Worship Elements: October 17, 2021

August 15th, 2021

21st Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Job 38:1-7 (34-41); Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

Call to Worship

L: Servants of God, lift up your heads—
P: That the Lord of life may behold our eyes!
L: Servants of God, lift up your hands—
P: That the Lord of life may bless our works!
L: Servants of God, lift up your hearts—
P: That the Lord of life may abide within!
A: The Lord of life will abide within!


O Teacher, we dare not make demands of you. Unlike James and John, we do not claim the honor of sitting beside you in glory. We ask only that you make our hearts the seat of your presence, that we might serve your purpose as zealously as we have served our own.


L: My disciples do not ask to be seated on either my right hand or my left.
P: They ask only that they be able to drink the cup that I drank, and to be baptized with the baptism with which I was baptized.
L: They do no violence,
P: But their enemies cannot endure their peace.
L: They speak no lie,
P: But their enemies cannot abide their truth.
L: They shun no neighbor,
P: But their enemies cannot tolerate their love.
L: They abandon no hope,
P: But their enemies cannot bear their faith.
L: I have seen their anguish, and I will not be silent. But where are you, my mighty throng? Do you sit together and wink at hate?
P: Wrap us in shame if we slander your disciples with silence!
L: Do you plot revenge in secret? Do you gild your anger with harmless words?
P: Clothe us in disgrace if we betray your disciples with a kiss!
L: Then be not far from them! Bestir yourselves, and awaken to their cause! Deliver them according to my will! Do not let their enemies rejoice in their destruction!

Prayer for One Voice

O God, who shows us how to serve through the service of Jesus Christ/ look upon us with understanding. We have dedicated ourselves to the service of folly; and finally, in the noontide of our foolishness, we have the gall to ask with the sons of Zebedee, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."

In the high noon of your infinite mercy, you ask, "What do you want me to do for you?" Unrepentant, we muster the further audacity not to ask, but to demand, "Grant us to sit beside you in your glory." When you gently warn that we do not know what we are asking, we are impudent enough to claim, "We are able to drink the cup that you drink, and to be baptized with the baptism with which you are baptized." You are right, Lord; we do not know what we ask, for the cup is filled with the wine of servanthood, and the baptism is unto sacrifice even to the point of suffering. And that service, that sacrifice, is your glory.

We do not understand, but you do. And so, you are patient. You tolerate our prideful indiscretions, our arrogant presumptions. And then, you take up your teaching again, for it is plain that we do not yet understand what greatness resides in the choice to be servant, what majesty abides in the choice to be least.

Forgive our slow reaming, God. Forgive our blustery confidence that erupts in speech when silence would be better, yet holds its tongue when one word could be decisive. And forgive our haughty swaggering, that struts amidst the weak when kneeling would be better, yet bends the knee when one step could be forever.

We ask your forgiveness, O Lord, in the name of the One who came not to be served but to serve. We ask forgiveness, that by your great mercy we might find that we are able, despite and because of who we are.


Go to the world in confidence, for there the table of the Lord is spread. Draw near; drink from its cup, and receive the mercy of God. Draw near; partake of its bread and find the grace of God. Go, and the feast shall be to you as you shall be to your neighbor a very present help in time of trouble.

Adapted from "Prayers for the Seasons of God's People," Copyright © 1999 Abingdon Press

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