From the Heart
Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2020
Leader will speak the words of the people, as well as the leader’s part
Call to Worship (inspired by Acts 2: 14a, 36-24; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; Luke 24:13-35)
|Leader:||Travelers on the Way, what shall we do?|
loud, but muted
We shall praise God
who hears our prayers,
who draws near to us,
and brings new life out of death.
Dear Ones, how shall we live?
loud, but muted
With the confidence of God’s beloved children,
with security and joy of God’s saving grace.
Friends old and new, what is the promise?
loud, but muted
New life, forgiveness of sin, the Spirit as gift!
Beloved Siblings, how shall we praise?
loud, but muted
We lift our voices and our hearts in love, thanks, and praise!
We will praise the Lord as long as we live!
Loving God, we welcome your living presence in our midst.
Share our joy and our thanks for the life you give us.
Sing with us! Dance among us! Pray with us!
Shower us with your love! Amen!
Prayer of Confession (Luke 24:13-35)
Heavenly Stranger, our Companion on the Way,
we yearn for your love and grace. We seek your wisdom and guidance.
We relish the joy which burns within our hearts when you are with us.
Yet, sometimes we would cling to you, hoard the blessings of relationship with you,
and not share your love with others.
Forgive us, Dear One.
Remind us that your love is to be carried throughout the world.
Press us to share the hope and joy of your love,
so that someone who hungers for spiritual food
may be filled by our witness to your grace.
Shine the light of your Spirit through us,
so that we may show your Way those who long for peace
and help to revive those in whom hope has died. Amen.
Words of Assurance
God may come to us, unrecognized, as a stranger.
The Risen Christ reaches out to us in unexpected ways
as we travel our own Emmaus roads.
People: out loud, but muted
May the Word of our Stillspeaking God
continue to burn in our hearts.
Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People
Notes for the worship planners in 2020:
- Consider inviting several voices to read the Gospel narrative aloud. The dialogue between Jesus and the forlorn disciples on the road has dramatic possibilities. Invite folk several days in advance so they have time to practice. If you are meeting via Zoom, rehearse in advance so that any mute/unmute issues are worked out. If you have the ability to have the readers record themselves in advance and put the pieces together in a single video, that is another adaptation.
- Consider a simple message or even an interactive Bible Study that engages people in the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: their grief, their unexpected encounter, the re-framing of their story that the Stranger offers, their invitation to the Stranger to “Stay with us!”, their astonishment at the breaking of the bread. Lots of potential to make connections in this time of isolation, grief, re-creation of community.
- For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.
A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…” In a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online. Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers: “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief” etc.
Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care.
Invitation to the Offering (1 Peter 1:22-23)
The author of 1 Peter implores us to love one another deeply from the heart,
and assures us that we have been born anew
through the living and enduring word of God.
In our giving today, let us give, not out of obligation, but from the heart.
Let our gifts be seeds of the living and enduring word of God,
that will sprout in abundance of justice and hope all that is necessary for life,
for friends here at hand, and around the world.
Invite people to give using whatever online or postal platform you have set up.
Friends, rejoice in the mothering and fathering love of God!
Rejoice in the victorious life of our Risen Savior!
Rejoice in the power of the Spirit!
Continue on the Way, living in the love of Christ!
Welcome the Unexpected One, serving in the name of Christ!
Let your love of God embrace
Those who are afar off
Those who are strangers met on the road
May your lives praise the Lord!
From the Heart: Online Service Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter was written by the Rev. Renee C. Jackson, Minister for Ministerial Formation, MESA Team, United Church of Christ
Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO 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.