Pentecost -- Ordinary Time -- Service Prayers

COURAGE FOR COMMUNITY:
Service Prayers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings
-Esther 7: 1-6,9-10;  9: 20-22
-Psalm 124
-James 5: 13-20
-Mark 9: 38-50



Call to Worship                                                         (based on Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22)

Leader:            For Such a Time as This…

Congregation:    We gather this day as God calls us into community,
            one with another.

Leader:            God blesses us with this special time
            to recall God’s saving mercies throughout the generations,
            to sing songs of praise,
            to have our courage strengthened and
            to learn what God would have us do toward healing the world.

Congregation:    We will make this Sabbath time the center of our lives
            lest we forget who we are and whose we are.
            We will celebrate with each other as we worship you.

Leader:            Our help is in the name of the Holy One,  
            Maker of heaven and earth.

Congregation:    Let us worship God who turns sorrow into gladness,
            and renews our community.

Invocation

Faithful God,
you have stood by the oppressed and afflicted
throughout the ages.
Send your Holy Spirit upon us in this hour
so that we may come to understand better your truth and love.
Bring us into your presence, enlighten us with your word
as you have done for others.  
Explain to us all that we struggle to understand.  
In these days of challenge and uncertainty,
we gather to build up our community
that we together might be bearers of good news to a weary world.
Help us on our journey toward greater faithfulness, we pray.         Amen.

Call to Confession:

Leader:            What other can we do than humble ourselves
            before the Living God?  
            Let us confess our sins with all our hearts and all our being.

Prayer of Confession                                                                 (based on Mark 9:38-50)

 
God of truth in all times and places,
we so quickly assume
that what we believe or what we discern
is pleasing in your sight.  
We assume too quickly that you are on our side
before asking ourselves with honesty
whether we are living and witnessing as those on your side.  
We assume that only those who are our people
are the ones you choose
to share your saving graces and miracles.     
We know, but keep forgetting,
that a stranger who is not “one of us” is still one of yours,     
part of the community of the faithful
which you are knitting together.
You have never asked too much of us--
a cup of water, a loaf of bread,
a prayer lifted up in faith, a miracle shared--
but we tell ourselves we are overwhelmed
and cannot do any more.
Holy One, give us the courage, we pray,
to change our lives
that we might make a difference in the world.  

Words of Grace and Encouragement                           (from James 5: 13-20)

    Be reminded that God willingly gives new life to those
    who seek to shed their sins.
    We are told in scripture that
    “the prayer lifted in faith will make the sick well.”  
    Take this to heart.
    Turn to each other for support. Pray for each other.
    With love, bring back to the fold anyone who has wandered
    or been taken away.
    Know that God will see us through times of uncertainty
    and be with us in times of gladness.  Thanks be to God.  

Invitation to Offering

    The Letter of James challenges us to express our faith in mutual care and generosity, to offer our gifts in community and put them at the service of one another.  So let us now gather our gifts together and offer them to God in gratitude, heartfelt commitment, and praise.
Blessing Over the Gifts

    Beloved Jesus, you empower us to share out of our need and out of our strength.  Take these gifts and bless them and let them serve your people at home and throughout the world, all of us, your cherished disciples.  

Benediction  

    As you go into the world, be of good courage.  Remember that God is blessing us, whoever we are and wherever we are.  And may the God of our ancestors give us the wisdom and courage for such a time as this.  Go in peace and love to serve God.




Courage for Community: Service Prayers for the 17th 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