Call to Worship

It’s a matter of the heart {Shaping Sunday Worship}

Praying the Lectionary Readings

Preparing for the shape of Sunday Worship – Pentecost 22 (Ordinary Time) Year C

 

slant heartCall to Worship

Leader:  The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

All: Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

Leader: They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

All: Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.

(Psalm 19 1-4 NIV)

 

Praise, Confession, Thanksgiving

Today we lift up hearts of praise.

You, Lord God, are all around us. Your glory is shouting out, waiting for us to respond with hearts of thanksgiving. You, Lord God, are declared glorious by the heavens, by the rhythms of day and night, seasons of autumn, winter, spring, summer. You, Lord God, have shown yourself in birth,  growth, mission, service, suffering, death, resurrection,  ascension and reign. You, Lord God, have opened a good way of life and living for us.  A way that sees, hears, receives, renews, responds.  A way of forgiveness, justice inclusiveness, loving all, even enemies, a way of caring, connecting, following.

Lord God only you can set us free: free from a blindness that refuses to see glory; free from a stubbornness that refuses to acknowledge God creating, holding, sustaining, re-creating, renewing;  free from a hardness of heart that looks at the way of Christ and chooses a different route.  Our self-centred drivenness  has left us with tough and sinewy hearts.                                                                 The psalmist’s prayer is our prayer too:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

(Psalm 19: 14 NIV)

Today we pray for the fulfillment of the new heart:

(Jeremiah 31)

 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel

    after that time,” declares the Lord.

“I will put my law in their minds

    and write it on their hearts.

I will be their God,

    and they will be my people.

34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,

    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’

because they will all know me,

    from the least of them to the greatest,”

declares the Lord.

“For I will forgive their wickedness

    and will remember their sins no more.”

 Lord God forgive and give us hearts that know God, that see glory, that enter the rhythms of worship, that acknowledge and follow the way of Christ.  Soft responsive hearts that dare to love as Christ loves.

For this new and blessed way of living we thank you, God of the new heart.

In Jesus name

Amen.

Intercession:

For our intercession we first read the Gospel Passage (or place the intercessions after the sermon):

The Gospel reading:

Luke 18:1-8

(New International Version (NIV))

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

 

So how does this passage speak into today’s intercessory prayer?

•          We don’t pray as if God is an unjust God who needs his arm twisted.

•          Our God is for us, and willing (even to death) to act on our behalf.

•          He calls us into a faith partnership, expressed in prayer seeking justice.

 

We pray:

Leader:

Dear Lord God, Loving Lord God, Caring Lord God, God among and for us.  Today we join with you as we pray for justice.

Lord we know that life is often not fair.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Those who “have” often just invest in their own pleasures.

Those who “have” can buy their justice, the poor struggle to defend their case.

The poor struggle to educate their children, to have access to good medical care.

The poor get caught up in surviving and this battle imposes its limits.  Food, housing, security are the concerns that consume them.

All:

Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.

 

Leader:

Lord we know that life is often not fair.

The strong and loud dominate.  Our world hands over authority to those who are often not for a kingdom of justice.  To those who are self-seeking, corrupt, and steered by popular vote.  And our communities end up reflecting our leaders’ values.

All:

Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.

 

Leader:

Lord we pray for the common values that form the foundations for our shared human lives.

We practice retribution: an eye for an eye.

If we can get away with it, we think it doesn’t matter.

If others are doing it, why shouldn’t we?

We abuse others under the guise of a free market.

We are self seeking rather than Kingdom of God seeking.

All:

Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.

 

Leader:

We acknowledge that we stand before you, the just judge.

The one who has lived and died for this justice.

The one who willingly and eagerly seeks justice for all.

Our Lord we offer ourselves to join with you in obedience to this call for justice.

May we be among those who care for widows and all who live under the burden of injustice.

All:

Loving God, let your justice flow like a mighty river.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

Sending Out

Leader:

Go now, held in God’s heart.

God’s heart forgives,

God’s heart serves,

God’s heart loves,

God’s just heart makes all things new!

 All:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore.

Amen

Psalm 19: 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

    be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

A well-watered place – Liturgy

Praying the Lectionary Scriptures

 Lectionary inspiration for Sunday 13 October 2013,

(Pentecost 21, Ordinary Time, Year C)

Call to worship (Psalm 66 NIV)Water Lillies edit

One:  Shout to God with joy, everyone on earth!  Sing about the glory of his name!

All:  We  give him glorious praise!

One:  Say to God, “What wonderful things you do!

All: We bow down to you we sing your praise!

 

Opening Prayer (Praise, confession, thanks)

Verses to use in introducing this prayer:

Psalm 66:12 “But you brought us to a place where we have everything we need.” (NIV)

Psalm 66:12 Finally he brought us to this well-watered place. (The Message)

 

After each sentence is read a short pause is suggested in order to reflect thankfully on that particular provision.

