Special -- Service of Prayer -- New Venture

All Things New:
A Service of Prayer to Bless a New Venture

Preparation: 

Purchase a quantity of different color ribbons.  Ribbon with some wire reinforcement works especially well.  Cut the ribbons into 6 foot lengths.  Have at least enough for each person present at the service.

Find Scripture verses which highlight new things, new ventures, new challenges.  To find and select such passages could serve as a good preparation exercise for the planners, or they could use the list which is included at the end of the service. 

Cut the verses into strips, and glue or tape them to the ribbons, one verse per ribbon.  Make sure there is enough blank space around the words for people to write thoughts and prayers.  Roll each ribbon up with the scripture texts inside, fasten the rolls with paper clips, and place them in a basket on the center of an empty table.

Have color pens and pencils available, and if the service will conclude with a candle lighting or with Holy Communion, have those elements at hand.

 

Call to Worship                                                                                         Psalm 96: 1-4; 6 

Praise to God Who Comes in Judgement


                        1O sing to our GOD a new song;
                        sing to our GOD, all the earth.
                        2Sing to our GOD, bless the Holy name;
                        tell of salvation from day to day.
                        3Declare God’s glory among the nations,
                        the marvelous works among all the peoples.
                        4For great is the Holy One, and greatly to be praised;
                        6Honor and majesty are before GOD;
                        strength and beauty are in this sanctuary.

                          

Song           [Choose song or hymn appropriate for new venture]   

                                                 

Scripture            All Things New

 

Everyone invited to take a ribbon out of the basket; unwrap the ribbon

and read out loud the scripture verse about  “new” things….

 

[The verses selected should reflect many dimensions of the “new”:  its possibility and hope, its risk and ambiguity, even inherent grief at loss of the old.  As the verses are read aloud, all those dimensions interpret one another and create a sense of the whole, complex situation.  The hope is that individuals will find their own feeling represented in the mix.]

 

Individual, Quiet Prayer

                               

Take couple of minutes of quiet reflection, then write a word somewhere around the scripture passage

-- a prayer, a fear, a hope --

about the new venture the group is entering into

Place the ribbons back in the basket (they don’t have to be re-rolled!)

Blessing Our Prayers for the New                           Isaiah 65.17-19; 21-23; 22b

 

We will extend our hands over the basket and bless these ribbons, symbols of our participation in

God’s making “All things New”

 

One side:         17For I am about to create new heavens

                         and a new earth;
                        the former things shall not be remembered

                         or come to mind.

Another side: 18But be glad and rejoice forever 

                        in what I am creating;
                        for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, 

                        and its people as a delight.

                                        19I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people;
                        no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,

                         or the cry of distress.

 

                                        21They shall build houses and inhabit them;
                         they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

                                        22They shall not build and another inhabit;
                         they shall not plant and another eat;
                                       

                                        23They shall not labor in vain,
                        or bear children for calamity;*
                        for they shall be offspring blessed by the HOLY ONE—
                         and their descendants as well.

 

All:                  22bfor like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
                        and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

 

Creating The New Thing

 

We will each draw someone else’s ribbon from the basket, and begin to weave the ribbons together

to form a tablecloth for the worship space.

 

[The tablecloth will probably be a bit lumpy and uneven--part of its charm!  It can later be sewn together for future uses.]

 

Closing Ritual

                                                                                         

          All gather around the table with the new cloth and sing a song appropriate for the new venture, or offer a simple service of Communion, or light a candle to symbolize Christ in the center of the new venture.

                                   

Benediction                

 


All Things New: A Service of Prayer to Bless a New Venture was written by the Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation of Local Church Ministries.

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