Pentecost 23C – October 9

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 23
October 9, 2022
“Show Us Mercy”

Call to Worship
One: Come, beloved of God, and pause in the place of liminal longing.
Many: We come betwixt and between, pulled in many directions.
One: Trust that the Holy One is already forming a new creation in you.
Many: We come trusting God’s mercy to center and change us.
One: Indeed, the Holy One calls you by name for deeds of mercy.
Many: May God’s ancient action be a present presence as we gather.

Holy Love, take our weary waiting and form in us a readiness for renewal. Shape our hearts for healing, our minds for mending, and our souls for sharing. Let no weight of the moment prevent our remembering of your long reach of faithfulness cast over the whole creation. Still us enough to discover again your prayer rising in our praying, that we may be formed by Your love made known to us in Jesus Christ. By this, change us on the inside that our outer lives may more clearly reflect your will and way of mercy into the world.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life
Loving God, form in me a space for healing and enter in anew. For too long I have clutched the past in ways that have prevented the possibility of moving forward. Boundaries of my own making have kept me resistant to your healing mercy. Definitions of the world’s making have created divisions preventing the possibility of a new day, a new season, a new life. By Your mercy form me for a life of mercy and thanks. Lift every burden and release me from every long-rehearsed story holding me hostage to any narrative of hopelessness, hurt and fear. Grant instead a lightness of spirit forgiving me and freeing me to leap into a dance of delight beyond my wildest imagination.

Words of Grace
Hear the good news! Into our little openings of trust, God is pouring a large love born of mercy. No burden of your past is stronger than this power of Love to forgive, heal, and bless. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Now may our lives become songs of thanksgiving and praise that others too may discover the amazing power of God to make all things new!

Invitation to Generosity
Luke tells us that Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to give thanks and that one was a foreigner. Again and again in the Bible the unlikely one in the story becomes the model of a generosity and grace. Maybe today, we are the ones God is hoping will return to give thanks and praise. May we offer our best in joyful response to the gift of our lives that this mission of healing may continue to spread throughout the world.

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication
Holy One, in Jesus Christ you have shown what your heart is like – merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Form that same spirit in us that our lives may become continual prayers of thanksgiving. Let no cry of your creation go unheard. Form us as agents of practical praise, molding us with mercy for a world crying out for healing.

Go, my friends, because the mercy of God has freed you from your past. Go, because the mercy of God calls you forward into the world. Go, because the blessing of mercy you offer to others will lighten the burden they are carrying. Go, because by this mercy of God, we are all healed again and again. Thanks be to God! Amen and Amen!

Show Us Mercy: Service Prayers for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 23 were written by Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins, Conference Minister of the Heartland Conference, United Church of Christ.