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Archive for the ‘Year A’ Category

Epiphany Sunday

Jan. 3

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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):

Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Suggested Hymns from Chalice 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.   

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:  Hymn 140, Hail to the Lord’s Anointed, makes reference to it generally.

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 by the editor from the Psalm)

L: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel;

P:  For God alone does wondrous things.

L: Blessed be God’s glorious name forever!

P:  May God’s glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

OR  (adapted from ministrymatters.com)

L: Arise; shine, for your light has come!
P: We are called out of our darkness into light.
L: Lift up your eyes and look around.
P: We rejoice in the gift of light.
L: Come let us worship the God of light and joy and peace.
P: We come to kneel before the Christ Child, the light incarnate.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

L: O Come, Let us Adore Him, Christ the Lord!
P: The Star in the dark sky heralded His Coming.
L: Led by the light of the Star, the Wise Ones came to pay homage.
P: We, too, come to the stable, seeking the infant King.
L: Come, Arise! Shine! The Light has come.
P: God’s Light of love is shining upon us.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

from ministrymatters.com

Loving God, who breaks through the darkness of doubt and despair, be with us this day as we hear of the visit of the Wise Ones, who risked everything to follow a Star. Let us open our hearts and be willing to risk receiving the gift of gracious Love that you have to offer us in the form of our Savior, Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

O Lord of all things bright and beautiful, may we begin this day in your name.  Light of all light, our dayspring of hope, may we find warm reflections of your countenance in the face of each brother, sister, stranger and friend.  As we work for your world this day, may our hunger be for justice and our thirst for peace.  Feed us with your presence.  Strengthen our hearts and steady our hands for the business of loving your creation.  As children of the light, may we walk in your radiance this day. (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Eternal and Almighty God, we praise you that you cause the sun to rise to bring us the light of this new day and that you raised Christ form the dead to bring us new life. May our lives always face his brightness so we may go wherever he leads, serving in gladness and peace (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

God of promise and light, open our eyes this morning, that we may see your light in the darkness.  Open our hearts, that we may perceive your promises of justice and righteousness fulfilled in the babe of Bethlehem. May we, like the Magi, have a star to guide us on our journey quest to find the one who will truly set us free. May this time of worship bring us closer to you, that the good news of the birth of light and love will transform our lives. (this we pray as he taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Eternal God, you have shown your glory to the nations in the coming of Christ. Guide the church that you have gathered on earth, preserve it in faith, that it may grow in witness and service to the world. Strengthen and uphold our pastors and leaders that they may faithfully strengthen and uphold the church, and help us all to faithfully join in partnership with you to do your work according to your will and example in Jesus.

Increase our faithfulness to you and bless us with new friends in our midst to share in the joy of discipleship. Increase the faith and understanding of those whose faith in you is new. Give to all in baptism a new birth as your children, and give us grace to nurture them in faith and in the communion of your saints.

Lord, you created humanity with a longing to know you, to be in fellowship with you and to have peace in you. Grant that, in spite of hurtful things that stand in their way, they may find in the unity of fellowship in Christ the tokens of your love and mercy, and grow to acknowledge you as God and Savior.

You, O Lord, are the champion of the poor, the oppressed, the lost and the lonely. Guide those in leadership toward the commonwealth of your justice, that in peace and freedom all may share in the goodness of your creation, and work with you in caring for it and for your creatures. You are the one who gives strength to the weary and new courage to the disheartened. Hear the prayers of all who call on you that they may have joy in finding you ever present to help…

Hear the prayers of your people, O God, for we lift them all to you in the name and Spirit of your Christ.

OR

O gracious and loving God, we come to you recognizing the wonders of life that you have given us. As winter falls around us, we pray that you will warm our hearts to your will and guidance in all of life, that we may truly live as your baptized people, continually working for the reign of your kingdom on earth.

Hear our prayers, O God, this day for all who are absent from us. Hear our concerns and hopes for them and all your people. Touch their lives with your grace that they may find healing, and peace, and love. May your Spirit touch us to ever reach out to them and to those around us that all may feel your generous love in their lives.

Hear our prayers for your world. May we see the beauty of creation and work for your peace throughout the world. These and all our prayers we lift to you in the name and Spirit of our life-giving Lord, Jesus Christ.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

Savior of all peoples, who took on our flesh in a stable and slept in a box made for animal feed; sages followed a star to find you, paid you homage, and went home by another way. Be present among us. Encounter us in word, in bread, in song, in prayer. Touch us. Change us. Send us out to walk in new paths, telling your story, proclaiming good news to the nations. Light of the World, shine upon us. Shine your light of hope in the corners of gloom in our lives and throughout the streets of our cities and towns. Shine upon those who are lost to show them a new path home. Shine upon those who are ill to give them strength to decide how they shall live whole lives. Shine upon those in despair who need to make a way out of no way. Shine upon those whose homes, families, and bodies that war has torn apart; reveal a path to peace. Shine upon your creation, the earth and its creatures, things seen and unseen. Burn away the mist and let us see you face-to-face so that you can wipe away our tears and make death to be no more. Light of the World, we praise your name. Amen.  (written by Scott Haldeman)

OR (for the New Year):

Merciful and loving God, for the year that has passed with its sorrows and joys, we give you thanks; for in every moment of it, you remained faithful to us, rejoicing and struggling with us, though often we were slow to recognize you there. And with thanks for (year), we now release it. May its treasures inspire us, but never bind us in nostalgia; and may its troubles teach us, but never hold us captive. For you who have created are still creating…making all things new, including this day.

As we enjoy the blessings of life in this community, we give thanks to you for bringing together the many gifts which make your church more able to do its mission. We thank you for those who have given much of themselves to allow this day to come to pass. We thank you for those who realize the long road which lies ahead, and who trust you for strength to walk on, day by day.   And we recognize that there are many in our world who do not experience the love of a church family, the comfort and joy of a faith community. May our witness to your love increase itself in hospitality to them. Nudge us on to greater acts of faithfulness, as we learn to trust you more and more.

We ache at the news of brokenness in our world–broken lives and broken relationships between persons and families, communities and nations. Our hopes are turned toward peace in your presence, and we pray that you would help us to be makers of peace in our day to day lives.

Loving lord, we lift to you our own needs and those whose lives are closely linked with our own [……..] (and others we name silently in our hearts.)

As the light of a star brought the simple and the wise into the presence of the young Christ, guide us to you by the light of your word as we hear it read and proclaimed. God of all faithfulness, receive these prayers which we offer to you in the name and spirit of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

O God,

who by the leading of a star

manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:

mercifully grant that we,

who know you now by faith,

may at last behold your glory face to face;

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

Lord God,

the bright splendour whom the nations seek:

may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light

discern the glory of your presence in your Son,

the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Creator of the heavens,

who led the Magi by a star

to worship the Christ-child:

guide and sustain us,

that we may find our journey’s end

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son

to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by

faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to

face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

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

The giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas time is born of the ancient Church’s celebration of this very day.  At Epiphany, the story is told again of those who come before the young Christchild, seeking to give, eager to present the very best to this young king.  In the process, they proclaimed what the religious world could not conceive:  that this one Child, of humble birth and stature, has come to bring God’s saving love to all.  May we consider well how our giving proclaims God’s love for all as the Table of the Lord is made ready.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

We have seen the light of the world. We have been called to follow the star of promise. Like the Magi, let us bring our gifts to honor the babe of Bethlehem and bring the light to all the dark places in our community and our world.

Offertory Prayer

Thank you, God of Love, for the promise of this season. We are grateful for the generosity aroused in us by Christ’s coming into the world. May these gifts represent a new spirit of joyous sharing among us, for the sake of all your children everywhere. Amen.

OR (from ministrymatters.com)

God of light and promise, we bring our gifts to further your work in a dark world. May they bring your light to those overwhelmed by darkness, pain, and loneliness. Accept these gifts of money and time, indeed, the gift of our very selves.  Let them shine for all to see, and be brought into the sphere of your love and righteousness.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit at the table in the kingdom of God. This is the Lord’s table. Jesus invites all who seek to trust him to share in the feast which he has prepared. Let us come to his table now with hope and confidence as God’s children.

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)

  1. 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 this bread, that in sharing it we may discern your presence which becomes our life.  May it be for us the bread of life.
  2. We thank you, Lord,  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, even as we bring our own, asking that you would bless this cup that it would be for us his blood, as we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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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Christmas Eve/Day ABC

Dec. 24-25

Christmas Celebrations

In this year of limited gathering in most of our world, I am encouraging the use of traditional liturgical material as a pastoral practice, delivering it by whatever means is safe and operable for you and your congregation.  Owing to a lack of preparation time for creative increase to what had previously been offered, I refer you to this link for materials added to date for Christmas Eve/Day worship.  You are all in my prayers in this and every season.

ADVENT RESOURCES

The prior Advent entries on this page may be helpful.  You will find candle lighting, music, and other resources available by using the search engine.  Much of it is available in this article:  Preparing for the Great Preparation  We welcome you to this new year of Life in Liturgy!

