Called to Challenge (1 Samuel 3:1-20)

Speak, Eternal One, because we are listening.

Or maybe we only think we are listening.
Maybe we are allowing the world to drown out your message to us.
Maybe we are filtering out what we don’t want to hear,
keeping only the part of your message that fits into our understanding.

Help us to find the quiet, to find a place that allows us to hear you.
Help us to find the courage to truly answer your call.
Help us to have the wisdom to follow your call.

Speak, Eternal One, and help us to truly listen to you.

Hearing your call is not always easy.
You call us when we are not ready.
You call us when we are not expecting your call.
You call us to do things we think are too hard.
Help us to be open to your call.
Help us to be ready to respond to your call.
Help us to be willing to accept your challenge.

Speak, Eternal One, as we remember those who answered your call.

We remember Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
We remember Rosa Parks.
We remember Jackie Robinson.
We remember Rachel Carson.
We remember Eleanor Roosevelt.
We remember Abraham Lincoln.
We remember Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli.
We remember all those who fought for social justice,
to make all people equal,
to protect and nurture our environment,
and to bring your words and your teachings to everyone.

Speak, Eterrnal One, and remind us that we are your children.
Open our hearts to your teachings and your guidance.
Open our eyes to the needs of those around us.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us,
who need your healing grace and your peace. We name ___.
And as you speak to us, we lift up our voices to you,
using the words your son taught to us, “Our Father…”

What We Hear (1 Samuel 8:4-20)

There is so much noise in our world today.
We fill our moments with this noise,
we fill our hours with the busyness of the world, and then
we lose our days to the never ending list of things to do.
Lord, help us to take a moment, to take a deep breath,
to stop and listen,
to be in the moment with you.

Whisper to us. Call us by name, as you have known us
before we were born.
You are with us always, but we sometimes focus too much
on the noise of the world around us.
Open our senses to your call, to your presence.
Lord, help us to take a moment, to take a deep breath,
to stop and listen,
to be in the moment with you.

Each of us has heard a different call,
but you have called each of us to be here today in this holy space.
Each of us is your child, equally loved and uniquely cherished.
You have called us, with a whisper, with a gentle voice, or with a shout.
Despite the how, the why is to fulfill your plan here in this place, on this earth.
Lord, help us to take a moment, to take a deep breath,
to stop and listen,
to be in the moment with you.

The noise around us can be deafening.
The world around us can be overpowering.
The pain we feel, or see in others, can overwhelm us.
Remind us that your message to us, here in Lancaster county,
is the same message that you would give to a single mother
on welfare in the inner city of Baltimore.
We are your children, each of us equal in your eyes.
We are your hands here on earth,
to make this world as it is in heaven,
to work for peace and justice for all,
to lift each other up and to support one another,
to share our gifts and talents with each other,
to treat the environment and the gifts of your creation with wisdom and protection,
and to share the teachings of your good news with all we meet.

Father, you are with us always even when we fail to listen.
We ask that you be with ___, members and friends of the congregation
who need your grace and your healing power.
We ask that you reach out to those in our neighborhoods who may not yet know you.
Open their hearts to joining us to ask their questions.
Open our hearts so that we can truly hear their questions and
help us to freely share our journey with them.

Lord, help us to take a moment, to take a deep breath,
to stop and listen,
to be in this moment with you.
As we open our hearts and ears to you, we use the words that your Son taught us:
“Our Father…”

What We Perceive (1 Samuel 15:34-16:13)

As a child, we see things in black and white.

Our world is very clear, and our boundaries are established.
A child can easily tell you if an act is right or wrong.
The world can become more gray as we get older.
Father, we have more doubts now and
sometimes we ask more questions than a two year old.

Why do we act selfishly at times?
Why do good people die before their time?
Why does a tornado hit one house and not another?
Why do I feel alone even when surrounded by many?
Why are there people in our neighborhoods who go to bed hungry?
And, why does evil sometimes seem to flourish in our world?

As adults, we see the world in shades of gray.
When asked if an act is right or wrong, we may answer, “It depends.”
We view the world based on our experiences, our biases, and our fears.
Father God, we ask that you open our eyes to your choice,
to your plan.
Open our hearts so that we can follow you without hesitation.
Mother God, comfort us in our doubt and confusion,
as a mother soothes her child.
Reassure us that while our world is sometimes lacking balance
and fairness, you are with us always.
Remind us that it is up to us to make this world as it is in your heaven.
We are to act now, to live out your word now, in this place.

Holy Creator, you have shaped us, formed us, and known us.
You see beyond what the world sees in us, beyond what we share with others.
You know us completely and you love us as completely.
We ask that you give us the faith to follow your plan
using the gifts and talents that you freely given us.
Allow us to see ourselves as you see us, each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we are to support one another in this world.
We know that you are also with us supporting us in the chaos of this world.
We ask that you be with ___ granting your comfort and peace.

We may still have questions, we may still doubt what we see around us,
but we have faith in the words your Son gave us.
We lift our hearts and our thoughts to you, using those words,
“Our Father…”

Fill Us With the Faith that David Possessed (1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23),32-49)

Heavenly Creator, fill us with the faith that David possessed.
Remind us that we are your beloved children and that you love us completely,
without reservation and without regret.
That should be enough for us,
but we sometimes allow the world
to fill our minds with self-doubt,
to fill our hearts with greed and jealousy,
and to fill our hands with shiny treasures.

Creator of Light and Love, fill us with the faith that David possessed.
Remind us that you sent your son to us, not to give us a religion,
but to give us a faith.
You sent your son to us, not to give us a set of rules to follow,
but to give us guidelines of how to share your love with everyone.
Your son was a living example of what you want us to do here on earth.
Help us to be the same example to others that we meet.

Maker of all that we see and know, fill us with the faith that David possessed.
Remind us that we don’t need the trappings of the world around us.
We know that in the moment we are given terrible news,
our first thoughts are not about our things,
but rather about our families and our friends.
We know that when given a second chance, our priorities change.
Keep our relationships in front of us.
Help us to build the community here that your son built with his followers.

All-knowing and All-Loving God, fill us with the faith that David possessed.
Remind us that our actions here in this earth shape the world that we experience.
It is up to us to make this world your world.
Our choice to follow you does not mean
that our way will be easy or that we will always succeed.
There is no doubt that we will face giants that appear to be more than we can handle.
Remind us that as your united community, we can tackle those challenges together.
And, we know that you are with us as we make our way through this world.
We ask that you be with those among us who may need your extra guidance and
your strength.
Remind us to follow your son in actions as well as in words.

Teacher, fill us with the faith that David possessed.
As we follow your teachings, we use the words you gave us,
“Our Father…”