a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

A Prayer for Labor Day

God of Creation,
you placed us on this earth to labor
and bring forth its abundant fruits.
You placed Eve and Adam in the garden
to till the land and enjoy your bounty.
Help us that we might use the gifts you’ve given us
to your glory and praise.

We pray this day for all who work:
for those who work jobs that others don’t want to do…
for those who work jobs that others don’t respect…
for those who work in the service industries…
for those who work in jobs that they love…
for those who work in jobs simply to make ends meet…
for those who work multiple jobs to support their families…
for those who cannot take today off…

We pray this day for those who have finished their work:
for those who have retired and moved on to other adventures…
for those who have changed from one job to begin another…
for those who have had to stop working for reasons of health…

We pray this day for those who cannot find work:
for those who have been laid off…
for those who have been fired…
for those who are homeless…
for those who are undocumented…
for those who unemployed because of the color of their skin…

Gracious God, help us to respect each other
and to value the work that we do for your glory. Amen.

 

Submitted by Stephen M. Fearing, Beaumont Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

POP: Olympics

In the Olympics this week, O God, we have watched many people gather and compete. We been moved by amazing human achievements, touched by individual stories, and inspired by our neighbors from around the world. We stand in awe, O God, of the miraculous gifts of life, and the human spirit, and the human body. We praise you, recognizing with gratitude that all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made by you.

As we watch swimming and diving… we remember that you hovered over the waters of creation and the waters of our baptism. We give thanks for the gift of abundant access to clean water, and the cleansing power of your spirit. We pray for those who thirst for water, those who suffer either flood or drought, and those who thirst for your spirit.

As we watch running events… we remember that you walked in the garden of Eden, seeking your shamed creatures after they sinned, and that you walked among us as a redeeming Savior. We give thanks for the gift of mobility – our ability to walk and run and bend and move. We pray for those who are disabled, or who have trouble walking or running, and all who suffer due to disease, injury, or age.

As we watch gymnastics… we remember that yours is the Spirit of strength and balance that holds the world together. We give thanks for the way you bend and shape and challenge us. We pray for those who are stiff or stuck, including ourselves – make us more flexible and more open to the movement of your Spirit.

As we watch teams sports… we remember that you made us because of love and for love, and that in your wisdom gave us each other and called us to live in community. We give you thanks for our families and friends, and for the fellowship we find in your church. We pray for those who are lonely, who feel alienated or unwelcome, who are isolated in their grief, fear, or pain. And we pray that you would help us reach out to them with your love and kindness.

As we watch people from all over the world competing with each other, we remember that you are the God of every nation. We give thanks for the gift of our own country, and all the freedoms we enjoy here. We pray for our great country, for its leaders and those seeking office, and for all of us in this challenging season. We also pray for the leaders and citizens of every nation, and for the whole world, praying that your peace would flourish among us.

We pray all of this and much more, in the name of your son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying…

 

Submitted by Rev. Betsy Turner, Luther Hays Presbyterian Church, Hayston, GA

communion: bless us…

Invitation

Jesus knew that it would be harder to follow him than to simply understand, so he gathered his friends around a table to hear the story—and then to be filled with the courage it will take to live as part of that story. He still gathers his friends at the table to be strengthened for the journey—not to fill our minds with the right answers, but to fill our bodies with the same love he carried in his body, that we might love with our whole strength, our whole being, our whole mind, our whole heart. In other words—since faith without works is dead, he calls us to the table and sends us out filled so that we might live.

This table is for those who know a lot and those who know nothing, those who love fully and those who want to love more, those who come regularly and those who still seek. This table does not belong to the Presbyterian Church, it belongs to the Lord—and it is he who invites all to share in the feast of love and life.

Let us pray. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, for blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe.
You have created something out of nothing.
You have called a people to inhabit your kingdom.
You have filled the earth with good things.
You have offered us your very life that we might live with you.
And so we give you thanks, for your blessedness spills over and blesses us.
We give you thanks for the gift of freedom and for the many people who have laid down their lives for their friends.
We give you thanks for the freedom to worship, to speak as you call, to live and to love in peace.