David T. Chafin, Curator

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Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2021 to you and those you love!

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Christ the King A/Thanksgiving A

Nov. 22

Thanksgiving is sometimes recognized in some congregations on a Sunday.  This is not at all inappropriate, considering the nature of the lectionary and a careful study of the nature of the holiday in American culture.  However, it is important to be aware of the universality of the Church, and of this observance of Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday.  It is not to be trivialized into a rehash of American triumphalism or a “divine rights” celebration.  All are urged to let the texts speak for themselves, and to use care in pairing music and other elements of the day in concert with the themes of scripture.

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Support Our Work … read how you can help keep lifeinliturgy.org available for use without subscription charges.   This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

For Christ the King/Feast of Christ the Cosmic Ruler/Festival of the Reign of Christ

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100 or Psalm 95:1-7a
Ephesians 1:15-23Matthew 25:31-46

For Thanksgiving Day

Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Luke 17:11-19

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

718-Come, ye thankful people, come,

276-We gather together

717-Let all things now living

234 – Crown him with many crowns

17 – O worship the King

91/92 – All Hail the power of Jesus’ name

713-God of our life

725-God of the ages

711 – O Day of peace that dimly shines

387 – Bread of the world, in mercy broken

429-You satisfy the hungry heart

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Matthew 25:31-46

                             Come, our Shepherd, bid us

                             to attend your call,

                             find thy hand adjusting

                             sheep from goats in time.

                             There, your throne confronting

                             all we hope to see,

                             there you open witness

                             to divide our lot.

                             Some, you say, have fed you;

                             some have clothed you, too.

                             Some have come into gloom;

                             some have given drink.

                             When have we so seen you,

                             Jesus, in such need?

                             Only in the barren

                             who stand desperate.

                             When you see the broken

                             and let mercy flow,

                             then you care, dare my need,

                             welcome near the Christ.

6.5.6.5.      Suggested tune: Caswall

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 100 is on p. 752; see also 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   

adapted from John Berringer

L: Come, let us use our voices to praise the Lord.

P: Our mouths will shout forth praise.

L: Let us use our minds to ponder the wondrous deeds of God.

P: We will call to mind God’s mighty acts.

L: With all of our strength and being, let us worship the Lord of love.

P: We will worship from our depths. Our souls exult in God!

OR

(from Psalm 100)

L: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

P: Worship the LORD with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing.

L: Know that the LORD is God. It is God that made us, and we are his;

P: We are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.

L: Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to God, bless his name.

P: For the LORD is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth. All your works praise you in all places of your dominion and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our savior, therefore we praise you, blessed and holy trinity, one god, for ever and ever (praying as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God of overwhelming mercy, you have claimed each generation of people as your family, fellow workers, and heirs of your grace. From the wealth of your storehouses an endless stream of love, mercy, and wisdom has washed over your people. Wave upon wave of endless light sweeps over us. How great are your storehouses, O God, how vast, how varied your gifts! In this hour enable us to open our hearts and receive your gifts. We praise you for the treasure of your love poured out for us and for all, in a thousand ways, through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God, you call us into your holy place – this solemn assembly.  Let our hearts be made full of praise, our eyes full of wonder at your mercies, and our lips quick to tell of your blessings to us in your son Jesus Christ our Sovereign Lord.  Let our praise be for the guidance of your hand and the righteousness with which you execute justice, that we might be your presence to our broken and hurting world.  This we pray through Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Almighty and wonderful God.  We enter your courts with thanksgiving and praise, knowing that you have made us, and remembering we are loved.  We have come to praise your mighty acts, to offer our petitions, and celebrate remembrance.  Let us know your guarding presence, as sheep with their shepherd, as we seek to honor you for all your good works; this we pray through Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Lord God, we give you thanks for all your gifts to us—for daily food, for health, for each breath we take, for freedom to choose, and for the gifts of your word, your power and your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider how you have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust—may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live.

Help us, O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you have given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and desire to increase your glory and your goodness in this world. Make us people who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us.

We pray for the church gathered today, both here and around the world, that it may encourage all of its members to discover, develop and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace.

We pray for those who are poor in body or in spirit, for those oppressed and heavy laden, for those sick or in despair.   Minister by your Spirit and by us, to all those for whom we have prayed, and help us walk faithfully in the path of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

OR

God of Creation, God of Wonder, hear this offering of prayer and praise as a gift from our thankful hearts. We thank you for the wonders all around us. For grains of sand, the smell of rain falling on dry ground, for the shifting of the seasons and the sound of laughter. We thank you God for one another – for the joys and struggles of relationships that nurture us and help us to grow. God, we thank you for your eternal presence in our midst and for the good news of your deep abiding love for all of creation.

Even as we give thanks, we lift up the concerns that burden us this day. We ask your peace and blessing on all those we have named in this place today and all whose names and circumstances remain in the safe sanctuary of your Spirit’s care. We pray for all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit and for all who provide care for the needs of others. We pray for the lonely and the despairing…for those who struggle with addiction…for those who feel trapped in situations of abuse…for those who making difficult decisions in life… God we pray for your church and its mission in the world.  Bless all of your children God, and pour your Spirit upon us, bringing healing, comfort and strength wherever it is needed. All this we ask in the name of the One who calls us forward in faith, Jesus Christ our Sovereign Lord

OR

Gracious God, who supplies us with every blessing in abundance, lift up our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving.  Open us to remember the gifts we seldom notice, the bounty we take for granted, the rich possibilities you provide.  For bread without scarcity, for water that is pure, for houses to live in and friends to enjoy, we give you humble thanks.

We lift to you all those whose lives are linked with our own.  We remember (_______and) all those whom we name to you in silence.

Touch their lives with your grace and your peace, that they would know your love in these days of illness and unknowing and struggle.

In the days ahead, may we be more aware of the bounty for which we need to be grateful and of all the little things that make us who we are which we often overlook or ignore.  Help us to be more mindful every day of your goodness and love.

For beauty and bounty, for healing and hope, for the gospel of our salvation, we lift our voices in praise to you, Creator God, in Christ’s name.

OR

Our tender and compassionate God asks us to pray for all people.  Let us offer our prayers for the world in need, trusting in God’s great love.

Gracious God, we pray for the church around the world.  As the broken bread, though once scattered as grain on the hillsides become one loaf, so may your church be one in spirit throughout the earth, and one in witness to your saving love.

Lord, lead our leaders throughout the Church.  Grant them your wisdom, that by their deeds they may encourage the faithful and witness to the world and its people.  Eternal ruler of the universe, we pray for those who govern every land, and for the people committed to their charge.  Look with grace upon the president of our country, and the legislators who guide our lives.  Turn the hearts of leaders and peoples to you, that governments may seek the good of humanity and of all who suffer.

God, you suffer with those who suffer.  We pray for those who are denied what they need to live and those whose dreams have been shattered by war and disaster.  We pray especially for those who suffer in the season of plenty.  Reach out and bring healing through the hands of your faithful people.

Holy Comforter, healing Spirit, grant your peace to those who are sick and those who grieve, and especially those of our own church families who are suffering today.  Radiate through their lives with the light of your presence, that renewed healing and strength may be theirs.

We pray, dear Lord, for those whose actions offend us most and for those whom we have learned to fear and despise.  Through your great love, make tender all hearts hardened by hatred, bigotry and suspicion; and work your justice among us.

God of hope and new life, help us to see the joy and abundant life you intend for us. Forgive our shortsightedness and often miserly attitudes toward the created world which you have entrusted to our care.  Give us your peace–peace which is not so much an absence of trouble, as an awareness of your guiding presence and bounteous gifts in all that we do; for these our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Eternal Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven

   that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Stir up, O Lord,

the wills of your faithful people;

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may by you be plenteously rewarded;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

God the Father,

help us to hear the call of Christ the King

and to follow in his service,

whose kingdom has no end;

for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, one glory.

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

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all

things in your well‑beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of

lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided

and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together

under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you

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

Thanksgiving

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the

fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those

who harvest them.  Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of

your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and

the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 25:31-46

            The measure of the heart, O God,

                        arrives in little things,

                                    supposedly unseen.

                        For in the morsel for the hungry,

                                    the clothing for the naked,

                                    visitation for the lost,

                                    and welcome to the stranger at the gate,

                                                we serve you graciously

                                                in unexpected surprise.

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

Every time we come to the table, we are called to share in the offering. Christ’s body and blood was and is the offering of all offerings. That alone ought to appeal to us to give. Our giving will aid others in remembering him and give them the good news of life in Christ.

If our offering enables us to feed the hungry, give a drink of clean water to the thirsty, welcome a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, then Christ himself will bless that offering. Hear him say, “Come, blessed ones of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for as you did it for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”

OR

God has offered the world a new vision of life which is full and abundant, teeming with all the good gifts that have been lavished upon us in Christ Jesus.  May we be open to receiving them with gratitude, and in offering them, along with ourselves, for the sake of others, even as the gifts of this Table are offered not for us alone, but for the salvation of the whole world.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings to God.

