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Worship Words: May 16, 2021

PRAYER 1 by Sarah Erickson Merciful God, you invite us to be in beloved community, connected to you and one another. Help us nurture these connections so that they lead to the fullest expression of our shared humanity instead of building walls of separation between one another and the community you desire. We pray in the name of the One leads in the way of resurrection hope. Amen.

PRAYER 2 by Sarah Erickson Merciful Jesus, you shower us with grace. You show us how to be faithful disciples. Yet we are often quick to dismiss the complex simplicity of it all. Forgive our stubbornness. Help us see your vision of shalom and do our part to make it so. In the name of the One who is mercy incarnate. Amen.

PRAYER 3 by Sarah Erickson You, Lord, are the thread connecting us to one another. You weave together days into months and years. As this week begins,  hear our prayers and make sense of them, the laments and wails of despair, the sighs too deep for words, the acclamations of praise and wonder. Open us to receive your responses, so that we may connect our lives to You and the world you so love. In the name of the Christ who binds us together in love. Amen.

CALL to WORSHIP by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Why are we waiting on the promises of God?                                                            

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                      

Why do we believe in the coming of God’s kingdom?                                                            

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                           

What do we witness to?                                                                                        

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                 

Why do we devote ourselves to prayer?                                                                           

 Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again. 

PSALMS in a TIME of SICKNESS: PSALM 1 paraphrase by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, bless us by making us more and more your people.

Keep us from following the bad advice of those who aren’t seeking you.

Redirect us away from the paths taken by those who don’t listen to you.

Free us from sitting with those who disbelieve the truth

    and scorn compassion.

Let us delight in you: in your Word and your teachings.

Fill our hearts, minds, and souls with you every hour of the day and night.

Plant us by your streams of living water. Grow us into trees rooted in you.

Make us fruitful according to your time and plan.

Let us flourish as your people, following your way,

    without withering or faltering.

Those who don’t follow you are like chaff driven by the wind.

They cannot withstand judgment.

They do not stand with the congregation of the righteous.

Their way perishes.

Chart the path for us, O God.

Watch over us on the way, O Lord, to you.

May your way guide our feet,

    and our paths help others find their way.

In the name of Jesus, our Guide and Pioneer, Amen.

PRAYER of CONFESSION by Barb Hedges-Goettl based on the Belhar Confession

Prayer of Confession #3

Call to Confession:

One: God has given the church the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ, but we fall short of God’s call to be salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Prayer of Confession:

All: God, our fears and prejudices run deep. Sometimes we can only see our own point of view.

We stick with those who are like us, rarely venturing outside our comfort zones. We do not hear

those crying for justice and true peace. We blame those who are suffering and in need instead of standing by them. We deny the power of your gospel to unite us with those who are different from us.

Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Use us to open new possibilities of life for all of your people.

Assurance of Forgiveness

One: We are reconciled with God and with one another through Christ’s work. Thanks be to God

for the Good News: All:  In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Confession of Faith #3/Litany by Barb Hedges-Goettl (drawn from the Belahr Confession)

The three parts of this litany may be used separately or in flexible combinations.

a.

One: We believe that unity is both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ.

Many: Through the work of God’s Spirit, unity is a binding force.

One: At the same time, unity must also be earnestly pursued and sought.

Many: We must be continually built up to attain this unity.

One: Our unity must become visible to the world.

Many: Separation and hatred between people and groups is sin, already conquered by Christ.

One: Anything threatening our unity has no place in the church.

Many: We commit ourselves to resisting anything that threatens our unity.

One: The unity of the people of God is active and made manifest.

All: Thanks be to God.

(For this next section it works well for the two groups to make the proclamations below to each other.)

Group One: The communion of saints called from the entire human family is united by God.

Group Two: As the people of God, we love one another.

Group One: We experience, practice, and pursue community with one another.

Group Two: We give ourselves willingly and joyfully to one another.

Group One: We are a benefit and blessing to one another.

Group Two: We share one faith and have one calling.

Group One: We are one body, and are of one soul and mind.

Group Two: We have one God and Father.

Group One: We are filled with one Spirit.

Group Two: We are baptized with one baptism.

Group One: We eat of one bread and drink of one cup.

