Acting in Hospitality (Matthew 10:40-42)

For those among us who are the peacemakers,
For those among us who pray for others,
For those among us who give of themselves.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak up for those without a voice,
For those among us who work for justice,
For those among us who are teachers.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who show mercy to others,
For those among us who feed the hungry,
For those among us who comfort the grieving.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who lift up the fallen,
For those of us who practice the art of healing,
For those of us who protect the weak.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak prophetically,
For those among us who carry the burden for others,
For those among us who shed tears for the pain of this world
but still try to make things better.

We give thanks, O God.

For the fact that we are your children,
For the fact that you freely love us and fill us with your grace,
For the gift of your son, Jesus, and his teachings.

We give thanks, O God.

For the spirit of community instilled in us by our faith,
For the comfort of your constant presence and
For knowing that you are with those among us who need you the most right now,
naming ___.

We give thanks, O God.

For knowing that we are your disciples and your followers,
For knowing that it is our job to carry your word to others,
For knowing that we are never alone.

We give thanks, O God.

For the words that your Son taught us,
For the words we still use today,
“Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be the congregational response.

Fearing and Obeying the Lord (Matthew 10:24-39)

Jesus, you never told us that following you would be easy.
You often warned us how difficult the road would be.
As your followers, our job should not be easy.
You taught us a different way of living,
a way of community and of being at one with each other.
What is whispered, we are to shout from the rooftops.
When we see injustice in this world, we are not to close our eyes.
We are not to look the other way and say, well that is just how things are.
But we are to take action and try to speak for those without a voice,
to stand up for those without power.

You never told us that following you would be easy.
Give us the courage we need to be your followers.
Help us to focus on your teachings
and not on our false sense of security.
Help us to be like the early church who knew they needed to break away
from a world that did not follow your teachings.
Following you will not be easy.
We will need to lift up our voices and speak out against injustice.
We will need to make ourselves vulnerable
and take a chance on being hurt.
We will need to understand our own biases
and work toward changing our unjust social and justice systems.
We will need to work together, to love one another, and to value one another.
We will need to freely share our gifts and treasures with one another.
Give us the strength, the courage and the wisdom to follow your teachings.

You never told us our new life would be easy,
but you encouraged us to be one with each other.
We lift up and support those among us who need our help.
We ask that you be with ___ and grant them your healing touch.
We celebrate being in community and
we lift up our recent Vacation Bible School with joy and happiness.
As you taught us, we are teaching our children.
Help us to share your teachings with everyone we meet.
Help us to act out your teachings in our interactions with others.
We remind ourselves of your teachings every time we use the words you gave us,
“Our Father…”

Reaching Out to Others (Matthew 9:35—10:1, 5-8)

Gracious God, we confess we completely relate to the phrase,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
The needs of our world can be overwhelming.
Our lives are overbooked and the demands on our time grow exponentially.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

Lord, you saw the needs of the people in your time and
sent out your disciples.
We are your disciples today.
We gather here today as your community.
We make up the body of Christ in today’s world.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

We have received the gift of your grace and the gift of your love,
and we have made no payments for these gifts.
You offered them to us freely because we are your children.
You freely offered these gifts to us,
as you also offered to us the gift of your Son.
Open our eyes to your plan here on earth.
Use us to fulfill that plan.
Give us the strength to share the good news of your teaching.
As we support those among us who are in need of healing,
we ask that you be with those among us who need your strength.
We name _____.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

As your followers, and as your children,
use us as your disciples.
Send us out to proclaim the good news and to share your teachings.
Send us out to feed the hungry.
Send us out to speak for those without a voice.
Send us out to shelter those who have no home.
Send us out to protect those who are in danger.
Send us out to listen for the needs of those around us.
Send us out to embrace those who feel unlovable.

As you send us out, we lift up our voices as one,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Let Us Achieve New Heights as Followers of Christ (Acts 1:6-14)

Gracious God
Sometimes the world and its problems seem to be too much for us.
We may find ourselves waiting and unsure what to do.
Sometimes we ask you for signs of what will come,
forgetting that we are to act as your witnesses here on earth.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

Remind us that you have given us all we need to act in your name,
to be your disciples here on earth.
Fill us with the courage we need to stand up for truth and justice.
Open our hearts with compassion for those in need.
Give us the wisdom to see your vision for this world and then
use our thoughts and energy to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Unclench our fists and replace anger and frustration
with a deep sense of peace.
Remind us that we are your children and that we are loved.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

We are your disciples now.
Help us to be like the disciples of the early church.
Help us to feel your interaction as we pray and
help us to see you in the ordinary moments of our lives.
As we experience the joy in your teachings,
help us to share that joy with others.
Use us to bring peace to this world, one person at a time.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who are in pain or in need of healing. We name ___
We ask that you help us become better students of your teachings,
better disciples in this world.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

As the disciples devoted themselves to prayer, we use the same words,
the words that Jesus taught them, “Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be said by congregation

Our Sense of Hope (Luke 11:1-13)

We look around the world today and
ask ourselves just what is going on?
How did we get to this place in time?
People are afraid and are divided, separated from others.
Parents express fear for the world their children will inherit.
Children overhearing the news ask their parents
why are people dying?
No one seems to have the answers.

