Pentecost 10 – August 9

God Lifts Us Up
Service Prayers for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 9, 2020

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:1-6. 16-22, 45b, Romans 10:5-15 and Matthew 14:22-33

Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red.  

Music using this liturgy online you will want to use only music in the public domain, or with the permission of the composer, unless you have a streaming license, with a provider like

If you are conducting worship on Zoom or a similar interactive meeting platform, it will work better if only the speaker is heard and everyone else is muted as there is a delay and potential feedback issues.

If you include Holy Communion you may want to encourage your congregation to forage for Communion elements at home. Here is an adaptation of such an invitation: Please prepare some bread, a slice or a small loaf of any kind of bread or cracker. In some parts of the world tortilla, rice cake, or cassava are used as this element which is defined not as a wheat product but as the most common food of the people. Let it be something you alone or you with others in your house may break and share. Prepare a cup or cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol. Remember, in John’s gospel, Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine. If all you have is a glass of water, it’s enough.

Set these elements in the living room or kitchen wherever you experience worship electronically with our faith community. Perhaps you want to put them on a lovely cloth or fabric that reminds you of a special time or a person deeply connected with you in the communion of saints. Perhaps you will light a candle or place beside the bread and the cup, a flower, plant or the photograph of someone you wish to bring with you into the circle of faith.[i]

If you incorporate Prayers of the People online, a caution: 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.

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

One:             +In the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Many:           Out loud but muted

Opening Sentences
                     Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,
                     they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
                     they shall run and not be weary,
                     they shall walk and not faint.                     (Isaiah 40:31 NRSV)
                     All:    Out loud but muted
We need this kind of hope.

                     Come; worship the Holy One who meets you where you are.
                     Come; open yourselves to the God who lifts us up.
                     All:    Out loud but muted
We are here to worship; we are here to surrender to God.

Opening Prayer
God of Presence,
                                as you walked upon the water to meet the disciples,
                                meet us in the midst of the storms in our lives.
                     God of Renewal,
                                as you lifted Peter from the water,
                                     lift us from despair to hope,
                                     from distraction to focus,
                                from death to life.
                     God of the Journey,
                                direct us in your way,
                                work out your purpose in and through our lives. 
                     We pray in the name of Christ who lives and reigns with you
                     in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Confession of Sin
                     God is with you, Christ is present,
                     the Holy Spirit surrounds you and unites us all.
All:                Out loud but muted
But we have turned our eyes to the challenges of this life,
lost our focus on God and are sinking in sin.

                     You can begin again.
                     Imagine a new way of being.
All:                Out loud but muted
                     We have cast aside our dreams to maintain the familiar.
We have cast aside the dreams of others, fearful of what they might mean.
                     God loves you,
                     Christ will lift you from the waves of doubt
                     and the Holy Spirit will rescue you from currents of insecurity and alienation.

                     In these moments of quiet reflection confess to God all that separates you from God and one another.
                     Time for personal reflection and confession.

During the time for reflection you may invite an accompanist to play the tune from O Sing a Song of Bethlehem, New Century Hymnal # 51, just before the Assurance of Pardon, you may recite the words of verse 3 over the accompaniment, (text below).

          O sing a song of Galilee, of lakes and woods and hill,
          Of one who walked upon the sea and bade its waves be still:
          For though, like waves on Galilee, rough seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Savior’s word, falls peace upon the soul.

Assurance of Pardon
Take heart, do not be afraid.
                     Every one who calls upon God’s name will be saved.
                     We are forgiven.
      All:          Out loud but muted
Thanks be to God!

Time with Children

          Given the current situation, this will likely be more of a monologue. Here are some ideas to consider. This might be a good time to chat with the children about their dreams and hopes for their future.  You can ask a simple question like, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?”  Mention some of your childhood dreams for yourself, perhaps the childhood of other adults in the congregation with whom the children are familiar. A list of professions as a response is good, but you may want to also offer qualities of character or discipleship that you or others hoped to express through their lives.  If you have children present, affirm each child as they respond.  You may then want to tell some of Joseph’s story emphasizing that God was able to bring Joseph’s dreams to reality despite other’s efforts to the contrary.  Conclude with a prayer asking God to work God’s purpose out through the lives and dreams of the children.

Offertory Invitation

                    “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. 
                     But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?
                     And how are they to believe in one whom they have never heard? 
                     And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim to them?”
                                                                                                                  (Romans 10:13-15)

                    You have been saved.  You have believed.  You are sent.
                    Offer yourselves then to the work of invitation,
                    community and purpose in our homes, neighborhood, online, and around the world.