Group Two: We confess one name and are obedient to one Lord.

Group One: We work for one cause and share one hope.

All: Thanks be to God.

c.

All: Together we confess that God unites us in faith.

Together we come to know the height, and the breadth, and the depth of the love of Christ.

Together we are built up to the full stature of Christ.

Together we know and bear one another’s burdens.

We admonish one another. We comfort one another. We suffer with one another.

We need one another and we build up one another.

Together we pray. Together we serve God in this world.

Together we fight against all which may threaten or hinder this unity.

Thanks be to God for drawing and keeping us together.

Charge/Benediction in 2 voices by Barb Hedges-Goettl

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit         P: we are Christ’s witnesses. 

L By the power of the Holy Spirit          P: we witness to Christ at work in you. 

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit          P: we witness to Christ at work in others. 

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit         P:  we witness to Christ in the world 

ALL: We live, love, and are blessed by the power of the Spirit. Thanks be to God. Amen. 

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Barb Hedges-Goettl is a Presbyterian pastor with a doctorate in liturgy. She and her husband recentlly moved from Philadelphia to Rehoboth Beach, DE. She has been working with inner-city middle school students as a special ed teacher and will soon begin to serve as a full-time interim pastor at Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church, Snow Hill, MD.

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If you are looking for some words to use for worship, or some inspiration for your own, here are some you can use or adapt, thanks to members of our RevGals community. If you can please give credit in video descriptions or print versions, that would be great, though spoken verbal attribution is not necessary.

The Lord is my Grandmother

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Grandma

Grandma, great and mighty God…                                                                                    

you take care of me and everything I need.

You make me rest in the cool, green grass                                                                           

because grass is good for my eyes, and good for my soul.

You take me where the water is still and quiet,                                                       

where the waters soak up the chaos of the streams of life.

You bring me back to life, filling in the gaps and chips and fissures of from life.                                                                                                      

You lead me in ways that are right so that I will be a credit to you.

Even though crevasses and ravines want to claim me,                                                               

I am not afraid because I am not alone.                                                                                                

Grandma, you are with me. Your crook guides and re-directs me.                                                         

Your walking stick, which aids and supports me, gives me comfort.

Grandma, you always cook for me.                                                                                       

You set a fine table no matter who is there—                                                                       

even if people who don’t like me—or whom I don’t like–come over. 

Grandma, you value me and praise me.                                                                                     

You cover me with so much love that it pours everywhere,                                                        

 splashing on everyone there and even back onto you.

You hold my life like it’s precious.                                                                                      

You hold my life like it’s good.                                                                                                                

You hold my life like it’s beautiful.

Because you treasure my life, I will treasure my life too.                                                              

I will live every day as a blessed day spent at your house.                                     

Living forever in your house—and eating at your table–is heaven for me.

Thank you for being my great, and good, grandma.

Worship Words: April 18, 2021

Psalm 4 Paraphrase by Barb Hedges-Goettl                                                                                                                                                      

God, you are right and just and true.

When I call with a loud cry,

    You answer me.

You widen the straits of distress

   that bind and besiege me.

When my world is small, narrow, and cramped,

  You give me room to breathe.

When I am stuck between a rock and hard place,

   You let me loose in your broad, wide pasture.

You bend to me in kindness and mercy,

    understanding my prayer.

How long will people hurt God’s reputation

     and damage God’s honor and glory?

How long will we love empty words,

     seeking lies and requiring falsehoods,

     and yearning after worthless things?

Set us aside for yourself, O Lord.

     Make us your good and faithful ones,

     Your kind and godly ones,

     Your saints by Your mercy.

O Lord, hear me when I call to you.

When I am trembling and quivering,

       Agitated and disturbed,

       Angry and disquieted,

       Worried and anxious,

             Keep me from sin.

Inspire me to meditate on you at night.

    Put me to bed and tuck me in with your comfort.

    Whisper to the ears of my heart, that I may hear you.

    Quiet and calm me in my whole being.

I confess my dependence on you.

    Enable me to wait upon you

    With confidence and patience.

I offer myself in thanksgiving;

    I give myself to you because of your mercy.

    I respond to your love with love of my own.

    I respond to the all you give me

        With my all.

I put my trust in you.

