The following prayer of Invocation is from the United Church of Christ. O God, with gladness and expectation, we gather in this space today. For you are the one who makes all things new. You are the one who satisfies our hunger and restores our soul. In this holy space, help us, your daughters and sons, to know that you always love us. Through our worship today, help us to know that if we stray away from you, you are always ready to receive us with open arms. Prepare our hearts as we worship you to welcome and embrace all of your children as you do us. With gladness and expectation we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Holy One, The space between us is too great–
this agonizing expanse between you and us:
The rift we have created by demanding our share.
The distance we have put between us as we flee to a far country.
The resentment we hold when things don’t seem fair.
Our refusal to join your gracious party.
Forgive each selfish request
each step away
each bitter thought
each joyless rejection.
and run toward us
with open arms.
Submitted by Rev. Joanna Harader.
The following liturgy was shared via LiturgyLink. One: God, you have called us into community, and gifted us with ways to celebrate your presence and to mark our journey.
All: Forgive us for the times when we have believed that our way is the only way, trusting in the words and actions rather than in the One to whom they point.
One: Through words ancient and new, you speak. Through bread and water, journey and prayer, feast and fast, you show us your way.
All: When these rituals of your people become nothing but empty rote recitation, not worth our attention, forgive us.
One: We hear your words of invitation, but sometimes we are certain they do not apply to us.
Reader 1: We are not worthy of your notice.
Reader 2: We are too smart and sophisticated for such things.
Reader 3: We aren’t sure we believe it all.
All: We are not ready, we do not understand, if you knew what we’d done…
One: And you say: You are my beloved, and I have called you by name.
All: We offer ourselves to you, O God, not because we are good, but because you are good.
sung: Kyrie Eleison
Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Companion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. In peace let us pray to the Lord saying, Lord have mercy.
For the church throughout the world, that all Christians may embody the reconciling love of Christ, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the nations of the world and its leaders, that all may dwell in peace and that justice may be tempered by mercy, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the planet Earth, God's gift to humankind, that all may share wisely its resources and conserve its riches for our children's children, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For our enemies, that we may regard them with the reconciling love made manifest in Christ, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For those who are sick or in trouble, for the defenseless, the weak, and the poor, that they may be restored to wholeness of life and livelihood, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
For the lost, for those who have abandoned God, friends, or family, and for those who have never known such love, that they may come to know the joy of love's embrace, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
Loving God, hear the prayers of your people for the sake of our world, and our Savior Jesus Christ, through whom we pray. Amen.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Companion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. God's love is sure and steadfast, always providing a way out, a way through, a way back to God. Through the waters of baptism, we have died with Christ and are raised with him. With gratitude, in faith, we will walk the way of Christ.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Compansion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. May the mercy of God ground us, the love of Christ take root in us, and the Holy Spirit grow in us, that we may be ready for the coming of the kingdom.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Companion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. On this third Sunday of Lent, we are urged to shake off the complacency that can overtake us; to seek God as people in a dry and weary land seek water; and to bear fruit in our daily lives that contribute to God's kingdom of justice and love.
From Feasting on the Word - Worship Companion, edited by Kimberly Bracken Long. Holy God, we confess that we have grown complacent in our response to you. You set before us a rich feast of blessing, but we are drawn to lesser things that cannot satisfy. You call us to attend to urgent needs in the world, but we indulge our own desires. Our ways are not your ways; our thoughts do not ascend to your thoughts. Forgive us when we fall short of your claim upon our lives. Disturb our complacency and quicken our desire for a more fruitful life. Be patient, we pray, as we amend who we are, in the hope of becoming who you intend us to be. We ask this in the name of our Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
God of the Blazing Bush,even in the wilderness we have become comfortable. As you did to your servant Moses, direct our gaze toward the path to which you call us. Come into this place and bless this, our worship of you. Hear our praise and receive our offering as we pray, sing, listen, speak, and discern according to your Holy Spirit. Come into this place, Holy God, and turn us aside that we may go out into the world and continue our worship of you. Amen.
Holy God,you have created us from the beginning of time and continue to create us anew each and every day. However, we do not always embrace that creation. Too often we turn away from your questions, your parables, and your wisdom in search of our own answers, answers that often carry us further from that which we are meant to be. When we are caught between our belief and our unbelief, between our understanding and our false notions, we do not reach out for your hand that is extended to pick us up from the depths of our brokenness. Forgive us, Lord. In those moments when we turn away from our calling, help our hands to open to you, our ears to listen to you, our eyes to watch you, and our hearts to beat with yours. O Lord, hear our prayer.