OR

We are a blessed people.  In this season of Thanksgiving, it is good that we recall God’s many gifts in our lives, and grace which God has given us to help us use them all for good.  As we ready ourselves to join the great Feast of Thanksgiving, a feast which God has made for us in Christ Jesus, let us consider just how welcome we are to receive of it – all of us – and to share the gifts of it for the sake of the world.  For the gifts of God are many, and they are made real in this meal, and in the family of God gathered around it.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings.

Offertory Prayer

Give us thankful hearts, O God, for your grace to us in life and health and strength. Let these gifts of your bounty and of our hands be used to glorify you now and in your church’s work forever. Amen

OR

Bring forth the fullness of your vision to us, O God, as we open our hearts to you in the giving of these gifts.  Like the praise we sing, may they bring glory to your name, now and in your world forever.  Amen.

OR

May these gifts bring light to those who walk in darkness, hope to those who live in despair, and justice to those who are oppressed. Grant to each giver a sense of participation in the most important opportunity of all time: to share your love with the world. To this end we dedicate our offerings and ourselves. Amen.

OR

We would crown you as our Sovereign, O Christ, as you have crowned the year with mercy and kindness in the giving of yourself for the sake of the world.  May our lives, expressed in these offerings, and may the ministries of your beloved church, truly proclaim what our hearts have believed: that you are our Lord who will reign forever and ever.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

(Communion Affirmation – offered in Chalice Hymnal, #401 from the words of A. Campbell)

L: You, my beloved, once and alien, are now a citizen of heaven: once a stranger, are now brought home to the family of God.  You have owned my Lord as your Lord, my people as your people.

P:  Under Jesus the Messiah we are one.  Mutually embraced in the everlasting arms, I embrace you in mine: your sorrows shall be my sorrows, and your joys my joys.

L: Joint debtors to the favor of God and the love of Jesus, we shall jointly suffer with him, that we may jointly reign with him.

P:  Let us, then, renew our strength, remembering our Sovereign, and hold fast our boasted hope unshaken to the end.

OR

The celebration of the Christian Year comes to an astounding and world-changing ending as we hear Christ’s call to live out the gospel of Jesus in real and practical ways.  We are, in Christ, called to feed those who hunger, and by his self-giving example have learned just how costly that calling can be.  All who would live among his flock are likewise called to remember the price that Christ our Sovereign Lord has paid for the salvation of the world, and to bring forth in this present age, in sign and in deed, the hope of life in God’s abundance.  We show forth that abundance in this breaking of bread together, and look forward to his coming in final victory to be known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Let us come to the Table of Christ in faith.

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 our God, Sovereign of the Universe, for you provide for us this bread and wine – fruit of the earth and work of human hands. May it be for us the body and blood of Christ, as we who gather at your table seek to be strengthened by your presence. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, that as those who would be numbered among your faithful children we may bring forth in our lives and our communities the manifest reality of your reign which has no end, for we pray in the name of Christ. 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.

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, and who now lives evermore to make intercession for us. We celebrate his gifts, we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.

OR

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. Send forth the power of your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine. 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.

OR

  1. You, O God, are the helper of the helpless.  In every age of our distress, you have come to us with an outstretched arm, a word of forgiveness, and nourishment for the journey.  As we give you thanks for your faithful love and consecrate this bread to your purposes, receive our gifts, we pray, that as they are offered to you again you may multiply them, so that we and your hungering world might be fed.
  2. Lord of Life, as you have blessed the earth with fruit and inspired your children to make good use of it, we ask that you would now bless this wine – fruit of the earth and work of human hands – that it might be for us the blood of Christ, the cup of our salvation.  Send down the power of your Spirit upon these gifts and upon us who gather here out of love for you, that as we receive and find renewal, we might learn to give of ourselves for the salvation of the world.  This we pray in Christ’s name.

OR

  1. It is always right and just to praise you, God our Father, for you have always sought and found us.  As we give you praise for Jesus Christ, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, we offer thanks for this bread, which is to be for us his body.  May we who receive him from your hands be encouraged to lives of thankful praise, and be empowered by your Spirit to offer him to the world which you have redeemed through your own great love.
  2. This cup, O God, we offer to your service.  Send down your Holy Spirit, we pray, that as we receive your gifts – bread broken and wine poured – our lives might be made whole, and be offered to you anew for faithful service.  This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord and King.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

Read Full Post »

Pentecost +24, Proper 28A

Nov. 15

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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):

Judges 4:1-7 or Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18
Psalm 123 or Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

718-Come, ye thankful people, come,

276-We gather together                     

25-Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

703-When all is ended

711-O day of peace that dimly shines

417-We place upon your table, Lord

429-You satisfy the hungry heart

717-Let all things now living

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

               As in the light, we rise to you

               for on your earnest you draw near

               and tantalize our freshened lives,

               buoyed on salvation’s ecstasy.

               Your day, O Lord, comes secretly

               on silent steps we do not hear.

               So like a thief hid in the night,

               your day yet meets us hopefully.

               For in your constancy we stay

               to recognize the coming dawn,

               to find in your enticing way

               life merges into hope always.

               In freshness and delight, O Lord,

               we stay the night, encourage day,

               that we might celebrate anew

               the gift you bring, salvation’s peal.

LM        Suggested tune: Eton

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 90 is on p. 746  

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 John Berringer

L: Come, let us use our voices to praise the Lord.

P: Our mouths will shout forth praise.

L: Let us use our minds to ponder the wondrous deeds of God.

P: We will call to mind God’s mighty acts.

L: With all of our strength and being, let us worship the Lord of love.

P: We will worship from our depths. Our souls exult in God!

OR

L: God has promised a new heavens and new earth.

P: There, the former things are forgotten and all things are made new. 

L: In God’s promised world, there is hope for justice and peace among all peoples.

P: May our eyes be opened to the promised future as we celebrate God’s faithful presence with us this day.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: The time for harvest is close at hand. What have you done with the gifts God has given you?
P: We have brought our gifts to the house of the Lord.
L: Praise God for the gifts and for opportunities for service that they represent.
P: We praise God for all the ways in which our lives have been blessed.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: We lift our eyes to the Lord.
P: God created the heavens and the earth
L: We raise our voices in songs and speech
P: We raise our voices in prayer and praise.
L: Lord, hear our prayers, accept our praise.
P: Lord, open our hearts to receive your blessings of peace.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: How shall we enter the house of the Lord?
P: With songs of great praise and rejoicing!
L: How shall we prepare ourselves to receive the blessings?
P: With hearts, minds, and spirits that are open.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord and bow down.
P: Let us offer our praise to God who has redeemed us. 

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Come! Share the joy of the Lord!
P: Delight in God’s goodness!
L: Praise God who gives each person a special gift to be nurtured and shared.
P: Lord, we thank you for these gifts!
L: Come, let us worship God who entrusts us with so much.
P: Lord, make us worthy of your love and trust in us. 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

We call on your name, O God, for you have offered us the cup of salvation and welcomed us into your family. How can we thank you for the love you have shown us in Jesus Christ. Meet us again in this hour, that we may grow in faith and be responsive to your truth. Fill us with hope, renewing our confidence to face life in faithful trust and obedience. This we pray through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Great is your name, O God of all creation, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.  As we give you thanks and praise in this gathering of your people, we pray that you would adjust our vision and align it with your own – your vision for a world made new – that we may fervently pray for it and work for it in the days that lie ahead.  This we pray in the name of Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Awesome God, you created the world and all that is in it. You blessed each element of creation with your love. You called us from slavery into witness and service. Be with us this day as we gather to worship. Clear our minds of all the distractions which would draw us away from you. Open our hearts and spirits and let your healing and empowering love flow in. Prepare us to be witnesses to your power and love as we use the gifts with which you have blessed us in your service. For we offer this prayer in the name of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

O Lord, we gratefully acknowledge the gifts you have given to each of us for service in your world. Gifts of teaching, healing, inspiring, challenging and creating are all among the myriad of things you have placed in our lives. Direct our lives to use these gifts as we reach out to our neighborhood and nation, witnessing to your love and your healing mercy. We pray this in Jesus’ name (even as he taught us, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Lord God, we give you thanks for all your gifts to us—for daily food, for health, for each breath we take, for freedom to choose, and for the gifts of your word, your power and your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider how you have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust—may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live.

Help us, O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you have given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and desire to increase your glory and your goodness in this world. Make us people who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us.

We pray for the church gathered today, both here and around the world, that it may encourage all of its members to discover, develop and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace.

We pray for those who are poor in body or in spirit, for those oppressed and heavy laden, for those sick or in despair.   Minister by your Spirit and by us, to all those for whom we have prayed, and help us walk faithfully in the path of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

OR from ministrymatters.com 

Wise and Patient God, we know what you want us to do, but we are far too often hesitant to follow through for you. You give us multiple blessings and ask that we develop these gifts and use them to help others. In times of great crisis we come through, we mobilize. But in the intermediate times, we hold back. We develop a “let someone else do it” attitude. We often think of our gifts, our talents as things that are less than worthy. In this country in which competition is the ruling code, we don’t want to compete with others, because we feel we just don’t have the right “stuff”. How blind we are, Lord! To each one of us you have given gifts which can be used to help others. Each gift and talent is precious in your sight. Rather than compete with others to see who has the greater talent, let us use the gifts we have been given joyfully.