    I hold out my hand for your hand.

    I offer my heart to your heart.

    I offer my mind to your purposes.

    I offer my body to your body.

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

             my God.

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

We will lie down and sleep;

         We will be stilled and remain at peace,

         dwelling in God’s house,

         where we can safely lie down.

Thanks be to God.

Opening Prayer(adapted from Psalm 4) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

My God,

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

My God.

Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 4) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

Confession of Faith in the Good News cf. Acts 3 (RCL) and Acts 6-7 (NL) by Barb Hedges-Goettl                                                                                                                         

We believe and receive the Good News. We experience God’s confounding of the evil of crucifixion with the grace of resurrection.  We participate in God’s conversion of mourning into dancing. We are dressed in grave clothes made over into glad rags. We are lifted up from the grave and given new life. God lifts us up from down-and-out to up-and-at-‘em. For this Good News, we give thanks to God. Amen.

Prayer of thanks for a witness by Barb Hedges-Goettl

God, we thank you that we have a witness. You bear witness to yourself:  You proclaim that we are made in your image, and that image is very good.Jesus proclaims love for all people, the sacrificial love of a Shepherd for the sheep.The Spirit proclaims you with sighs too deep for words.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Witnesses have come before us: Prophets proclaim your justice for all people, rolling down like waters. The women at the tomb proclaim your confounding of evil and death through the resurrection. Astounding the crowd by healing the lame, Peter witnesses to forgiveness and resurrection. Condemned by false witnesses, Stephen witnesses to the Son of Man and forgiveness.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Witnesses are all around us:Give us ears to hear voices long silenced, peoples whose experiences challenge and correct our own. Fill our hearts with love for the diverse ways in which you speak, that we know and hear your word through each person’s own experience, and so honor your image and your presence in each one we meet.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Make us witnesses going forward, sharing what we have known, what we have heard:  your love, your hope, and the Good News of the resurrected life  redeemed from evil, death and all that would separate us from you and from one another.

In Jesus’ name and by the power of the Spirit we pray, Amen.

The below are from Rev. Katy Stenta, see https://katyandtheword.com/2021/04/13/prayers-for-acts-6-stoning-of-stephen/?fbclid=IwAR3hB6dxy9lTay-hhKQB1fNNGEWd6t6qPogFHHIt7j1lFjfox1L8VT5vaUw

Prayers for Acts 6: Stoning of Stephen

Acts 6:1-7:2, 44-60

Suggest Pairing Isaiah 66:1-2, 22-23

Call to Worship (based on Isaiah 66:13-14, ) 

God promises, asa  mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you

We shall see, and our hearts shall rejoice. 

Come let us pray for the Lord, for God is Good. 

Come let all flesh give God Thanks and Praise. 

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we find comfort in tradition. We have struggled throughout this year as so many things have had to change. Walk with us this spring and we try to understand what it is we need to keep, and what it is we can leave behind. Help us to choose, always and forever, the ways that lead us closer to your kingdom. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen 

Assurance of Pardon: God’s promises to remake heaven and earth in God’s forgiveness. Let us share the good news with one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication: (unison) Lord, let us go forth giving thanks for all that is good. Place praise for you on our lips and on our tongues, that others might see and know and understand your love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Morning Has Broken, Jesu Jesus Fill Us with Your Love, Called as Partners to Christ’s Service, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace,

BOOK REVIEW A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant’s Story by K.A. Van Til

A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant’s Story by K.A. Van Til. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2020. 220 pages. $24.

This book tells the story of Dutch immigration to the USA as told by the author’s grandmother, Minnie Zwier, who came to the US as an infant in 1899. The book includes samplings of broader Dutch history, Dutch culture, the Christian Reformed faith and the Bible, and even a recipe or two. This real-life, early twentieth century Dutch immigrant version of the move West (and back East again) resonates with the  pioneer family life fictionalized in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. While Van Til’s mild-mannered book provides less of an overarching, chronological story line than the Little House on the Prairie series, the fare provided is less idealized and more varied. Minnie recounts the experiences of her immediate family, and vignettes from the experiences of their larger family as well as their Christian Reformed Church friends and neighbors. Minnie shares the features and foibles of this family’s life, including some family antics, and of the faith that gets them through. She wonders about difficulties and losses, finds comfort in the Bible and the church, and weighs in on some of the political and cultural struggles that occurred over her lifetime. The book also follows the family’s move outward from living largely in a Christian Reformed Dutch enclave out into the larger American society, which occurs as the generations march forward. This book would be of special interest to those who share in Minnie’s Dutch and/or Christian Reformed heritage and to others interested in a first-person account of immigrant life, especially as experienced in relation with the westward frontier.

