Epiphany -- Service Prayers
Creating the Beloved
Service Prayers for the
Second Sunday after Epiphany,
Martin Luther King,
Corinthians 12:1-11 John
Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Call to Worship
made us to be One Body with many members.
All: United and uniting. This is our calling.
calls us to share our diverse gifts
by the one and same Spirit .
United and uniting. This is our redemption.
longs for us to be united in love
to manifest the Spirit in our different ways.
United and uniting. This is our worship.
us gather in this hour to offer praise and worship
our Holy God, who challenges us
calls us to create the Beloved Community.
God, all people are your Beloved,
races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations
all the ways we are distinctive from one another.
are all manifestations of your image.
We are bound together in an inescapable network of
tied to a single garment of destiny.
You call us into your unending work
justice, peace and love.
us know your presence among us now:
us delight in our diversity
offers glimpses of the mosaic of your beauty.
us with your steadfast love and
our despairing fatigue into hope-filled action.
the shadow of your wings in this hour
we find rest and strength, renewal and hope.
ask this, inspired by the example
your disciple, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
God, we long to co-create with you the Beloved Community
looks to the common good; privileges all equally,
creates societal systems
celebrate the humanity and the gifts of all.
yet we focus on our differences, envy each other’s gifts,
manifestations of you, O God, that are not like our own.
Perhaps our sin is a slow wait for
We allow the voices of brothers and
who do not look like us, love like us,
or worship like us
to be silenced.
have told them to wait for freedom, justice and equality.
foster in them a denigrating sense of
Lord, have mercy.
perhaps we have kept silence ourselves
the face of their struggle for full human life.
For it is not solely hateful words and
but also appalling
silence that follows the path of oppression.
Christ, have mercy.
Perhaps our sin is to give in to
weariness, discouragement, bitterness:
You have called us to be drum majors for justice, peace
the work of peace and justice overwhelms us at times,
To build with God the Beloved Community
and we grow weary.
We cry, “Peace, peace,”
there is no peace within us or around us.
We find ourselves on the path
hatred and oppression, violence and war.
Lord, have mercy.
Assurance of Pardon
and brothers, God is at work in us and with us!
“I will not keep silent and I will not
until the vindication of my beloved
shines out like the dawn and their
salvation like a burning torch.
My people shall no more be termed
and their land shall no more be termed
that you have given your Beloved people a new name:
“My delight is in them.”
Thank you, God for delighting in
us even now,
for forgiving us our slow
action, our silence
and our weariness,
for empowering our work
and inviting us once
to create with you the
Beloved Community you long for.
Brothers and sisters, who we are and yet
becoming as individuals
God’s presence in the world.
divine presence is reflected
more fully, powerfully, and transformatively
we unite in Beloved Community.
us bring ourselves, our gifts, and our resources together
God may be glorified.
O God, we commit to use all our gifts
--wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing,
of miracles, prophecy, discernment,
the service of acting as co-workers
you and each other
peace and justice to flow like a mighty
Let us go forth to celebrate and
inescapable network of mutuality,
become the radiant hope needed in the world.
As we go forth in this mutuality,
may we experience our God rejoicing over us and with us.
us go forth confident that
truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Amen!
Phrases from the speeches of
Martin Luther King, Jr. have been woven into the prayer texts. They are identified by italics. Texts of King’s work are available in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings
of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by James M. Washington; © 1986 Coretta Scott King. A
brief essay on King’s understanding of the term “Beloved Community” is
available at http://www.wilpf.org/mlksbelovedcommunity
Creating the Beloved
Community: Service Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany, Martin Luther
King, Jr., Weekend was
written by the Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, Senior Pastor of First Congregational Church,
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.