Worship Elements: June 25, 2017 (Option 1)

May 23rd, 2017

Third Sunday After Pentecost

Scripture Readings: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39
Color: Green

Call to Worship:

L: The Lord of mysteries shall reveal what is hidden!

P: The God of wonders shall unveil the unknown!

L: In the night God will whisper great secrets to our hearts,

P: At dawn we shall shout them from the tops of our houses!

A: Hear, and understand! See, and perceive! To us God will give the secrets of the kingdom!

Invocation:

We are your disciples, Lord. How we want to be like you! We are your servants, Lord. How we want to serve like you! Take our minds: enlighten them. Take our hearts: awaken them. Take our hands: enliven them—not that we might be made great through you, but that you might be made great through us!

Litany:

L: You ask us, O God, to have faith in a Spirit which the world scorns. You ask us to believe in a Name at which the world scoffs. For a time, we follow you from afar. But soon our friends keep us at a distance, refusing to accompany us on the way you want us to go.

P: So we say in our homes, "We won't think about God." We say in our streets, "We won't mention God's name."

L: And the ones we might have rescued begin to drown in turmoil.

P: A fire sparks within our bones.

L: And the ones we might have freed begin to die beneath their chains.

P: A fire kindles within our bones.

L: And the ones we might have healed begin to weaken until they faint.

P: A fire burns within our bones.

L: We deserted our God, stranding ourselves in lifeless ashes. But our God had not deserted us.

P: Our God is with us! Before the Lord scorners will stumble; a word from the Lord will silence the scoffers.

L: The Lord is with us; the Lord will save!

A: Though our brothers may betray us and our sisters deny us, we will be faithful. Though our parents may persecute us and our children rise against us, we will be loyal. Though we may be hated by all for the sake of the Lord, to the Lord we commit our cause!

Prayer for One Voice:

O God, you possess all beginnings and all endings. In the morning you are the cradle of the world and in the evening you are the world's comforter. You are the morning dew kissing the buds of the flowers and the evening mist rising through the falling leaves. You are the early sun announcing the dawning of a new day and the twilight whispering the secrets of another.

You possess all beginnings and endings, all failings and risings, all living and dying. All of your people, all of your creation swells with the rhythms of life and death and rebirth. These rhythms compel us to sing, to laugh, to dance, to dream. We sing of sorrows borne despite anguish and of joys known despite fear. We laugh at mistakes made in our weakness and at changes begun in our strength. We dance to the harmonies of the universe and to the melodies within our own breasts. And we dream of unknown worlds on the strength of the world we know.

We stand as a people of faith, convinced not by the persuasion of our minds but by the experience of our lives. We are convinced that all is as you say it is—that you do number every hair on every head and see our every step.

We believe, O God. But when faith ebbs, we feel the pain of the world, and it spatters into the still waters of our lives. Infants die without drawing a breath. Wheat fields burn while standing ripe for the harvest. Old friends suffer diseases whose cures are years away. Tornadoes rip through the poorest sections of town. Innocent citizens are caught in the cross fire between governments. Workers lose the jobs they have held for years, while the unemployed have been turned away so many times they have traded hope for tears. And the children—abused because they wear the wrong color skin, speak the wrong language, live under the wrong flag, worship the wrong god—have no hope to lose.

The list is long, O God. But, somewhere in the midst of our sorrows, you are walking, holding hands, lifting up, mending wounds, breathing new life, and receiving the old. This we believe, and in this belief we find strength to remember and respond.

You have numbered us from the first to last. We pray that you might grant us the compassion to count one another daily. Let us reach to those who stumble, and break their fall; to the fallen, and pull them to their feet. Let us be caught when we are about to faint; and be lifted up, when we are struggling to rise.

Benediction:

Be not dismayed, whatever befalls you. You are more valuable than sparrows, and not one of them falls to the ground without the Lord knowing. Do not fear, nor be afraid. Only acknowledge the Christ in word and deed, and you will find yourself in the presence of God.

From Litanies and Other Prayers Year A: Copyright © 1989, 1992 by Abingdon Press

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