Somehow it’s the middle of September already! I know in North America this could be a complex weekend, with the anniversary of 9/11, but also many places kicking off the program year / having Rally Day. The Narrative Lectionary begins year 4 this Sunday. In the Southern Hemisphere we have friends whose lockdowns have been extended and springtime plans disrupted. Many places are in the midst of Creation Time, and here in Scotland we are preparing for COP26. It’s a complicated time to be writing liturgy. Here are some starting places for you…feel free to use them as-is, or as inspiration for your own. If you do use something, please credit the author in any written way you can — video descriptions, print order of service, website, etc. No verbal attribution is necessary if used in online services. Our RevGal colleagues offer these as a gift!
Prayer of Desperation and Hope by Sigrid Rother
Oh God of love.
There is so much going on,
I don’t know where to start.
The news overwhelm me-
people starving, dying, natural disasters, people have no electricity or running water,
and don’t forget all the children, all the suffering and hungry children.
It’s just too much.
I can’t watch the news on TV anymore-
maybe that’s why I prefer to listen to the radio.
Because then the pictures don’t haunt me.
And I can pretend I didn’t listen what’s going on.
I feel like pulling the blanket over me,
hiding my head in my pillows.
I feel like screaming:
What is going on?
Where are you?
And here I am,
it seems so silly to come to you
with my worries, heartache and my intense emotions.
I am afraid. I am anxious. I am not sure who or what to believe anymore.
I could just give up on you,
but something is tugging me,
something which is stronger than me is pulling me to you and I can’t let go.
Despite the mess in the world,
despite natural disasters, or climate change or drought or hunger—
I still believe in you, in you, oh God of Love and Mercy.
I still believe in your goodness and that you are one of us in Jesus Christ.
I am not giving up- even though it seems so many around me are.
I cling on your Good News, your hope and your message of forgiveness.
I feel like a little child,
I need to be held and rocked.
Desperate to hear: Don’t worry. Everything will be alright
Please oh God,
hold me in your strong arms,
whisper your comfort into my ears
Comfort me and give me strength to give up again-
So that I can empower those- with your help-
who might have given up on you already.
I know you are here,
in loving arms
whispering into my ears:
“ I love you
everything will be alright
You are safe in me, and with me.
There is nowhere my love is not”
Prayer for a service commemorating September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, by Ruth Shaver
God, you call us to be peacemakers. On this day when we remember the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that changed the very nature of our country, we lift up those whose lives have been upended by the conflict: those who still mourn loved ones who perished that day; those who bear the physical, mental, and emotional scars of their time in the debris piles; those who answered the call to serve in Afghanistan and later Iraq, especially those who died and those who have come home bruised and battered by their time in combat; the families of all who have served and serve still for their worry and fear; the families of those who died in service; and for all those in the world who are no longer innocents believing that nothing bad can happen to them. We give over our fears: our fear of people who look different from us, who worship differently from us, who speak different languages than we do. We open ourselves to the work required to beat our modern day weapons into tools for peace and equality like books and computers and factories. Let this be the last time we gather as people living in a country at war. Let us gather next year as people who have brought true and lasting peace to all the world. Amen.
Call to Worship by Melodie Long (based on Genesis 1)
Leader: It is good! All creation is good! The heavens sing of God!
Response: With joyful gratitude we gather to worship, to sing, to pray. Alleluia!
Leader: In the beginning God danced with all humanity, breathing life and meaning into all creation. God dances still.
Response: Come! May God’s love wrap around us and hold us, joining us forever in the dance of God’s beautiful creation. Alleluia!
Prayer for Reconciliation by Melodie Long (based on Genesis 1)
In the very beginning, Holy God, with love and hope you breathed creation into being. And it was all good, so very good. Yet now, rather than cherishing your beloved creation, we strive to dominate and control, making creation a possession rather than our home. We inflict harm upon tender hearts and souls in our quest for power and fail to see your image in one another. We have placed ourselves in the center of life, dismissed you, and said the creation story was finished. Forgive us for have ignored the eternal covenant of creation. We have not joined you in bringing life to the world. Hear our prayers…… (time of silent reflection). Amen.
Assurance of Grace
The world is broken, our hearts are broken, yet God’s grace and mercy continue to flow, bringing life, hope, love. God’s beautiful and beloved community lives on. Thanks be to God!
Prayers of the People by Melodie Long
O God, how do we even begin to pray in a world such as ours today? Yet how can we not pray when all seems in shambles around us? Even as our hearts reach out for you, daring to hope in a better way, the horrors of this world can so easily shut down the remnants of joy within our souls. We feel so powerless against it all. So, we pause, we breathe in your Spirit, and we open our hearts to you in prayer.
Our hearts and souls are heavy with the weight of this fractured world. Unity seems elusive, far out of reach in this divisive time. People are suffering as storms batter, as fires rage, as wars inflict violence, as rights and dignity are being assaulted. People are dying, lost, confused, and so very alone. It is hard to tell truth from lies, difficult to figure out a response to the deep hurts, to even hear your voice in the cacophony of the day. Where is safe haven in such a time as ours? Yet you are God, the Holy One who loves us and is with us now and always. May we learn the art of listening beyond the words and the noise so that relationships are healed, the grace of seeing each and every person as your beloved creation, and the gift of your hope wrapping around our weary hearts.
Knowing that our words are never enough, we pray for the world, for your peace that passes all understanding, for your grace that heals and makes whole, for your hope that carries us through turmoil and chaos. Hear our hearts as we come to you….. (time of silent prayer).
Thank you, God of all creation, God of this world, God of our fragile hearts, for when we come to you in prayer we catch a glimpse of what can be. We feel our faith finding root in our hearts and your love holding us. Help us to breathe in this time of prayer deep into our souls so that we might go out and live as your own as people who love extravagantly, as people who welcome generously, as people transformed by you. By your grace we pray. Amen.
This week the Bibleworm liturgy for Genesis 1, written by Teri Peterson, is free to use — though you will need a patreon account to be able to download it, the account itself is free! Future weeks are by subscription.
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