Lent 2 – February 28

Between Me and You
Prayers for the Second Sunday of Lent
February 28, 2021

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 • Psalm 22:23-31 • Romans 4:13-25 • Mark 8:31-38

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!

One: “Walk before me, and be blameless,” said God to Abram,
“And I shall make my covenant between me and you.” (Genesis 17: 1-2, paraphrased)

One: Quite openly, we’ve measured that distance.
All: Out loud, but muted
Quite openly, we’ve stayed away.

One: Quite openly, we’ve distanced ourselves.
All: Out loud, but muted
Quite openly, we didn’t want to be closer.

One: Quite openly, we are not blameless.
All: Out loud, but muted
Quite openly, we are here.
We are here to open ourselves
to our In-between God.

We are quite open about our successes.
We feel free to boast when we have done well,
but we are not quite so open when things have gone wrong.
We do not praise God anyway.
Instead, we recognize the distance
between me and you
between you and God
between God and me.
Let’s be quite open about it
as we open ourselves
to our Living God in silence

Extended prayerful silence.

You can look behind.
You can search ahead.
God will meet you in between.
God promises to always be right there.
If you believe this to be so,
If you believe God is
between here and there
between me and you,
Share that peace with your neighbor.

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 example:

Between You and Me Prayer Ritual Possibilities
For most of us, it seems like it’s easier to talk about
God being in-between here and there than to actually experience that presence.
We are more likely to insert our own words, as Peter does – denials, deflections, distances–
when we could be listening for God to speak.
Imagine a way that your community could feel the presence of our In-between God.

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.

Without talking back,
Without asking questions,
Let us move into God’s love.
Let us go in-between with God to offer our gifts.
Let us give God our thanks in our tithes and offerings.

All: Out loud, but muted
In-between God,
Bless these gifts with your love
So that we might share them quite openly
With all who need your change. Amen.

BENEDICTION (based on Mark 8:31-38)
One: Turn and look!
All: Out loud, but muted
We want to become followers of Christ.

One: Turn and look!
All: Out loud, but muted
We will speak quite openly.

One:   Turn and look!
All:     Out loud, but muted
We will speak quite openly.

One:   Turn and look!
All:     Out loud, but muted
We will open ourselves to our In-between God.

Revealed to Us: Prayers for the Second Sunday after Epiphany was written 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.

Copyright 2021 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.