July 4

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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):

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 or Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm 48 or Psalm 123
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

618 – How firm a foundation

725-God of the Ages

602 – O Master, let me walk with thee

545 – He leadeth me

459-Lord, you give the great commission

406 – Beneath the forms of outward rite

420-I come with joy

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 (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Ezekiel 2:1-5

               Stand on your feet and hear.

               For I will speak with you.

               Thus says our God unto God’s own,

               the prophet chosen dear.

               Speak as you hear, says God.

               Speak though the nation reels.

               Speak to rebellion constancy.

               I send you to them now.

               And we, so certain yet

               within our stodgy ways,

               assume we own what God would say

               and listen to our own.

               A stubborn, stiff-necked folk,

               those chosen of the Lord!

               Go, speak to them just what I say.

               For these must hear my word.

               A prophet of the Lord,

               commanded to address,

               encounters those discovering

               a prophet has drawn near.

SM       Suggested tune: St. Michael

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:  Psalm choices are not in the hymnal.  See Call to Worship  

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   

from Psalm 48

L: Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God.

P: God’s holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth.

L: We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

P: Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth.

L: Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever.

P: God will be our guide forever.

OR

L: Come, let us celebrate life.

P: We celebrate body life and soul life, private life and corporate life, this life and the life to come.

L: Come, let us celebrate life.

P: We celebrate the gift of life, and honor God, the Source of all life.

OR

L: We hear the voice of one who calls to us to come and find rest.

P: We come burdened with much, but will heed the voice of Jesus.

L: We have much to learn from him, and he will give us all that we need.

P: May we be made ready to receive the yoke of Christ, and empowered to live in it.

OR  for Independence Day

L: We have come to sing, rejoicing in the good that walks this land by day.

P: We have come to be silent, repenting of the evil that stalks it by night. 

L: We have come to this place because here we are reminded that God is our Creator and our only hope in the world.

P: Here we pledge our loyalty to God, so that our citizenship might be more responsible, our nation more just and humble, and our world more at peace.

   may add:

L: Let us celebrate our freedoms as people of faith, as well as conscience.

P: Praise the Lord!

OR for Independence Day from ministrymatters.com

L: In the midst of celebration, we are also in sorrow.

P: Lord, hear our cries.

L: For all those who have given their lives so that we may have our freedom,

P: Lord, hear our cries.

L: For all those who struggle and strive against great difficulties,

P: Lord, hear our cries.

L: We praise God who has blessed us with freedom and peace.

P: Let our lives be a blessing to others as we serve God in this world.  

OR for Independence Day, adapted from ministrymatters.com

L: Independence Day is this week.

P: We celebrate a time when our country declared its independence from foreign domination.

L: But many things dominate our hearts: fear, apathy, intolerance, anger.

P: May God hear our celebrations, but also our cries for help.

L: Remember how God has blessed you, and be a blessing to others.

P: May God keep our hearts and minds open to the word and the way of faithfulness.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Welcome this day to a time of rest.
P: We come, bearing burdens and cares.
L: Place your lives in the loving hands of God
P: May God heal our spirits and strengthen us.
L: Trust in God who is always with you.
P: Lord, this day we come to you in faith and trust for your healing mercies.  

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: God’s greatness is wondrous to behold.
P: Everywhere we look, we can see the imprint of God.
L: From the loftiest mountains to the crashing waters of the sea,
P: There God’s greatness stands majestically.
L: God’s greatness can be within the human heart.
P: Let us honor and praise God with acts of loving kindness and compassion. 

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Let God’s praise be heard in the midst of the congregation.
P:Shout praise to the Lord of hosts!
L: Let God’s praise be whispered in the spirits of the people!
P: We give you thanks for the many ways you have loved and guided us.
L: Let God’s praise be proclaimed wherever we are.
P: May we praise God in all that we do and say.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

L: Throughout the ages, disciples have said, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
P: Lord, give us the freedom to follow you in the ways of love.
L: We come from busy homes, filled with little time to consider Christ in our lives.
P: Lord, give us the strength to follow you in the ways of peace.
L: In times of struggle, we look to God for help.
P: Lord, give us the opportunity to follow you in the ways of kindness.
L: Today, we celebrate life in the Spirit, showing us the joy of following Christ.
P: May God give us the patience to follow faithfully in Christ’s path.  