“Lord, you have brought us to a spacious, well-watered, place.  Here today we have provision enough:

You have watered us with creation (Pause)

You have watered us with life (Pause)

You have watered us with a life shared even to death (Pause)

You have watered us with your Holy and comforting Spirit (Pause)

You have watered us with the gift of community (Pause)

You have watered us by calling us and giving us a calling in life (Pause)

Yet we confess our germination is stunted.  We are slow to split open and sprout; fearful of opening ourselves to your gift of life.  We have yet to be changed from glory into glory through the way of growth you have provided.  When will we flower and bear your fruit?   Lord God, today in this place of provision help us to risk and open ourselves to your life-giving and transforming Spirit, that Spirit who blows where He wills,

that Spirit who animates us with life-giving energy,

that Spirit who connects us with Jesus,

that Spirit who gifts us for the common good,

that Spirit who catches us up in the Mission of God.

Will you open your life to this Spirit today?

If you would like to open your life afresh to God’s Spirit, open your hands as an expression of this (Pause).

We continue to pray:

 “Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us,

Break us, Melt us, Mould us, Fill us.

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on us.”

(Pause)

Thank you Lord, you have brought us to this place of provision, this well-watered place.  And here we are restored.

In Jesus” Name

Amen.

 Intercession

Begin by Reading our Jeremiah passage:

Jeremiah 29:4-7 (NIV)

“4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

 

The call is to seek the peace and prosperity of our city, because if it prospers we too will prosper.  In our prayer of intercession we pick up this call and pray that all may share in the abundant provision of our Lord.

Lord, you have provided so abundantly in creation, in salvation, in transformation.  You have provided for the renewal of all creation, a new heaven and a new earth.  We thank you that you call us into this mission of new life.

Yet as we look at our “city”, as we cast our net wider than just our own concerns, we see lack, poverty, paralysis, lack of hope and vision.

May our hearts be filled with the same passion that hears the cry of need.

We pray for those in our city who are hungry…

We pray for those in our city who only live to get and never know the joy of giving…

We pray for those in our city who know no community support…those who have no sense of belonging…

We pray for those in our city who have trusted and whose trust has been betrayed…those who have decided never to trust again…

We pray for those in our city who are abused, children, women, disadvantaged, the powerless…

We pray for those in our city who are cut off from the supply of provision, either through their own failures or through the failures of others.

Lord, we pray…

And now Lord we offer ourselves to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which (you) have carried (us).”  We offer you our passion, our planning, our energy, our time, our resources, our creativity.   May this church be a place of caring action on behalf of others:  May we be among the peace makers.

To this end we offer these prayers and our lives.

For Jesus’ sake,

Amen.

Sending Out:

Lord, we move beyond being mere spectators.

You call us to participate fully in the story of Salvation.

We go now, renewed through your provision.

We go now caught up by your Spirit of love.

 

We greet one another in the words:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, now and forever more.

Amen

Praying the Lectionary {Sunday October 6}

Call to worship, Sending out,  and Hope in Suffering (a prayer).

Feel free to use any or all of these resources .

 

Call to worship:

Here is the God of Heaven

Here is the God who joins us on earth

Here is God, all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, all-creating

Here is God, humble, connecting, sharing suffering, friend of sinners.

Let us lift up our eyes and worship our God.

 

Sending out:

The world doesn’t need more plastic success stories.

Go out to share in suffering and grief.

Go out as healing balm and be applied to the wounds of this world.

Go out as servants and follow your Master’s example.

Go out trusting in death and resurrection.

 

Hope in the midst of suffering

It is difficult to live in a world that is continually plunged into new cycles of grief.  In its darker moments life is filled with despair and curses.   Our Lord entered this suffering in his incarnation and hung on a cross, shared our death.   We, the body of Christ are called to continue sharing in the suffering of this world.  Do we go the way of the cross and share in this grief?  Our readings from Lamentations and Psalms give us an opportunity to express this call. How is our world grieving? What grief lies behind your life today?   What grief have you hidden from?   How does Psalm 137 express this grief?  How does Lamentations direct us in dealing with the grief we have expressed and identified with?  The prayer below seeks to responds to some of these questions.

(In the midst of grief Lamentations declares: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end…they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus you have entered our suffering, hung on a cross

Your call is to identify with the suffering of this world.

And so we groan as Israel groaned.

 

Leader: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

All: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

O Lord our hearts are crying out, How Long? How much?

Suffering engulfs us.  We try to build walls to protect our sanity.

But these walls are breached again and again.

 

Leader: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

All: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

We groan for our world.

A world where the sacred overflows in violence and threat.

A world where calling and stewardship are abandoned for plunder and wealth.

A world where we continually sacrifice our integrity for personal preservation and success.

A world where we live for the thrill of the moment and lose sight of eternal values.

 

Leader: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

All: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

We groan for the Church.

A church that has followed the gods of the age.  That has placed numbers, finances, success, good times on top of its survival list.

A church that has lost sight of the Reality of God, of God’s Holiness, of God’s Mission.

A Church that seeks instant transformation without the devotion to God’s channels of grace.

A Church that has forgotten why it gathers for worship and why it leaves worship to enter into the world.

 

Leader: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

All: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

We groan for people.

People that are struggling to cope with a fast changing world.   Who grieve for the old and battle to make friends with the new.

People who have experienced significant change in their own life framework.  Whose work context has been shattered, whose place of living has shifted.

People who are grieving loved ones and cannot see a way forward alone.

People who lack resources to sustain their lives: food, income and support.

 

Leader: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

All: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

Leader: They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

All: “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Leader: The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

All: It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”   (Lamentations 3:21-26)