Narrative Lectionary: Perplexed, Fearful, and Amazed (Luke 24:1-12)

Photo from https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Nativity-Figurine-Decorations-Centerpiece/dp/B08YFCDT36/ref=sr_1_19?dchild=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0oCDBhCPARIsAII3C_EF19XcTcQKo4G7mhusxVF9HFL2ISFOvprbpctHEFwKKT8Y-Y38h0saAijsEALw_wcB&hvadid=504000939082&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9007519&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=12245487440315522146&hvtargid=kwd-1194120751851&hydadcr=8758_10371787&keywords=wooden+easter+nativity+set&qid=1616977447&sr=8-19

Link to the text:  https://classic.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke24%3A1-12&version=NRSV;NIV;NLT;GNT;MSG

While most versions title this pericope “Jesus’ Resurrection,” this is a Monday-morning quarterback viewpoint. The Message more accuratelycalls this “Looking for the Living One in a Cemetery.”The women are looking for Jesus’ body to finish what they couldn’t before the Sabbath. They find the body gone and they are “perplexed” (NRSV). This sounds like a puzzle that leads to reasoned consideration in an easy chair with your pointer finger by your mouth, but the Greek means they are thoroughly perplexed and at a complete loss.

While in this state, the women are confronted by two men in blindingly white, glowing clothing. Like all meetings between humans and God’s messengers, the encounter makes them afraid. They bow down, and the two messengers remind them how Jesus spoke of his resurrection. And the women remember Jesus’ words. The women then tell those words to the disciples. The term for the “words” of Jesus and the “words” of the women about their encounter is the same (rhema, v.8 and v.11). Thus, the Greek appears to indicate that the women used the same words as the two messengers did–that they spoke as Jesus spoke and they tell what Jesus had said.

The reactions of the women and the disciples are, of course, quite different. The women appear to believe the messengers, going forward to share this nascent Good News. The text specifically reports that the disciples do not believe the women, thinking their words (rhema) an idle tale. This disbelief is in accord with the legal and cultural norms of biblical times when women were not accepted as witnesses in court and life.

In this part of Luke 24, there are not as yet any eyewitnesses to the risen Christ himself.  Jesus does not appear to anyone. The eyewitnesses have only, as of now, beheld the absence of Jesus’ body. The women find that the body missing and are perplexed. Peter finds the graveclothes empty and is amazed. What we have are eyewitnesses to the sharing of the news. We have messengers (the two men and the women). We have the word of the two messengers reminding the women of Jesus’ words. We have the word of the women telling the disciples what happened. What we have is words about the Word.

This is in some ways just the beginning of the story. The Word is told, it is shared, before it is experienced. It is heard before it is understood. Jesus’ followers have been told the Good News; and shortly they will see and experience the resurrected Jesus themselves. They have been telling Good News and soon they will be living into (but not solving) the mystery of the resurrected life, of new life. But in this passage, the words predicting and proclaiming the resurrection and the absence of the body are what they have.  

Since the Resurrection, we too are witnesses who share words about the Word. Since the Ascension, while believing in the Resurrection, we too are witnesses to an “absent” Jesus with regard to his body.  In the Church, we live out the words about the Word through the preaching of the Word. In the Church, we participate in the absent, ascended, resurrected Jesus through sharing in the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.  And, in the world, we live out our witness to the Word and to the resurrected Christ by speaking of God’s selfless love and by acting in selfless love as the body of Christ.