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

O God, source of all beauty and goodness, your grace comes fresh every morning. In each new day you give us light. We praise your for your never‑failing love that satisfies our needs and shows us the way to follow. We rejoice in your constant care, for you are faithful in love for all people, offering the world salvation through Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Most gracious and loving God, you fill our hearts with praise for renewed life in Christ Jesus. Fill our minds with meditations which are noble and true, that we may be strengthened in our union with Him, for we offer our prayers and our worship in his name (for we pray as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Almighty God, you pour out the spirit of grace and supplication on all who desire it. Deliver us from cold hearts and wandering thoughts that with steady minds and burning zeal we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Lord of mystery and community, you have called us here this day to remind us of the mission journey you set before us. Help us to pay attention to the words of Jesus as he sent out his disciples on a mission of healing and compassion. Remind us that success is not measured in the cures, but in the striving. Enable us to truly be your disciples in this world. In Jesus’ Name, we pray (as he taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)

OR for Independence Day

We have come to sing, rejoicing in the good that walks this land by day.  We have come to be silent, repenting of the evil that stalks it by night.  We have come to this place because here we are reminded that you are both our creator and our conscience.  Here all our loyalties are put in their proper place, ordered behind our allegiance to you.  Be with us in our celebration and our confession, that our citizenship might become more responsible, our nation more humble, and our world more dependable.  In the name of Christ we pray (as he taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)

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.”

OR

God of all grace and mercy, you have made an amazing and beautiful world – diverse and teeming with the bounty and beauty of your artful hand.  You have made us mortals in your own image, and given us such a marvelous variety of gifts by which to praise and serve you, and to serve the common good.  Hear our varied expressions of thanksgiving, as we look to you for care and guidance to use every skill and art with which you’ve blessed us for the blessing of humanity.

We seek new ways, O Lord, to reach into the lives of others who are searching for meaning in their lives and to discover their own giftedness, and to give them encouragement, love, and peace on that journey.  We look to you to guide us as partners with Christ as we minister to those who are hurting, lonely, sick, grieving, or in any danger.  May our openness to your Spirit at work within us as your people be a sign of your ministries at work within us, your church.  Make of this community a home of peace and empowerment for those who are struggling to find their future, and a place of compassion and justice for those who need it most.

Hear our prayers, O God, for those whose lives are closely linked with our own, whose names cross our hearts and our lips so often, and whose needs are many.  Help us to entrust them to your care, as we offer up our own needs and our hearts’ desires to you in silence…

As Jesus prayed that all who follow him might be one, reshape us as your faithful disciples, and knit us tightly with all those who profess Christ into his one body.  May our unity and our diversity proclaim his name to all the world, as we glorify you together, offering our varied gifts for your use.  For we pray in his name and in his spirit.

OR from ministrymatters.com

O God of all, we rest in the knowledge that wherever we are, there shall you be also. Whether we reside in the palace of a king or the house of a carpenter; the mansion of a president or the dwelling of a tenant: ours is your dwelling-place. Whether we labor in the seat of a government or the assembly line of a factory; in the classroom of a school or the ward of a hospital: ours is your workplace. And even if our home be the street, and the door of the workplace be barred, ours is your resting place.

You are with us always, for yours is a loyalty that surpasses the greatest love we have ever known. It is a loyalty that persists through all terrors; survives, despite all betrayals; and endures, for all generations. Greater love has no one than this: you have laid down your love for the life of the world.

Let this loyalty of yours — so unknown, so strange — arouse in us a commitment to envision more, to do more, to be more. And not “more” only, but more for you. Give us the courage to surrender to you our weakness, that you might make it our strength. Grant us the humility to yield to you our power, that you might fill it with grace. And endow us with the confidence to submit to you our will, that you might adapt it to your purpose.

Our commitment to you shall render us unknown, shall make us strangers among many who once knew us. They will remember us in old roles, with old habits and haunts. The more we envision the kingdom, the more they will call us back to the “real” world. The more we do the work of the kingdom, the more their eyebrows will wrinkle. The more we are the kingdom, the more they will long for the persons we once were.

