaar, based on Psalm 22:23-31
Glory, Glory, Glory!
Your compassion is unparalleled, Holy One.
Never turning away from us,
from the ugliness, the messiness, the pain of our lives,
you hear, you companion, you comfort, you care.
Awed and humbled by your steadfast and unending Love,
we lift our hearts in praise.
Glory, Glory, Glory to your Name!
Call to Worship by Deborah Roof, based on Psalm 122
One: I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Many: Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together.
One: “May they prosper who love You. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.”
Many: As a city that is bound firmly together
We shall sing and give thanks to our LORD.
Invocation by Deborah Roof
We come before you, gracious God, seeking what money cannot buy. Only You can provide nourishment for our souls. We cannot find true peace without knowledge of You. As a community of faith, we call on you, believing that You are as close as our very breath. Uphold us now as we worship on wings of joy. Amen.
Prayer of Confession/Assurance of Pardon by Kathy Swaar based on Mark 8:1-38, Psalm 22:23-31
We hear the barest whiff of anything
that smacks of suffering, pain, or rejection,
and we run the other way, Holy One.
Like Peter, we don’t want to hear that story,
and we certainly don’t want to tell it—
don’t want to be thought weak, less than, imperfect.
For it is in telling the whole story of our lives,
especially to you—laying it all on your altar of grace
and holding nothing back—that we find connection; mercy; salvation.
So here it is:
Each and every thing that angers and vexes us;
the uncertainty and conundrums that baffle and confuse;
the suffering and pain—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—
all those things in life that are not what they should be
or what we want them to be.
Here it is, Lord. All of it.
~Silent prayers of confession may be offered here.~
Assurance of Pardon:
The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.
Even as we speak, our prayers are heard by the One who does not
turn from the afflicted, but embraces, forgives and frees.
Believe this Good News and be at peace.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Confession by Deborah Roof
Call to Confession:
Words escape us; meaningful conversation in this twilight zoom zone escapes us. We wonder where You are as we wander from your Presence.
Prayer of Confession:
We are so weary, O LORD, of this pandemic reality that numbs our senses. How much longer must we endure masked faces we once knew so well and hug-less encounters with old friends at a safe distance? Help us to hold on and to rise up and to endure until this is over. Give us strength not only to walk with Jesus to Jerusalem, but also to continue a life of faith in spite of the numbness we feel. Help us, caring Creator. Create within us hearts that will endure as long as we must. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon:
It is written: “nothing can separate us from the love of God”: not even spotty zoom connections, claustrophobic cabin fever, or apathy born out of boredom. Hold on; hold on; hold on. The promise of the manger lives on: Emmanuel!
Pastoral Prayer by Teri Peterson
Great gardener God,
we want to be like trees planted by streams of living water.
We want to reach our roots into your stream of salvation,
to be nourished by your love
and then to grow into something beautiful and useful in your kingdom.
We give you thanks, O God, for your love is beyond us.
We give you thanks that love is not for earning,
but for giving.
We give you thanks that when we seek, you may be found.
We give you thanks for another year for our roots to find their way into your grace,
another year to overcome our aversion to manure,
another year to seek you, another year to practice being who you call us to be.
Keep calling, God, and gather us under your wings.
Call through the fullness of our lives until we come to rest in your abundance.
Call through the chaos and clutter, until we incline our ears to you, seeking your way.
Call through our fears and give us courage to live lives worthy of your name.
Remind us that it is not our place to determine who is good enough,
that only you know us in our inward hearts.
Instead you call us to love you and to love our neighbour,
regardless of who our neighbour might be.
We pray today for our neighbours, near and far…
those who have been shut out and cast aside…
those who long for peace but see only violence…
those who hunger, for food and for justice…
those who would use our fear and our faith for their own ends…
and for your creation that sustains us, groaning with the weight of our use and abuse…
Keep us focused on you and your will, heal us of every division,
and lead us in the path you have for us.
You call us to love as you love,
to seek your presence,
to extend your grace into the world.
Guide our roots into your streams of living water, and grow in us.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ,
who showed us your faithful love and who taught us to pray together, Our Father…
Offering Prayer by Deborah Roof
Why do we give to God what is left over? Why not give to God off the top of what we have received? Surely God offers us freely treasures that we cannot buy. Let us show our gratitude by giving.
We return to You, O God, but a portion of the wealth that You have bestowed upon us. We give financially to this church because there is much work to be done in Your name. Bless our faithfulness to that mission and help us send blessings far and wide in Your name, O God. Multiply our efforts, we pray. Amen.
If I were preaching the RCL Mark 8 gospel reading, I think I might use this song. Claudio is responsive to comments on the video if you would like to use it. Or just be inspired:
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