Links

This year’s Working Preacher commentary is at https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/narrative-lectionary/resurrection-3/commentary-on-luke-241-12-7. Further WP commentaries on this text can be found at https://www.workingpreacher.org/?s=Luke+24%3A1-12+E

For other ways of looking/thinking about this passage (themes with links expounding on them), see https://bjhlog.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/narrative-lectionary-themes-and-resources-for-easter-luke-24-1-12/

Questions

  1. What does it mean to look for the living among the dead?
  2. How do we use Jesus’ words when we tell the Good News?
  3. Where do we see legal and cultural disbelief of groups of people today?
  4. What does it mean that Jesus’ body is absent but present?
  5. What are the next steps in our own journey to knowing the resurrected Jesus?
  6. How can the church more fully witness to that journey?

Also published on RevGalBlogPals, which encourages you to share blog posts via email or social media. RevGalBlogPals do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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Barb Hedges-Goettl is a Presbyterian pastor and liturgical scholar recently moved to Rehoboth Beach, DE. She works with middle school special ed students in between writing liturgy, spending time with her husband Len, and training their new puppy, Cocoa.

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Narrative Lectionary Themes and Resources for Easter: Luke 24: 1-12

Photo https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Nativity-Figurine-Decorations-Centerpiece/dp/B08YFCDT36/ref=sr_1_19?dchild=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0oCDBhCPARIsAII3C_EF19XcTcQKo4G7mhusxVF9HFL2ISFOvprbpctHEFwKKT8Y-Y38h0saAijsEALw_wcB&hvadid=504000939082&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9007519&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=12245487440315522146&hvtargid=kwd-1194120751851&hydadcr=8758_10371787&keywords=wooden+easter+nativity+set&qid=1616977447&sr=8-19

An overview from pulpfiction.com addressing some of the aspects of meaning of Luke 24 can be found at  https://www.pulpitfiction.com/notes/easterc where the passage is part of the lectionary texts addressed there.

Another intro is found in a Working Preacher podcast* on the text, see https://www.workingpreacher.org/podcasts/narrative-lectionary-078-empty-tomb.

The arresting aspect of the text for me is that it stops short of where we usually go on Easter. The aspect of the incredulity of the resurrection and what they have to go on in these first verses from Luke 24 is taken up at minute 3 of the NL podcast listed above.  What is it that the disciples and Peter have in this pericope?  They are given an empty space into which a testimony/the word comes. Circling back to the tomb and finding nothing, they are called to go and tell others. This is also what we have—testimony to share.  Doubt on Easter (and not just by Doubting Thomas!), with an emphasis on the Greek is addressed at http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2013/03/luke-241-12.html  For more on this, see my separate post “Perplexed, Afraid and Amazed.”

Taking this in a slightly different direction is “How can we believe the unbelievable?” by Eric Barreto https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/narrative-lectionary/resurrection-3/commentary-on-luke-241-12.

Preaching professor Tom Long also takes up the theme of the resurrection as unbelievable, too good to be true, at https://www.christiancentury.org/article//empty-tomb-empty-talk

Another take on this is to think of ourselves as entering, vs. solving, the mystery. See  http://caitlintrussell.org/2019/04/21/entering-the-easter-mystery-or-life-joy-and-suffering-luke-241-12/    or as improv and surprise (by Homer Henderson), see                                                                                               https://day1.org/weekly-broadcast/5d9b820ef71918cdf200241c/sunday_morning_at_the_improv   

Giving death its due (which might be appropriate these days) provides fodder for “We are all terminal, but… “ by Princeton Seminary President Craig Barnes at                                  https://www.christiancentury.org/article/2004-04/we-re-all-terminal 

The resurrection as an unnatural event, presenting a similar theme, w/ emphasis on the but, is Theodore J. Wardlaw at   https://www.christiancentury.org/article/2007-03/unnatural-event                                                    

The above WP podcast* (minute 7:30) also unfolds the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” We tend to look for the dead among the dead, but the dead are no longer dead. Sin has been forgiven; we no longer reside in brokenness and imperfection and despair. See also Joseph S. Pagano https://www.episcopalchurch.org/sermon/the-angels-question-the-great-vigil-of-easter-2019/

This year’s written Working Preacher commentary** lifts up the theme of the relationship between Jesus’ absence/the empty tomb and Jesus’ presence and also the related theme of remembrance. The theme of remembrance is also found in https://www.progressiveinvolvement.com/progressive_involvement/2010/03/lectionary-blogging-easter-luke-24-112.html

The podcast* also addresses the role of the women (beginning and end of the podcast) and “on the first day of the week,” echoing Genesis to talk about a new creation, in which the future re-creation breaks into the now. (minute 6)

Worship Words for Sunday, March 14 for Narrative Lectionary: Luke 16:19-31 (Psalm 41:1-3) and Revised Common Lectionary (Numbers 21:4-17, Ephesians 2:1-10)

Khor Virap, Armenia with Mount Ararat in the background. Barb Hedges-Goettl, 2018.

