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.
Leader: Return to the Lord your God, People: for God is gracious.
Leader: Confess to the Lord your God,
People: for God is merciful.
Leader: Repent to the Lord your God,
People: for God is slow to anger.
Leader: Praise the Lord your God,
People: for God abounds in steadfast love.
Leader: Worship the Lord your God.
All: Together, let us worship God!
Submitted by Rev. Daniel Commerford, Bethany Presbyterian Church, Covington, GA
Leader: We are here. Side 1: In this place where we experience God’s love.
Side 2: In this place where we practice loving each other.
Leader: We are here.
Side 1: Some of us have returned from a distant country.
Side 2: Some of us have snapped out of our own petty preoccupations.
All: At least for now.
Leader: We are here.
All: We are home.
Submitted by Rev. Joanna Harader.
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.
God of the old and the new,we want to embrace your new way, but we like the old just fine. We repeat tired ideas and resist new possibilities. We hold on to old grudges and resist your word of reconciliation and new life. We are too afraid of the unknown to step out into something new. Forgive us, loving Lord. Help us to see the way of your new creation in our lives and our world, that we might be reconciled to you and one another in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York
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.
Gracious God,by the presence of your Holy Spirit, bless this our proclamation of your Word that we may receive the gift of your grace and share it with those who we will meet on this journey to which we are called. Speak to us this day for we, your servants, are listening. Amen.
We are gathered as people created by Godto sing, to praise, and rejoice. We are gathered as people redeemed by God to confess and be embraced by mercy. We are gathered as people sustained by God to listen, proclaim, and to follow.
Friends, hear the good news of the Gospel:if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation! Everything old has passed away; everything becomes new! I declare to you that, through Christ, we have been reconciled with God. Our sins are forgiven! Amen.
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. Merciful God, we confess that we have strayed from your ways. Like the Prodigal Son, we have wasted our inheritance. You gave us the earth for our home, but we squander earth's resources and hoard its bounty. You gave us neighbors to love, but we pursue selfish ambitions. You gave us the commandments that lead to human flourishing, but we break your law and forsake your love. Forgive us our sin and bring us to repentance. Draw our wandering hearts back to you that we may find freedom in obedience to your love. Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.