O God of all, we rest in the knowledge that wherever we are, there shall you be also. But that place where we dwell together — the kingdom of heaven on earth — is not an easy place in which to dwell. Help us to understand that our identity and mission must not depend on the acceptance of those who do not understand; that its success or failure must never be measured in human terms.

for Independence Day:

Almighty God, in your eyes a nation is neither favored nor foreign.  You are the sole creator and sovereign judge of us all.  We pray that our nation would not dare approach you as if you were our patron and protector.  Yet we boldly approach you as our God and Savior, seeking the assurance of your presence and the guidance of your Spirit.  Teach us to love our land in a way that will help others love theirs.  Lead us in the knowledge that love of country can coexist with love for the world.

We pray for your world and its peoples.  Especially we lift to you those who are in need, those who are suffering, those whose lives are subject to the whims of others.  Those people are not just in far away places, but are ever so near.

We pray for the sick and the dying, for those whose lives are filled with hope at the promise of healing and wholeness, and for those who feel cut off from all promise.  With gratitude, we trust your promises, and we hold before you those whose lives are closely linked with our own, and our own needs…

Take our prayers for greatness, O God, and turn them into prayers for goodness.  Take our prayers for success and turn them into prayers of service.  So that we in all things might glorify you our sovereign God, even as we honor you in Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

OR for Independence Day

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

OR adapted as an beginning of intercessions, from ministrymatters.com (for week of Independence Day)

For our country, O God, we give thanks. For our immigrant ancestors who came here across an ocean that seemed so wide; for their years of struggle against obstacles that we have never faced; for the sacrifices of others who built our country and defended it against all the things that would go wrong; for opportunities in our own lifetimes to do something that would really make a difference; for a place in which to raise a family, to seek to do well in our work, to worship you in freedom, and to cherish the hopes and dreams for the years ahead—for these and for all, O God, we are deeply thankful.

OR adapted as an beginning of intercessions, from ministrymatters.com (for week of Independence Day)

God of Celebrations and Sorrows, we will wave the flag this week and our hearts beat with pride at the stirring sounds of the bands. Fireworks emblazon the skies, and families gather for celebrations. But in too many places there is little to celebrate. Our spirits ache for people both far and near who suffer and struggle just to have the basic necessities of life, while we live in abundance. Forgive us when our celebration clouds the needs of others. It is important for us to celebrate, but we must never forget that you have given us a ministry and mission to perform here and now. Help us be mindful of the many ways in which we can reach out to others. By our attitudes and our actions, may we be those who would bring hope, comfort, healing, and peace in the name of Christ.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com (for week of Independence Day)

Patient and Loving God, we are looking toward a national holiday in which we celebrate freedom and independence. We will hear the mighty strains of marching bands and see the banners unfurled. May our hearts be moved by the events. And yet may we hear your call to us to remember that it is you who gives true independence and hope in your healing and restoring love.

The oppression of disease, poverty, terrorism pours into our lives and lays claim to our spirits. We feel as though we are again in bondage. Free us, O Lord. Open our hearts to receive your healing words of comfort and hope. Enable us to be people who offer compassion in the presence of sorrow; hope in the presence of desolation; light in the presence of darkness.

Walk with us and strengthen us. Give us spirits of eagerness to serve and witness to your love. As we have brought names of those near and dear to us to this day, asking your healing mercies and blessings, help us to remember that we stand in need of those blessings as well. Help us to receive the blessings and to use the gifts which we have been given to serve you in all that we say, think, and do. This we pray in the one who brings us the freedom of life in your Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com (for week of Independence Day)

What a weekend it is, Lord. It is time to gather and celebrate, time to reflect on the blessings of the freedoms that have been so sorely fought for and won, time to commit ourselves to offering the freedoms we cherish to others. We have gathered here in the midst of the business of the summer season to seek your will, to find peace and directions for our lives.

Bless us, O Lord, with wisdom tempered with compassion. Remind us that we have such freedom because others who have gone before have stood for principles of hope. Do not let our pride of country overwhelm the needs that still abound within our walls and our land. Where there is hatred, help us to bring your words of love. Where there are injustices, help us to correct unjust systems and become advocates for the voiceless and powerless. Where there is apathy, empower us to bring the good news of your gracious transforming love. Be with us this day and all our days as we seek to follow you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Merciful God,

you have prepared for those who love you

such good things as pass our understanding:

pour into our hearts such love toward you

that we, loving you in all things and above all things,

may obtain your promises,

which exceed all that we can desire;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God of our pilgrimage,

you have led us to the living water:

refresh and sustain us

as we go forward on our journey,

in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Creator God,

you made us all in your image:

may we discern you in all that we see,

and serve you in all that we do;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments

by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your

Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole

heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through

Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the

Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2021, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Mark 6:1-13

            Thy word is spoken, O God,

                        in places old and new.

