Feb. 19 Week of Compassion
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Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
618 – How Firm a Foundation
608 – I Would Be True
275 – Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation
410 – Now we come before God’s presence
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On Matthew 5:38-48
Be perfect as our God is so:
the brash abundance claims
our sight, engages everything
in stark provision’s sight.
Indeed, perfection is of God
and rattles barren here
where normal longings bare to grope
divine reserves for hope.
But in perfection lies the truth
of cheek that turn and cloaks
that yield to needs of barren back:
To love the enemy is asked;
and so we find the call:
absolve offense, dissolve in care,
a life that dares be pure.
CM Suggested tune: Manchester
Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: See Call to Worship below
Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.
Call to Worship (adapted from the Psalm)
L: Teach us, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and we will observe it to the end.
P: Give us understanding, that we may keep your law and observe it with our whole hearts.
L: Lead us in the path of your commandments, for we delight in it.
P: See how we have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give us life.
L: Turn us to your ways, O God, and send us into the world to proclaim your love.
P: Make us mindful of the needs of others and open our hearts to your calling.
L: Make us lovers of all who will open our arms to embrace our neighbor’s need.
P: And send us into the world of bearers of your grace, mercy, justice and love.
L: O God of wisdom and truth, come to us and fill us.
P: O God of compassion and hope, make us witnesses for you.
L: Let us turn to the God who loves us and send us into the world to live in love.
P: May we be mindful of the needs of others and open our hearts to God’s calling.
L: God will empower us to open our arms to embrace our neighbor’s need.
P: And send us into the world of bearers of grace, mercy, justice and love.
L: May the God of wisdom and truth come to us and fill us.
P: May the God of compassion and hope, make us faithful to Christ’s mission.
Invocation or Prayer of Approach
Almighty God, you have called us together as a people for praise. As we offer up our gifts in worship at the Table you have prepared, remold us as a holy people, fit to serve you by serving your world, in the name and spirit of the Christ. (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
Spirit of the Living God, open our hearts to a far-reaching compassion that extends around the world, to the most obscure corners of this troubled planet. Help us to remember that you are God of all people. God of time and space, give us time to grow up in your spirit; give us room to grow up in our faith, so that we know the meaning of the kind of love which knows no boundary and no second thoughts, but springs forth like a fountain. And may Christ, the source of this love, remember us as we remember him in our responses of faithfulness. Amen
Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions
Gracious and loving God, we come to you with hearts that need to be opened to your word and your love. There is so much around us that tears at us and causes us to tremble. Keep us ever mindful of your presence and the hope that you have given us in your Son Jesus Christ.
Guide us, we pray, as your church, struggling to spread the good news. Keep us focused on the mission and ministry to which you have called us and lead us forward. We know, Lord, that there will often be bumps and holes in the road along the way. Save us from dwelling on them and make us secure in the goals you have placed before us.
Hear our prayers for all who need your tender touch of healing in their lives—those we name before you each day, and those who are known only to you in the depths of our hearts. Be with those who mourn. May we all remember the love and grace that your faithful people have brought to our world.
We pray for all your creation, always at odds with one another. Guide our leaders and those of other nations that this world might truly be as you created it to be—a world of peace, hope and love.
These are our prayers, together with those that lie on the hearts of all your faithful people, which we offer to you in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who said “not my will, but thine be done.”
“Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life” is sung where indicated between the petitions
The voice of God calls us to prayer in a world of conflict and terrible need. Let us open our hearts and come before God in love, that we may find our way in the world of God’s care.
Let us pray for people; for all who suffer; for those who are deprived of the most basic needs of life; who never have enough room, or clothes, or food; for whom no one seems to care. Silence; v. 1
Let us pray for people, for all who live in fear; who cannot trust tomorrow because it may bring terror or famine or war; for those whose days are without hope, who see no promise but only new misery. Silence; v.2
Let us pray for people, for all those whose souls are wounded by the hurt of the world; for all those who can help and who find a way to help, overcoming apathy and obstacles, sometimes risking life. Let us thank God for people of hope and courage who in their caring share love with the world. Silence; v. 4
Lord God, rescue us from helplessness and fill us with new wisdom which forbids our blindness to the terrible needs of our brothers and sisters. Become yourself our spirits’ Spirit and let us be your presence in our needy world, through Christ our Lord.