One of the greatest gifts is the gift of prayer. And we have brought before you, Lord, the concerns which have been weighing on our hearts. Touch the lives of all these people and situations with you healing love. Give each one a sense of your powerful presence. Flood their lives with hope and peace. Help each one of us to be workers for you. Help us to trust in your abiding presence and love for us. Challenge us to use the gifts and to honor the giver, for we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

OR

God of Creation, God of Wonder, hear this offering of prayer and praise as a gift from our thankful hearts. We thank you for the wonders all around us. For grains of sand, the smell of rain falling on dry ground, for the shifting of the seasons and the sound of laughter. We thank you God for one another – for the joys and struggles of relationships that nurture us and help us to grow. God, we thank you for your eternal presence in our midst and for the good news of your deep abiding love for all of creation.

Even as we give thanks, we lift up the concerns that burden us this day. We ask your peace and blessing on all those we have named in this place today and all whose names and circumstances remain in the safe sanctuary of your Spirit’s care. We pray for all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit and for all who provide care for the needs of others. We pray for the lonely and the despairing…for those who struggle with addiction…for those who feel trapped in situations of abuse…for those who making difficult decisions in life… God we pray for your church and its mission in the world.  Bless all of your children God, and pour your Spirit upon us, bringing healing, comfort and strength wherever it is needed. All this we ask in the name of the One who calls us forward in faith, Jesus Christ our Sovereign Lord

OR

Gracious God, who supplies us with every blessing in abundance, lift up our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving.  Open us to remember the gifts we seldom notice, the bounty we take for granted, the rich possibilities you provide.  For bread without scarcity, for water that is pure, for houses to live in and friends to enjoy, we give you humble thanks.

We lift to you all those whose lives are linked with our own.  We remember (_______and) all those whom we name to you in silence.

Touch their lives with your grace and your peace, that they would know your love in these days of illness and unknowing and struggle.

In the days ahead, may we be more aware of the bounty for which we need to be grateful and of all the little things that make us who we are which we often overlook or ignore.  Help us to be more mindful every day of your goodness and love.

For beauty and bounty, for healing and hope, for the gospel of our salvation, we lift our voices in praise to you, Creator God, in Christ’s name.

OR

Our tender and compassionate God asks us to pray for all people.  Let us offer our prayers for the world in need, trusting in God’s great love.

Gracious God, we pray for the church around the world.  As the broken bread, though once scattered as grain on the hillsides become one loaf, so may your church be one in spirit throughout the earth, and one in witness to your saving love.

Lord, lead our leaders throughout the Church.  Grant them your wisdom, that by their deeds they may encourage the faithful and witness to the world and its people.  Eternal ruler of the universe, we pray for those who govern every land, and for the people committed to their charge.  Look with grace upon the president of our country, and the legislators who guide our lives.  Turn the hearts of leaders and peoples to you, that governments may seek the good of humanity and of all who suffer.

God, you suffer with those who suffer.  We pray for those who are denied what they need to live and those whose dreams have been shattered by war and disaster.  We pray especially for those who suffer in the season of plenty.  Reach out and bring healing through the hands of your faithful people.

Holy Comforter, healing Spirit, grant your peace to those who are sick and those who grieve, and especially those of our own church families who are suffering today.  Radiate through their lives with the light of your presence, that renewed healing and strength may be theirs.

We pray, dear Lord, for those whose actions offend us most and for those whom we have learned to fear and despise.  Through your great love, make tender all hearts hardened by hatred, bigotry and suspicion; and work your justice among us.

God of hope and new life, help us to see the joy and abundant life you intend for us. Forgive our shortsightedness and often miserly attitudes toward the created world which you have entrusted to our care.  Give us your peace–peace which is not so much an absence of trouble, as an awareness of your guiding presence and bounteous gifts in all that we do; for these our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Heavenly Father,

whose blessed Son was revealed

   to destroy the works of the devil

and to make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:

grant that we, having this hope,

may purify ourselves even as he is pure;

that when he shall appear in power and great glory

we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom;

where he is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Gracious Lord,

in this holy sacrament

you give substance to our hope:

bring us at the last

to that fullness of life for which we long;

through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Additional Collect

Heavenly Lord,

you long for the world’s salvation:

stir us from apathy,

restrain us from excess

and revive in us new hope

that all creation will one day be healed

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for

our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn,

and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever

hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have

given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; 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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 25:14-30

            As massive gains accumulate unto the bold,

                        O God, prepare in us the care

                                    that harvests joys untold

                                    and satisfies creative dares.

                        For in your bounty we aspire

                                    to learn your grand capacity

                                                to savor life at your increase.

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

God has offered the world a new vision of life which is full and abundant, teeming with all the good gifts that have been lavished upon us in Christ Jesus.  May we be open to receiving them with gratitude, and in offering them, along with ourselves, for the sake of others, even as the gifts of this Table are offered not for us alone, but for the salvation of the whole world.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings to God.

OR

We are a blessed people.  In this season and all seasons, it is good that we recall God’s many gifts in our lives, and grace which God has given us to help us use them all for good.  As we ready ourselves to join the great Feast of Thanksgiving, a feast which God has made for us in Christ Jesus, let us consider just how welcome we are to receive of it – all of us – and to share the gifts of it for the sake of the world.  For the gifts of God are many, and they are made real in this meal, and in the family of God gathered around it.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings.

Offertory Prayer

Give us thankful hearts, O God, for your grace to us in life and health and strength. Let these gifts of your bounty and of our hands be used to glorify you now and in your church’s work forever. Amen

OR

Bring forth the fullness of your vision to us, O God, as we open our hearts to you in the giving of these gifts.  Like the praise we sing, may they bring glory to your name, now and in your world forever.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

(Communion Affirmation – offered in Chalice Hymnal, #401 from the words of A. Campbell)

L: You, my beloved, once and alien, are now a citizen of heaven: once a stranger, are now brought home to the family of God.  You have owned my Lord as your Lord, my people as your people.

P:  Under Jesus the Messiah we are one.  Mutually embraced in the everlasting arms, I embrace you in mine: your sorrows shall be my sorrows, and your joys my joys.

L: Joint debtors to the favor of God and the love of Jesus, we shall jointly suffer with him, that we may jointly reign with him.

P:  Let us, then, renew our strength, remembering our Sovereign, and hold fast our boasted hope unshaken to the end.

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. Send forth the power of your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine. 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.

OR

  1. You, O God, are the helper of the helpless.  In every age of our distress, you have come to us with an outstretched arm, a word of forgiveness, and nourishment for the journey.  As we give you thanks for your faithful love and consecrate this bread to your purposes, receive our gifts, we pray, that as they are offered to you again you may multiply them, so that we and your hungering world might be fed.
  2. Lord of Life, as you have blessed the earth with fruit and inspired your children to make good use of it, we ask that you would now bless this wine – fruit of the earth and work of human hands – that it might be for us the blood of Christ, the cup of our salvation.  Send down the power of your Spirit upon these gifts and upon us who gather here out of love for you, that as we receive and find renewal, we might learn to give of ourselves for the salvation of the world.  This we pray in Christ’s name.

OR

  1. It is always right and just to praise you, God our Father, for you have always sought and found us.  As we give you praise for Jesus Christ, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, we offer thanks for this bread, which is to be for us his body.  May we who receive him from your hands be encouraged to lives of thankful praise, and be empowered by your Spirit to offer him to the world which you have redeemed through your own great love. 
  2. This cup, O God, we offer to your service.  Send down your Holy Spirit, we pray, that as we receive your gifts – bread broken and wine poured – our lives might be made whole, and be offered to you anew for faithful service.  This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord and King.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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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Pentecost +23, Proper 27A

Nov. 8

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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):

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 or Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16 or Amos 5:18-24
Psalm 78:1-7 or Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20 or Psalm 70
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

464 – God of grace and God of glory

700-O Day of God draw nigh

472 – We Are living, we are dwelling

390 – Lord of our highest love

66-God, whose giving knows no ending

517-Love Divine, all loves excelling

422-Let us talents and tongues employ

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Amos 5:18-24

     The day of God’s impending: who would want?

     And who awaits this darkness wrapped in gloom?

     To flee from danger unto danger come,

     this day beyond all comforting draws fear.

     Improper feasts, grand offerings, deceit:

     these undesired are by the Lord refused.

     Yet truly comes the bidding God adores,

     as justice flows, with righteousness a flood.

     The dawning day of God’s desiring hope

     becomes the melody that answers: ‘Peace!’

10.10        Suggested tune: Song 46

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 78 is not in Chalice Hymnal.  

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 Phil. 2)

L: We gather in the presence of Christ to join our hearts and minds in praise of God.

