Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year). Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 or Sirach 15:15-20
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
23 – Praise, my soul, the God of heaven
568 – ‘Tis the gift to be simple
284 – Gather us in
288 – O God of vision
578 – I need thee every hour
528 – Give Thanks
393 – One Bread, one Body
420 – I come with joy
429 – You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
420 – I come with joy
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2023, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On Matthew 5:21-37
We come to you, Lord Jesus,
and hear your noble word.
You speak of God’s own teaching,
enlarge our imaged truth.
For anger leads to judgment
and insult to the court.
Forgiveness wields the basis
of life’s fair offered bliss.
The favor of devotion
involves our votive care.
Respect and truth encounter
the boundaries of faith.
endows our gracious ways
that we be true together
and honor pledge to last.
Our truth indulges honor
and leads us to affirm
the basis of our own word
lies in the grounded soul.
We answer you, our Jesus,
with constancy of heart,
content with affirmation,
a simple yes or no.
22.214.171.124.D Suggested tune: Sally Gardens
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 119 is on p. 759
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
L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,
P: That we might discern the will of our Maker.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,
P: That we might recall the bondage from which God has delivered us.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord our God,
P: That we might become the people God is calling us to be.
L: We gather in the house of the God who loves us, and who calls us each by name, to learn to live together as God’s family.
P: From all walks of life, in every age and stage, we are called into God’s presence.
L: May we all take our places together in building up Christ’s body, the Church. May we learn new ways to join in reaching toward God’s vision for the world: unity and peace, joy and faith.
P: May our worship strengthen our souls, and build our lives together as God’s people, one in Christ Jesus.
LEADER: God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.
PEOPLE: Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
LEADER: This morning we enlarge our hearts; we offer our prayers; we share our treasure with those siblings in our world who are dealing with tumult and disaster and injustice.
PEOPLE: We will not be discouraged. We shall remember that God’s steadfast love is always with us and the whole world, that God’s compassion is for each and all.
LEADER: We will celebrate that love and compassion can do far more than “we can ask or imagine”!
PEOPLE: May we join our imaginations to God’s imagination as we live in hope!
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
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 (adapted from Common Worship)
Almighty God, you alone can bring order to the chaos of our existence. Give us grace to love what you desire for us, and to reach toward your promises, so that, among the many changes of this world, our hearts may be set on life in your presence, where alone true joy can be found. This we pray through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
adapted from weekofcompassion.org
Gathering God, we give thanks for the vision, adventure, and passion that have brought us together in this holy place. Help us to be open today: thankful to be your church together, doing that which by your design cannot be done apart. Challenge us, inspire us, strengthen and renew us. May our worship strengthen us to do more than we can imagine, that your world might be healed, that your justice might come, that your hope might be spread. (This we pray as your Son has taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)
God of Good Growth, Prepare the soil of our hearts to receive your life-bearing call that we would invest our gifts with confidence and joy in the fruitful future you bring forth. We pray in the name of the One who makes all things new (who taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)
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…”)
Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions
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 (as he taught us to pray, Our Father…)
In these quieter times, God of peace, as in the busyness of our hectic days, you hear the true prayers of not just what we say, but also what we do and who we are. Hear us as we join our hearts in unity to pray for your church. May we be united in your truth, committed in your love, and sanctified by your grace, that with one heart and one voice we might proclaim your gospel in word and deed, praising you for your abiding presence in our midst as a community of faith.
We pray for our fellow creatures, this world which you lovingly made, and the people of earth with all their diversity and commonality. We lift to you those in our world who weep, and those who cause their weeping; those without food, clothing, shelter or a means of sustaining life with the dignity of one whom you have created. We pray for those who distort the good news of the gospel, who make gods out of things, out of themselves, out of their systems, institutions or structures…and who find it all so hollow and empty.
We pray for those who live without meaning and hope, who live as objects of the whims of others, and those who live in broken families, broken communities, and a broken world. Lead your church, we pray, toward a new vision of our mission to them in Christ—the vision of shalom—both those who are afar off in other lands, but also here, where each of us may encounter them personally.
Tender and compassionate friend, give us the assurance that you are here among your people, and the gifts of quiet and rest in this celebration of your word and table. Enable us with your guidance to be your church and to do your will in our common life together. Pour out your Spirit on those who are suffering, especially as we lift to you our own needs and the needs of those whose lives are closely linked with our own:__________, and those we name in the silence of our hearts.
Bless us to follow in the paths of those saints who have gone before us in faith, whose steps were taken in the sure and certain comfort of your presence, that we may faithfully glorify you now, in your church and your world, forever. For these prayers we offer in the name and spirit of Jesus, your Christ, our Lord. Amen.
from weekofcompassion.org (note that the last two paragraphs are included in an invocation, above)
LEADER: God of grace and wonder,
PEOPLE: be with us in this place.
LEADER: We love you, Holy God. We love you for the feast that is life: for friendships and laughter, intimacy and trust, moments of discovering deep truth, hidden potentials we never knew we had; for beauty– serene beauty and rugged beauty, the world you have crafted; and for the words, sounds, and colors with which people reflect and explore life. God of grace and wonder,
PEOPLE: be with us in this place.
LEADER: We love you, holy God. We love you for the challenges of community: for moments of joy and celebration, for times of anxiety and questioning, for opportunities to listen deeply, for moments to start anew, for possibilities of reconciliation, for partnerships to work for peace and hope, for commitments to join hands for justice. God of grace and wonder,
PEOPLE: be with us in this place.
