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
O magnify the LORD with me.
Let us exalt God’s name together!

HYMN – „Open My Eyes That I May See“ by Clara H. Scott (1895)
(sing along on YouTube – https://youtu.be/GDceaG7kFQA)

1. Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth you have for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unlock and set me free.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

2. Open my ears, that I may hear
voices of truth you send so clear;
and while the message sounds in my ear,
everything false will disappear.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

3. Open my mouth, and let me bear
gladly the warm truth everywhere;
open my heart, and let me prepare
love with your children thus to share.
Silently now, on bended knee,
ready I wait your will to see;
open my heart, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

OPENING PRAYER by Nancy C. Townley
Lord, you know us so well. We thank you for your presence in our lives, even when we don’t recognize it. This day we have gathered, coming from a week of unexpected happenings and events which have surprised us. Make us ready to become stronger witnesses for your love as we receive your word and find our spirits and lives healed. Amen.

ROMANS 8:1-11

Moment for silent reflection

MATTHEW 13:1-9, 18-23

SERMON on Day1.org (click here)

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.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
We bow before you, O God, in awe of your creation. Its vastness staggers our imagination. Its beauty kindles our excitement. Its mystery defies our understanding. As Jesus spoke to the crowds in Galilee in parables, sometimes you speak to us in parables. Your words are loud and powerful, but their meaning is not always clear.

Yet we sense the heartbeat behind your handiwork. In Jesus you have revealed your face, and we are delighted by what we see. We see power restrained by goodness. We see nature guided by humanity. We see purpose directed by love. We thank you, O Great Communicator, for the revelation of yourself in Jesus. At first we thank you for lowering yourself to our level. But as we look more closely at Jesus, we see that, instead, you raised us up to your level.

We grow uncomfortable in your company. Our humanity drags us down again to the level from which we ascended. Unlike Paul, we break under the weight of today’s problems. We are constantly on the lookout for the quick fix. When our neighbor speaks to us harshly, we answer in kind without pausing to ask why. When given a chance to close a quick sale on dubious terms, we promise to be more ethical next time. When some foreign people opt for a system different from our own, we are quicker to denounce their choice than we are to study their history.

For this rush to judgment, we ask your forgiveness, O God. We pray for the rebirth of patience, that we might think beyond our present circumstances. Give us the grace to weigh our actions in light of their consequences on people yet unborn and on people in other lands. Let us hope for a world that we cannot yet see a world in which we are as quick to bestow freedom as we are to claim it—and grant us the courage to labor for the world of our hope.

When we think of the degree to which our hope exceeds our grasp, we also remember the multitudes who ding to hope because hope is all that remains. We pray, O God, that you will move us to act in their behalf, that both we and they might obtain the liberty of the children of God.

We also pray for (individual prayers)……

Amen.

BENEDICTION
As you have received the seeds of faith and hope, go now into God’s world to scatter the seeds of reconciliation and peace, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.