Opening Prayer (or Intercession) inspired by Luke 16:19-31 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

In the name of the finely dressed man

Who feasts sumptuously every day

Whose crumbs could satisfy the hungry

Whose dogs tend the wounds of the needy.

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

Send Lazarus, recipient of evil things,

Who was carried by angels to Abraham

Who has comforting water–and cool

Who can call the living back from their hell

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

The One who received evil things

The One who brings Living Water

The One who brings the living back from their hell

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

That we, who receive and do evil things,

May share living water, comforting and cool,

And bring back the living from their hell.

Amen.

Call to Worship (or Prayer of Thanksgiving)based on Psalm 107 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Redeemed by the Lord from trouble, let us say so.                                                                       We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.                                                                                                                                                                  

Gathered in from all lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.    

As we cry to the Lord in our trouble, God saves us from our distress.                                                            We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

God sends out God’s word and heals us, delivering us from destruction.                                                We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

We give thanks for the Lord’s steadfast love, For God’s wonderful works to humankind.                     We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Offer thanksgiving sacrifice, and tell of God’s deed with songs of joy.                                                  We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Prayer of Confession inspired by Numbers 21:4-9 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, forgive us.

We are impatient.

We forget that you made us and that you call us.

You lead us–and you provide for us.

O God, forgive us.

We want what we want.

We act like we know ourselves better than you know us.

We pretend that we can take care of ourselves.

O God, forgive us.

We close our eyes to all that needs healing.

We do not recognize the powers of death and dying that need transformation.

We pretend there are no wrongs for you to overcome.

O God, forgive us.

We doubt your ability to transform.

We do not trust you to take that which is deadly

and turn it into the deliverer of salvation and hope.

O God, forgive us.

Silent Confession

Assurance: Even when we do not believe it, God brings about transformation, exchanging sin for forgiveness, trading wounds for healing, replacing fear with courage, converting falling down into rising up, and overcoming death with life. Thanks be to God

Prayer of Intercession (or Confession) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

A Sort of Anti-Confession, naming what we seek to do instead of what we have failed to do (or done wrongly). The categories are from Psalm 41:1-3 and represent the ways that God blesses those who remember the poor, recognizing them as ways that we can also bless others.

Lord, have mercy. Show us how to help those who are in trouble as you help us.

Lord, have mercy. Empower us to protect others, and preserve their lives, as you protect and preserve us.

Lord, have mercy. Enable us to bless others, sharing the blessings and joy you grant us.

Lord, have mercy.  Embolden us to accompany people in the presence of their enemies, as you accompany us even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Lord, have mercy. Inspire us to serve and heal, as you are the servant and healer of all.

Lord, have mercy. Make us more and more your people, serving all as created in your image.

Amen.

Prayer of Intercession Trauma Prayer by Katy Stenta

Here is a prayer for the survivors, who were left by those who got sick and died.

A prayer for the workers who were deemed essential–and never got a break from the work, the breath, the spit, the talk, the-show-up-to-get-your-paycheck

Its a plea for those who were “let go” told that they weren’t important enough to keep getting paid

Its a recycled prayer for the homeless and the hungry, who are the same as ever, only worse

A love note for the queer fam, whose barriers only increase when people become stressed

Here’s a prayer for the black and brown people the Native Americans, the Asians, the Immigrants…the ignored and forgotten. The “inaccessible” for healthcare, the ones who always have to sit on the bottom, except for deaths in the pandemic where they ride high.

Here’s a chant for Black Lives Matter–words that start, but don’t do enough to create a structure for reparations

Here’s a prayer for the abused, alone and trapped.

A prayer for the addict, who is living the days, and the nights trying to figure out treatment in tough times.

