Pentecost 21 – October 25

At the Core

Service Prayers for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost
October 25, 2020

Leviticus 19:1–2, 15–18, Psalm 1, 1 Thessalonians 2:1–8, Matthew 22:34–46

US elections happen on November 3, 2020.  While the churches can take no partisan stands, we can pray and work for a just common life as a natural extension of our faith.  The UCC’s Our Faith Our Vote has prepared a series of one page issue education papers and webinars to assist with voter education:

Voter registration and early voting processes offered here at the Civic Action Center:

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for Summer 2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

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



           One:   You, O God, know our hearts.
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    Guide our hearts, O God.
           One:   You, O God, see our ways. 
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    Shape our ways, O God.

           One:   You, O God, call our spirits. 
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    Call us now, O God, as we call on you. 


Gathering Prayer

Happy are we, O God, when our hearts are full,
our ways are yours, our spirits enlivened by your call. 
Happy are we, O God, when our lives are guided by delight.
We gather here today for just that, holy God. 
We gather to draw on all you would give us
to be more fully yours.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Happy are those who turn away from the counsel of the wicked. 
But oh, that counsel can be so seductive –
it draws us in, holds us fast, distracts our priorities,
obstructs our capacity to love.  

But we seek no obstructions, we reject wicked counsel.
We embrace God’s embrace. 

For whatever ways we don’t, we confess. 
In whichever ways we sin, we repent. 

Hear our prayers, O God, as, before you, we seek wholeness. 


People:         Out loud, but muted

God of mercy, grace, reconciliation and goodness:
We are sorry for so much – for words we cannot bear to say
for memories we cannot bear to relive
for thoughts we cannot bear to admit.

But you know our hearts. 
Relieve us of our burdens,
Bind our hearts not to the unbearable but rather, to you
So that, in all ways, we may live in the joy of your salvation
And the delight of your loving embrace. 

Assurance of Pardon

           One:   Happy are we, holy people, when we walk in the ways of our God.
                     Happy are we, beloved ones, as we receive God’s forgiveness.
People:         Out loud, but muted
           All:     Happy are we, God’s own,
                     Because we are made whole, through Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People


Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

  • 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.

  • 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

Invitation to Offering

Anyone who has ever loved knows that to love is to give –
to give from the place we feel it most. 
This giving may be sacrificial,
but the sacrifice is compromised if it cannot be done joyfully. 
May we join together in the delight of giving? 


People:         Out loud, but muted
            With what you see before us, God, we demonstrate our deepest love.
            Receive our gifts – our very best – as sweet offerings before you.
            May they be the blessing to others that they have been for us.  Amen.


           One:    Almighty God bless and keep us
People:         Out loud, but muted
           All:     Merciful God, make your face to shine upon us. 

           One:   The blessed and Holy Trinity +
People:         Out loud, but muted
           All:    Be with us now and forever. 


Written by the Rev. Kaji S. Douša, Senior Minister of Park Avenue Christian Church (DOC) New York City.

Copyright 2020 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. 


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