Pentecost -- Ordinary Time -- Service Prayers

ENFOLDING LOVE:
SERVICE PRAYERS FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY
NEIGHBORS IN NEED OFFERING

Scripture Readings:
    Job 1;1; 2:1-10
    Hebrew 1:1-4; 2:5-12
    Mark 10:2-16

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader:        This is the day that God has made. Let us be joyful!

People:    On this day, a special day, we are reminded of the expanse and diversity of God’s Creation.  

Leader:        On this World Communion Sunday we are reminded
        that just as we gather to hear the Word and share the Table,
        Christians in every part of the world will do the same
        -in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe,
        Latin America, the Middle East, North America, and the Pacific.
        Different languages, different joys, different concerns.

People:    Now it is our time to join with our sisters and brothers everywhere.  
        We come with thanksgiving for the privilege of being a part
        of Christ’s witnesses in all times and all places.

Leader:        It matters not whether we worship in homes, large cathedrals or small churches,
        on hilltops or in fields, in campgrounds, or in  rural, urban, or suburban churches.  God is with communities of faith here and in every place.
        Neighbors near and far.

People:    We are people of all ages, women, men and children, rich or poor, all traditions.  Some of us can worship freely, others worship at great risk.  

All:        We gather on this day, grateful that Christians witness not only here
        but in all places and circumstances.  
        We worship with joy and excitement.  

PRAYER OF INVOCATION
    God, we pray that as you remind us
    that you have sent your Holy Sprit upon us,
    you will also bless us with an awareness
    of your enfolding love for all of your people.  
    We have come with our arms open
    to embrace the whole human family and to be embraced.      
    In our troubled world today,
    we recognize how so important is our celebration of the love you have for all.
    We ask not merely for a sense of unity and community,
    but that we also might be made fully open to you, O God,
    working through us and others beyond our wildest expectations.  
    Help us to imagine the faces of so many others,
    many whom we may never speak with or see face to face.
    Still, you bring us together.
    We come to share the Sacrament of Holy Communion
    knowing that you have called so many others to the Table this day.  
    May you, God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
    and the presence of the Holy Spirit
    turn us into a people who work for peace, justice, and equality
    for all of your people.  AMEN

CALL TO CONFESSION
    We read in the letter to the Hebrews that
    “ We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard,
    so that we do not drift away.” (NIV Hebrews 2:1).  
    As we do so often drift away, let us come with humility and honesty
    to name our sin and seek each other’s and Christ’s forgiveness.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
    God, we have just given you thanks for this special day
    of oneness with the human family
    but then immediately we return to focusing on our own worries and praising ourselves.
    We close ourselves to what we can learn from others from whom we are different
    and forget your call to live in solidarity.
    We run from your invitation to live as one with people everywhere.  
    Surely, Job would find us foolish for being willing to accept only the good
    and finding you cruel when faced with trouble.  
    We cannot claim like the psalmist that we have led lives that are blameless.  
    Strengthen us so that we may not be when astray by temptations we encounter.  
    Save us from our isolation; have us look beyond our own front doors.  
    Correct us when we act as though we believe
    that Jesus belongs first and foremost to me or us.  
    This is the prayer we lift up in the name of Christ our Redeemer. AMEN

WORDS OF ASSURANCE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
    Hear the good news.  
    God is with us even when our faith is weak.  
    God will show us how to live blamelessly.  
    God will excite us about living as one with all of Creation.
    God will help us live with peace and justice with foe and well as friend.  
    God will show us how to learn from the witness of others
    and to grow in our witness to the Gospel.  
    Remember, the God who has loved us forgives us and,
    as with our ancestors throughout the generations, grants us new life.  

CALL TO OFFERING
    God has abundantly blessed us.  Imagine that when Jesus lifted the children into his arms,
he told them how precious each one was.  This is Neighbors in Need Offering Sunday.  Give with gratitude and conviction so that the church might serve those in need, in this place and everywhere.

DEDICATION
    Dear God, let these offerings be a sign of our joy
    that through this congregation and your church universal,
    we can join as witnesses to your love.
    May there be bread for the world in many forms.  
    May this offering be the sign
    that we will also give of our time and talent, as well as treasure.  
    To you be the glory, great things you have done! AMEN

INVITATION TO HOLY COMMUNION
    Today, as we gather in spirit with Christians around the world,
    we give thanks for the celebration of this Sacrament.  
    Today, no matter what divides us we still can come together.
    Some of us are well fed and too many are hungry;
    many are dying of thirst while others have an abundance.  
    May this bread and this cup feed us
    so that we can tend to each others’ needs.
    Let us see through our imaginations the faces of those
    who are also of the community of those  faithful to the Gospel.
    Remember, this is not my table, nor the table of this congregation.  
    This is the Table of Christ open to all who claim Christ as Savior
    and wish to share in community with each other.  
    Christ is the host, we are the guests.  
    So come from the North, and come from the South;
    Come from the East and come from the West and gather around Christ’s table.
    Come, there is plenty to share.

BENEDICTION
    We have been blessed this day to remember the world. Go now out into the world. Be not of it but in it with all of God’s people.  Believe that the truths of this day can make a difference in our world.  And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.  AMEN


Enfolding Love: Service Prayers for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost was written by the Rev. Dr. Bertrice Wood of Cleveland OH.
Copyright 2009 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