Pentecost 21–October 17

A Life of Service:

Service Prayers for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost
October 17, 2021

CALL TO WORSHIP (Mark 10:35-45)
One:       We may come here for a glimpse of glory,
Many:     But Jesus asks us:  “Can you drink the cup that I drink?”
One:     The cup of Jesus’ own life: struggle and joy; suffering and hope.
              Fullness of life!

               We may come here to get close to Jesus, 
Many:     And Jesus asks us: “Can you be baptized with my baptism?”

One:        Baptized into the reign of God,
                where the Spirit breaks down barriers among all people
                and creates new relationships!

              We may come here for honor or fame,
Many:      But Jesus challenges us: “To become great you must serve!”

One:        Why are we here?
Many: To drink the cup of fullness of life;
               To immerse ourselves in Jesus’ struggle for justice and peace;
               To learn how to serve so that the world may be healed.

PRAYER OF INVOCATION (Psalm 91:9-16; Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c)
Holy Dwelling Place,
Your tent is wide enough to provide
shelter for all who seek you,
food for all who hunger, and
healing for all who suffer.
Meet us here today, and fill us with confidence in your presence,
that we may risk sharing Jesus’ cup and his baptism
so the world may become
the place of love and justice you desire for all.
Shelter us with your light,
and clothe us with your heavenly garments.
Teach us how we may best serve ourselves and one another
on this daring adventure. Amen.

CONFESSION (Isaiah 53:4-12)
Divine Shepherd, like sheep we go our own ways.
With our heads to the ground and our attention turned elsewhere,
we often fail to heed the gentle nudge of your staff and your calls for home.
With so many things to distract us—
work, school, and the general busyness of life—
we lie unresponsive to your calls to kin-dom service.
(Moment of silence and reflection)

Protector Jesus, you came among us
in order to shelter us from the cold of night and forests of danger.
In your presence, we are in green pastures!
In you we are forgiven, and called once again to serve,
and create with you a world of justice and peace for all.

Jesus came not to be served but to serve.
Let us follow this example and share our gifts
so that we may also experience the joys and challenges of serving.

Parent God, may this offering assist us
in continuing Christ’s work in the world
to heal the grief, transgressions, and illnesses
that oppress and harm your creation. Amen.

BENEDICTION (Isaiah 53:4-12)
Our lives are filled with struggles and suffering—
none of us are immune.
The key to full life in Christ is not to rise above it,
but to struggle together and help one another along the way,
knowing that God is with us in every moment.
This is service.
If we seek to serve and lift one another up,
committing to struggle together,
together we will witness Christ’s glory.
So be it!

A Life of Service: Service Prayers for the 211st Sunday after Pentecost was written by the Rev. Dr. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, Iliff School of Theology, Denver CO.

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.

Pentecost 21–October 17