Lent 1 – February 21

Prayers for the Journey
First Sunday of Lent
February 21, 2021

Genesis 9:8-17 Psalm 25:1-10 I Peter 3:18-22 Mark 1:9-15

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

CALL TO WORSHIP adapted from Ps 25, 1-3
Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines
One:   To you, O GOD, we lift up the spirit of our whole selves.
All:     Out loud, but muted
O God, we trust unashamedly in you;
seeking that you be not ashamed of us;
One:   May we begin our Lenten journey together in right relationships;
All:     Out loud, but muted
Teach us. Show us. Guide us in your paths.
Grow us to know your ways more clearly.
One:   You are the God of our salvation and the Sustainer of good relations.
All:     Out loud, but muted
For you we wait.
One:   May integrity, a clean conscience, and upright living preserve us.
All:     Out loud, but muted

All: Out loud, but muted
As in days of old, Creator God,
we come to look for your signs of covenant promises.
Like the rainbow days of Noah,
we see and know your signs
and hear your voice again
directing us to places
of preparation and transformation
in our lives and in our world.
Thank you God,
for your covenant signs
in this season of Lent. Amen.

Sisters and Brothers, in our daily lives
we need the gift of the season of Lent.
These 40 days can help us restore right relationships
with God and with others.
This is a fine time to focus,
clear our hearts and minds of distractions,
and re-orient and restore our whole selves.
May God be with us. Let us pray:

Creating and Renewing God.
In this Lenten season we each need the opportunity
to clear our eyes of the glaze of indifference and apathy.
Help us get our minds off distractions, obsessions and self-pity
so that we don’t feel helpless.
Help us to start over.
Re-orient head and heart
so that we may fill our whole selves
with life-affirming activities and thoughts.

All: Out loud, but muted
May I be in right relationship with you and all your creation
and join the United Church of Christ
in over-coming violence, hunger, and injustice.
May I find courage and clarity to assist me
in works of justice and compassion
which make daily life bearable for many.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters,
God hears our prayers and, even in our human frailty,
promises to be with us in the wilderness times.
Observe, find comfort, and offer with courage
to restore and build relationships among God’s people.
Experience a new and renewed sense of hope. Amen.

Notes for the worship planners in 2021:
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.
o 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.

Psalm 25:10 reminds us,
“All the paths of God are steadfast love and faithfulness
for those who keep God’s covenant and decrees.”
Our church’s ministries are extensions of God’s love
and faithfulness made possible through the generous giving
of our time, energy, and money.
With love let us offer our gifts to God.

All: Out loud, but muted
God of all bounty and blessing,
receive our lives and our gifts
to be bounty and blessings
to you, our church, and the world. Amen.

Mindful of your mercy, forgiveness, and instruction, O God,
we go into the world renewed, refreshed,
and full of courage to be your people.
We go in peace to work for justice. Amen.

Prayers for the Journey: Service Prayers for the First Sunday of Lent was written by the Rev. Rosemary McCombs Maxey, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is retired clergy and a member of Fellowship Congregational United Church of Christ, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Copyright 2021, 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.