P: God has exalted Jesus and given him a name above every name.

L: So let every knee bend, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess:

P: Jesus Christ is Lord. Glory to God forever!

OR

L: Thank the Lord with all your heart, in the gathered assembly of God’s people.

P: Mighty are the deeds of the Lord; great are the God’s works,

     studied by all who have pleasure in them.

L: Holy and awesome is God’s name!

To worship the Lord is the highest wisdom; those who do so know all that is good.

P: God’s praises will last forever.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Today God’s word will be spoken to your hearts.
P: Open our ears and our hearts to receive God’s word.
L: Today God’s love will be poured into your life.
P: Prepare us, Lord, to receive your love.
L: Hallelujah!
P: Hallelujah!

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: We are pulled in many directions.
P: Many duties and tasks seek to lay claim on our lives.
L: This day, in this place, let service to God be your choice.
P: This day, in this place, we open our hearts and spirits to God.
L: Blessed be the God of creation who has called us here.
P: Praise be to God who sustains and nurtures our lives. 

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: The God of our ancestors has led us to this place.
P: We are witnesses.
L: We have sworn to teach God’s promises to all generations.
P: We are witnesses.
L: The time is coming when Christ will come again in glory.
P: We are witnesses.
L: Let us tell the world of God’s faithful love.
P: We will worship and witness together!

OR from ministrymatters.com

(Each line could be read by a different voice.)

It is time to wake up,

for God is about to surprise us.

It is time to prepare,

for God’s love is about to change the world.

It is time to get ready,

for God needs us to proclaim the good news.

It is time to start planning,

for God’s invitation will fill our church.

It is time to worship,

for God is here now!

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

You who have created us and sustain us: we come with thanksgiving for these moments when we can ease the pace of our lives and listen for your voice. Create a spirit within us that truly draws us toward you and toward our brother and sisters; a spirit deep, perceptive, gentle and bold. Clear our minds, open our hearts and touch us with your presence and your power. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Your love has brought us together, O Lord, and it is your love that sustains us through each day. We pray that you would keep us faithful. Even as we watch for signs of your kingdom, strengthen us to work with you to bring about, here and now, your reign on earth. Give us the courage to witness to your presence in the world, today, tomorrow, and into the future. We pray in the name of the One who comes, Christ our Savior (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Mighty and merciful God, may your kindness be known to all. Hear the prayers of all who cry to you; open the eyes of those who never pray for themselves; have mercy on those who are in misery; deal gently with those who sit in darkness; increase the number of those who love and serve you daily. Preserve our land from all things hurtful, preserve our Church from all dangerous error, preserve our people from forgetting that you are their Lord and Saviour. Be gracious to those countries that are made desolate by war, famine, disease, or persecution, and grant that the course of the world may be so ordered in obedience to your will that the people may live in security and freedom from want, and their children grow up to be makers of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Prayers from the Book of Common Order, Church of Scotland, on oremus.org)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Each morning we arise, O Lord, wondering what the day will bring. For some of us there are many wonderful things to anticipate; new opportunities to celebrate. We smile at the sun and revel in its warmth. Even in the midst of trouble, your love comes through to us in the most amazing ways. For our friends and family who experience great joy at this time, we offer our prayers of joy! Let us pray. Lord of mercy and hope, may the warmth of your restoring and transforming love flood over them and through them to others.

For many people, pain and hurt seem to be the daily encounter with life. Hope for something better is a distant vision. Lord, be with our sisters and brothers in their pain. Lord, we ask for your healing love to surround them as they journey through life. Give them courage and peace. We name, with our words, and in our hearts, those who struggle and suffer.

[Offer a few minutes of silence.]

For all your healing mercies, we gratefully thank you. Lord, for all anywhere, we offer prayers of healing and hope that their lives may be filled with your love and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray.

OR from ministrymatters.com

O Lord,

we wait for you to come again into our midst.

Sometimes we wait patiently, sometimes not.

Always we are aware of how much the world needs you.

We pray today for those in our community

who need your healing and comfort.

(Pause for silence.)

We pray for persons in leadership across our country,

that together we might make wise decisions.

(Pause for silence.)

We pray for brothers and sisters around the world,

whose lives are torn apart by war.

(Pause for silence.)

We pray for the saints who have witnessed to your love.

(Pause for silence.)

We pray, knowing that you are with us now,

and that you will strengthen us to keep awake,

to keep the faith,

to keep working for the time

when Christ will come again to surprise us anew

with love and justice on earth. Amen.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Almighty Father,

whose will is to restore all things

in your beloved Son, the King of all:

govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,

and bring the families of the nations,

divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,

to be subject to his just and gentle rule;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God of peace,

whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom

and restored the broken to wholeness of life:

look with compassion on the anguish of the world,

and by your healing power

make whole both people and nations;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Additional Collect

God, our refuge and strength,

bring near the day when wars shall cease

and poverty and pain shall end,

that earth may know the peace of heaven

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might

destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God

and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may

purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again

with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his

eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with

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

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 25:1-13

            The likeness of your kingdom, Lord God

                        is given in ten maidens,

                                    the wise and the foolish,

                                    the ready and the unready.

                        Tone us in your wisdom

                                    for ready enjoyment of the feast

                                                in your kingdom promise in hope.

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

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. As stewards of the kingdom of God, let us give from our abundance with thanksgiving.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, our lives are renewed as we remember your goodness. You have made us in your image and placed in our hearts the memory of your love made flesh in Jesus Christ. That memory calls us to give and to embrace your world as we offer these gifts. May our lives invested through these offerings create a new reality and extend your grace in remembrance of Jesus, in whose name we pray.

Invitation to the Table

Christ invites to this Table all who seek to know God and to walk in peace with God and their neighbor.  It is a place of welcome for you, all of you, with great faith and with little faith.  It is the faith of Christ which matters, and it is the faith of Christ which shall sustain us til the end of the age.

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)

Giver of life, receive this offering of our praise as we break this bread and bless this cup. Send your Spirit forth to dwell within them and so within us as we receive them. Open us to the wonder of new life in your presence, as we renew our faith at this your Table. We give you thanks and praise in the name and spirit of Jesus the Christ. 

OR

Blessed are you, Lord our God; you bring forth bread from the earth, and wine in its season. Send your power and strength to us, Lord, as we gather here in love for you, and upon these gifts of bread and wine. Make them to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we might be his true body, going about his work in our time and place; that in all things all glory might be given to you, Almighty God, now and forever.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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.

Read Full Post »

All Saints Day/Sunday

Nov. 1

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From the Curator:

This celebration of the Church, which in the language of earlier English-speakers is often celebrated on Nov. 1 as “All Hallows’ Day” (or on the Eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, or “Hallowe’en”), remembers specifically the faithful who have passed from this life into the next through death, and celebrates the power of the Resurrection over death itself.  It was created specifically to assure that those who by their remarkable faith were deserving of having a feast day set aside to their honor would be remembered.   The feast established for Nov. 2, “All Souls’ Day,” was in its founding designed to mark an observance of the death of those of us who are perhaps “less remarkable” in our faith,  and to lead all of us to face the story of life with those we are nurturing in faith (our children) by a visit to the parish graveyard.  It might well be an occasion for those who would take note of it today to deal with the pastoral reality of a world which is widely in denial of the reality of death (or the powerful illusion of death, if that is one’s theological understanding of what happens when we cease to reside in this earthly frame), and make occasion to mark the brevity of life.

The celebration may also be offered in place of the Proper of the Sunday nearest Nov. 1, as is the custom in most congregations.

For Other Resources see:

https://lifeinliturgy.wordpress.com/2019/10/14/all-saints-day-sunday-c/

Preparing for All Saints’ Day/Sunday Celebration

Hymn for All Saints’ Day (by the Curator)

Excellent Resource from the Christian Church Foundation (pdf file)

Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Revelation 7:9-17
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
1 John 3:1-3

Matthew 5:1-12

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

637-For all the saints

649-Give thanks for life

67-O God, our help in ages past

75-I was there to hear your borning cry

385-An upper room did our Lord prepare

392-Draw us in the Spirit’s tether

431-Go, my children with my blessing

See also: 433-434

See also Hymn for All Saints’ Day (by the editor)

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Matthew 5:1-12

               The blessing of the Savior

               comes simply to the fore,

               sustaining each by simple fare,

               the gracious and the meek.

               With gratitude we recognize

               the saints in due repair,

               the savor of the child of God

               who tastes the kingdom’s boon.

7.6.8.6.8.6.8.6.    Suggested tune: St. Christopher

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:  In Lieu of the Psalm, the following may be used:

(from Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9)

L: The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God

and no torment will ever touch them.

P: In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,

        and their departure was thought to be an affliction,

L: And their going from us seemed to be their destruction;

P:  But they are at peace.

L: Those who trust in God will understand truth,

and the faithful will abide in love.

P:  Because grace and mercy are upon God’s chosen,

        and God watches over the saints.

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.