LEADER: Gathering God, we give thanks for the vision, adventure, and passion that have brought us together in this holy place. Help us to be open today: grateful to meet Jesus in each other and in our neighbors near and far; happy to do a new thing; thankful to be your church together, to do that which by your design cannot be done apart. Challenge us, inspire us, strengthen and renew us. God of grace and wonder,
PEOPLE: Be with us in this place; may our worship today strengthen us to do more than we can imagine, that your world might be healed, that your justice might come, that your hope might be spread. May it be so! Amen.
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*
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.
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.
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 God, the strength of all who put their trust in you:
Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness
we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your
grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please
you both in will and deed; 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 (© 2023, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
in Jesus you cement your world,
fulfilling Law and Prophets,
exceeding the righteousness esteemed as fine
by drawing our hearts near to you.
Savor your way in us, O Lord,
and let your light shine in us this hour.
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.
In a world so filled with brokenness and sorrow, it would be easy to lose ourselves in never ending grief, to be choked by our outrage, to be paralyzed by the enormity of suffering, to feel our hearts squeeze tight with hopelessness. Instead, this morning, let us simply breathe together as we hold our hearts open. Breathing in as our hearts fill with compassion. Breathing out as we pray for healing in our world and in our lives. Breathing in, opening ourselves to the transforming power of love. Breathing out as we pray for peace in our world and in our lives. Breathing in as we hold hope in our hearts. Breathing out as we pray for justice in our world and in our lives. May we know our strength, may we be filled with courage, may our love flow from us into this world. Through our gifts to Week of Compassion may our love indeed flow into the whole world, helping to bring hope and healing to those facing disaster, showing God’s care near and far.
adapted from weekofcompassion.org
When violence reigns, disaster strikes, or resources are scarce, a future with hope can seem far away. In those times, our communities can act as sources of critical support. We embody love, the Holy Source of all hope and healing. Paul writes that we are all co-workers in God’s service. We each have gifts to offer that may serve as channels of love and strength to all who find themselves in need of support. We can trust that whatever we offer, God will use our gifts to bring a future with hope.
Through the ministries of this church, and through the ministries supported by Week of Compassion, we have the opportunity to be part of the hopeful future God is already bringing about. Imagine what the future will be like when we join to invest in the growth God promises to bring. We invite you to give generously to Week of Compassion today, believing in the future growth God brings when we work, plant, and build together.
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.
We offer these gifts, O God of all people, in the hope and trust that You will use them to bring healing and hope where there is need. Where natural disaster has befallen, may these gifts help build new life. Where refugees seek safety from violence and fear, may these gifts enable caring and welcoming hearts and hands. Where hatred sullies Your hope for your human family, may our gifts be a sign and instrument of reconciliation. Thank you, God, for the privilege of this offering. May it indeed do more than we can imagine! In the name of Jesus Christ and for the sake of this world which He loves. Amen.
God of Abundance, bless the investments that we commit to your work this day that our efforts might serve the future thriving of this world you so love. Amen.
Invitation to the Table
Friends, God prepares a feast for you and for all people; a feast of good things, a feast of peace. Come and taste. Eat and be filled. Drink deep and never thirst again.
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.
adapted from weekofcompassion.org (may be offered by a single voice)
L: Dear co-workers in God’s service, we are called to the feast prepared by Christ.
P: We come tired and hopeful. We come with laughter and tears. We come broken and blessed. We come to taste God’s promise of a world made whole.
L: At this table, we find rest. At this table, we find hope. At this table, we are moved to plant new seeds, to nourish fresh sprouts, and to join in bringing forth all the future growth God is bringing even now.
P: To this table, we bring our dreams, our prayers, and our gifts with hopeful trust in God’s holy healing power and love.
(may continue with or without the Words of Institution):
On the night that he knew would be his last with them, our Lord gathered his disciples for a feast. They had walked many miles together. They had known trials. They had seen wonders. They would soon need to trust that God is in the business of bringing hopeful futures from even the most painful endings.
So after dinner was over, he took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and shared it with them, saying take, eat, do this in remembrance of me. Then he also took the cup, blessed it, poured some wine into it, saying, “take, drink, do this in remembrance of me.”
Every time we gather at this Table, beloved co-workers in Christ, we too remember that God is in the business of bringing hopeful futures from even the most painful endings. We eat and drink today to be filled to the brim with that good news. We eat and drink this day to become holy channels of Christ’s hope and healing for ourselves and for our world.
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)
Eternal One, who cares for each one of us as if you had no one else to care for, and who cares for all of us even as you care for each, we come here because you have invited us. We recognize at the deepest levels of our beings that it is at this table that we are affirmed and made whole. Enable us to know now the presence of the Christ, the one who calls us to be family, the one in whose presence no other can be called a stranger. Forgive us that we have been hard of heart, that we have failed to acknowledge others as brothers and sisters. Enable us now to accept the fact that we are members of one another, that we are family with all of your creation, and that we are all loved by you. We pray these things in the name of the Christ who has called us to you. 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.
adapted from weekofcompassion.org
God of the table, you feed the wild birds of the air with fruit-filled branches, And we flock to your table today longing to taste the hope and healing that you promise. Nourish us with the bread that sustains our souls in the face of suffering. Wash over us with holy streams of care, reviving our roots in you. Bless these gifts of bread and wine, that the future you long for might burst into bloom in our hearts and in our world.
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…’”
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 2022:
Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2022 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker;
compilation (c) Simon Kershaw 2022; Almanac Maker (c) Simon Kershaw 2010-2022
The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright (c) the Consultation on Common Texts 1992.
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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