Easter -- Service Prayers -- 5th Sunday

Now and Always
Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Easter


Acts 7: 55-60 ~ Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16
~ 1 Peter 2: 2-10 ~ John 14: 1-14

Invocation

    Ever-gracious, Way-Making God,
we celebrate the gifts of your Spirit.
You have not fed us a diet of shame or shrinking,
but with the milk of your truth
you have made us strong and faithful servants of Christ.
You call us to take up the mantle of justice and to follow
wherever faith leads us.
You fill us with strength and hope,
and you invite us to share in the cost and joys of discipleship.
You promise us splendor and beauty in this life and in the world to come.
Meet us here, we pray,
that your word will be fulfilled in our hearing
and that your Spirit will fill us with courage. Amen.

Call to Worship

Leader:   
Jesus said, I go and prepare a place for you, and I will come again.
People:   
We gather in this place
to know your presence and your love,
now and always.

Leader:    Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the light.
If you know me, you know God.
People:    We pray to know you more deeply,
that we may know God more intimately,
now and always.

Leader:    Jesus said, Ask me for anything, and I will do it.
People:    Help us to ask for the right things, Lord Jesus Christ,
that we may fulfill your will,
now and always.

Leader:    Jesus said, Believe in me, and “Follow me.”
People:    Help us to worship you fully 
-    believing and following –
now and always!

Prayer of Confession

Ever-gracious God,
from generation to generation you call forth faithful women and men
to be willing servants of truth.
You fill us with strength and hope,
Yet we find it is often not enough.

We pray both for great faith and for easy lives,
But we know these things seldom exist together.

We pray only to avoid the time of trial    
When we need also to pray for strength and confidence
to face the challenges that come with faithfulness.

Forgive us, God, for our limited vision and our feeble trust.

Make us strong like Stephen,
so that we may rejoice in your unending grace
even in the times of deepest suffering.
In Christ we pray.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Leader:    Do not let your hearts be troubled,
but share instead in Stephen’s vision of the heavens opened
and Christ standing at the right hand of God.
This glorious vision of hope is for all of us,
for we are forgiven of all that separates us from the Holy One.
People:    Blessed be God, the giver of life,
and blessed be God’s people,
who rejoice in Christ,
the way, the truth and the life.

Call to Offering

    We have tasted of the Lord’s goodness
and the sweetness is still on our lips.
Now we permit ourselves to be living vessels
of God’s sweet, sweet Spirit,
offering ourselves, our lives and our gifts
to those who are most in need of Christ’s healing mercy.

Dedication

    God, bless these tithes and offerings,
that they may heal and make whole the lives of all your children.
And bless those who give and those who long to give,
that we may become living stones of mercy, grace and justice
in the house of your creation. Amen.
 
Benediction

    Once you were not a people,
but now you are a people bound together in God’s mercy
and united in Christ’s service.
Depart from this place in peace and confidence,
to love and serve in the name of Jesus the Christ,
the living representation of God
– our way, our truth, our life. Amen.



Now and Always: Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Easter 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. 


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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