Introduction to the Service

We gather this morning to celebrate the lives of persons we name as saints.  Some of them are living, others have completed their physical lives here on earth.  Some have touched us personally, others have touched and called into question the institutions and structures of our society.  But all have helped shape who we are.  We celebrate these persons and their lives in all aspects of God’s creation.

OR

We gather this morning to celebrate the lives of persons we name as saints, and those unnumbered throngs who praise God around the Throne.  Some have touched us personally, others have touched and reshaped our society and our world.  All of them are known to God, and all are precious in God’s sight, as are we, the saints of God on earth, being made fit to share in their inheritance in the ages to come.  Let us rejoice in God’s saints, this day and every day.

Call to Worship   

L:  Praise the Lord, all you saints!

P:  Praise God all you heavenly hosts!

L: Patriarchs and Prophets, holy men and women, evangelists, apostles, and martyrs: all whose robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb:

P:  Praise the Lord!

L: We are the saints who are the living body of Christ, the Church.

P:  Praise the Lord!  O praise the name of the Lord!

OR

L: The earth and all that is in it belongs to the Holy One.

P: Look, here is our God, for whom we have waited.
L: This is the Holy One, for whom we have waited.
P: Let us be glad and rejoice in our salvation.
L: Who shall ascend the hill of the Holy One? And who shall stand in this holy place?
P: We come, seeking the face of God.

OR

L: The Holy One shows us a vision of a new heaven and a new earth,
P: where everyone will live in peace and blessing.
L: Trusting in God’s promise to wipe away all our tears,
P: we worship in the blessed hope of life eternal. 

OR

L: With people from all times and places,

P: God calls us to worship and share together this mystery of life, and faith, and love!

L: In the company of those well-known and little known,

P: God invites us to journey together along this way of mystery, for our Lord is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

OR

L: The earth and all that is in it belongs to the Holy One.
P: Look, this is our God, for whom we have waited.
L: Will you come to the hill of the Holy One?
P: We come, seeking the face of God.

OR

L: We remember, the countless saints of history who have blazed a trail of courage through time,

P: We remember the tender touch of loved ones, the healing words of comforters, the remarkable acts of fearless ones.

L: We remember, the supreme love of Jesus, the sharing of his suffering, the glory of his resurrection shown forth in the lives of his disciples throughout the ages.P: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us worship God with joy!

OR

L: You, Lord, have called us: voices and grandfathered whispers off yellowed pages, guides in the desert, faceless faith still being shared.

P: You, Lord, have lifted us up by your hand: wrinkled strong hands of grandmother’s grace, quiet prayers spoken, lifting us up from despair. 

L: You, Lord, have shown us light: the light of millions of candles sharing their faith.  The light of saints past, the living tradition of the redeemed, the resurrection retelling, the passing of this flame from generation to generation.

P: We Remember, and because of you in them, we walk in the candlelight of Christ.

OR (from the Center for Faith and Giving)

from Revelation 21:1-6a

One: Look!  There is a new heaven and a new earth!
Many:  We’re looking, but it’s tough to see.
One:  God’s home will be among us!
Many:  We eagerly anticipate that realm.
One:  God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
Many:  Death will be no more!
One:  Until that time comes, we actively wait and prepare for God’s realm.
Many:  Until that time comes, we’re grateful for love that holds us close.
All:     Alleluia! God is making all things NEW!

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Throughout all our lives God is with us.
P: Praise be to God for God’s mercy and love.
L: Even when we are faced with difficult decisions, God’s presence is near.
P: When we don’t know which way to go, God will guide and lead us.
L: Open your hearts today to God’s gently leading.
P: We open our lives to God, that we may faithfully serve God all our days. 

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: For all those who have paved the way for our freedom of worship, we give thanks, O Lord.
P: For those who have taught us about witness and the power of love, we give thanks, O Lord.
L: For those who work in our church that we may come to know what it means to serve, we give thanks, O Lord.
P: For all the saints, those who rest from their labors, and those who labor still, we give thanks, O Lord.
L: Praise be to God, who continually inspires and guides workers and witnesses.
P: Open our hearts and spirits, O Lord, and help us to become good workers for you. 

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Our hearts are filled with joy when we think of those who have framed our faith.
P: We appreciate all those people who have taught us the great lessons of faith and life.
L: We offer our love and support to those who labor diligently in the world, helping those in need.
P: We give of our substance, our prayers, and our support to their work.
L: Lord, encourage us in our work, that we might bear witness to your love.
P: Keep us ready to serve you in all that we say and do. 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

Eternal God, you have called us to be members of one body.  Join us with those who in all times and places have praised your name; that with one heart and mind, we may show the unity of your church, and bring honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever worshiped you whether in brush arbors or cathedrals, weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses where your name was lifted and adored. Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us. Bless the memories of your saints, God. May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love, for we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Faithful Redeemer, you are the beginning and ending of all things.  You promise to wipe away every tear, that death and mourning will be no more. You make your home among us, and teach us to live as the saints you call us to be. May we may truly be your people, living and doing your will, in the name of Jesus, (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending of all creation, in your word we are unbound from death, and brought out into eternal life in you. May we so trust you in this time-bound world, allowing you to shape our lives, so that we may join those saints that have gone on ahead of us within the eternal world, where all is light, love, peace and joy. This we pray through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Loving God, we your saints gather to worship and praise you this day. We celebrate the saints who have served you and been an example for us throughout the past. We give you thanks for the joy of being a part of the communion of saints with those who have gone before and those scattered around the globe. Open us to your Spirit to continue being the saints you have called us to be. In Christ’s name we pray (as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Eternal God, hope of all who trust in you, in Christ you weep with those who mourn even as you cry out in triumph over the grave. Unbind us from sin, release us from captivity, and with Lazarus, raise us from death to life, so that we may join that great crowd of saints who forever sing praise to your holy name; through Christ, the resurrection and the life (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR (from the Center for Faith and Giving)

God, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. As we remember those who have gone before us, shine the light of your eternal presence in each one of us. As we give you thanks for life, encourage us to live in constant awareness of your Love which surrounds us. As we offer you our praise and thanksgiving, raise us up to sing a joy-filled “Alleluia” (for we pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Faithful Redeemer, you are the beginning and ending of all things.  You promise to wipe away every tear, that death and mourning will be no more. You make your home among us, and abide with us as our God. Teach us to live as the saints you call us to be, that we may truly be your people, living and doing your will, in the name of Jesus, (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Note:  Not every section of this intercession need be used.   

In peace, let us offer our prayers to God.  In response to my words, “Lord, hear us,” please respond “Lord, graciously hear us”.

In every age you have raised up holy men and women to reflect the light of Christ and to teach us the way of holiness.  We thank you for those who have been teachers in the school of Christ:  give understanding to those who study the faith that the Church has handed on, and clarity to those who communicate the gospel in a changing world … Lord, hear us.

                     All: Lord, graciously hear us.

We thank you for those who have been shepherds of your people: give a pastoral heart to deacons, priests and bishops, and the needful gifts to all your people in their ministry …Lord, hear us.  R

We thank you for those who have been Christian rulers in the world, and for those who carried the good news to lands where it had not been before: give wisdom to all who have power and influence among the nations, and establish God’s sovereignty among people of every race …Lord, hear us. R

We thank you for those whom you have called to live in community: establish mutual love among those drawn into fellowship in your service, and bless with Christ’s presence all the communities to which we relate …Lord, hear us. R

We thank you for those who have lived out their vocation in family life: give your grace to all who nurture children and all who care for the aged, and enfold in your love all your sons and daughters …Lord, hear us. R

We thank you for those who have brought wholeness through the medicine of the gospel: give skill to all who minister healing and reconciliation in your name, and comfort all who cry out to you from any sort of distress …Lord, hear us. R

We thank you for the noble army of martyrs by the shedding of whose blood the Church has been enriched: keep under your protection those who are persecuted for the cause of Christ, and acknowledge, we pray,  (here, read the names of the dead, if not read elsewhere in the service), and all those who have passed through death trusting your promises …Lord, hear us. R

Hasten, Lord, the day when people will come from east and west, from north and south, and sit at table in your kingdom, and we shall see your Son in his glory.  And now we offer prayer for those needs which lie closest to our hearts in silence.

Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept.  A concluding collect may be offered.

OR

We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever worshiped you

Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,

Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses

Where your name was lifted and adored.

We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:

Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,

Strong hands and those gnarled with age

Holy hands

Used as wave offerings across the land.

We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;

Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,

Head ragged or aproned,

Blue-collared or three-piece-suited

They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, for our children to come.

Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.

Bless the memories of your saints, God.

May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love.

OR

Living God, in whom there is no shadow or change, we thank you for the gift of life eternal, and for all those who having served you well, now rest from their labors.   We thank you for all the saints remembered and forgotten, for those dear souls most precious to us.  Today we give thanks for those who during the last twelve months have died and entered into glory.

