The household gathers together. If you have a candle, light a candle to signify God’s presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to join you during this time of prayer.

GREETING
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

HYMN – „Christ for the World We Sing“ by Samuel Wolcott (1869)
(you may sing along along on YouTube – https://youtu.be/StQ4X-gBnGQ)

1. Christ for the world we sing; 
the world to Christ we bring 
with loving zeal:
the poor and them that mourn, 
the faint and overborne, 
sin-sick and sorrow worn, 
whom Christ doth heal. 

2. Christ for the world we sing; 
the world to Christ we bring 
with fervent pray’r: 
the wayward and the lost, 
by restless passions tossed, 
redeemed at countless cost 
from dark despair.

3. Christ for the world we sing; 
the world to Christ we bring 
with one accord:
with us the work to share, 
with us reproach to dare, 
with us the cross to bear, 
for Christ our Lord. 

4. Christ for the world we sing; 
the world to Christ we bring 
with joyful song:
the newborn souls whose days, 
reclaimed from error’s ways,
inspired with hope and praise, 
to Christ belong.

OPENING PRAYER
Out of deep need, we enter your holy temple, O Lord, seeking your presence and your guidance. As Jesus charged his waiting disciples, deliver now your charge to us. And lead us, as he led them, into the fields white unto harvest, that we may become faithful laborers in your vineyard. Amen.

PSALM 116:1-2, 12-19

Moment for silent reflection

MATTHEW 9:35-10:8

SERMON by the Rev. Peter Wallace (click here to read his sermon)

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (read aloud)
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
O God of grace abounding and love unlimited, we thank you for your infinite mercy. It has been the source of our life and faith through all our days, and before that, through the days of our ancestors. When the whip of Pharaoh held Israel in bondage, you broke the yoke of the tyrant, and the prisoners escaped. When the exiles in Babylon trembled before their captors, you raised up a deliverer, and the refugees returned. And when their descendants believed their sin had doomed them to life without hope, you sent your Son, and the hopeless rejoiced. Not only did you redeem them from their sin, but you reconciled them in the midst of their sin. We thank you, dear Lord, that where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.

You call us to be a priestly people and a holy nation, but we, like lost sheep, go astray. We know that peace comes through openness to our neighbors, but we make little effort to crash the walls between us. We know that the soft answer turns away wrath, but we greet our enemies with hard words and even harder looks. We know that self-giving breeds self-givers, but we refuse others the grace with which you treat us. We criticize fellow believers for not patterning their lives after Jesus, yet we do not mirror his life. Forgive us, O God, for our betrayal of your call. Let us take our place at the foot of the mountain of revelation. Open our ears that we might hear your commandments, and transform our hearts that we might keep your covenant. Let us now, as when we first believed, exclaim, „All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.“

As we think of your other sheep who have gone astray, we think of ourselves as your instruments for bringing them home. If they tarry for a sympathizing tear, let us shed it without shame. If they wait for a soothing word, let us speak it without hesitation. If they desire a cup of water, let us offer it without delay. If they hunger for a decent meal, let us provide it without suspicion. Remembering that you are not impressed by gracious words unaccompanied by generous deeds, make us the instruments of your grace in speech and in action.

We are your people, O God; grant us the wisdom to affirm your claim upon us. We await your revealing word; grant us the sensitivity to hear your demands in clear and compelling language. We long to do your will on earth as in heaven; grant us the courage to fail neither you nor your children.

We pray in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

BENEDICTION
Go with confidence in God’s gracious love and mercy.
Go, ready to proclaim the good news and serve our Lord by caring for others. Amen.