United Church of Christ

Pentecost 20 - October 18

The Glory of God
Prayers for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost
Children’s Sabbath
October 18, 2020

US elections happen on November 3, 2020.  While the churches can take no partisan stands, we can pray and work for a just common life as a natural extension of our faith.  The UCC’s Our Faith Our Vote has prepared a series of one page issue education papers and webinars to assist with voter education: https://www.ucc.org/ourfaithourvote_issue_education_2020

Voter registration and early voting processes offered here at the Civic Action Center: https://p2a.co/zv3KyiE

Children’s Sabbath is a program of the Children’s Defense Fund, which advocates for justice for children. 2020 Children’s Sabbath is observed October 16-18, 2020. Information, policy papers, opportunities for action are offered on the CDF website, along with interfaith liturgical resources: http://www.childrensdefense.org/programs/faithbased/faith-based-action-programs-pages/childrens-sabbaths/National-Observance-of-Children-s-Sabbaths.html

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for Summer 2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines

Moses longed to see God's glory. All of us share that longing, especially the most vulnerable among us. Let us look into the faces of children who struggle in school, go hungry at night, are denied comprehensive healthcare or fear the violence within their own homes. Let us listen for God speaking to these children as God spoke to Moses so that we might find the way to offer these children a glimpse of God's glory in action for justice, and find God’s glory revealed in their faces.

Call to Worship (inspired by Exodus 33:12-23)

                    How shall we know that we have found favor in your sight, O God?
People:         Out loud, but muted
                    How do children know that they are created in your image?
People:         Out loud, but muted

                    How do we raise up youth
                    to always know your presence goes with them?
People:         Out loud, but muted
                    How do we find this faith within ourselves, O God?

                    With Moses, we implore, “Show us your glory.”
People:         Out loud, but muted
                    With the children, we seek your graciousness now.

Invocation (adapted from Christian Resources for Children’s Sabbath)

God of forever and right now,
By your Spirit open our ears to hear your Word to us
in scripture,
in sermon,
in song.
Open our eyes to see your Word to us
in children’s faces,
in troubling statistics,
in our action together.
Open our hearts to feel your Word to us
in the warmth of love,
in the ache of sadness,
in the energy of commitment.
Strengthen our desire for justice for all children,
And our wills to advocate and organize,
So that all children may  grow up safe, and thrive in community.

Prayer of Confession (adapted from Christian Resources for Children’s Sabbath)

Growing God, we confess that we cling to the comfortable,
fall back on the familiar,
and allow apathy to dull our hearts and our commitment.
We shrug our shoulders and say that poverty is inevitable
even as it deprives children of the fullness of life
that you intend and they deserve.
We throw up our hands at the number of children without health coverage
and accept what is unacceptable.
We shake our heads over the bursting prisons
but turn away from the things that push children toward prison
rather than keeping them on the path to success.

Forgive us, Growing God, for callousness instead of compassion,
for discouragement instead of determination,
for selfishness instead of service.
Allow us to grow into your ways and find favor in your sight.
Mature with us so that just love may be realized for all your children.
Daydream with us so that we might do justice on the behalf of all children.
Answer these prayers we pray in the name of your Beloved Child,
the hope of the world. Amen.

Words of Assurance (inspired by Exodus 33:12-23)

God grows with you.
Look upon her face, as she speaks sweetly to you, saying,
I will do the very thing you have asked;
for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.


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. 

  • 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

 

Bless the Children (inspired by 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10)
Even as we experience the assurance of God’s love and mercy, we must still struggle with the justice issues facing our children. In some of our churches in the United Church of Christ, children living in poverty and in violence are unknown to the church family.  While these children remain in our prayers, we cannot see their faces in our regular gatherings for worship.  Most of our congregations in the United Church of Christ do have children – whom we love and adore. On this particular Sunday, bless the children that you can see, and invite, imaginatively, children whom  you cannot see, but who still need the blessing of our commitment to justice for them.  At a special separate moment in worship, invite all of the children on screen. Invite adults to extend their hands over the children, as one person prays:

Grace and peace to you, our children.
We will always give thanks for you.
We pray for you constantly because we love you.
We love you just as God loves you.
We know, children of God, that God loves you so much.
There are no words to express it.
There are no wonders we can perform.
But we know that the power of God is in you.
We can see it upon your faces.
You remind us of God’s love.
Teach us to see the world as you do.
Surprise us with the wonders you see.
Show us what gifts God has given you.
And we will bless you, and protect you, and
We will always give thanks for you.
We will bless you in the name of our God.
We will bless you again and again.
Grace and peace to you, our children.
Grace and peace to you who show us God’s glory
shining through your faces.
Amen.

 

Call for the Offering

God looks upon your face.
God assures you when nothing else can.
“My presence will go with you”, God says.
“I will give you rest”, God prays.
Let us carry this spirit into our giving.
Let us praise God with our gifts of tithes and offerings.

 

Dedication of the Offering (adapted from Christian Resources for Children’s Sabbath)

People:         Out loud, but muted

O God, help us to recover our hope for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our courage for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our discipline for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our ability to work together for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our values for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our faith in you for our children’s sake. Amen.

Benediction (inspired by Exodus 33:12-23)

                        Growing God, we have known your presence.
People:            Out loud, but muted
                         We have lived in your love.
                        Show us your glory.
People:            Out loud, but muted
                         Reveal your glory in us.
                        We will carry your glory from here.
People:            Out loud, but muted
                         We will show it to all your children. Amen.

Designed by the Rev. Elsa A. Cook, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a budding spiritual director and wandering interim minister. She writes liturgies and shares her thoughts on cookingwithelsa.org.
Adapted for online use by Susan Blain.

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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