This is a Cry for the lonely: the elderly, the singles, the handicapped, the sick. Lord, you know there are too many ways for us to feel lonely in ordinary times. Here’s an extra cry for them.

Here’s a prayer for a moment–for all those who are caretaking or parenting, those who have had not respite and no relief, for whom the to do list has lengthened and the how to list no longer exists.

This is a prayer for the children, who know in their bones what they are missing, even when they don’t know what they are missing.

We are praying for all of the world together–because this is our traumaversary–a moment when we look at the world that has ended, and has not yet a world to look towards.

We have to relive the trauma of the loss, and we still haven’t learned how to Cope with it Lord.

This is a prayer for me Lord,

Because I’m tired and lonely, and I don’t even know if I’m hungry or bored or just dealing with depression. This is a prayer for my family, because ok is all we can go for right now.

This is a prayer for the traumatized. Help us, we pray, Save us, we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to share/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Trauma Anniversary Info: https://www.mentalhelp.net/ptsd/anniversary-reactions-to-a-traumatic-event/

katyandtheword | March 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hymn Dives and Lazarus British folk song

https://hymnary.org/hymn/CCNO1871/39  (public domain in the US)

To hear it, go to Maddy Prior performing ‘Dives & Lazarus’ from Nettlebed Folk Club on the ‘Seven For Old England’ tour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl3xFnoDZ  (not for use in worship due to copyright)

Hymn; Tell me, Dear Tree(Ephesians 2:1-10)  A Lenten hymn of sacrifice

https://revlisad.com/2015/04/03/tell-me-dear-tree-a-lenten-hymn-of-sacrifice-2/t t

 

Meter- 86.86 double (CMD)
Suggested tune: KINGSFOLD (United Methodist Hymnal #179)

Kingsfold is in the public domain in the US

See https://hymnary.org/tune/kingsfold_english

Worship Resources for Transfiguration Sunday (2/14) and Ash Wednesday (2/17)

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY

IMAGE

Photo by Tamar Dolev.
Sunset from Norfolk Island. Feel free to use it. If you want to know more about this beautiful island, then visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

by Barb Hedges-Goettl
‘God Almighty, we give you thanks for your creation and care,
for the words and witness of those who have gone before us,
and of those who live the Christian life alongside us.
We thank you for your steadfast, eternal presence,
even when we do not see, hear or follow you.

You sent your son Jesus to reveal you love.
Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
you reveal to us the way, the truth and the life–
not just at the Transfiguration on the mountain,
but in this very time and place
through the bread and cup you give us to share.
And so we praise and thank you
with these people in this place,
and with all your people across every time and place.

By the work of your Holy Spirit,
reveal to us that we eat together at the very table of Christ Jesus.
Make us one with you and with each other.

Through this holy meal,
teach us to know and follow your way.
Ground and settle us in your truth,
and make us sharers of your abundant and eternal life.

[Confirm what we know.
Reveal to us what we do not know.
Fill us up with whatever we lack.
Keep us faithfully in your service
until we feast together in your eternal kingdom.]

Following Christ Jesus, himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
we do what he commanded us to do:

Like him, we take bread, and having given thanks,
we break it and give it to the disciples, saying, as Christ Jesus did,
“Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

And, also like Jesus, we take the cup, saying
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Prayer of Confession

(from Psalm 51:1-4, New Living Translation adapted by Barb Hedges-Goettl)
 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Forgive me, O God.
In your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Forgive me, O God
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Forgive me, O God
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Forgive me, O God
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. Forgive me, O God
I have done what is evil in your sight. Forgive me, O God

=

Opening Prayer/Confession of Faith

by Barb Hedges-Goettl

We gather together as the church

When we can’t summon our “Jesus-loves-me” smiles

When we are not feeling happy or better

When traditions don’t seem to suffice

When we know all too well that we are ashes and dust

                    Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we are not sure how to come before God

When we miss being in our building

When we miss being with our community

When all seems strange and uncertain           

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we need to lament

When we are a grieving people, a weeping people,

When we are dependent on God for help and healing

When we seek God’s Kingdom until that Kingdom comes

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

Because God creates in us a clean heart, a new and right spirit within us

Because God restores to us the joy of salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

Because God does not cast us away, or take God’s holy spirit from us

Because God restores to us the joy of God’s salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

 we gather together as the church. THANKS BE TO GOD!

