Epiphany -- Service Prayers -- 7th Sunday
The Character of God’s People
Service Prayers for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
Leviticus 19: 1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119: 33-40;
1 Corinthians 3: 10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5: 38-48
Call to Worship
Leader: Draw near to God’s statutes, the Psalmist writes,
People: “So that we may observe them to the end.”
Let us be led in the paths of God’s commandments,
So that we may delight in the richness of God’s life.
Worship God in honesty and forthrightness,
So that Christ’s Spirit may perfect us for God’s realm!
O God, you long for us to hear
that the heart of your commandment is truthful love.
Even more than that,
you long for us to embody this way of integrity
in all facets of our lives.
Dealing justly with our neighbors and even the strangers among us
draws us close to the holiness of everyday life,
the witness of Jesus, and the fruit of the Spirit.
Inspire our worship,
that our lives may be transformed into living testaments of your grace.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
God our Source and Christ our foundation, we confess to you
that we have often been careless in our construction of community.
Even in the church, we do not live as if we are the temple of your Spirit,
much less conform our individual lives to the wisdom of the cross.
Yet you are still faithful in your love for us,
calling us to be more than we because of Christ,
and filling us with the grace of your Spirit
so that we may yet embody your holiness and peace.
Bless us, we pray, with the gift of love,
that we may see you at all times, in all people.
Assurance of Pardon
God offers to each one of us the gift of wisdom and the power of grace.
This is not of our own doing, but comes from the very center of God’s being.
As we receive such gifts, we are shaped into the image of God,
forgiven and whole.
Thanks be to God!
Call to Offering
In the Scriptures, God commands us to be mindful
of the poor and needy in our community,
and to make provisions that tend to their needs and respect their dignity.
When all are afforded the chance to live and work in justice,
we find that we have not lost anything,
but rather that we have gained more than we could have imagined.
As we place our gifts on this altar, we imitate God and God’s generosity with us.
Generous God, in grace you freely give,
and in love you joyfully command us to imitate you.
Let these gifts bear witness to the justice for which you long
and offer a faithful response to the loving care
that you have first given us in your law, your prophets, and your Son. Amen.
Wonderful God, you call us to do the impossible:
to love our enemies, to confront injustice, to share bountifully with the poor.
You do not give us an inch: you call us to be perfect in our imitation of you.
And yet, you give us everything:
love abounding, the foundation of Christ, and the gift of creation.
Bless us, therefore, as we depart this place:
give us the blessing of a faithful spirit, a willing heart, and a kin-dom of grace. Amen!
The Character of God’s People: Service Prayers for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany was written by the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Red Oak, Iowa.
Copyright 2011 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.