And we pray for your blessings to cover us again this day.
Bless this, your church, with passion for your good news and a longing for grace.
Bless this city with compassion that we might serve the least of these among us, and so encounter you.
Bless this nation with freedom and justice for all, that every person may share abundantly in its promise.
Bless your world with eyes to see and ears to hear, so that no part of creation goes unloved or uncared for.
Bless us with faith, O God, to help build the kingdom you are creating in our midst.

As we come to this table, celebrating again the feast of your victory over death, remind us that suffering does not have the last word. Where there is pain or illness, may your healing presence abound. Where there is despair or hatred, may your love be visible. Where there is violence or distrust, may your life be a beacon of hope. Bring peace to your world, O God.

Here there is bread and wine, simple gifts offered for a simple cause. Fill us with your bread of life, Lord, that we may be strengthened for this journey. Give us courage to live lives worthy of our calling. Nourished by your very being, make us again into your body loving, serving, and caring for the world.

We pray these and all things in the name of Christ who lived, who died, who rose, and who reigns in power, hosting this and every feast, and we pray as he taught us: Our Father…

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

CTW: wait for the Lord

L:  At the defeat of a candidate, the news shouts polarizing speculations:  how the mighty have fallen!

P:  We wait for the Lord, our souls wait in hope;
L:  When economies crash,  investors bemoan their losses, crying: how the mighty have fallen

P:  We wait for the Lord, our souls wait in hope.

L:  When beloved pillars of community, church or family die, like David, we wail our grief: how the mighty have fallen!

P:  We wait for the Lord, our souls wait in hope.

All:  Lord, hear our voices! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of our praise and our prayers!
A call to worship based on 1 Samuel 1 and Psalm 130. Submitted by Rev. Deb Avery.

litany for September 11

A Litany of Remembrance, Thanksgiving, and Healing
submitted by Rev. Joshua W. Hale, Perritte Memorial Methodist Church, Nacogdoches, Texas

September 11th Litany (PDF)

another confession for September 11

Submitted by Rev. Rebecca Page Lesley, Suffolk Presbyterian Church

Merciful God, you teach that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. We confess that we mostly just love ourselves. We see those who are different than we are and we harbor fear and suspicion. We forget that they too, are your beloved children. O God, have mercy on us.

In our search for safety, we have put others at risk and though many lives have been lost, we have not found the security we seek. Forgive us, Lord, for our misplaced sacrifices. Have mercy on us.

Christ teaches that we should forgive, but we like to hold on to grudges and they become our own weapons of mass destruction. We seek to be controllers of rather than partners in our relationships—even our relationship with you, O Lord. Have mercy on us. Forgive our faults, strengthen our weaknesses, and lead us forth in love.

Confession for September 11th

One: We come this day remembering—
All: remembering horror, grief, fear;
remembering lives lost, communities changed, a nation wounded.
We close our eyes and can still see the images.
We open our eyes and see the aftermath,
still smoldering after 10 years.
One: O God, we still carry pain, we still look for your presence in tragedy.
All: And we confess that we have also used our pain to justify hurting others.
We have lashed out, seeking safety, but have not found it.
So we confess to you, O God,
that our efforts have not brought what we are looking for.
Heal us now, O God.
Renew our vision, our hearts, our center.
Bring us your peace.
Move us from where we are,
from where we’ve been,
to where you would have us go.
We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace.
Amen.

Brainstorming: September 11th

This year is the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and September 11th falls on a Sunday. Is your community doing anything to mark this anniversary? Are you wondering if/how you might incorporate something into your regular worship service? Share your ideas, thoughts, concerns, hopes here…and together we can brainstorm some liturgy, music, and other worship ideas.

Brainstorming: 4th of July weekend

Some of us studiously avoid the civic-holidays and patriotism in worship. Some of us don’t have that luxury. Others of us are working on how to celebrate communion on a civic holiday, or dreaming up creative worship ideas that are easier to test out in the summer. And some of us are already tired of ordinary time, only 3 weeks in. Whether you fall into any of these categories or you just want to brainstorm how to approach “come to me, all you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” yet again (but not in a funeral this time!), come share–what ideas do you have for this 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time?