Easter -- Service Prayers -- 3rd Sunday

“Seeing Jesus”
Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter

 

Call to Worship

One:    Beware this morning. 

           You might just meet Jesus.

All:      But isn’t Jesus the reason we came to worship? 

            Why should we be concerned?

One:    If we truly meet Jesus,

            the blinders to poverty and suffering may fall;

            the groans of creation might be heard. 

            If we pay attention,

            we may understand our privilege and recognize our advantages. 

            And such knowledge could lead to change.

All:      We want to be transformed.

One:    Then listen for the Word of God.

 

Invocation (either as a collective “we” or as “I”)

O God, you have been my helper and my healer. 

You have been faithful all the days of my life. 

Today I pray for help and healing for our world,

even though the health of our planet

and the liberation of your people

rest upon people willing to change from their selfish

and destructive ways. 

Yet, your power is greater than all the self-centered people

of the world put together. 

That’s why we have hope. 

So let us remember your mercy and pray for the

Kingdom of God to reign on earth

 – even the parts that will challenge our comfortable life.  Amen

 

Prayer of Confession

All:       O God, you know me better than I know myself. 

            And sometimes that scares me. 

            You know what I try to hide, what I try to deny. 

            You know that I mean well. 

            But, when I dare to be honest, my intentions

            are not always in the best interests of others.         

            Yet, however painful it may be, let me be open. 

            Let me see the persecuted and oppressed in my city,

            the marginalized in our nation, the exploited peoples of our world. 

            Let me hear the words of Jesus

           and let those words pierce the hardness of my heart. 

            Let me see the face of Jesus in all the faces I don’t want to see. 

            By your grace, don’t let me ignore your invitation to see.

 

Assurance of Grace

One:    My friends, grace and forgiveness are real. 

           But so is accountability to the Word of God.            

           Grace and forgiveness are not excuses to avoid the kind of change

            that scripture requires of faithful disciples. 

            We will know amazing grace when it comes from a changed life. 

            Let this assurance of grace simply provide you

            with the courage to keep moving forward.             

            God does not abandon us in the struggle.

All:      That is the hard but really good news!

 

Call to Share our Tithes and Offerings

            As we prepare ourselves to give, let your hearts be overjoyed

            at the miracle of all our gifts being mingled together. 

            They bring release to the captives and

            freedom to the oppressed and good news to the poor.   

            But let us not forget that Jesus also promised sight to the blind. 

            To all of us who are blind – by choice or by ignorance –

            to our wealth and the wealth of our nation. 

            Jesus had compassion on the poor. 

            But also upon those who could not see the damage done by wealth

            when it is protected at a greater cost than the free sharing of it. 

            Come to this time of sharing not with a spirit of charity

            but with a swell of compassion. 

 

Blessing of the Gifts

            Generous God, clothe us with joy in the knowledge that we make a difference

            in every dollar given.  May these gifts be used for the glory of your name.  Amen.

 

Benediction

            Franciscan Blessing Prayer

            May God bless us with discomfort…

            at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships,

            so that we will live deeply in our hearts.

 

            May God bless us with anger…

            at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people and the earth,

            so that we will work for justice, equity and peace.

 

            May God bless us with tears…

            to shed for those who suffer, so that we will reach out our hands

            to comfort them and change their pain to joy.

 

            And may God bless us with the foolishness to think that

            we can make a difference in our world,

            so that we will do the things which others say cannot be done.

 

 

 


 

 “Seeing Jesus”:  Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter, was written by the Rev. Dr. David Bahr, pastor of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ in Denver, Colorado.

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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Rev. Susan A. Blain
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