Children’s sermon (good for grownups too!)

Found at https://katyandtheword.com/2021/01/12/lent-ideas-with-children-narrative-lectionary-luke/

JANUARY 12, 2021 BY KATYANDTHEWORD.COM
Lent Ideas with Children: Narrative Lectionary Luke

Children Ideas: Meditate on Dirt together (Ideally with dirt): What is dirt? 
Discuss God as creator and make clay/playdo people together, Bury the Alleluias: http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2014/01/burying-alleluia-for-lent.html
(Post includes an image of Pigpen from Peanuts, with his quote about where his dirt has been before it landed on him!)

See also https://worshipwords.co.uk/transfiguration and https://worshipwords.co.uk/ash-wednesday and nfleshed,  a non profit creating and facilitating resources or spiritual nourishment for collective liberation, which can be found at https://enfleshed.com/pages/ash-wednesday

Commentary by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome on Rafael’s painting Transfiguration on the possessed boy and the female figure depicted there! https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/arts-and-faith-for-lent/cycle-a/arts-and-faith-week-2-of-lent-cycle-a/ in text or https://youtu.be/GYo5VyNv7fg in video

Ignatian prayer exercise to match the above art commentary exercise/https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/arts-faith-lent-second-sunday-imaginative-prayer-exercise/

Book Review: Come Eat with Me by Rob Douglas

COME EAT WITH ME by Rob Douglas. Eugene, OR: RESOURCE Publications, 2018. Ix + 137 pages.

In this easy-to-read book, Rev. Rob Douglas focuses on God’s invitation to “Come eat with me” to explore hospitality and the roles of consummate host and ultimate guest. Douglas notes that God and Jesus take on the roles of guest and of host at the meals described in Scripture. For the followers of Jesus, participating in God’s table means entering deliberately into a relationship with God as guest but also taking on a commitment to serve as host: providing hospitality, welcoming strangers and providing spaces for people to grow and develop. In taking up these themes, Douglas provides content from authors addressing hospitality while providing his own insights and conclusions.

 

Douglas alternates between chapters that imaginatively re-tell biblical “meal” stories and chapters providing illustrations and broader messages drawn from those re-tellings. For example, the first chapter is titled “Invitation to a Garden,” with the subheading “How God the Maker, the consummate host, prepared the table immaculately for his first guests.” This chapter provides a fictive re-telling of the story of Adam and Eve, closing with the chapter and verse references for those who want to read the biblical version. The second chapter, “Finding Annie,” tells the story of Annie McDonald’s experiences of institutionalization as a child with a disability and her journey to attaining a college education and becoming a speaker and author. Douglas draws on Annie’s story to illustrate his concern for God’s invitation as being an invitation to a relational community, not an institutionalized meal. He further illustrates this concept with his interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel’s offerings.

 

Later chapters address flexibility between being host and being guest (Abraham and Sarah and their three guests); empowering people to host (Elijah and the widow); a meal of emancipation (Passover); a unique meal with boundaries (quail and manna in the wilderness); hosting God (building the portable ark of the covenant); invitation to a new land (Joshua’s entry into the Promised Land); Jesus as host and guest (the wedding at Canaa); Jesus as the guest of an unworthy host (Zacchaeus); principles of guesting and hosting (the story of the great banquet); God the host shows grace and creativity (feeding of the 5,000); Jesus invites a traitor and his friends to dine (Last Supper); Jesus as host and guest (the Road to Emmaus); a meal invites greater commitment (Breakfast on the Beach); eating together across boundaries (Peter and Cornelius); and God’s ultimate bridal feast (the Final Banquet).

 

Douglas wrote his book to help those considering the Christian faith and to provide new perspectives to those who are already Christians. For the former, reading the actual Bible passages themselves would be an important counterbalance to the more fanciful re-tellings of the book. For the latter, familiar stories may yield new fruit. In particular, the flexibility of the roles of host and guest as taken up by God and Jesus and their followers may provide some needed food for thought. Pastors may also find the re-tellings, illustrations and thematic expositions helpful for sermon-writing.

 

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