Gracious God, help us to see that the world
has always been in a state of turmoil, a state of flux.
When you sent your Son to us, the world he faced,
was a world where inequality was the norm.
The fishermen who became his disciples were facing domination
and loss of income by the Romans.
Many others at that time felt alienated and abandoned by society.
But your Son showed us how to work for peace and justice,
how to welcome everyone with true hospitality,
how to show love to all and to treat everyone as equals.

As we look at scripture, the words that you inspired,
we see a God that has been with the human race
throughout the years.
We see a God that has collaborated with us,
mourned with us, and guided us.
A God who sent us his Son to illustrate fully the
intimate relationship that God desires with us, his children.
We lift our voices in prayer to God, not because our futures
are pre-ordained, but because our God wants our interaction,
our faith, and our involvement in making this world
more like God’s world.
Our God has hope in us, that his children will learn
to put his teachings into place in this world.
Our faith is also our hope, and our strength.

There is fear in the world of today.
We recognize that fear but we also recognize we can change this world.
One by one, as we stand up for peace and justice for all,
we make change happen.
As we support one another, we ask that you also support those among us
who need extra support and your healing touch. We name ___.
There is fear, but hope overcomes fear, and peace overcomes worry.
We ask that you be with us as we face the future with hopeful hearts.
We use the words Jesus taught us,
“Our Father…”

Seeing From the Viewpoint of the Other (Luke 10:25-37)

God of Compassion and Mercy, you have always been with us
challenging us when we need to be challenged,
and sending to us your Son who modeled your love in his teachings.
Be with us now and help us to see the world from the viewpoint of the other.

As we sit here in this sacred space, open our hearts and our minds.
Open our eyes to see a different world than what we usually see.
As we look at ourselves, help us to imagine ourselves as different people.
Our skin is no longer white, but instead different shades of brown.
Open our eyes to notice how others may now treat us.

As we look at ourselves, help us to imagine ourselves as different people.
Our salary level is now lower than it was when we walked into this sanctuary.
Open our eyes to notice how others may now treat us.

As we look at ourselves, help us to imagine ourselves as different people.
Our country of origin is different than the US and we have recently moved here.
Open our eyes to notice how others may now treat us.

As we sit here in this sacred place, and later as we move from here out into the world,
open our hearts and our minds.
Help us to listen to the story of those who are not like us.
Help us to listen without trying to defend ourselves and our behaviors.
Help us to listen without feeling guilty or accused.
Help us to listen without judgment and without reservation.
Help us to just listen, to hear the story from the view of the other,
and to accept the truth of how they see their life and their experiences.

Gracious God, you created us in your image, each of us your beloved child.
Help us to see your image in the face of those we encounter.
Help us to share the love you have generously provided to us,
to those that we meet in our daily lives.
Help us to accept the differences between us
and even to celebrate those differences.
Help us to stand up for those who are different
and to fight for those without a voice.

Gracious God, we are your children.
You have been with us always, and we ask that you especially be with ___.
The teacher that you sent us, your son, Jesus,
championed the cause of the other.
He showed us how we should live.
And he gave us the words we should use in prayer,
and we use those words today,
“Our Father…”

I Believe in Grace

The mystery of God’s Grace, the mystery of Christ.
The mystery of the Christmas story, the gift of God’s Son, .

Our world is full of mystery and wonder.
We marvel at the world you have provided for your children.
Sometimes we think we have the answers,
but all too often, we are asking you, “Why?”

The mystery of God’s Grace, the mystery of Christ.
It was not a secret that the Jewish world was waiting for a Messiah.
The mystery that was revealed to us in Christ is the
joining of the Gentiles and the Jews
into one body, the body of Christ.
The mystery that was revealed to us in Christ is the boundless riches
of the gifts You have given us,
the gift of Your grace and
the gift of Your Son who allows us
to approach You Father
with the confidence of a child who knows their parents love them.

The mystery of God’s Grace, the mystery of Christ.
We are your children, Lord.
Together we are the body of Christ, members together of one body.
We share in the promise of Christ Jesus
equally without favoritism, without division.