OR (adapted from above)
Loving God, give us grace to become a more compassionate and giving people, as we pray for all who suffer; for those who are deprived of the most basic needs of life; who never have enough room, or clothes, or food; for whom no one seems to care.
Ours is a world filled with many who live in fear; who cannot trust tomorrow because it may bring terror or famine or war; for those whose days are without hope, who see no promise but only new misery. As we know the Christ who has called us to his mission, may we bring hope and a future by the faithful deeds which he has taught us.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, for all those whose souls are wounded by the hurt of the world; for all those who can help and who find a way to help, overcoming apathy and obstacles, sometimes risking life. We thank you for people of hope and courage who in their caring share love with the world.
Now rescue us from helplessness and fill us with new wisdom which forbids our blindness to the terrible needs of our brothers and sisters. Become yourself our spirits’ Spirit and let us be your presence in our needy world, through Christ our Lord.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on us. Open our hearts to a far-reaching compassion that extends around the world, to the most obscure corners of this troubled planet. Let us remember you are God of all people: the beautiful and the homely; the well-dressed and the naked; the rich & the hungry; the ones who speak loudly and those who barely utter a word; the ones who have bodies of steel and those whose bodies are broken and bent; the very young and the very old. God of time and space, give us time to grow up in your spirit; give us room to grow up in our faith so that our ears may hear the knock at the door, the cry for help, the whimper of weakness, the sigh of loneliness and so our hands will reach out with the love of your Son. Teach us the meaning of this kind of love which knows no boundary and no second thoughts but springs forth like a fountain. And may the source of this love remember us as we remember him in our responses of faithfulness. Amen
Prayers from Common Worship*
Collect Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Post Communion God our creator, by your gift the tree of life was set at the heart of the earthly paradise, and the bread of life at the heart of your Church: may we who have been nourished at your table on earth be transformed by the glory of the Saviour’s cross and enjoy the delights of eternity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Additional Collect Almighty God, give us reverence for all creation and respect for every person, that we may mirror your likeness in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)
O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we
do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our
hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace
and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted
dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son
Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
Beyond our understanding, O God,
you bid us love
exactly where love seems too odd to bear.
Yet, in this quality of your allure,
we find ourselves abandoned unto joy
we had not quite considered yet.
And in this moment of exultant joy,
begin in us your way of amplified perfection.
Service of Table
Offertory / Invitation to Give
All good things come from God, the giver of life. We are called as stewards of God’s gifts to share in fulfillment of God’s purposes for creation – for the recreation of this world as a place where love and compassion are seen and known everywhere. As stewards of the kingdom of God, let us give from our abundance with thanksgiving as we present our tithes and offerings to the Lord.
O God, we know that you are the Creator of everything. You own everything. But you also give each of us a partnership in your world for awhile. We give thanks for your generosity, and we ask that you would increase our own generosity, that your world might be touched by the love that you have created us to bear, and be cared for with the compassion of Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Invitation to the Table
Come alive, dear friends, at the sound of Christ’s challenge to love beyond the convenient ways that people love in this world. We are called to give beyond reasonable expectations, and to love beyond those who find it easy to love us in return. This is the faith we profess whenever we come to the Table of Christ – a faith that owns the compassionate Christ as the one we would follow – the one who eats and drinks with sinners, still today, as he asks even us to come and receive the gifts that bring life. May our celebration of this bread broken and cup poured out be for us the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to make possible the most unlikely scenario of all: the coming of all God’s children to eat and drink at the Table of God in unity and in peace.
Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
- Blessed are you, Lord God, who brings forth bread from the earth. As we bless and break this loaf, may it be for us the body of Christ, that all who receive it might find strength to live faithfully with you in the days to come. Nourish us by your spiritual food that your whole world might be fed.
- Blessed are you, Lord God, who brings forth the fruit of the vine. Send now your Spirit of Life upon this cup, and upon us, that as we receive from your hand the blood of Christ we would be refreshed and encouraged with your grace to bring new hope and refreshment of life to our world through faithful living.
Conclusion: Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.
If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”
Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.
Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.
Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2016. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2016 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2016; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010. The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
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