                        Speak with words of grace, words of repentance,

                                    words to mold all life anew.

                        Let here be heard your gracious word

                                    and here be felt your peace;

                                    and let no dust be shaken

                                                from your witness’ feet.

Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

Giving is not a casual act—it relates God’s work to our work. Peter writes: “as each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Let us give as people whose work is inextricably linked to God’s great works of creation, redemption and empowerment.

OR

Gratitude is born of the heart that can truly take in the goodness of God all around it.  All of us have been blessed beyond measure by the abundance of God’s love and provisions.  Let us bring forth offerings that stand as living witness of our faith – faith resting in the extravagance of God’s grace.

OR

Love is a powerful force in the world, stronger than hatred or fear or greed. The love of Jesus inspires us and makes us able to share generously the gifts we have received from God. Our gifts are one way that we love one another and the world around us, the world God loves.  Let us be as generous with our giving as our God has been with love, with mercy, and with gifts poured into our lives.

Offertory Prayer

Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift, teach us to give to you all that we have and all that we are, that we may praise you not with our words only, but with our whole lives.

OR

O God, we thank you for your great generosity. All that we are and all that we have is a gift from you. Help us to serve one another and so reflect your spirit and goodness. Accept these offerings and grant that the cause to which they are devoted may prosper under your guidance.

OR

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts and pray that we may safeguard them for your children. Help us to use the gifts of work and service to your glory and grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundance, to the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Invitation to the Table

Christ invites to his supper all who desire to walk in faith with him. Let all who desire to draw close to the living God, prepare now to come to his Table with faith and thanksgiving.

OR

When Jesus sat at table with tax collectors and sinners, he proclaimed God’s care knows no bounds. We proclaim again the comfort and challenge of that witness: All of you are invited now to share God’s table and be nourished by the Bread of Life.

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)

Adapted from the Church of Ireland:

Lord of all creation, we praise you for your goodness and your love. When we turned away you did not reject us. You came to meet us in your Son, welcomed us as your children and prepared a table where we might feast with you.

Holy Spirit, giver of life, come upon us now; may this bread and wine be to us the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.  As we eat and drink these holy gifts make us, who know our need of grace, one in Christ, our risen Lord.

OR

Holy One, you speak to us in silence, yet all languages interpret you. Because you call us into this community, we are able to become a gift to one another. We pray for your Holy Spirit to descend upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that in sharing them we may discern your presence which becomes our life. We thank you for your anointed one, Jesus, who through his life, crucifixion, death and resurrection lived fully the promise of redemptive wholeness that is available to all who would obey your creating will. We celebrate his gifts, we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.

OR

  1. You, O Lord, have brought us to this table as a people ready to receive from your hand all that we could ever need or ask for. As we break this bread, open our hearts to receive the Bread of Heaven, that we may never hunger again.
  2. Pour out your spirit, O God, upon this bread and upon this cup. May we who receive the Cup of Salvation never know thirst, but rather be refreshed to bear your gifts to the world in all its needs, so that Christ may ever be made presence in our lives.

OR

Our God, you sent your brooding Spirit upon the deep when creation dawned upon your Word. You sent your brooding Spirit upon Mary when you came Incarnate in Jesus, your Word made flesh. You sent your brooding Spirit upon the Church when you created of us a people devoted in Jesus to your love in this time and in this place.

Send now your Spirit to brood on us that we may be full of your love as the waters cover the sea. As Jesus claimed bread and wine  to reveal himself anew, send now Holy Spirit upon this day that our communion  may build of us the Body of Christ, that our meeting with you may feed our souls on heaven’s food, that our joy may be complete in the love your give to us for one another.  Include us wholly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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…’

MORE…

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 2020.  Calendar for 2021

 CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2020-21. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2020. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2020 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2020 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2020.

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.  Send your comments or content here.

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