Offertory Dedication
           All:    Out loud but muted

Loving God, we believe that you have saved us, you are saving us, and you will save us. We offer to you our whole lives as a living sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Use us; multiply us and the gifts we offer, in person, by mail, or online, to extend the invitation of life, community to everyone we meet.

Communion Prayer 

One   God be with you.    
All:      Out loud but muted
         And with your spirit.
         Lift up your hearts
All:      Out loud but muted
We them up to God.

         Give thanks to God who lifts us up.
All:      Out loud but muted  
          Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!

          Since the dawn of creation, you have lifted humanity
          from the dust of the earth to life and fullness.
All:      Out loud but muted
*Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
          Through dreams and their interpretation, you lifted Joseph from slavery to leadership.
          Through Joseph you lifted the children of Israel from famine to a feast of reconciliation.

All:      Out loud but muted
           Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
          Through Jesus you lifted Peter from the waters of Galilee to a ministry of inviting others to leave the comfort of their boats and walk faithfully with you.

All:      Out loud but muted
           Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
           When he had been crucified, dead and buried, you lifted Jesus from the grave to a resurrected life.  Through Christ you extend that gift to all.

All:      Out loud but muted
Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
           With the sound of the rush of a mighty wind you lifted the first apostles from fear and despair to boldly proclaim a message of hope and build a        community of purpose.

All:      Out loud but muted
            Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
            You have lifted us through the waters of baptism to new life in Christ and through us you extend the invitation of life, community and purpose to others.

All:      Out loud but muted
            Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
            (Add a sentence here that tells of God’s recent work in your congregation or community.)

All:      Out loud but muted
            Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
           When we struggle, your handiwork may be eclipsed by the actions of others and yet you are present to lift us to new ways of living.

All:      Out loud but muted
            Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!
            And so, with all others you have lifted up, in every time and place, we remember the unending hymn of praise.
           *This prayer may also be prayed without continued use of the refrain: “Sing praise to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works!”

Musical Sanctus by Mark Miller

Still Speaking “Sanctus” by Mark A Miller
© 2020Mark A Miller, all publishing rights reserved. Permission given congregations to play recording during worship or education programs, and to stream online.

Words of Institution/Remembrance

See Book of Worship p. 47 or consider the following:

One:   Whether we are gathered at one table or dispersed at many tables,
in the Spirit our tables become one table,
where we remember how on the night when Jesus was handed
over, he gathered with his disciples in the upper room and together they shared
in an ordinary meal that had extraordinary implications.
For at this table,
Jesus broke bread and shared wine with the one who betrayed him.
At this table,
Jesus broke bread and shared wine with the one who denied him.
At this table,
Jesus broke bread and shared wine with those who fled from him in his
time of need.
At this table,
Jesus broke bread and shared wine with people from all walks of life.
And so, whenever we gather
to share the bread and the wine as one
community of faith,
we proclaim Jesus’ life,
which affirms there is a place at this table for all people.
All:      Out loud but muted
The love of God transcends every power that tries to contain it. 1 1

Adapted from Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline
Congregations by Phil Snider and Emily Bowen, © 2010, The Pilgrim Press. Permission is granted for

Prayer of Consecration

Holy God,
pour out your Spirit upon our gifts of grain and grape
that they might be for us the presence of the living Christ
and upon us so that we might be empowered in our ministry
to lift the lost and lonely,
invite others to walk faithfully with Christ in the resurrected life,
to share in our community of purpose,
and to join in the feast of reconciliation.
Through Christ, with Christ and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours Almighty God, now and forever. 


          If you are meeting in-person, you may consider using pre-packaged Communion cups or invite people to bring their own elements.

The Blessing
          One:   May the presence of Christ, Body and Spirit,
                    keep and preserve you to everlasting life.

          One:   Let us pray.
          All:    Out loud but muted
                    Holy God, thank you for your love which lifts us, your presence which fills us and your life which empowers us to be your people.  Amen.         


You have been raised with Christ.
Do the work of Christ in the world:
           extend a hand to those in need,
           speak up for those others would cast aside,
           build bridges of reconciliation,<
           strengthen bonds of community,
           and extend the invitation of life,
           community and purpose to others knowing that
           + the God who created you,
           the Christ who redeems you
           and the Spirit who empowers you
           will be with you this day and ever more.

+ You may make a sign of the cross in remembrance of baptism.

Written by the Rev. Dr. Bob Gross, OCC, Senior Pastor at Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ, Waukesha, WI.  Rev. Gross is a member of the Order of Corpus Christi, (OCC), which is an ecumenical covenantal community that seeks to be a contemporary expression of the Mercersburg Tradition.

Copyright 2020 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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