As the Magi provided gifts to Jesus, remind us Lord,
to share our gifts with others.
Together we are the body of Christ, members together of one body.
Remind us to strive to work together
to share your love and your grace with others.
Remind us of those among us who are hurting and in need of comfort or healing.
Remind us to celebrate often and to have fun in your world,
to laugh with each other
and to lift each other up in spirit and in prayer.

We are your children, Lord.

We Thank You (Exodus 2)

For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today because we want to believe in You,
we want to follow your teachings.
Some of us believe the scriptures are black and white.
Others see the gray.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today,
because we know that we are the children of God.
We may feel adrift as if we are in a papyrus basket, bobbing along in the waves
but we know that you have a plan for us, Father.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we know that we make up the body of Christ.
It is up to us to make this world your world.
It is up to us to reach out to those among us,
to those who are marginalized and powerless,
to those who are hungry and in need,
to those who need a helping hand and
to those who are in pain.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we know that you are also here today.
You are with us and you were with our ancestors,
giving us and them the strength to fulfill your teachings.
We know that you will be with our children and with their children.
We ask that you be with ___ now as they could use your support and strength.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we lift our hearts and minds to you.
Give us the courage to speak up for those among us who have no voice,
the strength to carry the burdens of those who are feeling weak
and the compassion to feel the pain of those who are hurting and alone.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we will be here tomorrow as we were yesterday.
As your children, we look to you for strength and for forgiveness.
As your children, we know the power of prayer, and we use the words your Son taught us:
“Our Father…”

boldface type can be read by the congregation

Transform Us (Luke 9:28-36)

We come to this place every week
for many different reasons.
Some of us were born into a church family
and we know no other way of life.
We cannot imagine a life without you, Jesus.
Others came to this church later in life.
We had a life before that may not have included God,
or maybe a life with a God that was minimized
and only called upon in times of crisis.

But we are here now, Lord, here in this sacred place with you.
We ourselves have been transformed by your love,
by your grace, and most especially by your teachings.
Jesus, you have been our role model and
showed us how we should live our lives.
You showed us how important it is to pray,
to allow that quiet time between ourselves and God.
You showed us how to include everyone,
and to treat everyone with respect and fairness.
You showed us how to live in a way that fulfills God’s plan on earth,
even when we may not feel we have the courage to do so.
You showed us how our lives will change when we live not for ourselves,
but for others.
You showed us how to live in peace with each other,
and how to support each other.
You showed us how to enjoy life and to celebrate God’s joy in this world.
You did this in actions, not only in words.

Transform us today, Lord, here in this sacred place,
and in every place we may find ourselves.
Transform us. Make us more receptive to prayer and
to hearing the call of the Holy Spirit.
Transform us. Make us more willing to accept and to seek out diversity.
Transform us. Make us peacemakers who work for equality and fairness for all.
Transform us. Make us more generous with our talents and our treasures.
Transform us. Make us a community who builds each other up
and supports those who may need help.
We ask that you also be with ___ who are in need of your healing touch and strength.
Transform us into a stronger body of Christ,
a community who celebrates the joy of your love
and enjoys and nurtures the gifts of the earth that you have given us.

We come to this place every week.
And, we leave this place changed by your presence.
We follow your teachings as best we can.
We ask that you walk with us on our journey and transform us along the way.
And, we use the words that you taught us to use,
“Our Father…”

Bold text can be read by the congregation.

Water of Our Baptism (Matthew 28:16-23)

We are often unprepared for the situations we find ourselves in.

No matter how many parenting books we read, no matter how many conversations we have before the birth,
no one is prepared for that moment we realize we are now the parents.
We alone are responsible for this child.
We talk about how to drive in the snow and ice,
but the first time we find ourselves sliding on the ice,
we are never prepared for that sinking feeling and the panic of being out of control.
We say that we stand up for our principles and for what we believe in.
And then we are faced with peer pressure,
opposition from those we believe have power over us,
and we give in.

You have shown us that even Jesus’ disciples faced doubt
and were unprepared at times.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit, prepare us for those unexpected moments.
Give us the strength and wisdom we will need to get
through those moments of panic.
Remind us we are not alone in those cold and lonely moments
in the middle of the night.

The water of our baptism poured into us, filled us with your grace.
Grace we cannot earn and cannot say we deserve.
But as our parents loved us,
you love us unconditionally and without reservation.
Open our hearts to your love.
Fill us again, and always, with your grace.

The water of our baptism heals us.
The water of our baptism flows to and from each of us,
connecting us as the body of Christ,
uniting us as one.
We know that you are with us now as you were with us then.
Be with those among us today who are feeling pain and need your healing touch.

As your baptized children, we know the power of prayer.
We lift our hearts to you in prayer, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”