God of Jesus and our God,

mindful of all those choice souls who have gone on ahead of us,

teach us, and each twenty-first century disciple of every race and place,

to follow their example to the best of our ability:

to feed the poor in body or spirit,

to support and comfort the mourners and the repentant,

to encourage the meek and stand with them in crises,

to affirm those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

to cherish and learn from the merciful,

to be humbled by, and stand with, the peacemakers.

Let us clearly recognize what it means to be called the children of God, and to know we are to be your saints neither by our own inclination nor in our own strength but simply by the call and the healing holiness of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Almighty God,

you have knit together your elect

in one communion and fellowship

   in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:

grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints

in all virtuous and godly living

that we may come to those inexpressible joys

that you have prepared for those who truly love you;

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, the source of all holiness and giver of all good things:

may we who have shared at this table

   as strangers and pilgrims here on earth

be welcomed with all your saints

   to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

God of holiness,

your glory is proclaimed in every age:

as we rejoice in the faith of your saints,

inspire us to follow their example

with boldness and joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one

communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son

Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints

in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those

ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love

you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy

Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 5:1-12

            With breathless wonder on this Mount, O God,

                        we learn the blessed in your arms.

                        You generate a vision of your life

                                    within our presence, in our hearts.

                        And we, with stumbling after all your Saints,

                                    come to delight with freshened hearts

                                                in Jesus Christ.

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

In Christ we have obtained an inheritance – everlasting life. As an act of praise and thanksgiving, let us share our gifts with and through the Body of Christ.

Offertory Prayer

Generous Giver of all that we need, accept these gifts of simple bread and ordinary wine, that we may one day share in your holy feast spread out through all the world. We pray in the name of Jesus, your holy child, who sets the table for all people — a table of rich food and abundant joy.

OR

We offer our whole selves to you, O God, creator of everything. It is a joy and a blessing to share our gifts with one another. As we offer these things for the work of your church, help us to be mindful of all that we can do together as the Body of Christ.

OR (from the Center for Faith and Giving)

For every life remembered, for every gift given, for every opportunity to connect with those who have gone before, we give you thanks, God of Life.  Receive these gifts, accept our tears, our laughter and our memories and use all that we bring to proclaim the Realm which is yours, made known to us most clearly in Jesus, the first fruits of those who have died.

Invitation to the Table

(With naming of the Blessed Dead)

Someone has said that time is simply a way to keep everything from happening at once.  And that’s a good thing.  If life had no orderly sequence of events, it would not be possible.  But there times when time fades before us.  So it often is with communion, especially on a day like today, as we remember those saints who rest from their labors.  It has been said that whenever and wherever Christians join in communion, at that moment the pilgrim is arriving, just about to step over the threshold.

 Each year, on this occasion, we remember the lives of those whose service, hopes, accomplishments and faith have touched our own.  Let us be reminded of these words of assurance from scripture: In dying, Christ destroyed our death; rising, Christ restores our life; Christ will come again in glory.  As in baptism these faithful brothers and sisters put on Christ, so in Christ they are clothed in glory.

Let us thank the God of Abraham and Sarah, of Moses and Deborah, of Mary and Joseph, of Paul and Phoebe; the God of our fathers and mothers, and the God of all creation.  Let us praise God for the great company of all those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors, and for those dear to us whom we name in our hearts.  Let us praise God for those whom God has welcomed home, as we remember:

(Naming of the Blessed Dead)

Many are God’s saints; many are those who share this place at God’s table with us, just as Jesus shared with his close friends around the table on the night he was betrayed and offered up for us all.  At supper, he took bread, and having given thanks to God he broke it, and he gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat; this is my body which is given for you;” and after the supper he took the cup, and having blessed it gave it to them saying “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which is shed for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”    

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed.  This perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal, immortality.  Then shall come to pass the saying: “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory?”  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

OR  from the Christian Church Foundation

This is a special day of remembering. We have remembered those Saints who died in the Lord in the last year. We remember at his table every week in worship the one who made us all Saints, the Special One Jesus Christ. He invited his followers to do this in remembrance of him. All are invited to bring memories to this table and present them to the present one.

OR

Many of the Saints whom we honored today were people with whom we shared meals, Family meals at the dinette table, holiday feasts in the dining room, picnic table barbecues, or church family meals at a carry-in dinner. Jesus ate meals with saints and sinners. So powerful was his presence in life that even in death those who had shared meals with him sensed he was still present when they broke bread and shared cup. The love feast of the early church is repeated here today when we share the meal at this communion table and sense his continued love in our lives.

OR  (from the Center for Faith and Giving)

The invitation is simple: come and eat of the feast.
Not a meal to nourish the body, but to feed the soul.

We receive the bread and wine connected to the ages:
to the saint of old who felt unworthy,
to the seeker eager to know God,
to the teenager who wonders what it’s all about,
to the child who eats with unburdened faith.

Woven into this time, the hopes and tears of generations.

There is great joy here.

No one is turned away for God is the host!

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)

Loving God, as bread broken and scattered, your church looks to you to make us one again.  Help us who receive this bread, remembering your love for us in Jesus Christ, to be strengthened in our faith and hope, knowing that in reality we are one with Christ and one with each other, enjoying the timeless feast which you have spread for us.  Send your Spirit upon us who gather at your Table in faith, and upon these gifts of bread and cup.  May we be filled with your Spirit and renewed to join the great un-numbered host who sing your praise now and throughout eternity, until we join with them in the celebration of your victory at your heavenly table, for we offer you our praise and our lives through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

OR (Great Thanksgiving with naming of the Blessed Dead)

It is always right and good to give thanks to you, Lord God of Abraham and Sarah, of Deborah and Moses, God of Isaac and Rebecca, of Mary and Joseph.  You have brought all things into being by your love and grace, and have called them good; and you have called together a people of faith to praise you, and filled them with your Spirit.   As we remember your people of all times and places which have lived in faith and hope of your eternal resurrection,  and joining with the whole company of your people in heaven and on earth, we praise your name and join their unending hymns of praise.

Here among your saints in this community, we remember those who have touched our own so intimately:  (Here the names of the Blessed Dead are spoken)

These are your own beloved children.  Help us to remember them with joy and thanksgiving as we come to your table today.  Send the power of your Spirit upon us and upon these gifts that we may bring you praise in Christ Jesus our Lord, as we gather within his body, and in the days to come as we live to serve you in this age, and for the ages of ages to come.

ELDERS’ PRAYERS FOLLOW:

  1. Loving God, as bread broken and scattered, your church looks to you to make us one again.  Help us who receive this bread, remembering your love for us in Jesus Christ, to be strengthened in our faith and hope, knowing that in reality we are one with Christ and one with each other, enjoying the timeless feast which you have spread for us through your beloved Son.
  1. Send your Spirit upon us who gather here in faith, and upon these gifts of bread and cup.  May we who drink this wine be filled with your Spirit and renewed to join the great un-numbered host who sing your praise now and throughout eternity, until we join with them in the celebration of your victory at your heavenly table, for we offer you our praise and our lives through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OR Great Thanksgiving adapted from ministrymatters.com

It is a right, a good, and a joyful thing always and everywhere to give our thanks to you, Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending of all creation. In the days of Isaiah, you promised to lead all the nations to your holy mountain, and swallow up death forever.   You have revealed the coming of a new heaven

and new earth, in which every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and all will feast at your heavenly banquet.

And so, with your saints now on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn, saying (singing):

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one

who comes in your holy name. Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, and holy is your son, Jesus Christ.  With thanksgiving we remember…

                (Words of Institution and Memorial Acclamation)

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine.  Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, so that we may become one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until all things are made new. Alpha and Omega, Beginning and Ending, Spirit of new beginnings, we praise your holy, eternal, triune name.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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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Pentecost +21, Proper 25A

Oct. 25

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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):

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 or Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 or Psalm 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

56 – For the beauty of the earth

218-Thine is the Glory

233-Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!

452-Here I am, Lord

565-If you will trust in God to guide you

622-Guide me, O thou great Jehovah

487-Help us accept each other

621-Are ye able

406-Beneath the forms of outward rite

405-In memory of the Savior’s love

395-Seed, scattered and sown

423-Become to us the living Bread

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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

               We gather now, all friends in Christ,

               come to behold him now

               within this fellowship we own,

               won by communion’s goad.

               Appeal of heart is savored now,

               abundant as before,

               that all the spread may harbor grace

               and echo God’s desire.

               Together in this instinct, joy

               and thoroughgoing hope

               swell through the proffered gratitude

               that we prepare in love.

               Intent upon this fellowship,

               this nurture to adore,

               we learn the gentle in our midst

               expose true mercy’s gain.

CM       Suggested tune: Mendip

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 90 is on page 746  

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 24

L: The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it; the world and those who dwell therein.

P: For it was he who founded it upon the seas and planted it firm upon the waters beneath.

L: Who may go up the mountain of the Lord? And who may stand in God’s holy place?

P: Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who have not set their minds on falsehood and have not committed perjury.

L: They shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and justice from God their savior.

P: Such is the fortune of those who seek God, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

OR   (adapted from Psalm 65)

L: Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts.

P:  We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, your holy temple.

