Psalm 23: KJV and the Message

Psalm 23                                King James/The Message

Choose to read one or the other—or both!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.               

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.                              

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;

   he leadeth me beside the still waters.                                 

You have bedded me down in lush meadows                  

   you find me quiet pools to drink from.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths

    of righteousness for his name’s sake.                                    

True to your word, you let me catch my breath

    and send me in the right direction.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow                      

   of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;                                                                             

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
   I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.                 

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence                        

   of mine enemies.                                                         

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.

Thou anointest my head with oil;

    my cup runneth over.

You revive my drooping head;

    my cup brims with blessing

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.                                                                                         

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.                                                       

I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Gathering & Gospelling Introductory Letter


Hello Friend!

 We are entering into a 6 week series based upon two books "The Art of Gathering" by Priya Parker and "Unbinding the Gospel" by Martha Grace Reese.

Our Purpose: To Gather to experience God’s Presence, and to Invite others to the do the same.

To Create a Space for this we will:
Ask you to Pray in Church and at Home; for the Church and for all those we meet
Creative Worship: Engage with the differences with worship creatively, remember its only 6 weeks.
Spend some time Reflecting on Questions to ourselves in an act of Confession
Pray Some More, Lean on God, Trust God wants this to be done
Participate in a Community Creating Activity during Worship
Study a Verse at Home: Read it, Journal it, Draw it, Memorize it, Engage in a way that works for you!
Do some Homework to continue your journey

I am…

View original post 91 more words

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask: Where are you from?

This sermon/worship series is found at Please do not use these materials, which are based on their materials by Rev. Sarah Are, unless you have purchased the original material from them. You can buy just the Worship Words portion for a small fee.

FULL bulletin is at!AuB3z496aTHTgdp5vu-HQT_FctdBNw

SERMON is at!AuB3z496aTHTgdRT1li7u7o4K0BHYw

VIDEO of our service is at


Presbyterian Hymnal #306 Fairest Lord Jesus

PH #507 I Come with Joy

PH #288 I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Call to Worship[1]

We are from north and south.

We are from here and we have come here.

We are from the town and from the countryside.

We are from small apartments and expansive houses.

We are from big families and dinners made for one.

We are from stages of grief and stages of love.

We are from rainy days and sunny days.

We are from new places, new spaces, and the making of new memories.

We are from kitchens with passed down recipes, and front porches with old, familiar swings.

We are from the dust of the earth and the stars of the sky.

We are from a lot of places, but today we are here.

Today we are together.


Call to Confession1

In this moment for truth telling, for reflection and honesty, to be honest about the places we want to grow and the way we need God’s help, let us pray together.

Prayer of Confession was taken directly from Worship Words from A Sanctified Art for this series

Assurance of Forgiveness1

If you ever ask yourself, “Can anything good come from this messy and human life of mine?” remember God always answers, “Yes.” You were created in the image of God. Your origin story is one of goodness and love from the very beginning. So hear and believe the good news of the gospel: God is here. God is at work among us. Thanks be to God for the Good News of God’s love:  In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Prayer for Illumination1

O God, where we come from there are so many distractions. Where we come from there is so much noise. Where we come from there is too much silence. Where we come from there is too much emptiness. Find us. Hold us. Be in these words. Help us hear. Amen.

Old Testament Scripture: Genesis 2:4b-15

New Testament Scripture: John 1:35-51



The Creator of North, South, East, and West, invites us to come and see—

Come and see how much the Father loves us.

Come and see who Jesus is and who we are in him.

Come and be united by the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray…


P:         The Lord be with you.             C:         And also with you.

P:         Lift up your hearts.                 C:         We lift them up to the Lord

P:         Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
C:         It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O God, open our lips and fill our hearts to say thank you.

Thank you for scooping up the dirt and breathing life into it.

Thank you for forming this body and this life.

Thank you for creating this world and these people.

Thank you for drawing us in, for holding us up.

Weave us together with all people from all times and places

who forever sing the glory of your name

All:   Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might; heaven

and earth are full of Your glory.  Hosanna in the highest! 

Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord,  Hosanna in the highest!

When people ask, “Where are you from?” we speak of geography—

yet we must also always sing your name.

for you are our past, our present, and our future.

Great is this mystery of faith:

Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.

As we lift this bread and cup before you, lift us up.

Scoop us up like you scooped up that dirt on that first day.

As you breathed life into the first human being,

breathe upon us and fill us with your Spirit.

Feed us that we may be full.

Nourish us as only you can

and make us at home in you.  Amen.

Confession of Faith  (adapted from the Heidelberg Catechism Questions 26-28 )

God created us good and in his own image. God created us in true righteousness and holiness. God created us that we might truly know God our creator. God created us to love God with all their heart. God created us to live with God in eternal happiness, and to praise and glorify God. God out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them. God still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence. God is my God and Father because of Christ the Son.

God will provide whatever I need for body and soul. God will turn to my good whatever adversity befalls me. God is able to do this because he is almighty God. God desires to do this because he is a faithful Father. We can be patient when things go against us. We can be thankful when things go well. We can have good confidence for the future that nothing in creation will separate us from his love. Thanks be to God.


Family of faith, God stir you up with the curiosity to counter assumptions. God beget in you the vulnerability to befriend. God excite in you the bravery to speak your truth. God develop in you the wisdom to listen. God engender in you the strength to ask for help. God give rise to the resiliency that makes you able to choose love. In the name of the One who made you, the One who redeems you, and the One who accompanies you. Amen.

[1] Adapted from a prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC |

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.


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.


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. 


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.


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

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,

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

Photo from

Link to the text:;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.


This year’s Working Preacher commentary is at Further WP commentaries on this text can be found at

For other ways of looking/thinking about this passage (themes with links expounding on them), see


  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.


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.


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


An overview from addressing some of the aspects of meaning of Luke 24 can be found at where the passage is part of the lectionary texts addressed there.

Another intro is found in a Working Preacher podcast* on the text, see

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  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

Preaching professor Tom Long also takes up the theme of the resurrection as unbelievable, too good to be true, at

Another take on this is to think of ourselves as entering, vs. solving, the mystery. See    or as improv and surprise (by Homer Henderson), see                                                                                        

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                         

The resurrection as an unnatural event, presenting a similar theme, w/ emphasis on the but, is Theodore J. Wardlaw at                                                    

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

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

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.


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.


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.


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

Trauma Anniversary Info:

katyandtheword | March 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hymn Dives and Lazarus British folk song  (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.  (not for use in worship due to copyright)

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


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

Kingsfold is in the public domain in the US


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