Pentecost -- Ordinary Time -- Service of Worship - Holy Communion -- All Saints

In Praise of Saints – When “Yes” is the Only Response
A Service of Holy Communion for All Saints Day

                         Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18     Psalm 149    
Ephesians 1:11-23     Luke 6:20-31                

 Reflection on All Saints Day

All Saints Day originated sometime in the 4th Century and was originally celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost. During the 800’s the date of the celebration of All Saints Day was moved to November 1 and at that time it was celebrated by the whole church. All Saints Day is a time when the church honors those who died as witnesses of the Christian Faith. These were faithful people who refused to deny Christ. There were many thousands of early Christian martyrs and over the years there are countless others who witnessed to Christ. Today, in many of our churches, the names of deceased members from the past year are read during the service on All Saints Day.

 

Those whom we celebrate on this All Saints Day are people who loved/love their God. They are a people whose strong faith is consistent with their behavior. They may, in this life, suffer because of their witness to Christ. In their death, we believe they will experience no hunger, nor thirst and no longer will they be oppressed. They will inherit the Kingdom of God. We give thanks to God for their lives. We sing our thanks with joyful voices.

 

Call to Worship  (Ephesians 1)

 

 

Leader: On this All Saints Day

we remember and celebrate

 saints of yesterday and of today;

faithful people who set their hopes on Christ and

who with their lives, praised God.

May our hearts and minds be open

to new realities in Christ.

We want to be counted among saints who

will inherit your kingdom

May we, in this hour, commit ourselves

to living lives that are pleasing to God.

 

Invocation

O Precious God of all times and of all faithful people

We seek your presence and your blessing on us

As we sing your praises

With Hallelujah!

We recognize ourselves as your lovers:

We are the faithful

We gather in this sacred place to witness to your power.

 

Confession

Leader:             Forgive us Lord for our failure to live with integrity.

                        We want to sing your praises, O God.

We want show with our lives our love for you.

We want you to be pleased with us.

But there are times O God,

when we forget your promise;

that those who love you will receive the kingdom.

There are times when to be popular;

to be approved of by our friends and family;

to be “somebody” in the eyes of the world

is so enticing.

Sometimes the desire to protect ourselves from criticism

outweighs the greater need

to speak to the injustices we see all around.

In those moments, O God, we forget

about people like ourselves who sacrificed everything

because they did not fail to show their love for you.

 

All:                  Remind us, dear Lord that we too can live

                       with that kind of integrity.

                       Be patient with us.

 

Assurance of Pardon

Beloved in Christ,

God has such love for us and knows the intent of our hearts.

                        Be assured that God cares

and has already forgiven whatever needs to be forgiven.

 

Call to Offering

Our witness to Christ may not be the ultimate sacrifice of our lives.

Our witness may simply be to say “Yes” to the call

To share all of our gifts generously and wholeheartedly.

God takes pleasure in us whether we are able to participate

by providing support or whether we are among those who receive support.

The invitation awaits our bold but joy-filled response.

 

Dedication

Loving God, we present to you our gifts.

We pray that you might bless them and us

as we praise you with our voices and with our lives. Amen.

 

 

 

Communion Prayer

 

We gather around this holy table

at the invitation of our God

and in communion with generations past

and generations yet unborn.

We come in praise of God,

always and forever.

We have been made holy in Christ.

 

At this table,

we are mindful of the virtuous and

godly living of saints that has become

an inspiration for us.

Through them may we come to know

the inexpressible joys God prepares

for those who love God.

 

Let us pray:

At your table, O God,

we receive the gift of bread and cup.

These are the symbols you provide that remind us of your love.

 

We thank you, Almighty God,

for creating the gift of life.

We thank you

for the life and ministry of Jesus and

            for the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit.

We thank you

for faithful living of saints for all centuries.

We thank you

for the witness of those who gave their lives in your service.

 

In the presence of this cloud of witnesses,

we gather around this table. 

 

We remember that on the night of betrayal and desertion,

Jesus gathered with his disciples for the Passover meal. 

He blessed and broke the bread, saying: 

 “This is my body which is broken for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

We remember that in the same way Jesus took the cup, after supper,

and looked forward to your reign, saying:

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.

 Do this as often as you drink,

in remembrance of me.”

 

Eternal God we stand in sacred community with all the faithful

and before these gifts of your love.

 

*We ask you to send your Holy Spirit

on this bread and wine on our gifts, and on us.

Strengthen your universal church

that it may be the champion of peace and justice in all the world.

Restore the earth with your grace that is able to make all things new.

* Service of Word and Sacrament I, Book of Worship UCC

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving Following Communion

 

We thank you, Most Holy God,

for refreshment at your table

where along with your saints

we receive all Christ’s gifts.

Provide for your church on earth a strong faith

and increased love for one another.

Give us the grace to praise you with our lives

in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

 

Benediction

 

You, who are faithful,

depart this place to return to a world

that will test your faith.

Go forth remembering the commitment

of saints who did weep and pray and rejoice

because of their love of God.

Join them as you sing songs of praise to God

and say “Yes” to God with your lives.

 

 


 

In Praise of Saints – When “Yes” is the Only Response: Service of Holy Communion  for All Saints Day was written by Henrietta Stith Andrews, a retired UCC Pastor who served as Associate Conference Minister in Michigan.  Rev. Andrews  is a certified Spiritual Director and presently residing in Southfield, Michigan. 

Copyright 2010 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org