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.