United Church of Christ

Online Easter 5 - May 10

Now and Always
Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Online Worship
May 10, 2020

Acts 7: 55-60 ~ Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16 ~ 1 Peter 2: 2-10 ~ John 14: 1-14

Call to Worship

Leader will speak the words of the people, as well as the leader’s part

Leader: Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you, and I will come again.”
People: out loud, but muted
We gather together from many places
to know your presence and your love,
now and always.
Leader: Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
If you know me, you know God.”
People: out loud, but muted
We pray to know you more deeply,
that we may know God more intimately,
now and always.
Leader: Jesus said, “Ask me for anything, and I will do it.”
People: out loud, but muted
Help us to ask for the right things, Lord Jesus Christ,
that we may fulfill your will,
now and always.
Leader: Jesus said, “Believe in me, and Follow me.”
People: out loud, but muted
Help us to worship you fully 
- believing and following –
now and always!

 

Invocation

Ever-gracious, Way-Making God,
we celebrate the gifts of your Spirit.
You have not fed us a diet of shame or shrinking,
but with the milk of your truth
you have made us strong and faithful servants of Christ.
You call us to take up the mantle of justice and to follow wherever faith leads us.
You fill us with strength and hope,
and you invite us to share in the cost and joys of discipleship.
You promise us splendor and beauty in this life and in the world to come.
Meet us here, we pray,
that your word will be fulfilled in our hearing
and that your Spirit will fill us with courage. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Ever-gracious God,
from generation to generation you call forth faithful women and men
to be willing servants of truth.
You fill us with strength and hope,

People: out loud, but muted
Yet we find it is often not enough.

We pray both for great faith and for easy lives,
People: out loud, but muted
But we know these things seldom exist together.

We pray only to avoid the time of trial
People: out loud, but muted
When we need also to pray for strength and confidence
to face the challenges that come with faithfulness.
Forgive us, God, for our limited vision and our feeble trust.

Make us strong like Stephen,
so that we may rejoice in your unending grace
even in the times of deepest suffering.
People: out loud, but muted
In Christ we pray.  Amen.

 

Assurance of Pardon

Leader Do not let your hearts be troubled,
but share instead in Stephen’s vision of the heavens opened
and Christ standing at the right hand of God.
This glorious vision of hope is for all of us,
for we are forgiven of all that separates us from the Holy One.
People: out loud, but muted
Blessed be God, the giver of life,
and blessed be God’s people,
who rejoice in Christ,
the way, the truth and the life.

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

  • Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today.  The Gospel in John 14 may be especially poignant for people in quarantine, who are dealing with loss, and separation, and isolation.  We are accustomed to hear of God’s “many mansions” at funerals; Do people residing in isolation of many homes have a new experience of that metaphor?   Explore the Apostle’s question:  “If we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” And begin to unpack Jesus’ response: “I am the way, the truth and the life….”
  • 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.

Call to Offering

We have tasted of the Lord’s goodness
and the sweetness is still on our lips.
Now we permit ourselves to be living vessels
of God’s sweet, sweet Spirit,
offering ourselves, our lives and our gifts
to those who are most in need of Christ’s healing mercy.

Dedication

People: out loud, but muted
           God, bless these tithes and offerings,
           that they may heal and make whole the lives of all your children.
           And bless those who give and those who long to give,
           that we may become living stones of mercy, grace and justice
           in the house of your creation. Amen.

Benediction

Once you were not a people,
but now you are a people bound together in God’s mercy
and united in Christ’s service.
Depart from this place in peace and confidence,
to love and serve in the name of Jesus the Christ,
the living representation of God
– our way, our truth, our life. Amen.

Now and Always: Service Prayers for the Fifth Sunday of Easter was written by the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister and Team Leader for MESA (Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization), UCC

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. 

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