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.
O magnify the LORD with me.
Let us exalt God’s name together!
HYMN – „And Are We Yet Alive“ by Charles Wesley (1749)
(you may sing along along on YouTube – https://youtu.be/OxTnODlCiJg)
1. And are we yet alive,
and see each other’s face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give
for his almighty grace!
2. Preserved by power divine
to full salvation here,
again in Jesus‘ praise we join,
and in his sight appear.
3. What troubles have we seen,
what mighty conflicts past,
fightings without, and fears within,
since we assembled last!
4. Yet out of all the Lord
hath brought us by his love;
and still he doth his help afford,
and hides our life above.
5. Then let us make our boast
of his redeeming power,
which saves us to the uttermost,
till we can sin no more.
6. Let us take up the cross
till we the crown obtain,
and gladly reckon all things loss
so we may Jesus gain.
OPENING PRAYER by Nancy C. Townley
Gracious and loving God, come to us in our fears and frustrations. We feel unable to serve and often beaten down by life. Give us courage and strength and help us joyfully serve you by serving others. We pray in the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Moment for silent reflection
SERMON by the Reverend Robin Wilson (click here to read the sermon)
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (read aloud)
We are not alone, we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating;
who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new;
who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the church:
to celebrate God’s presence;
to live with respect in creation;
to love and serve others;
to seek justice and resist evil;
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
O God, you possess all beginnings and all endings. In the morning you are the cradle of the world and in the evening you are the world’s comforter. You are the morning dew kissing the buds of the flowers and the evening mist rising through the falling leaves. You are the early sun announcing the dawning of a new day and the twilight whispering the secrets of another.
You possess all beginnings and endings, all failings and risings, all living and dying. All of your people, all of your creation swells with the rhythms of life and death and rebirth. These rhythms compel us to sing, to laugh, to dance, to dream. We sing of sorrows borne despite anguish and of joys known despite fear. We laugh at mistakes made in our weakness and at changes begun in our strength. We dance to the harmonies of the universe and to the melodies within our own breasts. And we dream of unknown worlds on the strength of the world we know.
We stand as a people of faith, convinced not by the persuasion of our minds but by the experience of our lives. We are convinced that all is as you say it is—that you do number every hair on every head and see our every step.
We believe, O God. But when faith ebbs, we feel the pain of the world, and it spatters into the still waters of our lives. Infants die without drawing a breath. Wheat fields burn while standing ripe for the harvest. Old friends suffer diseases whose cures are years away. Tornadoes rip through the poorest sections of town. Innocent citizens are caught in the cross fire between governments. Workers lose the jobs they have held for years, while the unemployed have been turned away so many times they have traded hope for tears. And the children—abused because they wear the wrong color skin, speak the wrong language, live under the wrong flag, worship the wrong god—have no hope to lose.
The list is long, O God. But, somewhere in the midst of our sorrows, you are walking, holding hands, lifting up, mending wounds, breathing new life, and receiving the old. This we believe, and in this belief we find strength to remember and respond.
You have numbered us from the first to last. We pray that you might grant us the compassion to count one another daily. Let us reach to those who stumble, and break their fall; to the fallen, and pull them to their feet. Let us be caught when we are about to faint; and be lifted up, when we are struggling to rise. Amen.
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.