L: You crown the year with your bounty; the pastures of the wilderness overflow;  the hills gird themselves with joy;

P:  The meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: Our hearts are lifted up toward God.
P: God created all that is!
L: We celebrate that great love of God.
P: God gifted us with God’s only son, Jesus the Christ.
L: Rejoice and be glad today!
P: Our hearts and spirits praise God for all God’s blessings.

OR from ministrymatters.com

L: God has called us to be people of love.
P: God didn’t mean the “syrupy” stuff of movies and novels.
L: Truly loving can sometimes be difficult,
P: Yet we are called to reach beyond the difficulty with compassion.
L: In all of this, God is with us, guiding and helping us.
P: Thanks be to God for God’s faithful presence.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

L: We are called to be the people of God’s kingdom.
P: In God’s realm we will find healing and hope.
L: We are called to be people who love as God has loved us.
P: In God’s world, we will reach out with God’s love to all God’s people.
L: We are called to be those who would serve.
P: May God be with us as we serve by helping those in need.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

L: Even when it seems we have suffered for a long time;
P: God breaks through in mercy and love for us.
L: Things may not be easy but we can count on God to be with us.
P: God walks the pathways of both light and darkness with us.
L: God, come quickly into our lives. Erase our fears and doubts.
P: God, come quickly into our hearts and teach us to truly be your people.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

With thankful hearts for the bounties of our lives we come, O God, to offer our prayers and praise. As we gather this week keep us mindful of all the blessings in our lives and those we share our lives with. Be with us in worship as we lift our voices in praise of you, through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

You who have created us and sustain us: we come with thanksgiving for these moments when we can ease the pace of our lives and listen for your voice. Create a spirit within us that truly draws us toward you and toward our brother and sisters; a spirit deep, perceptive, gentle and bold. Clear our minds, open our hearts and touch us with your presence and your power. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Your blessings overflow, Almighty God, Maker and Renewer of the earth!  May our praises overflow with thanksgiving, as we celebrate your abundant gifts in our midst; and may our lives overflow with gracious love and service in your world, through Jesus Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Lord of light and hope, be with us this day as we have gathered to hear your word. Help us open our hearts to the commandments to love, even when loving is difficult. Give us the courage to be people who will commit their whole lives in your service. For we ask this in Jesus’ name (praying as he taught us, saying “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

Lord Jesus, you command us to remember that the first commandment is to love God with all that we are, our hearts, souls, minds and spirits. The second is equal to this in that this love is to be extended to our neighbors. We are to love as we wish to be loved. Help us to internalize these commandments so that when we encounter times of difficulty, we are again reminded of your everlasting love for us. (This we pray through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from ministrymatters.com

God, you are God forever.  This alone is cause for celebration, but we also know that we are your people!  As we feel your love washing over us now, may we love you with every part of our being: heart, mind, body, and soul.  We celebrate your love in our lives, and we ask for your help as we try our best to boldly share the good news of your love with others.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who models the way for us (and taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Center us now, O God, on your presence in this place among your people, as we lift up our hearts desires, our soul’s deep needs, our hungers, fears and failures.

As we have often failed to be obedient to your will in our lives as individual disciples and as church, we pray that you will forgive us and enliven us to be and to do the gospel of Christ. Open us to your Spirit’s urgings, and awaken us to live faithfully as your people in a changing, often hurting world.

We pray for those around us who need your care, and ask that you would make of us your instruments of healing, peace and redemption. We pray especially for those we have named to you this day, and others we lift to you in the silence of our hearts.

Reveal your presence with them and with us, God of life, that as people of renewed faith and vitality, we may be empowered to serve your world, and so give glory to you; for we offer our prayers and our lives in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

OR

Lord God, we give you thanks for all your gifts to us—for daily food, for health, for each breath we take, for freedom to choose, and for the gifts of your word, your power and your love.  Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider how you have entrusted so much to us.  May we be worthy of that trust—may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live.

Help us, O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you have given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and desire to increase your glory and your goodness in this world.  Make us people who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us.

We pray for the church gathered today, both here and around the world, that it may encourage all of its members to discover, develop and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace.

We pray for those who are poor in body or in spirit, for those oppressed and heavy laden, for those sick or in despair.   Minister by your Spirit and by us, to all those for whom we have prayed, and help us walk faithfully in the path of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

OR from ministrymatters.com

Patient God, we find it so easy to give lip service and “check” service to the commandment to love. We can say we know of your love and that we respond in kind, but we far too often do not respond in loving ways toward others. We write checks to support ministries of compassion without ever truly feeling the deep compassion that service demands. Dig deeper into our souls, O God. Expose the vain selfishness and the fear that seem to block true discipleship. Engage us in ministries of justice in which the kind of love that you call us to have is required, not just in our spoken word or in our offerings of monies, but in our very passionate nature. Free us and inspire us to love all persons, those whom we would deem unlovable, and those whom we find it easy to love. Help us love ourselves, respecting ourselves in gratitude for the gifts you have given to us; then move us to use these gifts in service to you. We ask these things in the name of Jesus the Christ.

OR adapted from ministrymatters.com

In the midst of frightening times when words of war soar to the heavens and anger seems to be the way to treat others and to respond to difficulty, be with us, merciful God. We do not want to live in these hideous ways. We seek your peace and healing love. Our hearts are filled with concern for our families and friends as well as those in far off lands who face great times of difficulties, illness, mourning. We lift to you our prayers for ourselves and others, knowing that you hear our cries and respond in love. Yet in the midst of darkness your light of joy abounds within us as we share those moments which have caused us to rejoice in delight and love, as we remember ________ and those we name in the silence of our hearts.

[Silent prayer.]

Lord of hope and peace, we have offered our prayers and lives to you. Be with all of us, O Lord. Heal our wounds. Direct our lives in pathways of peace. These things we offer in Jesus’ name.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Blessed Lord,

who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

help us so to hear them,

to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them

that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,

we may embrace and for ever hold fast

   the hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

God of all grace,

your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry

with the bread of his life

and the word of his kingdom:

renew your people with your heavenly grace,

and in all our weakness

sustain us by your true and living bread;

who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Additional Collect

Merciful God,

teach us to be faithful in change and uncertainty,

that trusting in your word

and obeying your will

we may enter the unfailing joy of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of

faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you

promise, make us love what you command; 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 (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 22:34-46

            The whole of heart, of soul, of mind, O God

                        is all the measure of our love for you.

                        And as ourselves, those others, many near by day

                                    are loved, you say.

                        So balance your presence in our way, O Lord,

                                    that we find all delight

                                                in David’s Son and Lord.

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

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. As stewards of the kingdom of God, let us give from our abundance with thanksgiving.

OR

The wonderful works of God surround us. How will we show our gratitude? The generosity of God exceeds all our limits. How will our manner of life reflect the abundance of God’s mercy? Surely our offerings are one measure of our response. Let us present them with joy and thanksgiving.

OR

Just as Christ has taught the way of life to us, the church, we have the responsibility of bringing life to the world around us through our ministries and the outreach of missions through our connections of faith around the globe.  Let us offer gratefully and sacrificially to the work of God who has given all for us.

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

Holy one, your heart abounds with gifts.  Receive this offering as a sign of our trust in you and our intention to live surrounded by your mercy, inspired by your Spirit, open to the joy of your presence, hospitable to one another, and generous toward your world.  Amen.

OR

We thank you, God for this opportunity to express our love to you through the gifts we bring to support and encourage your work in near and distant places. Make our hearts glad that we can share in extending the gospel and helping to heal humanity’s pain, for we bring them to you with grateful hearts.

OR from ministrymatters.com

As you have poured your healing love into our lives, O God, we now offer these gifts to you. Let them be used in ministries of peace and justice through the work of this church in your world.

Invitation to the Table

Beloved of Christ, people shall be gathered from north and south, from east and west to feast at the heavenly banquet of the Lord.  Christ our Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed; therefore, let us celebrate the feast.  Christ invites to this table all who desire to follow in faith in the days that lie ahead, and to acclaim him Lord.  Let us come to this holy celebration in faith.

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)

O God, as a people seeking to learn the way of love, we pray that you would reveal Christ in love to us here as we bless and break this bread and drink from this cup. Send forth your Holy Spirit upon us, that we who receive from your hand the gifts of this table might be nourished to share his love with the world for whom he gave himself, the ultimate offering of redeeming love.

OR

  1. Loving God, we give you thanks for your life-giving Word, and the bread of life which is set before us in this meal.  As your Spirit has come upon your Church to do your bidding, so pour out your Spirit upon these gifts, that as we receive them we may be nourished to live as your body in the world, empowered for all good works through Christ our Lord.
  1. Your grace, O God, is abundant and freely poured out upon us.  The thirsting world yearns to drink deeply of the life that you alone can give. As we receive the cup of salvation in this offering of Christ for the world, may we be renewed in our conviction to serve you by a life of service to the needs of others, that the world may know you, and may celebrate your life-giving love.  This we pray in the name and spirit of  Jesus our Lord.

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 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

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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