Reluctant Evangelists - Service Prayers for Third Sunday after Epiphany - Ecumenical Sunday - January 22, 2012

January 22, 2012

Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31;  Mark 1:14-20

CALL TO COMMUNITY
    One:    We gather to respond to the call of God's love
    All:    Thankful that someone cared enough to share this good news with us.
    One:    May we be compassionate enough to share this divine presence with others.
    All:    Love, when shared, is not divided but multiplied.
   One:    Love, given away, is not diminished but expanded.
    All:    May our gathering beckon and welcome
              those near and far
              to know the love of this divine presence.

INVOCATION
From deep within us we know of a loving presence.
All around us we see glory, beauty, life and light.
We have no words for what we experience so we cry out, "God!".
In this moment of worship may that loving presence grow deeper,
may our awareness of the divine presence around us grow more intense.
May we, gathered in this place, learn to pay more attention to God,
who loves us at all times and in all places.


God, of love and life, in this moment of prayer
be more and more in us
that we might live more and more in you. Amen.


CONFESSION
Holy One, what a blessing and privilege we share
here in this sacred space and among this loving community.
But, like Jonah, we sometimes are jealous of what we share here.
We know that others are longing and thirsting for what we know and experience.
Forgive us our reluctance to open our doors,
open our hearts to others; some like us, some not.
We repent of our hesitations and unwillingness
to witness to those we have considered strangers and even enemies
for fear they just might become friends. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The one who calls us to this place
calls us to reconciliation through grace.
God will not deny a repentant heart or an open spirit.
Know that you are forgiven
and walk in the new way that is made known to you in God's love.  Amen

OFFERING INVITATION
Gestures of gratitude are a demonstration that a blessing or benefit has been received.
We heard a call, dropped our nets and came to this place to find new life.
The gifts we give today are but tokens of the blessings of the new life we live in Christ.
Bring your gifts with joy for they remind us of
just how blessed we are to know this love
that flows so generously from the spirit of God.

DEDICATION
May these gifts, given to these ministries of grace,
be a blessing to friends and strangers,
those like us and those not,
those deserving and those not,
for in this way the love of God reaches all of God's beloved.

BENEDICTION
Now may the One who is faithful to all
be with us all as we depart this blessed place.
May we be a blessing to every place we go,
until we gather again. Amen.


Reluctant Evangelists: Service Prayers for the Third Sunday after Epiphany,  was written by the Rev. Madison Shockley, pastor of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA  and a member of the board of directors of ProgressiveChristianity.org.
 
Copyright 2012 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. 

Reluctant Evangelists--Epiphany 3--January 22.rtf

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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